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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tech Tools and Resources #3

Hey all! Here are a few tech tools and resources I felt I had to share!

TweenTribune - News for kids 8-15 . I used this a lot the year before last. I barely used it last year, but I think it had something to do with that group I had. But, I love it.  The kids sign up, read current articles in every subject, and comment. They have added a component so that parents can participate.

ScoopIt - Be the curator of your favorite topic! I started one on Ipads in education. It is very simple to use.You can gather your own resources or the site will make suggestions for you. The result is an interactive gathering of resources on one topic that you can share!

WatchKnowLearn - I use this site a lot because YouTube is blocked in my school. WatchKnow Learn offers FREE Educational videos on every subject imaginable. You can set up user accounts, set up a classroom, and save your videos. The great part is you can watch approved Youtube videos from this site!

Embed YouTube into Word(HP Teacher Exchange) I can find ways to use this idea. If you watch this video on Teacher experience Exchange, it may seem a bit much, but I think it's worth it. Also, once you've done it a few times, it will probably become second nature.

LiveBinders You'll Love!



If you are interested in using Web 2.0 tools in your classroom, here are some Livebinders that might interest you!










Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

QR Treasure Hunt Generator! Using QR Codes to Engage!

qrcode
I discovered QR codes a couple of months ago,  I read about them, downloaded a QR reader, and began to create my own codes.(I have one for my blog page on the right hand side of the blog). When I went to ISTE11, they were all over the place!  Silly me, I felt like one of the chosen when I had to demonstrate or explain what they were. :)  Well, eventually, the fun of it wore off, you can see them wherever you go, magazines, etc..., so now the question became, "How do I use QR codes in my classroom?" Or better yet, "Can I Use QR codes in My Classroom?"

The other day, I was perusing Free Technology for Teachers in my Google Reader, and lo and behold, what do I see? A very, cool, way to use QR codes. Now, just to be fair, prior to seeing Bryne's article, I had already bookmarked Steve Anderson's "QR Codes in Education" Livebinder, I just didn't get around to looking through it. (But I will now). Richard posted the  QR Treasure Hunt Generator  created by  Classtools.net and it looked simple enough that I could check it out without having to hear my husband yell "Get off the computer!".

It was very simple to use and the title says it all.  You create questions. The questions are turned into QR codes. Hang them around the room and let the students "read" the questions with their mobile devices and answer them. (That's the treasure hunt part of the game). Being educators, I know you can take this concept, twist it, turn it, whip it, and come up with 600,00 different ways you can use it. The owner of the website does ask for feedback in comments and suggestions,or even problems, so feel free to share.
Upon seeing it, I immediately thought of the "Getting to Know Mrs.M' exercise I use at the beginning of the year.  I place a summary about myself on the Smartboard, my students read it, and then answer questions about me. As boring as it sounds, they are engaged, but how much more spicy would it be with QR codes! I would only have to show them how to use it once( you know how kids are).

To test it out,  I made up 5 questions, that's the minimum amount you can use, hit "Create QR Challenge", and the work was done for me! First, it took me to the "Teacher Notes" page and from there you can access the  QR codes that the students will use for the "Who is Mrs M?" quiz.

I think using this tool as a team building exercise at the beginning of the year would be a great idea as well. We've done scavenger hunts in my building before, but how much more fun it would be with QR codes! Of course, you would just have to ignore the grumbling of the "anti-tech" teachers as you played.
My only dilemma is that cell phones are not allowed in school, principal's orders. "If you see a cell phone in school, confiscate it immediately!" Hmmm, how do I get around this?  Do I let them sneak their phones out and hide it when administration enters the room?(Just kidding) Maybe for this exercise, I'll let them use mine, but supervise them heavily. Any suggestions?

A question I sent to the owner was if they see this as a "just for teachers" tool.(Russel Tarr responded, "It's designed for whoever uses it!") I think it would be great if the students could create their own questions and QR codes.

QR codes, another tool to teach and engage our students!

Tech Tools and Resources #2!

