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Showing posts from 2015

6 New-"ish Features for Google Classroom

Click the link below for more details. This was a post from one of my favorite EdTech blogs.

6 new-"ish" Google Drive features These features were released around the start of the school year. However, if you haven't noticed them by now, go ahead and check them out. Voice Typing (In Docs) Further evidence that in the future, kids will no longer need to learn to type. Templates Finally some pre-designed templates like good ole' Word used to do.

Our Kids are not inherently Good with Technology This article offers evidence of something I have long since suspected of students when I was teaching. School-aged kids are not automatically "good" with technology. In this report presented by the Washington Post, tech literacy test scores are shown. It appears this report was designed to compare how US kids rank against foreign kids, something our standardized test scores are often subjected to. I believe it also challenges a preconceived notion many educators have that, kids already know this "tech stuff" so there is no need to teach it. Teachers should blend in some instruction on how to use the tech tools properly (not just operationally, but appropriately as well).

Mr B Tech Blog Hits 2000+ Views

With my 100th blog post, this blog hit 2000+ views Thank you for 2000 views! This is one way that all of our lives intertwine.

My 100th Blog Post

In April 2014, I started this blog as a requirement of one of my Master's Classes. The first post I made was part of a social studies lesson designed to prompt student discussion through a blog. The first post I was still teaching social studies back then, but shortly after I was reassigned to our technology department to assist with teachers integrating technology. Ironically, the blog went silent. I revisited the blog again that fall, as part of another Master's course, posting my responses to professional journal articles and responding to my classmates' posts. The MOOC Revolution that Wasn't Post The following spring, I had a thought. I was always sending out emails to staff and techies about new tools or lesson ideas or tips for technology integration, I decided to start posting interesting things I found to this blog to reduce the staggering amount of emails I was sending out. I never would have thought that 7 months later I would be r

Where to go for Tech Support?

Before going to hire an IT professional or your go-to tech genius, here are some places to check for tech support. You might be surprised that many tech issues can be solved, simply by searching the internet with your questions. There are also many helpful tutorial videos on YouTube and other video sites. Consumer Reports  Consumer reports put out a guide of where to go for your tech support. There is some good advice in this guide, but none for specific problems. Ask the "Tech Guy" This is a totally free website, supported by ads and donations, where you can post a question and get it answered by colleagues or tech professionals. Geek Squad's Do-It-Yourself Not a bad general help guide with some good instructions on how to do some tech support yourself. Where do the "Tech people" go when they n

The Interplanetary Phone Call

Old habits are hard to break. As a teacher of social studies, I often looked for videos that would spark interest in the students and start conversations in relation to the course content. This video can prompt a discussion in almost any classroom setting our course discipline, here are my ideas for lessons below: Science : Astronomy/Physics terms are mentioned...what is an AU? Orbit? Radio Waves? Social Studies:  What are impacts of scientific research discussion, various forms of communication throughout history. Exploration, why are we looking at distant frontiers? Math : Example problem, If it takes 7 minutes for a radio signal to go from Earth to Mars (225 Million Km), how long would it take to send a signal from Neptune to Earth? Conversion  equations, convert AUs to Kms when 1 astronomical unit = 149,598,000 kilometers. English : Our Future in Space , lesson plan; How has science fiction of the past viewed the future? Business : Career Lesson plan  What is it like t

Need to Make an App? There's an App for That!

Many of us do not have computer programming or software engineering degrees nor the time to learn various programming languages. For those of you that are interested, here are some programs that make the app building process much simpler. Chrome/Chromebooks Chrome App Builder Chrome App Builder is a utility that allows you to easily create Chrome Packaged Apps without needing to type any code. With the Chrome App Builder, you simply define a few settings such as navigation controls and a home button, type in the app URL and finally choose whether you want it to be enabled for use in Kiosk Mode. Once the app is exported, you can test it out locally or upload it to the Chrome Web Store. Android/iOS/Windows Apps Buzztouch - I have used this in the past, but it used to be free for limited features. Appypie - Also can build apps for other platforms. Microsoft App Studio (Beta)  - Create Windows 10 apps.

