Thursday, December 8, 2011

Classroom Data Use - Blog Post Keeps It Simple

Using data to inform classroom practice is a priority for most schools and I am always looking for information to share with teachers that supports moving beyond the "snapshot" provided by high stakes assessments.  In this blog post, Rebecca Alber shares three simple ways teachers can collect and use data.  I hope this is a review or reminder for many of you reading this blog.  If not, Ms. Alber keeps it simple so I am excited about sharing her post.

"Data" is all around us in our classrooms.  I hope you enjoy these easy to implement techniques to expand your formative use of student data in your classroom.  Enjoy this post.

Here is another tip when reading blogs.  Always check the comments!  This post has some very insightful comments

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learning About Using Web Tools for Alternative Assessments

Over the past year, I have blogged about a number of Web 2.0 tools that teachers can use to to increase student engagement and support learning. I've shared tools with teachers and helped them integrate Web 2.0 tools into classroom lessons.  As teachers become comfortable with using the tools, the next step in the learning continuum is to use Web 2.0 tools for assessment for and of learning.  I encourage teachers to try an alternative means of assessing student learning and I know teachers like examples so I am sharing a blog post and a slideshow on alternative assessments.

In his blog Teaching Science and Math, David Wertzel wrote 5 Alternative Assessment Techniques in Science and Math  He keeps it simple and provides excellent suggestions for assessing with and without technology.  If you are a math or science teachers, consider following Wertzel's blog.  

Here is another example, a Slideshare presentation, Using the Web 2.0 for Alternative Assessment in ELT by Cecilia Lemos.

Using the web 20 for alternative assessment
View more presentations from cecilialcoelho

I believe technology can help teachers provide quality formative and summative assessments and it does not need to be burdensome.  Check out these ideas and try something new this month.  Keep it simple by beginning with a Web 2.0 tool you and your students are comfortable using.  Think about how you can "reframe" a traditional assessment using an online tool.

As always, if you have ideas for using technology for alternative assessments, please share your idea in a comment.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Google Docs Users - Self-Grading Flubaroo Rocks!

In my technology consulting, I've worked with a number of schools that are using Google Apps with students. I've written a number of posts about various features of Google and Google Apps but I haven't written anything about using Google Form in the Docs menu.  Google Docs Form allows teachers to create online surveys, quizzes or tests.

Here is an example of a quiz that I created using Google Docs Form.  You can take this 3 question quiz to get an idea of how you easy it is to with your students.  But, teachers who like using the "Form" often complain that grading the online quizzes is as time consuming as grading a paper/pencil quiz.  There are a number of ways to use Microsoft Excel formulas to grade your Google Form. However, it is somewhat complicated to do this if you aren't comfortable with Excel.  Last April, creating self grading quizzes/tests became much easier thanks to a Google employee, Dave Abouav.  Dave created an Apps Script for Google that calculates grades and he called it Flubaroo and it is FREE.

The teachers I have shared it with absolutely love using Flubaroo.  I think the easiest way to learn how to use Flubaroo is by watching the tutorial video.

There are a few steps to get to grading your quiz/test but once you learn the steps,  grading your quizzes and tests will be a breeze.  From the welcome site, you can read what other teachers are saying about Flubaroo and read the directions for using it on the "overview."

As you can see from this screen shot, the website keeps it simple for you.  I encourage teachers who use multiple choice quizzes and tests to check out Flubaroo and give it a try.  I hope you like this tool as much as I do. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Visual Searching with Spezify

 If you are looking for a new way to have your students search for information, check out Spezify.  This search tool keeps is simple and the results are presented in a non linear way with boxes that you can click on for more information. Spezify does not differentiate between types of media so your search will include images, blogs, webpages, tweets, video, etc.
You can modify your search preferences on the "tools" page and they include a safe search option.

This is a portion of results for "columbus day."  As you can see, there are a number of relevant choices for me to check out and others that are not relevant.  The visual presentation makes it easy to decide how you want to extend your learning.  This is a lesson that I believe all students need to learn. 

