Thursday, May 19, 2011

Video - The Science of Learning

I am working with some high school teachers who work with challenging, at-risk students. We are working on developing active learning and I came across this video on Edutopia.

Neurologist turned teacher, Judy Willis, shares her philosophy on the science of learning in 2-3 minute video segments that discuss boredom, curiosity, focusing attention, the relationship of video games to classroom instruction, and 21st century learning. She keeps it simple in her explanations and classroom suggestions.  She offers practical examples of how you can use brain research to improve your instruction. 

Check out her video and leave a comment and let me know what you think the video.  Do you use videos like this as part of your professional learning? 

Edutopia has a number of video resources for teachers and you can search by topic and grade level.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Google Site - Picture Pizazz

I work with a number of teachers who have classroom websites using Google Sites and this week I did a presentation on Adding Pizazz to a Google Site.  One of the keeping it simple  examples I offered was to add a picture collection.  Adding pictures to Google Sites and Blogger is easy and I usually insert a number of pictures to my blog posts.  However, when you want a collection of images, formating can become unwieldy so here is my tip.

Create your page, insert a table on the page, add an image to each cell on the table.  Your images will be aligned and have a neat look on your page.

In my example, I created a 3 x 3 table and the pictures resize to fit the chart.  Then, you can click on individual pictures and enlarge them.   If you like to share pictures of events or examples of student work, try this tip to organize the images.

I hope you find my simple tip useful if you have a Google Site.  If you don't have one, try creating one.  It's free and easy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

TIme Toast - Create Interactive Timelines  is an easy to use time-line creator that could be your new instructional best friend.  With TimeToast you can create your timeline with a few clicks and view it in text or timeline view.  TimeToast also allows you to add a picture to each event you create in a timeline.  The ability to change views with one click reminds me of the software program, "Inspiration."  The ability to change views supports my keeping it simple philosophy and also promotes classroom differentiation.  Preparing a timeline can help students organize their thoughts.  Creating or filling in timelines promotes scaffolding and research skills. 
              Text View                                                                         Timeline View

With a free log in, you can save all the timelines you create.  After they are completed, timelines can be published on the TimeToast site or kept private, something for teachers to consider.  The ability to save timelines makes this tool valuable for the classroom.  Please follow your school's acceptable use policy when using Web 2.0 tools. 
In addition to creating, you can search and view published timelines by categories.  Give TimeToast a look for your next research project or help your students organize themselves with a timeline. 
I would love to hear how you would use this tool.  Leave a comment with your idea!