Sticky Notes: For Chrome and Chromebooks

Google Keep is a very useful tool, but for those of you that love the old Sticky Notes on Windows devices, you may prefer this instead. Sticky Notes Chrome App Video Tutorial & Overview

7 of the Best Apps for Learning Human Anatomy I recently forwarded this list to our Anatomy/Bio teacher. These are great apps that could be used with a classroom set of iPads OR a single iPad on a projector.

Adoption and Effects of Gamification Reported

As reported by Tech&Learning Original Report Key Takeaways include: Gamification and learning games already have widespread adoption, with 83% and 90% use, respectively 70% of respondents claimed gamification led to an increase in student scores 83% of LMS users reported their students retained course content better using gamification The most popular gamification features were points (85%), progress bars (78%), and levels (76%) Social gamification features like activity feeds (16%), avatars (24%), and leaderboards (26%) were desired the least by users

FOG: A Free Desktop Cloning Solution

From Fog Wiki What is FOG? FOG is a Linux-based, free and open source computer imaging solution for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Linux (limited) that ties together a few open-source tools with a php-based web interface. FOG doesn't use any boot disks, or CDs; everything is done via TFTP and PXE. Your PC boots via PXE and automatically downloads a small Linux client. From there you can select many activities on the PC, including imaging the hard drive. Also with FOG many network drivers are built into the Linux client's kernel, so you don't really need to worry about nic drivers (unless there isn't kernel support for it yet). FOG also supports putting an image that came from a computer with a 80GB partition onto a machine with a 40GB hard drive as long as the data is less than 40GB. FOG supports multi-casting, meaning that you can image many PCs from the same stream. So it should be as fast whether you are imaging 1 PC or 20 PCs. How s

Vlogging and Its Potential for Learning

Vlog = a blog in which the postings are primarily in video form. The following are from the School Library Journal Vlogging, Teens, and Literacy: Engaging Youth Educators and librarians should be paying attention to vlogs and what this new platform means for our understanding of literacy. For many teens, vlogs are the medium of choice when it comes to gathering information on popular culture and the latest news and trends. ( read more ) 25 Vlogs for Teens and Teen Librarians Vlogs are broken down into categories of Gaming, Beauty, Books & Lit, Celebrity Personality & Comedy, and Science and Tech.

Best Mac Apps for Teachers We have a small amount of Macs in our district. I found this list to be helpful. There are also resources for other tools on this site.

Comic Strip Designer App From PROS  Oodles of customization options empower kids to play with color, font size, stickers, words, and more. CONS  Kids may not discover all options or may get overwhelmed by them; a video tutorial or in-app prompts would help. BOTTOM LINE  Strip Designer is a versatile media-creation tool that can support a range of learning goals for any subject of interest.

Google Slides for Stories Quizzes and Games Webinar This is a great webinar to learn some of the creative ways to use Google Slides.

My Culture Quest You have 12 days to stop at each point on the map and learn about a cultural artifact from that country including paintings, sculptures, functional objects, and more. Answer one question about the artifact, and you get to take it with you to add to the exhibition hall at the museum. Wrong answers will deduct days from your quest.  This interactive Culture Quest is a fun and interesting way to learn more about the art, history, and culture of countries all over the world.

EdTech Trends: Meme Lesson Ideas When should I ask students to create memes? Memes are a fun option for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. Students can create memes that connect to a story in the news or a period of history. Teens can collect primary source documents, famous paintings or current photographs as part of the project. Support them by showing examples, choosing one picture for the whole class to use or more specific focus on one subject area. To help students demonstrate their thought process when creating a meme ask each one to include a piece of writing that explains the meaning behind the words and image that they chose to use. Have you used memes in your social studies classroom?

20 Google Apps activities for classroom innovation

20 Google Apps activities for classroom innovation From the author of "Ditch That Textbook," Matt Miller. Definitely some good resources in this list. Some of the interesting topics in this list include: Choose Your Own Adventure with Google Slides Blogging with Google Slides Google Classroom in Kindergarten Current Event Memes with Google Drawings Interactive Posters with Google Drawing ...and more.

