Posts Tagged ‘use of technology tools’

Online Typing Instruction

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment

When having students complete writing activities using the iPad or computer, I have found that weak typing skills hinder their progress. Dance Mat Typing is a free, fun, leveled game that helps students develop typing skills. The website provides lessons at several levels so that students can learn the keyboard, develop typing skills, and gain speed. For the iPad, Monster Typer Free is an excellent typing game that helps students learn to type faster using the iPad.

Image: David Castillo Dominici/


Little Bird Tales: Creating Digital Stories

September 25, 2012 1 comment

Little Bird Tales is a tool for creating digital stories using pictures or original artwork. Students can narrate their stories and then email them to friends and family members. The site is targeted to students in the early elementary grades, but it can be used by older students as well. Edublogs’ Teacher Challenge #22 offers an excellent tutorial for using Little Bird Tales in the classroom.

Image: TeddyBear[Picnic]/

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.

Image: suphakit73/

Jog The Web!

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Jog The Web is a free, web-based tool that allows users to create “jogs.” Jogs are a way of organizing web resources for guided learning. The teacher selects websites to be used by students and organizes them in a Jog to help students stay on track. Pages can be explored within the jog, which helps students stay focused on the content being presented. Pages can be annotated by the jog author. Annotations can be used to present questions or to highlight important information on each page that is presented. In this example of a jog, students are guided through the parts of the nervous system. Notice the teacher annotations at the top of each page. Use this Jog the Web Tutorial to learn how to create your own jog.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn/

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 /

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 /

Smithsonian Education

Smithsonian Education provides numerous teaching resources related to a variety of topics. The site’s search engine can be used to locate activities by category, subject and grade level, or by state learning standards. In the category of Science & Technology, I discovered a lesson on podcasting. The activity provided an overview of podcasting, and then described an instructional activity in which 3rd-grade students from Arlington, Virginia, converted reports on the national monuments into a multimedia narrative history of the nation’s capital. After describing the class activity, the site provided links to resources for creating podcasts and then explained how to edit and distribute podcasts. Additional podcasting resources were provided.

Although this activity was designed for elementary students, it could be easily adapted for a high school class in history, technology, or English. Podcasts might be used for a formative assessment to determine what students learned on a field trip or to present a guided tour of local attractions or places of historical or cultural interest.

Image: Lance Smith | Agency:
The image above depicts the old Smithsonian building in Washington, D.C.