Another way to use this tool is to search for your name in Spezify to see your digital footprint.  I believe everyone should know what is out there about you.  This is another important skill for students and teachers and Spezify is a good visual search tool to help you do your search.

To help you use this keeping it simple tool, here is brief tutorial on Spezify.
I hope you enjoy learning a new search tool and as always, leave a comment if you use this tool with your students.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Learning Kerpoof with Videos

Last November, I blogged about the free multimedia tool Kerpoof. Click here to read my November 11, 2010 post.
 Over the past year, I have shared this resource with a number of teachers and worked with them to find ways to use Kerpoof with their students.  Kerpoof was developed by Disney and is appropriate for all grades.  Kerpoof still keeps it simple and recently, I discovered some some tutorial videos to explain how to use Kerpoof.  Not only do they explain the features of Kerpoof, they also present ways to use it to support instruction.
This 10-minute video is by Tori White. Tori is a teacher and her video provides simple to use examples at the elementary level.

Here is another tutorial from The Covili Channel.

As a consultant, I am frequently asked for follow-up support and videos are an easy way to provide that support.  You can check out YouTube and other video sites for videos of  Kerpoof and other sites you use with your students.  I hope you find these videos are worth a few minutes of your time.  Enjoy!

John Locker for Documentary Videos

If you are looking for a video clip to support a lesson, check out this free multimedia resource, John Locker.  This site keeps it simple and offers documentary videos on a number of topics.  You can search the video library by topic, highest rated, most viewed, featured, and recently published.  The site has content from a number of video sources.  I know some schools/districts block some video sites, so always check your video in advance to ensure that you will be able to view it.
Note - There are ads at the beginning of the videos, but you can simply close the ad and continue to the videos.
In addition, when you create a log in to John Locker, you can upload your own documentary videos.  This option supports my believe in the benefits of digital storytelling.

I hope you will find John Locker a good tool to expand and extend learning in your classroom. As always, leave a comment if you like this resource. Enjoy!
It is very easy to embed the video into your classroom website or blog.  The video page features a description of the video, the video url and the embed code.  This example is Brazil and it's Music.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blogging for All - Give It a Try!

As you begin the school year, I'm sharing an article on blogging that keeps it simple. Blogging is a great way to share information, encourage reading, writing and publishing, and support students to expand their digital footprint in a safe manner.  Check out Educational Blogging Platforms for Students by Johathan Wylie. 
This article shares some free blogging tools, some of which I use. I have written posts about some of the tools that Mr. Wylie discusses.  I've worked with teachers who preferred one blog site over another for various reasons.  You can click through five "kid friendly," safe options for developing a classroom blog.  They all have slightly different features but you can't go wrong choosing from Wylie's list.

Class blogs and teacher blogs are becoming increasingly popular.  This wiki Support Blogging provides an alphabetical list of links to hundreds of school related blogs.  In addition, you will find wonderful information about blogging and resources to use.

I hope readers will enjoy these resources and you will learn about simple blog tools to consider using.  Your blog doesn't have to be complicated or fancy.  Just get a conversation going with your students and see what happens. 


Monday, September 5, 2011

Intel Visual Ranking Tool

In my last post, I wrote about the Intel Engage website and the professional development that Intel offers for teachers.  In addition, Intel Engage has a number of free tools and resources for teachers. 
One of my favorite free tools that is available on the Intel Engage website is their Visual Ranking tool.  Intel provides examples for you to view, practice and use.  This tool can be used by a teacher with an LCD projector, with an interactive whiteboard, or on individual/group computers.  Teachers frequently make lists in lessons but, the use of a ranking tool taking a list and organizing ideas, prioritizing, debating similarities and differences,  and evaluating importance of list items, dates, events, etc.

The Visual Ranking interactive tool can be used by individuals or ranked by groups of students.  After students rank the choices, they can compare their list to those from other groups or individuals.  Additionally, the tool provides correlation data so math is included in the use of the visual ranking tool.  Here is a short video of Intel's Visual Ranking tool that keeps it simple.