Re-Post: Debunking Homework Myths

This article was shared with me today and I thought it was worth passing along. I especially liked the questions this author asked himself about the homework he gave out... Why was I assigning homework? Was I doing it to increase learning or to absolve myself of the responsibility for student learning deficits (the I-taught-them-so-they-should know-it syndrome)? Was assigning all that homework helping the students learn more? What about the students that struggled doing the homework, or the students that simply copied the work from another student, or what about the students that never did the homework? What benefit were they getting from homework? There are also references to blended learning.

6 Storytelling Apps That Get English Language Learners Talking

6 Storytelling Apps That Get English Language Learners Talking For Full List: ShadowPuppet Edu (Elementary/Middle) Students can create impressive video slideshows using research resources built right into the app. They can capture screengrabs from an interactive map, safely search for images from the Web and access image archives from trusted sources like the Library of Congress. Kids put the slides in order, add text, music and narration, and then export the final project as a video file. Shadow Puppet Edu supports ELLs in developing academic vocabulary in both collaborative groups and independently. Students can use it to review new concepts, present research, track progress, explain their thinking and more.

Turn your Old Laptop into a Chromebook!

Here is a short tutorial video showing you how to convert an old PC/Laptop into a Chromebook like device. You can even put chrome management on it for a fee. This has worked great in my district so far! How to Download Chrome Recovery Tool : Chrome OS:

8 Useful Apps for Visually Impaired Students

8 Useful Apps for Visually Impaired Students TapTapSee - Blind & Visually Impaired Camera ‘TapTapSee is designed to help the blind and visually impaired identify objects they encounter in their daily lives.Simply double tap the screen to take a photo of anything, at any angle, and hear the app speak the identification back to you (Note: Spoken identification requires VoiceOver to be turned on).’

6 Great Tools for Blended Learning

6 Great Tools for Blended Learning See article linked above Edmodo is a great tool for creating blended learning experiences. I also would throw a hat in the ring for Schoology or Moodle. I have used both in the past for student and teacher learning. Until this article, I had never heard of Been for Education . Shared browsing looks intriguing. One tool I would add to this list is NearPod . This is great for teacher-led or student-led lessons, using a blended course model.

5 Ways to add Movement to your Class

5 Ways to add Movement to your Class GoNoodle Some of these tips are more low-tech than others. I know of a Kindergarten teacher who swears by GoNoodle . I first saw GoNoodle presented in an Ed Tech Master's class. If it is used well, its hard for any age group not to move. The final tip on the list, "Go Outside", may not be an option throughout the entire school year. However, with the increase in mobile technology, it is never been easier to use edtech outside. GeoCaching Here is an example that I have seen used before, GeoCaching .

10 Tips for Smarter iPad Usage in the Classroom

10 Tips for Smarter iPad Usage in the Classroom The iPad has had a strong impact on education, but how is it being used to improve learning in education? This article offers some great tips. One of my favorite is publishing student work.

10 Tips for Teachers Using Google Docs Collaborate with colleagues Keep a running record of staff meeting notes Improve your students’ writing skills Set up a peer review system Share or publish student work Multiple sharing settings allow you to publish student work by sharing it within your class, within your school or district, or by making it public on the web. You can even share a student’s work with their parents to showcase their accomplishments. Translate letters home to parents I have heard that it may be best to have a proof-reader before sending. I would include a message saying this document was auto-translated with Google Translate. Gift your students easy reference tools Teach your students how to easily utilize reference tools with Google Docs’ built-in access to a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. Liven up your assignments with visuals and graphic

14 Essential Google Search Tips for Students

Great article with excellent tips for students. How to Google Like a Pro  (Not included in the article) Search By File Type

Wall of Peace

Last year, I started a blog called "Wall of Peace". The purpose of this blog was to publish work completed by students K-12 from a district-wide Veteran's Day lesson. Wall of Peace Blog Student Assignment Page This lesson is a great way to get multiple grade levels and subjects to collaborate on a community project. I shared the original lesson plan with all of the teachers in my district as well as how I modified it for technology use. This has sparked a few conversations between teachers and myself, on how to integrate technology into their lessons. Thanks for looking. Thank you to those of you who have served our country, past and present.

Adobe Captivate Prime - LMS Adobe gets into the LMS (learning management system) market. Geared for business or schools. There are many other options out there. Some of them are: Google Classroom, Edmodo, Schoology, or even Moodle. Each varying in abilities, features, and price.

