Tag Archives: Technology

How to bring visual learning into the classroom using infographics

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

Infographics are a powerful way to synthesize data and information, making it easy to conceptualize a message with a glance. For this reason, they are becoming a popular medium in marketing and presentations because they are visually engaging and simultaneously informative.

INFOGRAPHICS AS ASSESSMENT

VenngageThis year for the first time, I asked my students to create an Infographic as their culminating project for our study of the Civil Rights movement. I wanted them to give a presentation, but also wanted to move away from the traditional PowerPoints or poster sessions that they have done in the past. I liked the idea of them learning to present content effectively in a creative medium, and infographics are perfect for that. For this, I elected to use my favorite tool for creating professional looking infographics, Venngage.

Venngage offers many powerful and free resources that students can use to build professional looking infographics, and I really like how the tools are simple to use. I was even more excited when I learned that they recently introduced a great resource for teachers – Venngage Education – which allows you to create class accounts where students can use the Premium Features to create infographics and share them privately or with the class. The cost is much lower than their premium subscription, and if you have a short project, you can sign up for the free, 2 week trial, which gives you 35 student/teacher accounts.

VISUALS IN ACTION: HOW IT WORKED

In order for my students to build their Civil Rights infographics, I divided them into small groups and then gave each group a topic to cover: Civil Rights Groups, the fight for Hispanic Civil Rights, the March on Washington, School Integration, and Racial Clashes & Violence. I intentionally left the topics broad so that students could explore and develop the projects based on their research. Students delved into key figures, dates, statistics and data, and more. As this was their first-go round, I was excited with the results. Students were allowed to be creative while engaging in research and developing a visual presentation for a broader audience as shown by some of these great examples: Civil Rights Groups, Racial Clashes & Violence, and March on Washington.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENTS THIS SUMMER!

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  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • Teaching History with Technology
  • Differentiating with Technology
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

Use Google Scholar to Support Student Research

This is reblogged from my post on FreeTech4Teachers

Use Google Scholar to Support Student Research.

Use Google Scholar to Support Student Research

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher– an advertiser on this site.If you have asked your students to engage in research, then undoubtedly they have returned with a fresh list of results from a Google search. It can be a challenge in this era of search engine algorithms to teach students to engage with more traditional research methods and tools. Google Scholar is a great way to introduce them to this work while simultaneously working in a mode that is more familiar to them.

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar is a Google search engine that allows you to look specifically for academic articles… freetech4teachers

4 Ways to Implement Blogging in the Classroom

This is reblogged from my post at Daily Genius.

Blogging is a popular activity in classrooms today because it allows students to share their writing with a broader audience and teachers to communicate with parents. There are a myriad of platforms to choose from: edublogs,Kidblog (especially good for elementary age children), Blogger, wordpress, and most LMS systems have a blogging platform built in.

How to set up blogging in the classroom will depend on your platform, and is pretty easy to figure out with all of the “how-to” videos and help center collections. What teachers most often ask me is why they would set up a blog for their class. What value is there in a class blog?

Here are some great ideas and applications for class and/or individual student blogs that you can explore in your classroom.

BLOGS AS EPORTFOLIOS

Blogs can be set to private, public, and shared with specific individuals or groups. This makes them a great platform for students to build their own ePortfolio. They can curate their content first for teachers and parents before publishing it to a broader audience. As a blog allows for not only written content, but multimedia material (images, videos, interactives, etc), it makes it possible for students to create a robust online presence. Kristen Wideen uses Kiblog for her elementary students to create digital portfolios; you can read more about her experience here.

BLOGS AS A SHOWCASE FOR STUDENT WORK

If your students are making videos, creating science fair projects, writing poetry, or other creative content, then a blog is a great way for them to showcase their work. By allowing (moderated) comments, students have an authentic, broader audience that they are addressing. Imagine students who are participating in Poetry Month posting their participatory works online and getting feedback from poets around the country! TheBurlington High School Help Desk (staffed entirely by students) hosts a community blog where they post information about themselves, helpful hints, reviews for new apps and tools, individual projects, and much more. By engaging a broader audience, students learn about digital citizenship and safety while online.

BLOGS FOR CLASS DISCUSSION

Because blogs allow for threaded discussion, they are an excellent platform for discussion. One of my favorite exercises in Social Studies is to post a news article along with some guided questions (the New York Times Learning Network has great tools for this). Students then engage in an online discussion about the topic. Not only does this promote critical thinking and writing skills, but it is an excellent diving board for discussions on Digital Citizenship.

BLOGS FOR GROUP PROJECTS AND LABS

If you have students working on groups projects or in class labs, especially ones that take several weeks and exercises, then blogs are an excellent way for them to record and report on their progress. Imagine students working on a Biology Lab that encompases a quarter or semester-long project. As a group, they report their findings, measurements, and progress each step of the way. If the blog is shared with the class, then they have an audience that is also monitoring their progress, not only learning from their peers but also providing oversight for errors.