Using this tool promotes higher level thinking and supports necessary discussion, debate, analysis, and comparisons that engage students in meaningful learning.  There is so many ways that teachers can use this tool.  I hope you will register on the Intel Engage website and check out this tool and see what it does, watch the video, and try the tool with your students.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Intel Free Video PD

If you own a computer,  Intel should be a familiar name.  But, if you are like me you may not know much about the philanthropic side of the corporation.  I learned more about Intel's commitment to education when I attended the ISTE 2011 conference in June.  I attended two wonderful workshops that Intel sponsored and I will be sharing some of the great free tools and training that Intel provides to teachers.  Click to hear Paul Otillini share Intel's commitment to education.
Intel's Teachers Engage community is a hub for discussions and resources that are available for teachers on the effective use of various technologies in K-12 classrooms.  You need to register for a free account with a user name and password.  Couldn't be simpler.
One exciting offering on the Intel Engage site is their series of free online courses that are available for teachers. Here are some of the elements of the Assessment in the 21st Century Classroom free course: a video introduction, course syllabus PDF, course introduction.  Intel keeps it simple and the courses are easy to navigate. 
There is much more to explore on the Intel Engage portal but start simple by exploring this free course that will teach you some new ideas for assessing your students.  Check it out and share it with your colleagues.  There are several other free courses including: data, collaboration, leadership, and project based learning.  Enjoy!  I hope you like this resource as much as I do.  Let me know what you think in a comment.

Monday, July 25, 2011

GoGo News - Online News for Kids 5-12

GoGo News is an age appropriate news website for elementary and early middle school children.  The site is easy to navigate, even for young children, with articles, pictures and video on topics from around the world. 
Today's headline, a live link to a brief article and YouTube clip, is on the winner of the Tour de France.  The site keeps it simple and can be a good tool for current events instruction.  The site is currently being expanded and  "GoGo Teach" is an interactive area that should be available in the fall.
The other part of the site I like is GoGo Words, an online dictionary.  It has pictures of the words that are defined and the words are used in a simple sentence.  The dictionary collection supports news topics. 

Lastly, there is a free app for GoGo News.  This offers another way to engage your students' interest in news and current events.  Share the app with parents who may have an "i" devise or if you are fortunate to have them in your class, add this free app.

 If you are looking for a safe web tool to use and share with younger students, give this learning tool look. There is enough content to keep kids interested.  I'm sure you will have students that love the jokes on the "fun" page. 
Why did the man run around his bed?  To catch up on his sleep!   Cute!

Big news for little people, a simple but effective tool for your instructional toolkit.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Learning with Hip Hop and Rap

Rap music is somewhat of a polarizing topic in schools.  You either love it or despise it!  Today, I'm sharing two resources teachers can use to teach current events and other topics with free resources from Flowcabulary and The Week in Rap.

Flowcabulary sponsors The Week in Rap, a site that produces weekly summaries of world news in a rap song/video.  In addition, you can search news topics and watch rap videos via Vimeo so they should not be blocked in your school.  Here is one 2-minute example from 2010.

Week In Rap 2.19.10 from Flocabulary on Vimeo.

Teachers are always looking for ways to integrate current events into the curriculum and The Week in Rap is another resource for you to consider.  The site keeps it simple and only does one thing, but does it well.  The staff at Flocabulary are the producers of the videos.

Check out the free resources on Flowcabulary.  This is a commercial website but they do have the free resources for teachers that are quite good.  If you are looking for another way to engage your students using music and video, these sites are worth a look if you teach middle school or high school.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TeachHUB Video Writing Prompts is a free teacher resource website that offers a number of important features.   You will find tabs for lessons & teaching tools, education news, blogs, and more.  By signing up for a free membership, you can receive a monthly newsletter and become part of their learning network by sharing your lessons, stories and photographs. 

One of the resources I want to share is the video writing prompt.  The current resource features a clip of the recent U.S. Women's World Cup Soccer final and writing prompts for K-2 through high school levels.  You can also search through previous writing prompts.   The combination of a video clip and focused questions may be a resource that sparks creativity and engages your students.  It doesn't get much simpler than this to find interesting writing prompts for your students that are designed for specific age levels.

