Friday, December 21, 2012

Bridging the New Digital Divide

In this recent feature article (Dec. 2012), "Bridging the New Digital Divide," from District Administration Magazine, we hear advice for school superintendents to take the lead in integrating technology into the schools. Some key points addressed include:

  • Teach students with the tools they are already use
  • Students in the most poverty-stricken schools need even more so to be introduced to the technology early on to level the playing field
  • Teachers need more guidance in the successful use of technology tools
  • Principals as well need to take on leadership roles in pushing for technology integration
  • The digital divide separates the world of education from the world of business, with the world of education behind the times
One image in the article speaks to the very last bullet point:

Read the article in full. What is your response to the assertions found in the article? With which to you agree? Which do you believe need further analysis? Where do school systems with which you are familiar fall in terms of the "new digital divide"?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sharing Richard Byrnes' Presentation: 50 of the Best Educational Websites and Apps

Byrnes gave a presentation today at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference in New Hamphsire and included in his talk this slide presentation, Best of the Web. Given the popularity of Byrnes'  blog, Free Technology for Teachers, and his status as a sought-after presenter at technology conferences, I thought I would share his slides with you. Let me know what you think after you go through the presentation.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Are You Looking to Get Students to Read More? Check Out Destiny Quest

Disney Quest is a way for students to share ideas about reading books, to tell about the books tthey are reading, and to find out about other books of interest to them recommended by their peers. Check out the Disney Quest website to learn more about how the process learns.


I learned about Disney Quest in this blog post that Bill Ferriter wrote: Why Kids Need Goodreads. Bill was once Teacher of the Year in his state, and his opinions are highly vallued. You might want to follow him on Twitter (@plugusin) or browse through his blog after you read his post WWhy Kids Need Goodreads.

Do you agree that students need to be reading more? Do you believe a site like Disney Quest would work? Would you recommend this site to a school librarian or to a teacher? Would you use it? By the way, do you use any book sharing sites like GoodReads?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Web 2.0 Tools

Amy Mayer, known for her FriEdTechnology blog, created this thorough Prezi about a variety of Web 2.0 tools. Just watching this Prezi is sure to pique your interest. You might never use all these tools, but you are likely to find at least one or two that spark your interest. This is also an excellent illustration of the use of Prezi. Enjoy, and leave a comment. If you aren't already following Amy on Twitter, you might: @friEDTechnology. 


Friday, November 9, 2012

For When Yolu Get Your iPad: iPad Apps for the Elementary School

Elementary school teacher, Tracy Mercer,


just created a blog post:

11 Best Elementary Apps

Take a look at her listing, and even though you might not have an iPad class now, you might in the future, or might want to start advocating for one now. Look through her list, and post which of the apps you think are most applicable to the classroom setting and why.

Monday, November 5, 2012

2012 Best Learning Tools

Each year, Edudemic publishes a list of the best learning tools as voted upon by learning professionals. Here is the list displayed in slide format. Go through the slides, and let us know which of these tools you are using and which you will consider using. Did you find any surprises on the list?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

PowerPoint Game Templates from University of North Carolina

UNC School of Education offers a variety of Free PowerPoint Templates and Games. Take a look, and see if you can find a template or game to use. Once you download a PowerPoint game template, you merely need to edit it to fit a specific unit of study in your curriculum. Let us kow what you find that you think you will use.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Free Photo Sharing Site

Check out this new free photo sharing site: Ookaboo. It is being promoted for use with students and has lots of photos that you can use for websites, presentations, and other instructional and learning needs. The site appears easy to use, and photos are covered under the Creative Commons License for free use. In trying out the site, I typed in "Connecticut," and got some photos as well as numerous other options to search deeper to find additional photos by topic, interest, town, etc.


