Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Great Collection of SmartBoard Resources

I received this link from Jerry Blumengarten. His website, http://cybraryman.com/ is filled with great resources for all teachers. Please take a moment to look around his site for wonderful resources to use in your classroom.

Here is the link to the SmartBoard Resources. There are many different links on the page, so take your time on looking through them. I'll spend some time over break to sift through them all. Have a great Thursday!

- Give it a try!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fun with Photography

I've been meaning to write a post on Fotobabble for a while. This is a very simple site that allows people to record voices over pictures. You can take pictures yourself, upload them and share them with friends. You can also take some other pictures from Google Pics or Flickr and record your voice over them as well. This could be great for students to narrate photography projects or other classes that have a visual requirement for a project.

There is also an iPhone app that allows you to take pictures, record your voice and share the creation on Facebook, Twitter or Text. I added it to my iPhone and it has been fun taking pictures and sharing them with friends. Here is a picture that I took at Grosse Pointe South's Artfest of Bartleby by K. Peabody. It's based on a character from the Graphic Novel Bone by Jeff Smith.

Using Fotobabble is fast and easy. It shoul dbe added to your toolbox of fun things kids can use to spice up a presentation. It could be a nice addition to a lecture you give in class. Think about the many different ways you could use it.

- Give it a try!

Moving Questions on to your Smart Response Clickers

I wanted to pass this great nugget of information on to everyone. Vanessa Cassie is a former teacher and now works for Sharp's Audio Visual. She works with SmartBoards and is always posting interesting tips. You can read her blog here. I follow here on Twitter and she always has something interesting to forward along. Please take the time to read her blog and follow her on Twitter @VanessaSCassie.

This post, explains how to move questions you have already written on other documents to the Smart Response system. This will save many teachers tons of time. If you use the Smart Response Clickers, please check this post out.

- Give it a try!

Tube Chop

Here is a great site for teachers that want to show some youtube videos but might only want to show certain selections. Tubechop is a website that lets you take any youtube clip and chop it down to size. It is very simple to use and does not take very long. Just select the video you want, select the portion you want to watch and click the chop button. You will be given a link or a code to embed into a website. Below you will find a chopped version of The Ghostbusters Music Video by Ray Parker Jr. The orginal clip has an extra minute at the end that I don't need to see, so I chopped it out. Take a look at the video.

For those that like to show video of interviews or clips from movies, this is a great way to condense that information. No longer will you have to waste class time searching for the right part of the clip you want to show. You can set it up ahead of time and post on your website for kids to use safely.

- Give it a try!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Scribble Maps Makes Geography Interactive

A few teachers from my PLN suggested that I take a look at Scribble Maps. I cannot thank them enough for encouraging me to look around. If you are familiar with Google Maps, this will not be a problem for you to use. The website uses Google Maps and allows you to draw on the map you have focused on. You can draw by hand, create circles or boxes, create text and even add images. This is a great way to use the SmartBoards in the classroom. Take a look at my example. You can save them for later editing or you can save them as JPEG's so you can add them to other documents like this:

Here is one I just did of South. It only took me 5 Minutes to draw, save and upload this picture.

You can do all sorts of things with this program. They have Terrain Maps, Satellite Maps and Hybrid Maps that you can use for different lessons. I know many teachers are always looking for different ways to incorporate their SmartBoards into their lesson plans and I think this is a good tool to use with the students. This could also be used in other classes as well. In English, I could see using this to show the students where the story is taking place and adding my own visuals to the map. Perhaps a map showing East and West Egg and adding different pictures from The Great Gatsby so the students can see where the story takes place. You have as many options as you can think of with this cool tool. 

-Give it a try!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dropbox: A Must For All Teachers and Staff

One of the biggest problems I have dealt with a a teacher is the inability to access information from my work computer when I'm at home or files on my home computer when I'm at work. I'm constantly emailing documents I create in one place so I can work on them more or use them in another place. Another way to transfer information is to use the Flash Drive. Sometimes I would forget it at home or leave it at work. I know I have talked to other teachers and they have said access to school files from home would be great. Well, I don't think the school will be opening up their servers to teachers anytime soon. Dropbox is the answer to all of our file sharing problems.

I've heard some of the teachers in my PLN talk about Dropbox, but I really didn't think twice about it.  Crawling around the web the other day, I stumbled upon Dropbox and finally decided to give it a look. I'm angry at myself for waiting this long to investigate. The days of Flash Drives and Emailing documents are over. All of my school documents are only a few clicks away. Below is a video you should watch to give you the ins and outs of the system. below I will give you some of the key points that have me excited and some thoughts about how I could use it in the classroom.


