Tag Archives: Educational Resources

Interactive Presidential Debate Resource

Our amazing librarian informed me of  a great tool launched by PBS and Microsoft watchingthedebates.org. It allows you to “watch and interact with every debate since 1960.” This is a great resource to help students (and adults) learn how Presidential debates are structured and impact the electorate during an election year.

You can filter debates based on theme, year, or other interests. You can watch the videos sand give feedback! This is a fantastic tool for analyzing political discourse.

How to email a Google Doc (Without Leaving Google Docs)

The best feature of Google Docs is the ability to collaborate with others. Sometimes, you need to send a copy of a Google Doc to someone who doesscreen-shot-2016-09-15-at-8-08-10-am not work in the Google atmosphere. You can easily email a Google Doc as an attachment to someone right within the document! To do this, click on File –> email as an attachment.

Next, in the pop up window, select the form you would like (PDF, MS Word, Rich Text Format, HTML, Plain Text, Open Document, or just paste it into the email itself! Enter the email address, include a message, and your email is sent! This is a feature that works even if your domain does not have gmail enabled (although you should tick “send a copy to myself” if you would like a confirmation of the email).

This is a great way to send off finished drafts or to share material with individuals who do not work within the Google platform.

Apple Introduces Apple Teacher Learning Center

In case you weren’t paying attention, yesterday Apple held an event and launched the iPhone 7. However, September 7th also saw the launch of a great new resource for educators: the Apple Teacher Learning Center.

business-925900_1280This free new program allows educators to access training resources for using Mac, iPad, and their built in apps to build creative and engaging lessons. The resources in the Apple Teacher Learning Center can help you to build personal learning environments, harness accessibility tools to empower students who learn differently, redefine assessment, and enhance the tools in your classroom.

The Apple Teacher Learning Center awards badges after you have mastered various tools and stages. Once you have completed all of them, you earn the ultimate Apple Teacher logo badge to proudly display on your blog or print out and post it in your office! Sign up today!

5 ways Agora can make collaboration in your classroom easier

This is a sponsored blog post by Agora (and advertiser on this site)

Collaborative work usually means more paperwork and more things to keep track of for teachers. Let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t have time to add one more thing to our plates. So instead of worrying about where you’re going to find the time to go over project submissions and feedback, let technology do what it does best – automatically track work submitted, interactions and organise the data beautifully.

New platforms like Agora are focused on being the background support that allow teachers to run meaningful collaborative activities without the hassle.

Tracks all student progress automatically

Agora makes it easy for students to submit progress on their work, think individual and group projects, and then keeps track of where everybody is at. No extra input needed on your part. You create the project or set of tasks that students will be working on, add due dates if you want and then let them work on it at their own pace. Technology does the rest.

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Students will see a progress bar showing how much of a project they’ve completed and you get an overview chart showing progress for each individual student that you can click on to see details.

Allows students to give each other feedback.

With Agora students can comment on each other’s work, share resources and provide specific notes on how work can be improved.

Think about how beneficial seeing what other teachers are doing is for you. You pick up many great ideas and get a tangible sense of how you can do things differently from teacher blogs and sites like teacherspayteachers. The same concept applies for students learning.  By allowing everyone in the classroom to see each other’s work at different stages learning goes through the roof. Work that can seem daunting suddenly seems within reach and questions that might have remained buried, surface out of curiosity for how someone else did it.

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Generates beautiful custom reports

Being able to measure and communicate progress is key to a successful collaborative classroom.

With Agora you can create custom reports for what each student has been working on given specific time dates.This allows you to keep everyone in the loop of what’s happening.  You can also see big picture charts of where every student is at and what work is missing.  (Goodbye weekends of fighting with excel or blackboard!)

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Integrates with what you’re already using

Agora integrates with Google so that students can login with gmail accounts (no need to create extra credentials). You can also easily link to google documents, embed youtube videos if they’re doing something like practicing speeches, or creative media work and drag and drop images to upload them.  