The site is relatively new, so once you look into it, be sure to come back and post your response to its usefulness in the educational setting.

ookaboo: free pictures of everything on earth

Monday, October 29, 2012

The 1:1 Dilemma

In this post, The Nerdy Teacher, aka Nicholas Provenzano (on Twitter as @TheNerdyTeacher), addresses the potential of the 1:1 classroom in which all students have laptops or tablets.

Although this reality is rare in many school districts, a good number of educators predict its future. For more information on the issue, read Nicholas's recent post, The 1:1 Dilemma, and leave a comment here regarding your impressions of the future of the 1:1 classroom. What do you see as the pros and cons? Do you think this kind of classroom will be a widespread reality in the near future?

image:, licensed for re-use

Sunday, October 28, 2012

9 Storytelling Tools That Will Make You Wish You Were a Student

I have to agree, but I would also have to wish that my teachers encouraged their use. Most of the ones on the list are ones I have used. But now, to be a student again, K-12, and get to use them for school projects. Check the list. Which are you using? Which would you consider using?  Here is the link to the post 9 Creative StoryTelling Tools That Make You Wish You Were a Student Again.


Note Storybird, one of the tools listed, will be revamping in November, so if you are interested in this one, check back then to see more of the art-inspired images that will be available. Here's a quick snapshot.


Wow, Look at These Videos 2nd Graders Produced to Review Geography

Check this blog post, Aloha! Genius Hour 2, to see what second graders can accomplish given the right curriculum, an inspiring teacher (Danielle Porte), and the appropriate tech tools. Imagine how exciting it must have been for these students to create the videos and learn this way. Also, note how the teacher is using a colorful, attractive blog to post about what students are learning in the classroom. This is a powerful way for teachers to communicate with parents about what students are learning. What's your take on using blogging this way? What do you think of the students' videos. Listen to a few. Are you gaining inspiration to do something similar in your teaching?


Mentoring for New Teachers

Lisa Dabbs, known as @teachingwithsoul on Twitter, and the organizer of the New Teacher chat, #ntchat, created this presentation for an International Society for Technology conference. There's lots of information in the presentation about collaboration and how mentoring and use of social media help new teachers. The information is also relevant for experienced teacher. Check the presentation, and let us know which resources and methods you use, which you would consider tapping into, and what new people on Twitter you found to follow. Lisa also includes information about joining professional Nings, another great way to connect with educators.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sites for Students

Emily Graves's web page for students has links to excellent sites for students to access. Sites are grouped by area, for instance reading, writing, math, social studies, and science. While you're on the page, you'll also find links to access resources for teachers and so much more. This is an excellent model of how one teacher keeps her students informed, engaged, and tech savvy.


What are your thoughts about Ms. Graves Online Classroom Site

Friday, October 26, 2012

Twitter Tips For Teachers


Still looking for some tips to make Twitter more authentic for yourself and part of your regular professional development. This post, 

100 Twitter Tips For Teachers

, has far more than you need for now, but scan through it to see what is of value to you. What tips did you find more valuable?

Book Trailers on Library Websites

The Fanatic Librarian, a school librarian, aka Sherry Gick, posts book trailers on her blog. Take a look at her post, BookFlix Friday. View the trailers--they're lots of fun.


Have you seen other school library sites with book trailers? Do you think such trailers motivate students to check out the books and read them?

It Takes a Teen to Convince Teachers to Use Twitter

At a recent professional conference, Advancing Improvement in Education, in Austin, Texas, a 15-year-old, Adore Svitak, convinced educators to sign up and start using Twitter. With 3,000 in attendance, she accomplished a significant feat.


Read about the story from this blog post on Mashable: TeenTakes Educators to Twitter.

If one teen alone can convince that many educators to start use Twitter, where do you see this movement heading? Have you seen an uptake in the number of educators using Twitter? Why should teachers, principals, and school administrators use Twitter?

Learn more about the teen, Adora Svitak, from this Mashable bio. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Who Is Using Squidoo?

Squidoo is another resource for finding timely information for teaching. For instance, this week, the features Halloween ideas.

