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Friday, 26 June 2015

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE ICT TOOLS

A Discussion Board with Multiple Forms of Submissions

By John Hardison

http://gettingsmart.com/2014/09/gold-mine-edtech-resources-part-ii/

VoiceThread– Another must-have tech tool for all educators and another one of my favorites. Liven up your discussion by increasing your audience with this tech tool that allows its participants to post comments via phone, text, audio, or video. Organized neatly in a square that shows each “thread” of the conversation exactly when and how it was submitted, VoiceThread can totally change how students submit feedback and, since there is a smartphone app, complete their homework. Give it a try.


Screen captures
By Enrique González  VoiceThread account

MAKE YOUR OWN AVATAR

THE SUPER HERO "ARGENTUM"
http://marvel.com/games/play/31/create_your_own_superhero

A Gold Mine of #EdTech Resources: Part II




In continuation of Part I of “A Gold Mine of #EdTech Resources,” please find below the accumulated list for Part II. As always, I have given you my best, but I am quite sure I have left off some technology tools that may flabberghast you. No problem. Simply help us all improve by adding comments at the bottom of this blog post. After reaching a word-count limit for this blog post, I quickly realized a Part III could be necessary. Anyway…enjoy, my talented colleagues.

Website Creation

Weebly– Take your career to new heights by using Weebly to create a website, online store, or blogspot. Click here to see what this site can do for you.
Wix– Choose from a plethora of gorgeous templates and create an inviting website for your digital audience. Wondering how Weebly and Wix compare? Click here to read Jeremy Wong’s review.
Squarespace– In all honesty, I have not tried this website creator. For no particular reason, however. In case you are interested in exploring how Squarespace stacks up against Weebly and Wix, check out this solid review.

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

By no means, do I claim to be an expert on the following list of available learning management systems. However, the list of LMSs below are ones I continually hear being discussed within my professional learning network.
Edmodo– I do not know of many educators who have not at least heard of Edmodo.  Born out of a necessity to merge students’ real-life habits in an ever-changing world with their innate desire for self-improvement and knowledge. Read more about Edmodo’s story here.
Moodle– This learning management system’s open-source software makes it one of the most popular. What else makes it so cool? It’s is free. Want to know the top 8 free and open-source LMSs? Take a look at J.P. Medved’s assessment.
Schoology– This freemium LMS offers ease-of-use and boasts many proud users. Take a look at this assessment of Schoology from Alice in WonderTech.
Collaborize Classroom– I am hearing more and more colleagues discuss this LMS as a great way to take class discussions to new levels. For more information, watch this video that introduces Collaborize Classroom.
Canvas by Instructure– Okay, this is where I will seem very biased. My school district recently purchased this LMS, and I have to say I am absolutely ecstatic about the possibilities. After participating in several training sessions and webinars, I look forward to integrating this seemingly flawless system into Studio 113 classes within the next few weeks. After struggling through previous user-UNfriendly LMSs, I welcome Canvas with open arms. Click here for my review of Canvas.
Google Classroom– I know, I know. This is not an LMS. However, anytime Google jumps into a market by creating a new product, things change. In regards to organizing, communicating, and simplifying many classroom duties, Google Classroom is a very nice edition to Google Apps for Education and definitely worth a look.
To take a look at more LMSs, start with Christopher Pappas’ “The 20 Best Learning Management Systems.”

Online Lesson Plan Creator for Blended, Flipped, and Differentiated Classrooms

BlendSpace– Maybe it is just me, but I have a hard time categorizing this educational tool. At times, it seems like EdPuzzle and EduCanon with a hint of the characteristics of an LMS. With or without a category, it is clear that BlendSpace is a versatile tool that allows teachers to gather many links and resources while disseminating them with just one link. According to the site, educators are using Blendspace to flip and blend classrooms and differentiate instruction. No doubt, this tool should be added to your teaching toolbox.

iPad and Smartphone Apps

We can keep it very simple here by relying on Sean Junkins‘ “The Periodic Table of iPad Apps” and Mark Anderson’s identically titled Symbaloo list of awesome iPad apps.
Of course, there is an endless amount of smartphone apps that can be either used directly or re-purposed for educational intentions. Although my arsenal of go-to smartphone apps changes from time-to-time, here is a video tutorial of my present iPhone apps.