Its a Fake: Altering Pre-Digital Images

What did we do before Photoshop? Altering pre-digital images App Link: Grades: 6-12 Price: Free (Can't beat free) PROS - - Quizzes focus on how and why photographs are manipulated; explanations are both detailed and surprising. CONS - - Just 16 images are included, limiting the ways to explore and extend the material. BOTTOM LINE - - Faking It is a fascinating glimpse into how people altered photographs before the digital age, but it's likely to leave users wanting more.

EduCannon and other Formative Assessment Tools with Video Video Tools for Formative Learning Educannon – Creating a classroom movie is always fun. This tool allows the placement of videos in a formative loop allowing the teacher to check for student understanding as videos are watched. Zaption – Link videos to this wonderful tool designed to place formative learning with in a video activity. Collect information on student progress as they access from home or school. Edpuzzle – Explore this formative video tool that allows the teacher to track and view student understanding. Use a video from just about any source on just about any device. Allows for important student metacognition during the course of the activity. – Now teachers and students can create their own video based trivia games. Allowing the trivia to be based on content standards can bring a whole new form to learning. I have used EduCannon and EduPuzzle. Both are great if properly used!

Edu Hastags

These interactive word clouds can help get you some great information on the latest news, trends, and tips. Here are a few that I found interesting. #Gafe (Google Apps for Education) #Collabed #iPaded #edtech

Hopscotch School Edition-- Programming for kids From: Grades 4-9 Price: $9.99 PROS - - Simple drag-and-drop coding blocks offer a powerful learning experience. CONS - - So many options and relatively little guidance may leave some kids feeling overwhelmed. BOTTOM LINE - - With a pinch of patience and a lot of passion, this introduction to computer science and its underlying principles is highly accessible.  

Google Hangouts: Its Own Site

Google Hangouts , long since tied to Google+ (as most of Google's other features are including Gmail, YouTube, and Blogger). now has its own site. No google+ needed. This is a great tool for communicating with Chromebooks, and any device you have Chrome or Google's apps on.

Using Work Samples, Instead of Rubrics In the book Embedding Formative Assessment , authors Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy suggest replacing rubrics with work samples. Citing reasoning such as, "Rubrics rarely have the same meaning for students that they do for teachers." I agree with this statement. I have seen plenty of rubrics as a student and as a teacher. Many are not specific enough for students. This forces students to guess what the teacher is looking for. Rubrics should be specific and layout exactly what is required to attain the rating listed. As for work samples, there are many good research studies that support using a student work sample to assess student learning. The problem is many teachers (in my experience) have evaluated student work samples with rubrics... May be worth investigating in the book mentioned in this article.

Windows 10 - The Latest News!

Here are some articles I have recently found that detail some updates to Windows 10 as well as some upcoming features. You can use Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product keys to activate your version of Windows 10. Now you can use your old Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key to activate Windows 10. This is in response to activation errors users receive when upgrading to Windows 10. I personally like that you can use an old key, even on a fresh install instead of an upgrade. Windows 10 Updates may take down your Enterprise environment. Windows has automatic updates on by default. Windows updates can create havoc with group policies and management tools in Windows. However, I feel that this is no different than what many schools are facing with managing Chromebooks in the Enter

Forbes: What Cutting Edge Looks Like In a School (2015) This article is from Forbes contributor Jenn Choi, a former worker from the New York University School of Medicine's public relations office. She makes some keen observations on what the "Cutting Edge" schools will look like this year. I believe that this article shows a growing philosophy that technology is only one tool that is utilized by the students and teachers. Technology is not the sole tool for learning. While looking through this article, I noticed that technology is only mentioned as one part of the "Cutting Edge" schools. " Teachers are resourceful and creative. They can turn anything into a tool for teaching." "The school invests in effective delivery (or effective learning ), not just quality content." " Technology is purchased wisely and efficiently." "You see kids actually playing at sch

4 Questions to Consider with Ed Tech This post from "Teach Thought" raises some good questions for those using technology in the classroom. What can we do with a device that we couldn’t previously? This question raises a very important factor with education technology. Now that this device is part of the classroom, how is it going to change learning and instruction? There are many teachers that use technology for "Substituting" what was previously done without the technology, without changing the lesson. (See SAMR model) How will mobile increase learning gains for students? One of my favorite definitions of technology is that it "amplifies human forces". How is this going to amplify the student learning?  How will devices pair with our current class culture? What will be our key indicators of success? Many education technology programs in schools address these questions as a

What Happened When a School Stopped Assigning Nightly Homework?