Check the site and the categories. Let us know what you think of Squidoo as a teaching resource.

Blogging to Keep Students Informed


Check how this 3rd grade teacher, Suzy Brooks, from Falmouth, Massachusetts, uses her blog, Third Grade Dreaming Big, to keep students informed and spread the word about what is happening in the classroom. She also places links in the sidebar for her students to find additional resources. What teaching ideas and strategies do you glean from the blog? 

Halloween Resources

Looking for some last-minute resources of high quality to integrate into your teaching next week as Halloween approaches, check these from the New York Times, Learing Network: Halloween. While you're at the Learning Network page, also check other resources provided through the service for future reference.

Take a minute to write a reply to let us know what you found of value.

Planning for the iPad

Even if you don't have an iPad, you might want to look into these apps for ideas in the event you eventually own one or your school is using or will be using iPads.


Taylor Swift Speaks with Students and Reading and Writing

What motivation to get students thinking about reading, writing, discusssing, and reflecting!


This recent webinar that Taylor conducted with students discussing school, books, and writing is wonderful motivation. She discusses her love of reading, her favorite books, and her writing of the soundtrack for The Hunger Games. There is much in this webinar to share with students. Although it's about 30 minutes, you could just show clips from it if time is limited, but if you could share the full webinar with students, consider ways to make the experience interactive and reflective for students.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blogging Assignment Engages Students



On this KidBlog post, the teacher, Mrs. Petersen sets up a perfect learning opportunity for her students to write blog post replies based not only on a piece of literature, The Outsiders, but also for them to write thoughtful reples. Take a look at how she has organized the assignment, introducing blogging as another medium for students to expresss themselves. There are lots of innovative teaching and learning opportunities here. Be sure to check the comments the students wrote, and if you have read The Outsiders in your own schooling, you'll also enjoy the two embedded videos. But most of all, note how the students are responding in their blog posts. How is education shifting if this kind of activity is happening in the classroom? Would you be willing to try blogging with your students? Would you consider structuring a similar assignment for your students, per the grade level or subject area?
Need to Breathe Song – The Outsider

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Second Graders Travel Around the World with Their New Nexus Tablets

Not surprisingly, Paris was one location students wanted to visit,


Once they received their assigned Nexus tablets, the first site these 2nd graders wanted to use was Google Earth. Take a tour around this classroom to see how the teachers set up the distribution of the tablets and what students' reactions were on the first day of use.


Then try to imagine the geography lesssons students learned throug this inquiry method. Please leave a comment. 

To learn more about the class and its introduction to the tablets, check this post: Nexus 7 Tablets Given a Test Drive by Second Graders.

Teaching in the Age of Siri

Siri on the iPhone and similar kinds of technology allow anyone to ask a question and get a spoken and visual response. If this technology keeps evolving and students can get the answers to questions posed to them by teachers or found on assignment sheets or quizzes, what does this capability mean for teaching and learning?

Today, I read a post, Teaching in the Age of Siri that really caught my attention. The example offered is of Siri answering complex math questions. Yes, the technology can do this. Take a look at the post for yourself. Here is a quick display of a smartphone answer to a math question, but the principle applies to any discipline and to any age group of learners. This example just happened to be posted by a math teacher.



Please come back and post your responses about what this kind of technology means for the future of education?

Monday, October 22, 2012

More on the iPad

Some earlier posts questioned the use of iPads in the classroom. To counterbalance the argument, I offer this SlideShare, featuring some highly productive ways to use the iPad. Which of the uses/apps would you consider implementing, assuming you had a class set or a few iPads for classroom use?Why did you make these selections?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Looking for a Quotation to Spice Up Your Teaching

Take a look at the Quotes and Famous Saying at the Quotation Page, which organizes quotations by subject and author.