I hope you liked what you saw. Once you jump on their website, they have another great video walking users through the Dropbox process. Here are some of the things that really got me excited about using Dropbox as a teacher.

  • I no longer have to worry about transferring documents from one computer to another. If I create a test at home, I only need to save it to the Dropbox Folder. Once I get to school, I only need to log-in to Dropbox.com to download the document and use in class. 
  • Sharing is easier. We have shared folders in the district, but many of us do not use them for one reason or another. Most of what I do is created at home. Once I create it there, I email to school, make copies and that's that. With Dropbox, I can create folders for each unit I teach and share them with the teachers in my Department from the luxury of my home computer. There is no need for extra steps. Once a folder is shared with other people, they will be able to access it whenever they want. Again, teachers are no longer chained to their computer in the classroom and that is a huge plus. 
  • I can create folders for work and for personal use. Sometimes I want to share a bunch of pictures from a trip. I can place the pictures in the folder and share it with family and friends. Too often, pictures are all over the internet for people to see, but this can allow people to actually keep copies of pictures taken at events. 
  • iPhone access! I downloaded the Dropbox app and can have access to all of the same documents on my phone that I would see on the computer. I can double check to see what documents I have access to from anywhere in the world. If I decide to make a document accessible to the public, I do not have to wait to get to a computer to do so. I can also take pictures from my camera and post them in the shared folder. On a trip, family and friends could view pictures as I take them instead of having to wait until I get home to upload them to a site like Flickr
  • I can share individual files with anyone I want. If I really don't want someone to look at my entire folder, I can store the document (Word Doc, Picture, Song, etc) in a public file and it will create a special URL link I can send to anyone I choose. Click here for an example.
The last point is very exciting to me. In theory, I could create public folders for each of my classes and share documents with my students from any computer I want. hey could be assignments, news articles, pictures, etc. Not only that, student could share documents with me through a public folder. This could be the last step in my attempt to create a paperless classroom. Now, any assignment I want, can be turned in to a public folder for me to grade. I'm sure there will be bugs to work out, but this could be a valuable tool as teachers look for ways to make important class information available to students no matter where they are. 

Lastly, Dropbox is not for teachers only. Any person that uses multiple computers will find this helpful. Think about the times yo have wanted to work on a document, but it was on the "other" computer. With Dropbox, those problems are now gone.

- Give it a try!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3D Biology and More Science Help

Cell Biology Animation is a great site for 3D pictures of different aspects of Cellular Biology. Here is a great example of DNA Transcription. These are some great little pieces that could help the visual learners in the classroom.
Science Experiments - This site is filled with wonderful resources for science students and teachers. There are links to research sites, an experiment blog, science videos, and much much more. Take a look around and see what it has to offer.

- Give it a try!

Twitter in the Classroom

Here is a great article about using Twitter in the classroom. The article is geared more toward College education, but it could prove very useful in HS classrooms as well. Using technology to engage shy students is a great idea. I have found success in using Wallwisher in my classes to motivate and encourage the shy students to participate. I'm a Twitter advocate, as you may have noticed, and I really think it can help students. Maybe yelling at students to put their cell phones away is a thing of the past. What do you think?

Mashable Article

- Give it a read!

Writing Tools

Here is a link to a wiki called New Tools Workshop. You will find great videos on how and why you should use Google Docs in the classroom. You will also find many other great online writing tools to use in the classroom. There are some good sites on citation that English teachers should check out. There is a nice collection of Vocabulary sites that teachers of all grades could use. Explore the different sites and see if there is anything that works for you. I will take a deeper look at some of the sites and blog about them at a later date.

- Give it a try!

Jeopardy Labs!

I know I have spent plenty of hours on PowerPoint creating Jeopardy games for various units. Now, there is a site that can make Jeopardy games easy and fun to use. Jeopardy Labs allows you to create the games and store them on their website. You no longer have to worry about sending large files over email or carrying a flash drive around. This would be great to use with a IWB in the classroom.

Here is a great example of a Jeopardy Game of To Kill a Mockingbird. I have students that are using the site to create a game for The Great Gatsby. It is just another way to change up the learning environment for your students. See what great Jeopardy games are already there and considering adding your own and sharing with the rest of your department. Over time, a department could create a nice collection of review games to use in the classroom.

