Field trips are a valuable educational tool. Students need to see curriculum they study in the classroom applied to real life situations. With tight budgets, and high transportation costs, most teachers are not able to take students on as many field trips as they would like to.
Connected Classrooms, otherwise know as Google Virtual Field Trips, is a fantastic way to bring culture and experience from around the world right to your classroom. Interact with virtual field trips in real time, or view them later at your convenience at no cost.
Participating in a virtual field trip in real time gives your students the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered on air by the experts! Field trip hosts often post valuable resources on the field trip page that can be used for extension activities either before or after the field trip.
Virtual field trip videos are posted after the live event ends so you can access them anytime! Field trips are available in the subject areas of Art & Music, Science & Nature, and Social Studies. Topics range from sea vomit to holidays at the White House. This tool is sure to bring any topic to life. Access Connected Classrooms via the web at http://connectedclassrooms.withgoogle.com/#.
Today I am spotlighting My Story-Book Maker for Kids. This fun and engaging iOS app allows students to create and share ebooks.
Students become authors as they add text, drawings, photos, and stickers to each page. Then, they can record their own voice on each page and share the story with friends, family and classmates via email, iBooks, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
My Story is very teacher friendly because you can add multiple authors to the app and sync across multiple iPads. You can have all of your classroom iPads sync to one teacher account via a free Bright Bot Classroom account. It is a perfect app for the classroom and well worth the $3.99 purchase price!
View the video below for a demonstration of how the app works.
An app I recently shared with the teachers at my schools is Write About This. It is a great writing app. You can use this app in whole group or small group lessons, or as an independent activity. Prompts include a picture and a written prompt. Use can use the preloaded prompts, or create your own. The app allows you to type your response to the prompt or vocally record a response.
The free version of this app provides you with 50 preloaded prompts and the ability to try the create your own feature. The paid version allows you full access to all features and costs $3.99. Your students are sure to love this app!
Watch this video for a demonstration of the features and ideas on how to use it in your classroom.
An app I recently became aware of and started using is SlideShark. This is a fantastic app if you are looking for a way to present from your iPad using a PowerPoint. This powerful app has lots of features including presenter view with notes, live slide annotation, broadcast and sharing capability, and a remote option.
Teachers at Butler Middle School just started using this app in conjunction with their iPads and AppleTV. Teachers create a free account online and upload their Powerpoint presentations, or save them in cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc). Then, you connect to your AppleTV and iPad via Airplay, and open the app. Your presentations appear in the app ready for use! The teachers at Butler love the mobility and flexibility the app offer.
This video walks you through how to use the app and how to upload your PowerPoint Presentations. Best of all...it's free! Check it out!
Last week Mrs. Clyde's 6th grade social studies class used Canvas to take an assessment. Mrs. Clyde is in our district Education Technology Endorsement program and needed to use Canvas to complete one of her assignments. Things went so smoothly and her students liked using Canvas so much, Mrs. Clyde has decided to continue to use it with her classes this year. It is great to see teachers and students embracing new technology and using it effectively improve instruction.
At our opening department retreat this year each of us was asked to present a 3 minute presentation on something we were passionate about. However odd this may seem, I chose to present on productivity, and more specifically, email.
Most of the world’s email traffic is work or business related. In 2012, the number of businesses emails sent and received per day total 89 billion. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 13% over the next four years, reaching over 143 billion by year-end 2016 (radicati.com).
No wonder I often feel like my email is out of control! One thing I have learned is while technology is wonderful, and can help us improve productivity, it can also be counter productive, if not used effectively. Email for example, can be far more efficient than snail mail.
One way I have found to help me increase productivity is Inbox Zero. Someone shared the idea with me of having an “Action” folder for items that require my attention, but will take more than a minute or two to address. If an email comes, and I can take care of it in less than two minutes, I do it right then. If it requires more focused attention I place it in my “Action” folder. I set aside time either after lunch, or the end of the day to address those messages. This has helped me be more organized and to respond in a timely matter. This strategy has helped me achieve Inbox Zero.
After my presentation to the department, some of my colleagues were inspired and have applied this same technique. Dustin Worm took the challenge and said, "Two words, productivity increase! While I am new to the idea of Inbox Zero, I have a small sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Not to mention I answer every email within 24 hours which makes my peers happy."
With the rapid growth in use of technology, and huge amounts of data we deal with every day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Give Inbox Zero a try...I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what a difference it makes!
Teachers attended a Chromebook training where they learned login procedures, available Google services, and classroom implications. We are thrilled to have this technology so readily available in our schools and can't wait to see what wonderful things happen in the classrooms!
When I talked to MJ about how she used the simulations with her class she said "We started with Gas Propertiesand looked at how pressure, temperature, volume, and even gravity, are related. We looked at Buoyancy – and I should say 'they' because they took over and I just helped them navigate – and also Bending Light. The students were asking questions like, 'I wonder what would happen if we made both mediums water?' and 'Can I have a turn?' and 'Can we try changing the material to wood?' It was so awesome to hear them conversing as they were, exploring and discovering."
These simulations create a great learning experience using the interactive whiteboard that involves the entire class.
Our Department recently purchased Camtasia 2. Camtasia is a dynamic screen recording software. Not only does it capture your screen, but it provides you with the option of recording yourself as part of the screen cast. It also allow you to add annotations, animations, and video, cursor and audio effects. You can save your screen casts in an editable form, and upload them to youtube, iTunes or screencast.com. This makes sharing your screencasts with others a snap.
This is a video I created using Camtasia.
Do you use Dropbox, iCloud or Google Drive? SkyDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage, and is a superior option to other cloud storage systems. SkyDrive offers 7GB of free storage with expanded space at a minimal cost. SkyDrive is the most versatile cloud storage available because it is cross platform compatible, allows live simultaneous multiple user editing, and version tracking. You can download it for Mac, PC and get their app for iOS, Android, and Windows phones. Sign up and download it today!