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Posts Tagged ‘language arts’

10 Minutes of Technology for Busy Teachers

September 20, 2012 2 comments

10 Minutes of Technology for Busy Teachers is a jog that introduces technology tools that are free, easy to use, and require no login. This resource includes tools for creating interactive stories, summarizing text, collaborating online with students in real time, exploring museums, linking directly to quotes in web pages, or creating word clouds.

Type With Me is a tool that allows students to communicate in real-time using an online space set aside for class activities. After creating the space, the teacher sends the link to class members, and they are able to easily add their comments. This tutorial provides an excellent demonstration of Type With Me. This tool could be easily used as a backchannel for students to communicate questions in class. If you’ve never used a backchannel in your classroom, the article, 7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communication, provides an excellent overview.

Another useful website that is showcased in this resource is Citebite, which allows users to easily create a link to a specific quote on a web page, news story, blog, or other online source, without requiring a software installation or download. Citebite is very handy for directing students to specific information on a website.

Wordle is another resource that can be used for generating word clouds. Word clouds are helpful for generating class discussions using technology. For example, as a spelling resource, the class might suggest misspelled words from their assignments to be added to a class word cloud. The site creates a graphic visual that can be used to identify commonly misspelled words. The word cloud could be printed, displayed in the classroom, and used to review words commonly misspelled by the class.  Additionally, when writing a paragraph or essay, students might use Wordle to identify words that have been overused. They could then choose synonyms to improve their writing. Additional word cloud examples and ideas are presented on the jog.

These tools are just a few of the resources presented on the jog. Additional technology tools that are helpful for teachers are presented at Cool Tools.

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Haiku Deck

September 11, 2012 2 comments

Haiku Deck is a free iPad app that was developed to provide an easy way to create simple, stunning presentations. Haiku Deck simplifies presentation design to help deliver your message dramatically. The app makes presentations simple and fun!

Haiku Deck provides an excellent way to create educational presentations of all kinds. Teachers and students can use Haiku Deck to create a digital storyboard, outline a book’s plot, tell a story, explain a process, present evidence, illustrate a blog post, or share captioned photographs. The Haiku Deck gallery provides numerous examples of beautiful presentations created with the application. One sample presentation created by Garr Reynolds, a professional design expert, presents tips for creating a presentation. His tips might be of particular interest in creating a presentation with a professional look. Christopher Rizzo also provides an excellent video demonstration at Total iPad.

The simple interface allows users to choose themes, create backgrounds, and add text in various fonts. Users have access to a wealth of photographs licensed through Creative Commons. Alternatively, they can upload original photos stored on the iPad’s camera roll or photos from Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or Picasa. Finished presentations can be published and shared with others via Facebook, Twitter or email. A VGA adapter, also known as a dongle, is required to connect the iPad to a projection system for viewing by a live audience.

Image: adamr/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Using Skype in the Classroom

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Skype is a free download that enables users to make video calls using a computer. Skype can be used in the classroom as an easy way to expand classroom walls to create amazing learning experiences. Teachers can connect with experts, share ideas with colleagues, and provide opportunities for students to learn from others around the world.

Mystery Skype calls are one way to bring geography to life! Mr. Avery’s Classroom Blog describes how he used Skype to enhance his class. Students were given the task to determine the location of a class in another state by using clues. Students could only ask yes or no questions. When given a yes answer, they could then ask a follow up question. Students were assigned various roles in the activity, including inquirers, question keepers, Google mappers, runners, logical reasoners, and clue keepers. Each role played a part in helping solve the mystery location, and provided opportunities for students to practice reading maps, using online mapping tools, working together, and using problem-solving skills.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bitstrips for Schools: Unlock the Educational Power of Comics

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Bitstrips for Schools is a web-based resource that enables students to create original comic strips no matter their artistic ability. Bitstrips can be used to enhance student writing ability by making the writing process visual and fun. Students can use the site to design characters that can be used in curriculum-related comic strips. They can even use an image-uploading tool to add their own photos. The site allows students to focus on composition, sequencing, and writing rather than drawing, thus enhancing the writing process. The site offers a 30-day free trial, with a monthly fee of $9.95.

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I Learn Technology

March 27, 2012 Leave a comment

I Learn Technology is an edublog published by Kelly Tenkely. The site provides information about instructional technology and electronic resources. It also includes posts that explain ways to integrate technology into the classroom. Tenkely is a former elementary school teacher, therefore most of the resources are intended for students in grades K-5. However, middle and high school teachers will find some suitable resources as well.