Blogging Platforms

WordPress– No secret here. This open-source blogging giant boasts that it is “the largest self-hosting blogging tool in the world.” By posting bi-weekly for Getting Smart, I am learning more and more what this tool has to offer.
Blogger– Since this blogging platform is owned by Google, bloggers can reap the rewards of seamlessly integrating all Google has to offer, such as Google+.  When comparing Blogger with WordPress, my opinion is that the former is a bit more simplistic, whereas WordPress appears to be a robust blogging platform that can be intimidating to new bloggers. Here are two videos that I shared with our Studio 113 students to help them get started with Blogger: 1. Getting Started with Blogger for Hall County students 2. Blogging from Your Smartphone App.
Tumblr– The students and teachers who choose Tumblr over WordPress and Blogger tell me they do so because it is so visually appealing and easy-to-use, especially when showcasing multimedia.
For a look at the top 10 free blogging sites, check out this article by Kristin Bousquet.

Social Media

Twitter– Along with FaceBook, Pinterest, and various other social media sites, Twitter can absolutely transform your teaching strategies. I am dead serious when I say that I have learned more from Twitter since July of 2011 than I have in all my 18 years of professional learning sessions combined. Simply put, Twitter connects me to a “virtual hallway” of passionate and sharing educators all over the world. Needless to say, this same tool augments students learning activities in ways that are only limited by teachers’ imaginations. Check out this soaring lesson plan.

Avatars

No need to re-invent the wheel here. Susan Oxnevad (GettingSmart Teacher Blogger) has it covered. Check out the embedded ThingLink below with hotlinks to many sites to help you fashion an accurate avatar.

Tools for Collaboration/Curation

RealTimeBoard– This online whiteboard is perfect for a number of collaborative projects. Care to see it in action? Check out this video tutorial.
Conojo– Although I just learned about this iPad app that allows users to collaboratively brainstorm and draw while integrating social media and video, it looks very promising. According to its website, “Conojo is an innovative drawing tool that makes it easier to share ideas, images, notes, and any other visual manifestation you can think of. From the technologically savvy to first time iPad users, Conojo makes anyone an artist or data wizard.” I will definitely be checking this tool out in the future. Stay tuned.
ExamTime– Another new resource to me, ExamTime allows users to create mindmaps, quizzes, flashcards and more. I will add to this to my never-ending pile of technology tools to check out.
Padlet– This one is definitely one of my favorites. Formerly known as WallWisher, this website for digital sticky notes can be used for a multitude of creative uses. Whether you have students peruse the campus to take pictures of various vegetation and then categorize and share them by posting to Padlet or you simply need your students to quickly gather important resources by crowd-sourcing, Padlet has you covered. Click here for a little help setting up your first Padlet.
Livebinders– What do you get when you cross a filing cabinet with the virtual world? Livebinders, of course.

Google Drive

Google Drive- Similar to Evernote, mentioning this EdTech gargantuan is an absolute must. The possibilities with GDrive are endless. I still marvel at teachers and students when witnessing the first time they collaborate on a Google Document, Sheet, or Presentation, and introducing them to the superhero capabilities of Google Forms absolutely blows their minds. Yep, it is safe to say if readers of this article disregarded all other information and invested their time in learning GDrive, that would suffice.

Voice Grading

Kaizena– Available as an add-on or extension in Google Drive, this tool is all-too-cool. Definitely worth the viewing of this video example.

A Discussion Board with Multiple Forms of Submissions

VoiceThread– Another must-have tech tool for all educators and another one of my favorites. Liven up your discussion by increasing your audience with this tech tool that allows its participants to post comments via phone, text, audio, or video. Organized neatly in a square that shows each “thread” of the conversation exactly when and how it was submitted, VoiceThread can totally change how students submit feedback and, since there is a smartphone app, complete their homework. Give it a try.

A Smartphone Microphone

SoundCloud– This website and smartphone app can absolutely rock your class by turning your students’ smartphones into microphones. With that concept in mind, simply ask your students to create a lesson plan like this and watch them jam out while learning. Click here for a video tutorial.
Please nudge all educators forward by adding any educational technology tools that were not mentioned in Part I or Part II in the comments section below. Thank you.

John Hardison

John Hardison

http://gettingsmart.com/2014/09/gold-mine-edtech-resources-part-ii/

John Hardison is an interactive facilitator of learning and blended learning specialist at East Hall High School (Studio 113 & EPiCC) in Gainesville, Georgia. By creating a flexible class where literature creatively comes to life on a stage with students as the stars, Mr. Hardison focuses heavily on creativity, interactive structures, and student choices. In the past 17 years at East Hall High School, he has taught AP Language, American Literature, World Literature, and Applied Communications. Through original learning structures and a shared classroom concept, students are inspired to connect literature with their own talents and interests. Mr. Hardison shares his classroom concept and interactive structures by presenting at professional conferences and upon request by various schools. Look for John at ISTE and follow him on Twitter at @JohnHardison1.

