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Posts Tagged ‘teaching ideas’

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

Teachers First

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Teachers First provides a collection of resources for use in the classroom and for professional development. Lessons and activities are available for all grade levels and all subjects. Across the top of the home page, a series of tabs are available to access categories within the collection. Content is searchable by subject, grade level, or keyword or can be presented in a list that teachers can browse and can be shared via student computers, a projector, or a whiteboard. Classroom resources includes over 12,000 teacher-reviewed web resources. Resources include lesson plans, instructional units, and ready-to-use content. TeachersFirst Exclusives present teacher-created activities, lesson and unit plans. Professional Resources includes time-saver ideas and tips for new or substitute teachers, technology integration, reading resources, professional topics, differentiating instruction, and communicating with parents. Another excellent professional development feature is OK2ASK, which is a series of interactive webinars that cover professional development-related topics. What’s Hot provides links to the latest and most popular content from Teachers First. An exciting feature of What’s Hot is Teacher’s First Edge, a collection of links to the newest Web 2.0 tools available.

Dinosaur Math is an interesting lesson from the site for K-1 students. Students are given a worksheet and plastic dinosaurs. They count features of the dinosaur and create addition problems using the worksheet. The lesson can be completed individually or in groups. An interactive whiteboard and projector can be used to turn the worksheet into an interactive activity. Students might complete the worksheet at their desk as they take turns going to the board to complete the electronic worksheet. An electronic slide presentation is included as another alternative for use with the whiteboard. Students can use the slides to create the addition problems. The slides could also be printed, laminated and organized as a book to be used for remediation.

An example of a Teachers First professional resource is Rubrics to the Rescue. The article contains links that present an overview of rubrics: What are they? Why use them? How can students get involved in creating rubrics? Several examples of projects that use rubrics are presented for various subjects at all grade levels. Also included are links to online resources for creating rubrics.

Image: koratmember / 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