Let us know what you think of the organization of the site and if this is a site you would use. If you find a quotation, you like, let us know what it is and why it speaks to you? What specific sources do you use to find quotations to add spark to your teaching?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Twitter Now One of Top Social Media Used in Classroom

Check the infographics found on 

The 6 Hottest Teaching Trends (And How Teachers Are Adopting Them)

to see the trends of social media use in schools. In addition to Twitter, other popular social media platforms include Pinterest and Facebook, but most surprising of all is Google+, which tops the list. Here is the infographic illustration,


but also check the other Infographis on the 

The 6 Hottest Teaching Trends

Any surprises here? Which of these social media would you consider adopting in your teaching? Are any of the results displayed in varied infographics on the Eudemics posting of the 6 trends a surprise to you?

You're Never Too Young to Blog

Here's a kindergartener's blog, Lucy Learns, created with blogger. Note the embedded videos. Way to go Lucy!


Looks to be another teacher in the making. What do you think?


Friday, October 19, 2012

Understanding and Using Hashtags on Twitter

Once you know the kind of information you want to search for on Twitter, merely use the search box and type in a word or term.

But for finding people or organizations of interest to you, it is helpful to know of specific hashtags. The following post with an infographic has a list of hastags and what each represents.

Trends | Infographic: Hashtags in Education

The neat thing about the infographic is that you can also see which educational hashtag groups are considered the most popular and find new ones to check.

Let us know which hashtag groups you already use and which you might consider using in the future. Also. remember when you're tweeting to use hashtags to spread your tweet to a wider audience, increasing the likelihood of getting replies and carrying on a conversation.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Animoto Created for Final Class Meeting (Educational Research)

In celebration of completing the course Educational Research, EDUC 515, at University of Saint Joseph College, I made this video to visually represent each student's research proposal topic. During our last class, when students will present their proposals, we will take a few minutes to view the video. We will also have cake and a grand celebration. This course requires rigor, commitment, sustained research and writing, and lots of revision and editing. Cheers and congratulations--we accomplished it all 8 weeks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ooVoo Worked Better Than Skype

Today, I did a four-way video chat, with three elementary school classes, and I was the 4th. It worked perfectly. I could clearly see the classes, and we all heard each other with no problems. I am including a picture of the computer screen so you can see that four screens were on at once. There is also a shot showing the teachers who logged in for the chat.



I liked the ease with which all locations could be shown on all of our computer screens. The students were really excited. The classes involved in the project, and there will be more than three, will be writing a collective Halloween story using their blogs. They will then celebrate in a final Halloween ooVoo chat. What a great way for students to connect in different locations. At least two of the schools are in Connecticut, and two are in Canada, in language immersion schools, where they learn in both English and French.

Would you ever be willing to do a multiple site video chat with other classes in your teaching? What benefits do you think students can gain?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Easy Tool to Use to Edit Images: PicMonkey

Take an image or photo you have and upload it to PicMonkey. The best way to see what this site lets you do is to work with the tools. You'll find tools for cropping pictures, changing the color tones and textures, and other special effects. Once you finish your editing, you can add a text box. Your finished picture can be saved or screen captured to import into a social media site (e.g., Facebook) or inserted into your website or blog. You can also email the picture to someone. In the first photo, I just changed the color tone. The next two illustrate how I changed the original photo I took at the San Fran market to another color tone. The final two photos I doctored considerably to show some of the various effects.

If I had more time, I would add photos showing how the site allows for correcting blemishes and erasing facial wrinkles. Although some features on the site are for a fee, many are free. Photo editing sites like Photo Shop can get costly, and some of the same editing can be done with PicMonkey for free. Plus, PicMonkey is easy to use and intuitive in nature. Try it out, if you haven't. If you used it, let us know what you think. If you're using it for the first time, come back and post a comment to give your reaction.





Saturday, October 13, 2012

Project Based Learning: Distinguishing Characteristics


Let's not confuse assigning a project with project-based learning. This post, 12 Ways to Know If You're In a Project-Based Learning Environment addresses the issue. Read through it, and see if you agree with the 12 premises. Where does your teaching style fall in terms of project-based learning?