- Give it a try!

Foreign Language Sites

I feel bad that the I've excluded the Foreign Language Department from my Tech Posts. I sent some Tweets out yesterday and have a host of wonderful sites to offer you. Take a look at these sites and let me know if they are helpful.

Here is a great webpage from Sra. Bivens. She uses this with her class and has links to other helpful resources that students could use. Seeing how my Spanish Education stopped in 1994, I leave it to you to navigate the page and explore the contents. Warning, it does have music that plays when you enter the page. I was rocking to Shakira. :-) http://srabivens.webs.com/

Here is another great collection from Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1). He has orgaized an entire directory with links for German, French, Chinese, and Spanish. He added the German section just for me and you. Please check out the rest of his blog for excellent resources. Since I'm not a master of these languages, please explore these sites and let me know what you think. If you find any that are helpful, let me know and I will give them a spot on the blog. Here is the page. http://cybraryman.com/foreign.html

Here is a blog post from What Ed Said that talks about making Foreign Language more engaging. It's a quick read with some very interesting ideas that may actually apply to other classes as well.

- Give it a try!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Art Rules!

Here is a great set of Art sites places on a weblist shared by @2sparkley from Bits and Pieces Place. I think the Smartboard is a wonderful tool for Art Classes. There are over 30 sites on this list that could prove helpful to any Art Teacher in any school. Click here to check out the different sites and see if there are useful sites to add to your lesson plans.

- Give it a try!

Math Sites!

Here is a great link to a Glogster of Math Sites. Digital Tools for Teachers always offers a wonderful collection of resources that I love to use and experiment with over time. Take a look at the Math Sites she has complied and then browse the rest of her posts. I'm sure you will find something useful there. Pass this along to other teachers who are looking for different ways to approach Math.

- Give it a try!

Great Interactive Whiteboard Sites

Here is a great blog from Hall Jackson of Australia called the Interactive Classroom. In this new post, he provides a list of IWB sites for "Lower Primary Grades". To use Yanks, that would mean Elementary and Middle School. It covers all subjects and will work great Smartboards. I took a look around and there are some things you might find helpful if you do some searching. If you find something some of our Middle School teachers might like, pass it along.

Blooms Web2.0 Taxonomy

Here is a cool site that breaks down a bunch of Web 2.0 tools by blooms Taxonomy. This was a great find by Education Stormfront Take a look at this site, WebTools4U2Use to find the perfect tool for the students in your class. Pass this one around to other teachers to see what they can find and use.

- Give it a try!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Great Links to Web 2.0 Tools

Ozge Karaoglu’s Blog is a great blog with tons of resources. This post gives tons of Digital Storytelling tools. Sometimes POwerPoint is just not enough to get the message across. There are many great links here that you can use for lessons or direct student to use for projects. Check this link out and see what you might be able to use in class.

Great Resources

Here is a link to Jefferson Middle School that has orgainzed many, many great Web 2.0 Tools. They are broken up into many different catergories including: Presentations, Video, Creativity, Slideshows, Writing, and many more. If you are looking for different ways for students to incorporate new tech into their work, here is a great place for them to start. Spread the word, this is a great tool for all students and teachers.

- Give it a try!

Physics Central

Here is anohter great site for the Physics Teachers out there. Physics Central is a website run by The American Physical Society and there are many different parts to the website that a teacher could find useful. One of the more interesting parts are the podcasts and video podcasts. This can allow guests to come into the classroom and provide more information on chosen topics. They can be a nice change of pace for the students. Also, they have resources that can be used to help students understand concepts they might have trouble grasping. It's a tool students could use to help them prepare for tests or projects. Take a look and see what parts of the site you can use.

- Give it a try!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shakespeare On The Internet!


- Give it a try!

A Little Something for the Art Teachers

Here are some great art sites I found while reading a great blog by @2sparkley. It's called Bits and Pieces Place. It has a bunch of great resources for all subjects and grade levels. I wanted to point out one set of resources for the Art Teachers because they often get left out of the Teacher Tech stuff because good stuff is hard to come by. Fun Art Sites is a great post that lists some art sites that you can use with your SmartBoard.

  • Learn from Cezanne
  • A Pointilism Practice Page
  • Surreal Painter
  • Animal Mix-up (This looks like crazy fun!)
Those are just a few of the sites she has put together for Art Teachers to use in the classroom. Stop by her page and take a look around. Drop her a comment if you find anything useful. She would really appreciate it.

- Give it a try!