 Featured video writing prompt - U.S. Women's World Cup Soccer

 There are so many other tools, information and resources you can check out in TeachHUB.  Start with the video writing prompts and search the site.  If you are looking for ways to learn and share, this site keeps it simple while providing a robust set of resources. 

If you use a video writing prompt or one of the other lessons, leave a comment and share your thoughts. 

I hope you enjoy this web resource!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Edit Your Pictures with Aviary - A Simple to Use Tool

There are lots of picture editing tools that teachers can use with students.  Aviary is an excellent one that has a clean interface and is simple to use.  Here is  a picture I uploaded, edited and framed with one click. 
You upload a picture, click on various editing tools and save. How many times do you students take pictures that need to be cropped or brightened?  Aviary is an answer! 

 In addition, teachers can join the education version of Aviary - Here teachers can create private student accounts, use a variety of editors for images, music, and sounds, and manage projects in Aviary Education, in a safe, controlled environment.  You will need to request a free login to Aviary Education. Here is a screen shot of the education version request. 

Give Aviary a try.  I think it is a good tool for your classroom multimedia projects or for editing your personal pictures.  If you already use Aviary, write a comment about your experience with this web tool. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Learning Idea - Do You Share Mobile Learning Apps?

In my technology integration work with teachers, I have begun suggesting that teachers explore "free apps" for smart phones and the various mobile devices.  Although some teachers/schools may be  not own or use such devices, many parents own devices that their students can use as a powerful learning tool.  I think teachers should have a basic knowledge of what learning apps are available and make recommendations to parents, much like they do in other academic areas such as summer book lists.  We should not miss an opportunity to extend learning now and during the school year by making students and parents aware of the multitude of free learning apps that are available for downloading. 

I read this article and had to smile because the author said something that I have shared with teachers - Angry Birds is not a learning app!  In this article, Top Free Educational and Fun Apps for iPhones and IPads for Kids,  Christina Landers shares her picks for learning apps.  No Angry Birds and she keeps it simple for novice learners.

Whether you have access to a mobile learning device or smart phone, check out these titles and increase your understanding of mobile learning. Although Ms. Landers shares early learning apps in her article, there are so many free apps that can enhance learning for students of all ages.  If you search for a title, you will find a description and screen shots of the app.  Here is the description for the Counting Coins app that is pictured here.

I will continue to share mobile learning ideas and tools.  We need to take advantage of FREE tools both mobile and otherwise.  Awareness of quality free learning games will help students move beyond the Angry Birds.  If you already share mobile learning apps with students and parents, post your ideas in a comment.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Citizenship and Online Resources - PBS Rocks!

US Citizenship Activity Pack

Yesterday, July 4th, the USA celebrated the 235th anniversary of its independence with parades, ceremonies, picnics, and fireworks.  One of the ceremonies that impressed me was a recognition ceremony honoring America's newest citizens, people from all over the world who gained US citizenship. 

Today, as I reviewed new PBS resources, I discovered their excellent collection of citizenship resources from the founding fathers to 21st century civic engagement and activities for students of all ages.  The activity tab also includes the link to the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) website.  

Teachers and students can easily learn what it takes to pass the naturalization test and the components for becoming a US citizen.  Here is the link to the online Naturalization Self Test.  You can test your knowledge of American history and government. 

These are the components of the test.

PBS keeps it simple for teachers to use their resources.  You can copy their activity packs to almost 2 dozen web tools and they provide the embed code.  If you haven't explored the multitude of resources on the PBS website, I encourage you to check them out.  Start with the citizenship resources. 

Lastly, it you know a new US citizen, take a minute to congratulate them on their accomplishment.

Leave a comment, if you use or have a way to use these resources. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Audiobooks with Lit2Go

Lit2Go is a growing audiobook website that is an online service from Florida's Educational Technology Clearinghouse.  With Lit2Go you can download files to an mp3 player, listen to a book or poem on your computer, print a story, and view text on their webpage.  If you have iTunes available, you can also download selections to your iTunes library.
What keeps it simple for busy teachers?  You can browse by author, title, subject, and by reading level/grade level.  

The FETC people at the University of Southern Florida state that they are adding to the site on a regular basis so it is the type of site that you will want to bookmark and return to regularly. 