It’s simple

Agora’s interface is clean and straightforward. It has what you need and nothing more. No extra bells and whistles that can be confusing. Think about it like air. It’s there to serve you and allows you to do the things you need, but you don’t notice it most of the time. Learning and helping you achieve your goals are front and center.

You can sign-up now for early access to Agora and get a free month of their premium version if your refer another teacher.

www.useagora.com

 

Common Sense Media – Free Digital Citizenship Curriculum (Limited Time)

Common Sense Media has just announced that it’s Digital Citizenship textbooks are currently free via iBooks until September 30, 2016. After September 30th, the iBooks will go to $8.99 per device for the teacher edition and $1.99 per device for the student workbooks.

You can download the books via the iTunes store here.

Blind Kids, Touchscreen Phones, & the end of Braille?

This week’s WNYC’s Note to Self focused on smartphones and their role in educating and

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

empowering blind students. It was a fascinating look at how smart devices are both helping and hindering students’ academic and social development. Smartphones and tablets have offered a lower point of entry for students for assisted learning. Additionally, smartphones have allowed blind adolescents to feel “normal” and just like their peers. At the same time, these tools have limited students’ growth in other necessary academic enterprises. For example, their reliance on speak to text or text to speech have limited blind student’s growth in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This is a fascinating look at the benefits and pitfalls of using technology in helping students with disabilities access educational tools. You can download the episode for free, here.

Podcasts to help Students think Creatively about Traditional Content

One of the great privileges in my position at Ransom Everglades is that I still get to work directly with students in the classroom. I teach two sections of United States History. This work not only “keeps me honest” when it comes to technology, but it encourages to hone my skills as an educator and learner. Teaching a “traditional” subject using “non-traditional” tools can be a challenge. I want my students to think outside the box, explore things from new angles, and challenge accepted interpretations of historical events. This can be difficult not only for them, but to me. After all, history has been taught a specific way (focusing on names and dates and the expertise of Ph.D.’s) for generations.

One way I have found to disrupt this tradition is to bring podcasts into my classroom. Podcasting is an amazing medium that has disrupted terrestrial radio in unimaginable ways. As a result, there is a wealth of information out there to bring into the educational environment. By using engaging and well-researched material to provide students alternative perspectives and media. Here are a few of my favorite Podcasts (I’ve highlighted a couple of episodes). I hope that you will share your favorites below as well.

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect: More Perfect explores the role of the Supreme Court throughout history and in the modern era. I never thought that someone could make court cases engaging, but I was happily proven wrong. One of my favorite episodes is “Kittens Kick the Giggly Blue Robot.” This episode explores the history of the court and how it became one of the most powerful entities in the land. Every episode includes citation of sources and case law. They also provide this handy song to help you remember who is currently on the Supreme Court:

Footnote: A Show about Overlooked History: Historians often state the worst fate of a figure is to be condemned as a footnote to history. Footnote explores those often overlooked figures and the impact they had.For example, in the Day of Two Noons they explore how we developed time zones and the financial (and sometimes fatal) results.

Revisionist History: Malcolm Gladwell’s new series explores and reinterprets historical narratives. Check out “The Lady Vanishes,” which explores the impact of tokenism in the art and political worlds.

NPR Code Switch: With the rise of Social Justice in the news and the prevalence of multi-racial communities, Code Switch does an amazing job of tackling uncomfortable conversations about race in an effective and safe medium. One topic I found especially informative was “Say my name say my name (Correctly Please),” where contributors discussed the challenges that arise from “difficult” names in the broader community.

History Chicks: This podcast focuses on women throughout history. Women often take second fiddle to their male counterparts. History Chicks delves into these figures in great detail. For example, explore the history of Katharine of Aragon (Henry VIII’s set-aside first wife). She is more than a footnote to the Tudors.

These are just a few examples of podcasts that I enjoy with my students. I hope you will explore and find some topics to share in the notes below or in your own classrooms.