On the blog, Tenkely publishes a collection of I Learn “e-zines” that contain articles related to educational technology. The first issue presents information on mobile learning and features articles on podcasting, Apple iPod learning labs, and features of the various types of iPods. The e-zine also contains numerous links to websites appropriate for students of all ages, including iTunesU which features K-12 educational podcasts. The second issue includes articles on topics such as choosing an iPod for your classroom, computer lab management, and how-to’s for mobile learning. One section presents information related to iPhone apps, categorized by subject. Many of the apps can be used with any grade level, from kindergarten to high school.

Grammaropolis is a fun educational site designed for early elementary students. Tenkely’s Grammaropolis post describes the many features of the site. Grammaropolis includes animated books that feature the parts of speech as characters in an illustrated story. Additional activities include a song, videos, games, and quizzes. All of the content related to the Noun is free. All other characters include an animated description and a free book. Teachers can purchase a Grammaropolis passport for a small monthly or annual subscription fee. The passport unlocks music, videos, quizzes, and games for all of the other characters.

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Copyright and Fair Use

March 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Several years ago, a lawsuit against a 12 year old girl who downloaded copyrighted music started a wave of lawsuits against young people who break copyright laws. Headlines continue to make the news regarding cases of copyright infringement. The Recording Industry Artists Association (RIAA) is suing students, and universities are imposing penalties on students in an effort to avoid potential lawsuits. In today’s classroom, attention to copyright is imperative, and students must be taught by example the importance of adhering to copyright laws.

Stanford University Law School provides resources on the use of copyrighted works under fair use guidelines. A copyright overview explains the basics of copyright law, what is protected, how to get permission to use copyrighted works, website and educational permissions, and an explanation of fair use. The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School presents cases related to copyright infringement and links to experts on copyright law.

According to the CIS website:

“The Fair Use Project (FUP) is the only organization in the country dedicated specifically to providing free and comprehensive legal representation to authors, filmmakers, artists, musicians and other content creators who face unmerited copyright claims, or other improper restrictions on their expressive interests. The FUP has litigated important cases across the country, and in the Supreme Court of the United States, and worked with scores of filmmakers and other content creators to secure the unimpeded release of their work.”

Information from these sites may be used by educators who wish to learn more about copyright. The cases related to copyright infringement could be used to develop cases studies for high school students in technology or language arts courses to learn about copyright. The cases could also be used as the basis of class discussions or to generate ideas for classroom debates.

The Copyright Site is another great resource for educators. It provides information and instructional resources for all grade levels. Of particular interest to teachers are links to copyright myths and copyright scenarios that can be used in the classroom, and teaching ideas for all ages, from kindergarten to college.

The Teaching Copyright site published by The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) provides additional excellent curriculum resources. A copyright curriculum and links to additional copyright resources are presented on the site.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

e-Pals Global Learning Community

The e-Pals Global Learning Community is a safe social learning platform that can be used in K12 classrooms for communication and collaboration with classes around the world. The site allows teachers to link their classrooms with others for the purpose of engaging in collaborative educational projects. The project database can be searched by classroom profiles, country, by project, or by perusing teacher forums. All projects are linked with national standards.

The Digital Storytelling Classroom Project is featured on the e-Pals Projects for Collaboration page. The Project Overview explains that students will learn about the ancient practice of storytelling and then tell a story using modern technology tools. They will participate in an email exchange to discuss the process as they develop a story topic, write a story, create or find appropriate images, and share and reflect on their story. The project includes the following components: Essential Questions, Objectives, Culminating Activity, Project Elements, and National Standards.

This project would be appropriate for a variety of classes and could be adapted for any grade level. A look at the Digital Storytelling Teacher Forum reveals a range of classes from first grade through high school who would like to collaborate on this project for history, African American Studies, and language arts. In a middle school technology classroom, this might be implemented as an integrated project to include objectives from American History, language arts and technology. Students could interview World War II veterans and record their stories using technology tools. It might be interesting to partner with a classroom in Japan or Hawaii and compare stories from the perspectives of residents of those areas.

Image: Ken Cole | Agency: Dreamstime.com
The image above depicts part of the Second World War Memorial in Washington, DC