Many kids have an mp3 devise or phones that support mp3 files to this is a site that teachers should share with students and parents.  It's free and another way for students to access, listen and read literature and poetry.  The search interface and options are clean and easy to understand.  Lit2Go could also be used to teach research skills, something that all students need to develop. 

I'm a fan of searching by reading level.  I think it saves time and allows teachers to explore new literature that is appropriate for their age/grade level and to make reading recommendations that will ensure student success. 

Here are the "C" books and poems  that are currently available. 

Check out the features and content on Lit2Go and see if it is a resource that will work for you.

Monday, June 27, 2011

ISTE 2011 Kick-Off Video Unlocking Potential

Here is a music video, "Say Hey (I Love School)" that was shared at yesterday's ISTE 2001 Conference opening ceremony.
The message was that teachers hold the key and can unlock the "key" to student potential. It features Temple University's Broad Street Line and a 4th grade class from Alliance for Progress Charter School.

Use it to inspire yourself, your class or colleagues. Share the wonderful efforts of these talented students and singers.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about unlocking student potential. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Having Fun in Philly - ISTE Conference 2011

I just got to Philadelphia, PA to attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference.  About 12,000 educators and technologists will join together for four days to learn, network, listen, watch, try, and see the latest ways to integrate and use technology in Education. 

ISTE has held conferences since 1979.  The conference has grown as fast as technology has and last year's conference in Denver included 356 concurrent sessions and 604 additional presentations, all in 4 days!  Choices!  Choices!  This year there are even more sessions and amazing speakers.  If you ever have the chance to attend this conference, do!  I highly recommend it as an amazing learning opportunity.

The theme this year is "Unlocking Potential."  I am looking forward to my time at ISTE 2011 and  I promise to blog about new ideas, tools and tips so I can help you unlock your potential to use technology to enhance your lessons and for your own productivity. 

I the mean time, I am including links to the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for teachers, administrators and students.

I will be tweeting during the conference.  You can follow me on Twitter at: @sheilatebbano

Check out the NETs and see how much you are already doing to support these standards.  They offer a solid foundation for technology use and integration efforts.  Stay tuned for more "keeping it simple" posts after the conference!


Friday, June 24, 2011

School Wax TV - Save to View and Upload

School Wax TV is a simple to use video website that provides screened videos for K-12 students and teachers.  In addition, you and your students can upload a video to the site. School Wax TV has search tabs for elementary, middle school, high school, educators, and student projects.  Within each level, they have videos for English, math, science, social studies, world language, and more.  There is also a search tool if you or your students are looking for a video on a particular topic.
Here is an example of a School Wax TV video.  Check out the grade level topics.  You will find everything from math tutorials to author book talks and NASA science demonstrations.

I've blogged about digital media resources and tools and I think School Wax TV supports student storytelling. Since it is becoming so easy to create videos in schools, consider submitting a creative video project to School Wax TV for publication so your have a wonderful digital artifact of your project.
The site provides FAQ's to make video uploading simple.

Check out School Wax TV and see if it is a tool you can use to either view safe, reliable learning videos or consider uploading a video you have created. Enjoy what they have to offer and consider sharing your thoughts in a comment.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Teachers Hold the Keys - Put the "I" in Interactive Whiteboard

Education Week published this article by journalist Mary Catherine O'Connor, Teachers Hold the Real Keys to Whiteboard Effectiveness.  I am sharing the article because it offers three examples of how teachers are effectively using their interactive whiteboard (IWB) at various levels of instruction.  Teachers are always asked to provide a "model" to support their learning target in a lesson.  This article provides models for effectively using an IWB for teachers and the author keeps it simple.

                   reinforcing lessons                      animating learning            assessing archives

It isn't so much about the board, it's what the teacher does with the board.  The article quotes Patrick Ledesma, the current teacher-ambassador fellow for the U.S. Department of Education.  "Once interactive whiteboards have been installed, teachers will do what they’ve always done, unless there is training or support to do things differently,” he said.