These are just a few examples of activities that you can use blogs for in your class. Explore how blogging can work in your class and try some of these examples from EdTechTeacher.

LOOKING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BLOGGING IN THE CLASSROOM? COME JOIN US THIS SUMMER!

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  • Creating Digital Portfolios
  • Reading, Writing, & Research
  • Teaching English, History, or Foreign Language with Technology
  • And More!

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New Google Classroom update: Little things that make it a big deal

Jennifer Carey:

This is a great summary of the new features in Google Classroom!

Originally posted on History Tech:

The Google folks have been busy – and it seems as if they’ve been listening to teachers. Today, a few handy updates to Google Classroom were announced. If you’re not using Classroom, you really need to take a few minutes, perhaps, to come to your senses. It is a handy time saver and teaching tool that’s free, accessible anywhere, easy to use, and did you know it’s free? The biggest update is the ability to now

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Exploring Digital Citizenship with Google

One of my goals next year is to improve upon and expand our existing Digital Citizenship model. So I’m excited to attend Exploring Digital Citizenship with Google with Craig Leach. Any school that incorporates technology needs to include meaningful, digital citizenship. In conjunction with Common Sense Media, he has been developing a Digital Citizenship Course.

He starts by telling us to explore Digital Citizenship in our backyard. It’s never hard to find stories about digital presence resulting in negative consequences. He provided us with 5 local stories that we explored, ranging from cyberbullying to student arrests. We engage in group discussions about the themes behind these topics. One element that I noticed is that schools are so focused on being reactive to these events instead of preventative. Dealing with incidents of cyberbullying or bad behavior online necessitates a broader educational program, including teachers, students, and parents (who are often left out). It needs to be consistent and pervasive education; if you are focusing on Facebook behavior, then you’re not preparing for the next tool. These incidences and events expand outside of the Classroom.

We next explored the definition of Digital Citizenship. Common Sense Media defines Digital Citizenship is “The ability to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world.” An approach to digital citizenship needs to include balance: powers and perils. So you should talk about ready access to media, but also address copyright infringement.

Craig tells us that the topics that he likes to tackle inlcude:

  • digital life
  • internet safety
  • privacy, Identity & Digital Footprints
  • Cyberbullying, Communication, & Relationships
  • Searching, Evaluating and Citing
  • Reaching the Community

I like that it doesn’t wholly focus on “Stranger Danger.”

When Craig got a classroom set of iPads, he created some digital expectations and classroom guidelines for technology use. His acceptable use policy included protecting the devices as well as appropriate behavior inside and outside of the classroom. He recommends having students build their own policy in their own words.

We talked a little about Google Searching; show them how to find effective sources and assess it. He recommends that you explore google search tools and advanced search features. Navigating and negotiating online tools is important.

By using Google Research tools, especially features like “search by license,” you can engage students in conversations about licensing, copyright, and plagiarism. One of the great things about Google Tools is that they allow you to to instigate a number of empowering conversations about online engagement.

5 Quick Tips to Get Started with Google Drive

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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One of the most ubiquitous tools in educational technology today is Google Drive. If you’re unfamiliar with Drive, think of it as two elements:

  1. Online “cloud” storage where you can throw files of all sizes (up to 1TB) and access from everywhere
  2. A scaled down office suite that includes docs, sheets, and presentations tools.

If you would like get to know Google Drive, here are 5 tips to help you get started. While you can use Google Drive with any browser, I urge you to use Google Chrome (free for all devices), as it will enable all features and ensure a more stable experience with this tool.

Get Started With Google Drive: Sign in or Create an Account

If your school is Google Apps for Education or you have a Gmail account, then Google Drive has already been set up for you. Just go to drive.google.com (or simply Google “Google Drive”) and login with your Google credentials. If you’re new to the Google platform, you will be asked to create an account. Once you have signed in or completed the account setup, you will find yourself in your Drive window where all of your files and documents are stored. I recommend that you bookmark Google Drive (clicking the star in your Chrome Browser) for faster access.

Left MenuOn the left hand side you will see your navigation tools: your My Drive Folder (with a drop-down arrow to access all the folders you create), your Incoming (for files shared with you), Recent (where you can quickly access the documents you’ve worked on most recently), Starred(you can mark important documents with a “star” for quick access), and Trash (where documents you delete are stored for 30 days or until you empty the trash).

Create a New Document

The core suite of Google Apps within Drive allows you to create a Doc, a Sheet(spreadsheet), Slides (presentations), and Forms (a great tool that you should explore as you become a more advanced user). Creating a new document in Google Drive is simple. Click on the red “New” button in the top left and select the type of document you would like to create. When you have done this, a new tab will open with your blank document. To title it, simply click on the “untitled document” in the top left and then enter the new name. One of my favorite features about working within Google Drive is that all changes are saved automatically. I don’t have to remember to hit save before logging off of my machine. You will be able to access the most recent version from any machine with a web browser and internet connection.