A Gold Mine of #EdTech Resources: Part I

As I am sure it is for any educator, my student teaching experience was definitely memorable for many reasons. Some good. Some bad. One particular moment, however, has stayed with me all these years. My department chair at the time, Mrs. Kelly, recognized my ceaseless and struggling search for anything that could augment my classroom practices. Since it was 1996, valid internet resources were not that common, and my ability to locate such files was close to nil. Enter Mrs. Kelly with arms full of educational gold. That’s right. Educational gold disguised as manilla folders. This very generous veteran of teaching delivered a stack of transparencies, worksheets, handwritten notes, lesson plans, and project exemplars. Basically, her life’s work introduced itself to me with a loud and resounding thud on my desk. Her generosity can be likened to the opening of Fort Knox’s vaulted doors while someone yells, “Take aaaaaaall the gold you can use!” And that…well…that just about sums me up these past 18 years. But I’m not talking about the taking; I’m referring to the sharing.
So, in the spirit of Mrs. Kelly, and to kick-off the new school year, I embark on a two-part series of sharing all the edtech resources I have stored in my mental Rolodex. Or, at least, all that I still use and care to remember. Thanks in no small part to all the amazing colleagues who have shared with me throughout my career, I embrace these technology gadgets as an endless treasure of educational tools.

Back Channels and Mobile Interactive Learning

InfuseLearning– I am still waiting for this cool site to take off. Surprisingly, I find many people at educators’ conferences who haven’t tried or heard of it yet. I always make it a point to tell them how valuable this tool can be. I especially like the ability of students to draw from any device and send to the teacher’s dashboard. I also like that InfuseLearning is device agnostic. Click here to read my review and to watch video tutorials.
Kahoot– Turn a lesson into a game by leveraging the possibilities with any internet-connected device. Check it out in-action here.
Socrative– Now owned by MasteryConnect, this always awesome site just keeps getting better. Need a ticket out the door? Need a spreadsheet of students’ performances on a recent quiz? Need students to use their smartphones to interact with a lesson because there are no more laptops to check out from the media center? Socrative has you covered.
PollEveryWhere– Love it. Love it. Love it. Ever since it was introduced and way back when many teachers were so terrified by the induction of cell phones into the classroom, my ELA colleagues and I embraced this polling website as a backchannel for class discussions. Whether our students use it to submit free-responses or to offer feedback via the polling chart, this website is a must for all teachers seeking valid uses for cell/smartphones and other internet-ready gadgets. Don’t forget to save a transcript of your students’ feedback.
TodaysMeet– Picture this: students get extremely interested in a class topic and hands are raised all over the classroom. Very cool, huh? The only problem is not enough time to have everyone’s voice heard. Wrong! In just ten seconds, you can create a backchannel to allow all students, through any internet-connected gadget, to express their thoughts. Just like Polleverywhere and other backchanneling sites, a transcript of all comments is available in just a few simple steps.

Blended Learning Video Editor

EduCanon– Have you ever found a video and thought, “Hmmm, I only need a section of it, and I want to customize the video”? If so, EduCanon offers solutions.
EdPuzzle– What’s better than having one option? How about multiple options? EdPuzzle is an awesome and easy-to-use site that will help you customize nearly any video into a format suitable for your students’ needs. Click here for a thorough review with video tutorials.
TubeChop– Nothing like the two resources mentioned above, but TubeChop may be the tool you need for capturing snippets of videos in an efficient and simple manner.

Comics and Avatars

Bitstrips– Ever wonder how you would look as a comic or avatar? Let Bitstrips reveal your cartoonish side.
JibJab– Okay. Not exactly comics and avatars here, but I felt like the laughter-inducing potential of this hilarious resource belonged in this category. Whether your students use JibJab in their presentations or you simply decide to cast your colleagues in the latest music video, one thing is for sure: fun will follow.
ToonDoo– This site is definitely one of my students’ favorites. They love the ease of use and the polished look at the end.
Voki– Students have a blast customizing their avatars on this site. They can add a voice over, change hair styles, and even accessorize by adding some bling-bling. Check out my musical avatar embedded on my teacher page by clicking here.