Training on a new tool like an IWB is more than just learning how to change the color of the pen or access images to support a lesson.  In my opinion, it must focus on the "I" in IWB, which for some teachers is a radical departure from current practice.  Getting teachers comfortable with the "I" has been a focus of all my IWB training and I am pleased when administrators notice a difference in instruction after teachers participate in training and coaching.  Recently, I received this feedback from Assistant Principal.
                It is my belief that your work with some of my “freshmen” teachers really 
                made the difference in turning a lack luster lesson into a lesson that was 
                interesting, as well as, motivating for their students.  Having the added feature 
                of Smart technology and watching as students interacted with technology 
                to learn and create led to satisfactory lessons...
                In addition, one thing I also noticed was the level of confidence the teachers 
                had in delivering their lessons.  

As a technology consultant, providing teachers with the confidence to develop an interactive lesson is the end goal of training.  These teachers changed the way they instructed by adding the "I" factor.  Teachers are they key to effective use of the IWB but I want to mention the importance of administrator support for the teacher training.  I'm taking this opportunity to recognize the forwarding thinking administrators who have supported teachers in their quest to engage students with active learning via the interactive white board.  Without their commitment and support, training would not have taken place. 
  • Paul, Ling Ling, Maribelle, Grace, Rosarie, Tom, Yvonne, and Avon 
 I hope you enjoy the article examples and my thoughts on using an IWB.  If you have the good fortune to use an interactive whiteboard, look for ways you can put the "I" in IWB.  There are many more examples out there.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Learning Games for All Ages - Sheppard Software


Sheppard Software's philosophy is to make learning fun.  The collection of free online interactive games has something for Pre-K through college and adults. The games have visual effects to make learning engaging and different levels to challenge players to continue playing and learning.   Sheppard Software games can be used with an interactive whiteboard.  They keep it simple with a list view and icon view of the learning games.  The games to what they say and provide feedback and positive reinforcement.  Check out Comma Chameleon, a punctuation practice game.

Middle and high school teachers, the games for older students are excellent and kids will love to challenge themselves by playing the games for adults.  The brain games support current research for learners of all ages.  Check out the puzzles, brain teasers, memory games, and more.

I hope you enjoy this robust site as much as I do.  There is definitely something for everyone here.  Keep learning going over the summer and share this site with  your students and parents and add it to your tech learning toolkit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Use Visual Media - Tech & Learning Article

Using digital media in the classroom does not need to be complicated.  This list of 10 Innovative Ways to Use Visual Media by Ellen Ullman keeps it simple while providing ways you can integrate digital media/storytelling into your classroom.

Tech & Learning online professional learning website that is an excellent source of information, lessons, best practices, a magazine, and much more.  You can subscribe and/or have content sent to you via RSS
Tech & Learning is a great way to expand your tech knowledge.

I hope you enjoy these 10 ways to use visual media.  I have blogged about some of these tools already.  So, get out the digital camera, have students take pictures or video, and let their creativity shine with some of these ideas. 

As always, share your comments or thoughts in a comment. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

How To's and Tutorials with Tildee

Tildee is a simple to use web 2.0 tool that allows you to create tutorials and how to's.  You can create without registering.  After you create the tutorial, you add a email address and it is sent to you.  Registration allows you to save your tutorials and modify them as necessary. 
Tildee give you a web link to your tutorial and you can share it as you like.  You give your tutorial a name, add steps and include images, video or Google maps with a few clicks.  Here is my example tutorial on how to create an account on Tildee.  I included a few screen captures in the steps and left some as text only.
This is the link to the tutorial and below is the image of it.

I think this tool offers teachers another keeping it simple tool to add to their instructional tool belt.  It can be used across the curriculum. Tildee could be used to demonstrate knowledge of directions, sequencing, progressions, problem solving, logic, and story-boarding.  The possibilities of sharing something are endless.   I think the uncomplicated interface will appeal to students. "How To" assignments are popular in many schools.  This tool is perfect for that and I can see teachers sharing so many things in this format.

Do remember, Tildee a Web 2.0 tool so teachers need to follow the school's acceptable use policy regarding this and other tools. 

Check it out and see what you think!  I'd love to hear back in a comment.