I've decided that every 5 new tools I "discover", I will not only post them on my blog, but I will also update my "Word of Mouth" Livebinder.  Hopefully, some of these tools will be useful to you as well.
Children's Books Forever! - I found this one on ilearn Technology, always a great source for the coolest sites ever! Those of you with IWBs will love this site. Digital  FREE childrens books, classics and favorites, that can be viewed on IWBs, Powerpoints, or overhead projectors.  The quality of these books is not shabby either! I already sent the link to the lower grades in my school.

National Archives Experience- Digital Vaults -  (iLearn Technology) Do you teach SS?  Are you always in need of primary sources? All I can say is Wow! I am teaching the Civil War and I got lost in this site and what you can do with it. If you want to make history rea,l utilizing primary sources, this site is it. It's a digital vault that you can control, you can choose the pics you want and then create a poster or movie. Excellent site!

Reading Rewards.com - (Edmodo community) I don't know about you, but I can't stand Reading logs. "Read for 20 minutes and write it down." BORING! Here is a way to spice up your reading logs, it's gone digital! And it's not just a Reading log, they have social networking, K-12 Teacher Tools, and Reading Rewards!

thatquiz - (HP TeacherExchange) - Math test activities for students and teachers. Online interactive quizzes in a number of subjects.You can set up a class home page and administer your tests from there, or give the students the test code of the assigned test. You can create your own tests; matching, multiple choice , and slides.

Bizworld:The Bizworld Foundation (Sean Murray) I learned about this from one of my readers, the Education Coordinator for Bizworld.  If you are looking for a program that provides real world financial literacy and entrepreneurship, this is it! It's for grades 3-8, and it's broken down into three kits, BizWorld,  BizWiz, and  BizMovie.  Each kit provides the kids hands-on activities to promote that goal, and it looks like a lot of fun!  BizWorld focuses on business and enterpreneurship, BizWiz, money management, and BizMovie, technology and entrepreneurship. I am excited about using  BizWiz with my class this year!

"Word of Mouth" Livebinder

Tech Tools for the Classroom #1!

You know how it works. I tell my friend, she tells her friend, and so on and so on, and pretty soon everyone knows about that party on campus! Well, I don't have a party to tell you about, I just want to share a few tools and resources, I "discovered" and am very excited about. And for my readers who are wondering, "She just found out about that?", maybe you can share ideas of how you have been using them in your classroom. Showoffs! :)
Audiopal -  This one I got from a blogger named Porter Palmer. Her post is,  "Favorite Things:Audiopal. Thanks Porter! This is so cool! As soon as I found it, as with most Web 2.0 tools, I put it to use.  It's a FREE website audio player. Here's what attracted me, it's free, you can embed it, I can record by phone (which I did), mic, MP3 upload, or text to speech. Check it out!

ClassDojo - This site was shared in an Edmodo community. As a matter of fact ClassDojo has their own community within Edmodo. I asked one of the creators why I had never heard of it, he said they were pretty new. Well, the word is out, people are all  " aTwitter" (get it?) about it! In a nutshell, class management that is simple and fun! With this site, you can award and reward behavior right away! You have to see it in order to understand how it works, but it's worth taking a look!

TypeWith.me   A tweet from HPTeach Exchange led me to this one. It was posted on the Teacher Experience Exchange website. Another resource I did not know existed. TypeWithme provides real time collaboration on a document , has chat, can be exported as a document  of your choice, a slider shows revisions that have been  made, no account or sign up required. Here is a simple tutorial to help you understand how it works.

TubeChop - I checked it out yesterday after seeing it mentioned in a tweet, again, from HPTeachExchange.  It's just what it says, it chops videos in order to enable you to show  the part of the video you choose. If you're interested, watch this tutorial.

A number of Teacher Resource sites have also been brought to my attention. I don't think we can ever have too many places where we can get new ideas.  TeacherTime123, TeacherCast.net, and  USATodayEducation.
If you have "discovered" anything new, do us a favor and post the link. Thanks!