Miscellaneous Gadgets

Fake Concert Ticket Generator– Expecting any really cool students’ presentations soon? Jazz things up just a bit by creating tickets to the special occasion. Students will feel like celebrities on a red carpet (also a recommended touch to spice up presentations).
Online Stopwatch– Ever need a timer…quickly? This one works just fine.
OmWriter– Great writing often demands silence and an environment conducive of conjuring the best from within students. This relaxing website may just be the perfect resource to calm your students just enough so they may hear the most important words of all…their own. See it in action here.
WheelDecide– A quick, easy, and customizable wheel of options for any class activities that require random selections.
Twister– This tool from ClassTools.net quickly creates a fake tweet from a fictional character. The creative possibilities are endless here.
FruitMachine– Simple but effective…a random picker.
Doodle– This site works miracles. If you have been charged with planning a meeting date that involves multiple people and their busy schedules, then Doodle is your go-to gadget. Simply pick the date range and invite others to crowd-source and determine the most appropriate time to convene. Way too simple.

Photo Editing and/or Creative Production

Big Huge Labs-Check out this site to turn your photos into creative products like magazine covers, badges, mosaics, CD covers, trading cards, and more. Our students in Studio 113 have been using this site to create movie posters to accompany our original videos since 2008.
Blabberize– Make a still photo talk with this quick and easy site.
Fotor– This site works well for photo editing, but I use it mainly when students desire to create picture collages.

Presentations

Jux– Share your photos, videos, articles, quotations, and more in a visually appealing and fresh way. Jux’s website claims, “Simply the best showcase for you.” They may be right. Click here to see how cool Jux can be.
Capzles– Another stunning way to present your knowledge in a multimedia showcase.
Prezi– Yeah, I know. Everyone has heard of Prezi. Although it did become a bit overused the last few years, I simply couldn’t leave it off the list.
Glogster– It is hard to find someone who hasn’t used Glogster yet. However, it is still a go-to site when creating interactive, digital posters. In all the years since Glogster has been around, I have heard no disappointments. Be sure to check out the new Glogster iPad app, too.

Screencasting/Screensharing

Jing– A trust-worthy, and free, option for screencasting your computer and creating video tutorials. One side note: Jing records videos as .swf files.
Screencastomatic– Another reliable option for creating video tutorials simply by capturing your computer’s screen and possibly even your voice. Once you’re done recording, simply download the video and upload to your YouTube account. Before taking on the endless possibilities with Camtasia, ScreenCastoMatic was my go-to screencasting software due to its price (free), its ability to record directly from the website, and its ability to download as an MP4 file.
Reflector– Don’t forget the power of demonstrating how to use certain apps from a tablet or smartphone by allowing your computer to “mirror” your mobile device’s screen. If you’re looking to add smartphone know-how to your professional video tutorials, or if you simply want students to share their mobile devices’ screens with the entire class, this cool and relatively cheap software from Air Squirrels is a must. Click here to see a video tutorial using Reflector.

Timelines

Dipity– Use this site to create vivid timelines rich with embedded videos, pictures, and hyperlinks.
TimeToast– Need a simpler, scaled-down method of creating timelines? TimeToast is your answer.

Video Creation

Animoto– Most educators are already aware of the possibilities with this popular site. Turning your photos and media clips into polished videos is way too easy with Animoto. All is free as long as the final videos are 30 seconds or fewer. Want to create longer videos, add more licensed music, and choose from up to 81 video styles? No problem. Take a look here at the pricing.
WeVideo– What do you get when you cross a Google Document with a video editor? An edtech resource that allows multiple users to collaborate simultaneously or asynchronously to create one video. And remember that WeVideo is just one of the many add-ons in Google Drive.
Xtranormal– Recently acquired by Nawmal, look for this resource to make a comeback.
GoAnimate– Video creation with a twist…animation. Although this website has shifted away from the educational realm to the business sector, GoAnimate could be worthy of asking your principal for an account…and another creative option for your classroom. Take a look at the pricing here.
PowToon– Another animated video creator. But free. You’ll definitely like.
Check back later for “A Gold Mine of #EdTech Resources: Part II.” In the meantime, keep sharing and discovering all the educational bling-bling your PLN has to offer.

John Hardison

John Hardison

http://gettingsmart.com/2014/08/gold-mine-edtech-resources-part/

John Hardison is an interactive facilitator of learning and blended learning specialist at East Hall High School (Studio 113 & EPiCC) in Gainesville, Georgia. By creating a flexible class where literature creatively comes to life on a stage with students as the stars, Mr. Hardison focuses heavily on creativity, interactive structures, and student choices. In the past 17 years at East Hall High School, he has taught AP Language, American Literature, World Literature, and Applied Communications. Through original learning structures and a shared classroom concept, students are inspired to connect literature with their own talents and interests. Mr. Hardison shares his classroom concept and interactive structures by presenting at professional conferences and upon request by various schools. Look for John at ISTE and follow him on Twitter at @JohnHardison1.


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