The Wonder of Cloud Storage

You’ve probably heard the phrase “in the cloud.” What this means is that content is not stored locally (on a computer or other device) but rather it is hosted on the web. The benefit of this is that you can access content from anywhere without having to have the actual device that created it. It also won’t take up valuable space on your hard drive. In addition to documents that you create within Google Drive, you can store your files (videos, images, documents, etc) in the cloud for your own access or to share with others.

Share a Document for Real Time Collaboration

One of the most unique features of working within Google Drive is that you have the ability to collaborate with others on the same document in real time. To share within a document, select the blue “share” button at the top right of the document. You can share at various levels: with specific individuals (via email address), individuals within your domain (if you have a Google Apps for Business or Google Apps for Education account), individuals with the link, or publicly on the web. Additionally, you can give other users the ability to “edit,” “comment,” or simply “view.” This allows you to select the appropriate level of openness for specific documents.

Sharing levels

For example, if you want to share a document for input, but don’t want the viewer to make any changes, then “comment” is the appropriate level of sharing. Those with access can read and leave comments throughout, yet they cannot change the text itself. Good Drive promotes collaboration, so other people can share with you the same way. When a document is shared with you, it will appear in yourIncoming folder. You can access it from there, or move it into My Drive for better organization.

Right now, Google Apps for Education users are allowed unlimited data storage, Chromebook Users 1TB, and individual users 5GB (you can buy more storage for a small fee). To upload a file to Google Drive, click on the red “new” button and select “upload file” or “upload folder” and then select the file(s) you would like to upload. However, if you are using the Chrome Browser you can literally drag and drop files in the browser window! Just like documents you create within Google Drive, you can share these files with others (although editing privileges are often limited).

Go Mobile!

In addition to working within a browser, you can access Google Drive using a Smartphone or a Tablet with the Google Drive App for iOS or Android (free). This gives you access to your files on the go and allows you to upload content directly from your tablet or smartphone. If you’re like me, your phone is your camera. Using the app makes it easy to create and share on the go. For example, you can take your vacation photos on your phone, upload them directly to Google Drive using the app, and then share them with others.

Google Drive is an incredibly flexible tool that you will find adapts to many of your digital projects. Once you have mastered the basics, move on to more advanced features: “10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do with Google Docs,” “5 Time Saving Ways Teachers can use Google Forms,” and “5 Ways to use Google Presentations, not as Presentations!.”

Learn more about Google Apps this Summer with EdTechTeacher!

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Opening Keynote at Miami Device

Today is the kickoff for the first ever Miami Device, an educational technology conference in Coconut Grove, hosted by St. Stephens and organized by the esteemed Felix Jacomino.

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The first speaker at the conference is Daniel Kim whose YouTube channel covers music, psychology, and education. He’s family for his annual pop danthologies.

Every year, his “Danthologies” go viral. In these mashups, he uses the best parts of the songs and discards everything else. Daniel talks about his own emotional experiences, where children are so used to getting immediate gratification that it pains them to be “bored” even for short periods of time. They are used to immediate rewards and resources. Technology in the classroom doesn’t mean that you will connect with your students. Modern schools with students hungry to learn restrict their access to resources. Students often have access to great materials at home or outside of the school that the tools available to them in educational environments. Daniel says it shouldn’t be this way. Instead, schools need to keep up! Some great thoughts about restrictive practices in education.

The main keynote speaker is Kevin Honeycutt. I’m so excited to finally see him speak in person! Looking at the stage, there’s half a dozen devices, a 3D printer, and even a guitar! Kevin talks about “kids today.” We don’t want to kill them with boredom!

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Kevin says that teachers need to constantly shift. We aren’t multi-taskers, instead we’re fast switchers. He leads us through an exercise that demonstrates just how we are *not* multi-taskers! So as teachers, we have to be master switchers.

“What can we do to help manufacture confident creative minds?” We need to use our words. We need to blog, tweet, and share. As Kevin says, we need to tell our story “Stop being secret geniuses!!” We need to role model for kids. We can’t blame kids if they mess up. Kids are raising themselves on digital playgrounds and no one is on recess duty! But it’s not about technology, it’s about relationships. If you don’t do something meaningful with it, it’s just “stuff.” “Why will we do this?” Because hands on learners want to hold what they create in their own hands. Kids want to design iPhone cases not buy iPhone cases. It’s not about worksheets, it’s about what you create. Kids need to publish what they’re proud of because they are “publishing puberty!” Think about all of the mistakes they made in puberty… but they’re analogue! We need to role model for kids what good humans do with technology.

Everything that we do doesn’t need to be perfect. Perfect is the enemy of done! If you wait to be perfect, then you will never get started. Just start doing it and doing the work. You improve as you grow. If you apply in class, you can build relationships with your tools. “At any given moment a person can have a renaissance and they’re new again!”

Kevin tells us that school isn’t rehearsal, it’s real life. It’s the show. We need to use technology to connect to people. Build your own network on Twitter and other PLN tools. You need to model for your kids! Tap into your own passions, art, music, literature, science… what do you love? Create and share!