There has been a great debate (good or bad) about the value of homework. This is an interesting case from an elementary school. What will dogs eat now?

3 Ways to De-Clutter Student's Minds - And More

This is an article that came to my attention recently. 3 Ways the De-Clutter Students' Brains Engage without distraction --> Organize the chaos Analyze sensory input --> How does your classroom look affect your students? Be unpredictable --> Don't let routines allow your students to disenage. I have now found another great source for information "Brilliant or Insane" Education on the Edge . This same author has contributed many other great posts to this site. See all of his posts here, Here is a sample of some of the articles I liked. 5 Amazing Tips for New Teachers Can your Students Write the Opposing Argument to this Gun Control Essay? 7 Things the Best Teachers will Regret this School Year 14 Social Media Tips for Teachers 14 Things Teachers should never do on the First Day of School 4 Crucial Lessons Teachers Never Learned 8 Questions parents ask Progressive Teachers and How to

5 Amazing Tips for New Teachers

Great tips!

The Do's and Don'ts for Teachers on Social Media

Very good tips

How YouTube Transforms Teaching and Learning


5 Reasons to Allow Texting in Class

A very interesting concept. From:

30 Facts About Gamification

Very good info-graphic.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Tech&Learning released this guide to Mobile Device Management Not included on this guide was Cisco Meraki. We still use this to manage iPads in my district. We also have been using GoGaurdian for our Chromebooks. We were initially just interested in the anti-theft solution, but we have been using their student history management as well. There are still some glitches, but their support team have been helpful at working toward a solution thus far. Cisco Meraki GoGaurdian

What will classrooms look like in the future?

This blog post got me thinking about what a future classroom will look like. The article was written by Sheryl Buckley the Director of the School of Computing at University of South Africa. Moses J. Strydom a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at University of South Africa. It got me thinking about, something I constantly think about, what will the future classroom look like. Even with all of the technology that has evolved in the recent past, classrooms themselves have not evolved too much. They still follow a similar format. What will the future classroom look like? What still looks the same in this video? Students are seated at desks facing a teacher. Teacher models information at the front of the classroom. Students are actively participating in the same activity (synchronous instruction) Each student has their own device to interact with

Muvizu - Free Animation Software

Came across this tool today. Muvizu (pronnounced Movie Zoo) This is a nifty app that could be great in a variety of situations. Since I have a background in Social Studies, I really liked the idea, shown in the video, of reenacting a battle sequence. From The easiest & fastest way to tell stories with animation. Muvizu is an interactive 3D animation package. The software includes everything you will need to tell your animated story and share it with your friends. Drag and drop customizable characters and sets, animation libraries and automatic lip-synching makes it easy to create compelling animations in minutes. Click on the "which version is right for you" to get an overview and basic training.

36 Weeks of Innovation in your Classroom (RE-POST)

Carl Hooker, an online tech blog contributor, has contributed this list of 36 ways to innovate in your classroom. 1 (being the Easiest) and 36 (being the most challenging). Definitely worth a look for some ideas for your lessons throughout the year. blogentry/9740


Q. What is Quizizz? A. Quizizz is a fun multiplayer classroom activity, that allows all your students to practice together. Q. How does it work? View a Video Walkthrough Select one of the  public quizzes  or  create  your own. Click "Play" to generate your unique game code. Ask your students to open  and enter the game code. See students joining on the live dashboard, and launch when ready. The game begins! Track live progress of your class on your dashboard. Q. What devices are supported? A. Quizizz works on all devices with a browser, including computers, tablets & smartphones. Q. Does each student need a device? A. Each student/team needs one device.

Classcraft    How do you add gaming elements to your classroom? Well I came across this app today called "Classcraft" that adds some gaming elements to your classroom.