April 8, 2018 Tech Notes

I am available all week: please email, call or text anytime to set up a time to get together!

This summer’s district technology and educational training dates are scheduled for:

  • June 4-7 (Monday – Thursday)
  • August 20-22 (Monday – Wednesday)

BoomWriter: https://www.boomwriter.com/

Interested in engaging your students in creative writing activities? BoomWriter’s free tools help students with story writing, vocabulary development, literary analysis, and more! It includes great lesson plans and quick writing ideas and story starters. There are resources for creating amazing class projects, and helpful handouts and useful information, all created to help your students become more effective writers and story tellers. Create your free account and try it out with your students in grades 2-12 today!

Fluency Tutor by TextHelp: https://www.texthelp.com/en-us/products/fluencytutor/

Fluency Tutor helps students of all ages and ability levels become more avid, engaged and confident readers. What’s more, it gives teachers a clear picture of every child’s reading progress over time. This easy-to-use app lets students record themselves reading aloud on a laptop, Chromebook, or tablet, away from the stress and embarrassment of reading out loud in a classroom environment.

Many teachers have asked what types of apps can be used on our older model iPads. This is a great option for your students!

Bookshare: https://www.bookshare.org/cms/

Bookshare is an accessible online library with over 600,000 titles, all available at no charge for students (and adults) with print disabilities that limit their reading options. Bookshare is for visual impairments, physical disabilities or severe learning disabilities. Students listen to books with high quality text-to-speech voices, hear and see highlighted words on screen, can read with digital braille or enlarged fonts, all from their internet browser. Bookshare makes reading possible! As a teacher, you must register and be approved for an account, which is specific to a student who qualifies for the service.

Prizmo Go: https://creaceed.com/prizmogo

Need to get text into your cell phone or tablet? Prizmo Go may be your answer. It lets you grab printed text easily, so you don’t have to retype it. Before shooting, the app shows lines of text directly in the camera preview, so you can see how it will look. Once you’ve snapped the picture, Prizmo Go can read the text aloud, and you can copy and paste that text into other apps or to your computer.

Tech & Learning: https://www.techlearning.com/

One of my go-to magazines, Tech & Learning, is available FREE for educators. It gives you an inside look at issues, trends, products and strategies pertinent to the role of all educators – and gives you the tools you need to succeed! Visit the website and click on the Subscribe link to start your own free, all access (print, digital and mobile) subscription.

Parent Communication: http://bbbb.blackboard.com/community-engagement-report

According to the Speak Up data released by Blackboard and Project Tomorrow, there’s still a disconnect between parents and schools. The 514,000+ respondents on the survey provided feedback on a variety of questions, but I thought this was of particular interest to teachers. While 74% of district communications officers pointed to Facebook as an effective way to communicate information, only 16% of parents agree. The top four most effective methods parents listed for district communications were: Email (76%), Auto phone messages (62%), Text (45%), and Online newsletters (26%). And when it comes to teachers communicating directly with parents on academic progress, parents listed: Email (74%), Face-to-face meetings (45%), Text (39%) and Phone calls (32%). How does that compare with what you’re hearing?

Five Alternatives to Padlet: https://goo.gl/KQWLdu

No….say it isn’t so! One of my favorite tech tools for group collaboration and discussion is Padlet. However, Padlet has recently changed their model to a fee-based only product, which means it isn’t available for me any longer. If you use it too, you’ll want to check out this blog post from Richard Byrne’s Free Technnology for Teachers where he lists five alternative tools.

Podcasting: https://www.audacityteam.org/

Spring is a fun time to have your students try out Podcasting! Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis has two great introductory videos to share on her YouTube channel including What is Podcasting? and Getting Started Editing with Audacity. If you’re interested, take a look at those – and give me a call. I’d love to help!

Project Based Learning: https://goo.gl/5hnAtD

Project Pals is an interactive platform that schools can use to facilitate student-centered inquiry as well as PBL. It integrates with Google Classroom, and students can work in collaborative teams as they dive into a subject area specific or cross-curricular activities. The Project Pals platform is updated in real-time, so students can participate in a collaborative workspace as they view the progress of their project and participate in problem-solving activities. At the same time, teachers can access student work and provide feedback to students in a timely and actionable manner.

Here’s the link to sign up for a free teacher account!

PBS Nature Nuggets: https://goo.gl/KdxS8E

Nature Nuggets are short, minute-long videos drawn from NATURE, one of the most watched documentary film series on public television.

Nature Nuggets began as a new pilot campaign by WNET’s Education Department to test text-based technology as an effective community engagement technique. For this purpose, the minute-long videos from the NATURE series were repackaged for early learners (ages 2 to 6) and promoted as a tool for active science and language learning opportunities to parents, educators and caregivers across the nation.

Nature Nuggets videos are also available on the Nature on PBS YouTube page.

Science U: https://goo.gl/CMBNEz

Looking for some hands-on science to engage your young students this spring? Experiment! Each hands-on Science-U experiment includes an overview video, a student handout, and a teacher’s guide.  The handouts include a materials list, step-by-step instructions, guided scientific questions, keywords with definitions, and a description of how and why each experiment works. Engage your students in these fun scientific activities!

Science-U is dedicated to advancing science literacy in youth through the sharing and discovery of scientific knowledge. Our chief goals are to educate and inspire students, encourage critical thinking, and prepare them to become responsible, skilled and caring citizens, as well as capable scientists and teachers when faced with tomorrow’s challenges. This is a program of Penn State Science Outreach, the Eberly College of Science, and WPSU.

Creating video on Chromebook: http://classtechtips.com/2017/03/11/movie-making-chromebooks-spark-video/

I ran across a good tool and some great suggestions for making movies with Chromebooks, and it’s by using Spark Video. The blog post above, from Dr Monica Burns’ Class Tech Tips, provides some clear directions for use. It also highlights places you can look for more information. If you’ve been wanting your students to create videos on devices, this may be a big help!


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