So How Are Students Using Weebly to Create Websites

I found some examples of high school students' website ePortfolios created with Weebly. For now, I am posting a link to find the examples from the 2011-2012 school year, as that will give you ideas of completed website ePortfolios. This link will direct you to a Wiki page maintained by Vicki Davis. On that page, you will find students' names. Click on their links to access the website ePortfolios. Then please take some time to return to this blog post to let us know what you discovered about how the students are using ePortfolios.

ePortfolios from Westwood High School Students

Here's a screen capture photo of one student's homepage:



Managing Classroom Behavior


I've been hearing a lot recently about a technology tool DoJo for managing student behavior. I was wondering what others thought of the concept. Here is a link to an article to read about DoJo and a direct link to the website for Dojo. Check out what DoJo is, and let us know what you think.

Checking Out DoJo

DoJo: Behavior Management Software

Image credit:

Mrs. Davidson's Kindergarten Blog and Smilebox

Learn about how one kindergarten teacher, Sharon Davidson from Vermont, uses her blog to showcase what her students are doing. Her classroom blog is at Mrs. Davidson's Kindergarten.

Mrs. Davidson  also uses Smilebox to create slideshows and movies of what students are learning. While at her blog site, play some of the embedded Smilebox shows to see the value of this tool for showcasing student learning. There is a ton of resources to explore on her blog, so spend some time on it. Then share what you find and like. Follow Sharon Davidson on Twitter @kkidsinvt

 for frequent updates, and consider bookmarking her Mrs. Davidson Kindergarten blog to catch new posts.

To learn more about Mrs. Davidson, also check this interview: KidBlog in Action! Classroom Q and A with Kindergarten Teacher Sharon Davidson.

Some Tools to Check Out

While browsing around today, I came across an educator's website, Mrs. Mac 2.0, and found on one of the web pages her recommendations of six basic tools for students to use.

Student Tools--check this page on the website to access hyperlinks to each of the 6 recommended sites for student use. 


These student tools are likely ones you know about, but just the same, see if there are any that are new to you. 

I have used all these tools but Domo Animate. Which of the tools have you used? Which would you check out?

Mrs. Mac 2.0 created her website with Wix. As you browse around Mrs. Mac. 2.0 Wix's website, let us know what you think about creating a website with Wix, compared for instance to Weebly or Google Site. Here is a direct link to Mrs. Mac 2.0 website Homepage.


50 Creative Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

I tweeted out a link to this resource, 50 Creative Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom, but wanted to ensure all the ideas were reviewed. Review the many ideas, and consider how you might successfully implement Skype in your own classrooms. There is plenty to mull over in the list, so you're sure to find something. 



Killing Two Birds with One Stone: SlideRocket and Evernote

To see one potential use of SldeRocket and to learn about Evernote, check this Slide Rocket presentation about Evernote. Let us know what you think of each tool. The presentation is Evernote: Remember Everything.


Is the iPad Worth It? Is it the Wave of the Future

Check out this video. With all this hype about iPads in the classroom, we need to hear and discuss multiple viewpoints. After you watch the video, post your responses. Do you agree with the points that Matthew Gudenius projects in his video, Just Say No to the iPad?

The Teaching Channel: What a Resource!

The Teaching Channel is an excellent place to find videos for your professiolnal development and for powerful lesson plan ideas. The site is organized by subject areas, grades, and topics.


I just watched a fantastic video on the siteMovies Made Easy with Technology, which highlights the ease with which young children are making movies in their school's computer lab.  


I can almost promise you if you check this site and search around, you will find phenomenal teaching ideas. Spend some time on the site, and let us know what you find. 

Top Ten Web Tools

Top Ten Web Tools listed on this post are ones to check into. While on the site, Ed Tech Toolbox, browse around further to learn of other web tools. Let us know what you find of interest to you in your teaching or that you might recommend to others.