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Webspiration Wednesday: Virtual PLN Hugs

I’ll be honest, yesterday was not a very inspirational Wednesday.  I didn’t get to hold my regular teacher gathering for inspiration because I was in a meeting.  It seemed like everywhere I turned, discouragement was waiting to stare me in the face.  So, what do I do when I am feeling...

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MobyMax: Tablet + help differentiating instruction

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 08-12-2014

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Moby Max: transform your classroom for $69!

 

It’s always nice when new toys show up in the mail to review. Especially when they promise to help make your program more tailored to the individual, that I really like!

What it is: MobyMax is more than just a tablet, it is a complete system that helps you identify areas of strength and weakness that your students might have through placement testing, progress monitoring, assessments, and IEP reporting; has practice for kindergarten through eighth grade mathematics, fact fluency, number sense, reading, language, literature skills, informational skills, writing, vocabulary, and state test prep. MobyMax also includes “Power Tools” acting like a clicker, monitoring behavior, messaging, a social wall for students, a parent portal, manipulatives and time reports. Students can earn prizes and badges as they work through MobyMax and can set their own daily goals.

Each student gets their very own learning plan with MobyMax with the adaptive curriculum. Students who are struggling get the extra exposure and help they need, while students who are ready to move on are challenged appropriately.

One of the things that I really appreciate about MobyMax is the mix of direct instruction and the ability for students to discover learning on their own through discovery-based instruction. As a teacher, the continuous progress monitoring makes formative instruction that much easier. Because MobyMax is based on the Common Core, you can analyze data based on standards, student, class, school, or even district.

The MobyMax tablet is $69!! It has a 7” screen and runs on Android 4.2. The battery life is 5 hours and should last most of your school day without a re-charge. Wifi and speakers are built-in and there is headphone input so that your students can use MobyMax Tablet independently without disturbing others.

How to Integrate MobyMax into your classroom: One of my favorite MobyMax features: it reads each question/problem/challenge for students so that your remedial or ESL students have an additional layer of support. Really helpful when you are working to meet the needs of a lot of different students! While MobyMax focuses mostly on the Understand/Knowledge levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, it is a really fantastic (and reasonably priced) way for your students to gain math and reading fluency practice. Each step of the way they are supported and challenged as needed thanks to the adaptive technology built-in!

MobyMax is reasonably priced enough that even if your classroom doesn’t have classroom computers, you could have several Moby Tablets. The MobyMax tablet would be a fantastic center where students can work on building skills independently. While you work one-on-one with students, other students can use MobyMax to keep moving forward with support. With class-sizes as out of control as they are, this is HUGE. The MobyMax tablet runs on Android which means in addition to all of the great MobyMax curriculum, your students also have access to all of the happiness that Android brings. Web browsers for research, additional apps, file saving etc.

In a 1-1 setting, MobyMax would be a great place for your students to interact and build a digital class community (practicing digital citizenship, communication, and building class culture). If you allow your students to take the MobyMax home for additional support/practice, you could forever banish worksheets from your classroom. Really! The feedback you get is fantastic and auto-magically adjusts to meet each individuals needs for practice and support.

 

At Anastasis, we are a 1-1 iPad setting, this works really well for us, but we also have a population where we can request a device in a BYOD situation. Many of you don’t have that luxury, MobyMax would be a fantastic solution in a lot of ways! Not only do your students now have a device, but they also get a robust math and reading fluency platform that enhances learning as aligned to the Common Core Standards. It’s like getting an extra set (or 20) of hands! Students who don’t have great support systems at home, now can continue learning independently. Really happy!

One of our struggling students (happens to be dyslexic) has a broken iPad and used the MobyMax for the last two weeks in his 7th grade year. “I miss my camera, but I really like the way it let’s me practice and read with it so that I don’t miss anything important on my own. They should make apps for the iPad so I can get the best of both worlds. Overall, I think it has saved me the last two weeks!”

The one thing I wished for in the tablet was a camera. At Anastasis, our learning portfolios are digital. We take a lot of pictures of non-digital work for those portfolios! However, at $69 it is hard to find too much fault, camera or no!

 

Tips: You can WIN a MobyMax Tablet of your very own. Leave a comment below before December 15 about how you would put MobyMax to work in your classroom. On December 15th I’ll put your names in a random draw and one of you will get a happy surprise for your classroom! Make sure to include your correct email address in your comment so that I can be in touch with you!

Happy Monday!

 

Wonder how we individualize learning every day at Anastasis? Join us for 5-Sigma Edu Con in February!

StackUp: Get professional development credit for Twitter edchats

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Classroom Management, education reform, Grade Level, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Reform Symposium Conference, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 13-11-2014

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StackUp: Get credit for everything you read and learn online

What it is: StackUp is a really neat new web app that automatically scores online reading and learning. As you work online, StackUp captures data through the free web app and plugin which can be used on Mac and Windows (iOS and Android coming soon). When active, StackUp captures and attributes a score time that is spent anywhere online. It then categorizes it into 60 different subject areas including: news, finance, engineering, fashion, technology, sports, and online classes. StackUp is a metric that can offer insight into the commitment and study of a certain field.

How to integrate StackUp into the classroom: In the increasing digital landscape of the world (and classrooms) it is important to offer the opportunity for students to research and direct their own learning. StackUp offers students a way to share the commitment of learning with teachers and other stake holders. So often, we think about time spent online as “wasted” because, let’s face it, there can be lots of moments of wasted time online. But, the Internet is also a rich landscape for learning and continued learning in areas of passion. StackUp is a way for students to offer proof of this time spent learning so that teachers can appreciate and offer credit for that learning. Often classrooms have certain parameters and reading expectations for students. What if instead, we offered kids the ability to spend time researching, reading, and exploring things that they are passionate about…and then offer credit for it! StackUp could be the catalyst for more independent learning opportunities and studies within areas of passion. One of the things that I find holds teachers back from allowing this type of reading, is the inability to measure whether a student has really spent time on task.

I’ve often lamented about how I wish that the time spent in online education chats and reading educational blogs, articles, and whitepapers counted as professional development and credit hours. Seriously, I rack up the hours and it is always time well spent. As an administrator, I would happily accept a StackUp record of the time that my teachers engage in online material and offer credit and professional development hours for that time. I’ve gotten more out of the connections, chats, and learning that I’ve done with all of you online, than most of the required professional development. This could be transformational for helping tell the story of the learning that we do independently.

Imagine “Stacking” up the learning from a young age in areas of passion, and continue throughout their lifetime giving students another way to distinguish themselves. Tools like StackUp could start to change the landscape of learning and how we decide who the “experts” are. Hint: it isn’t always the person with the most letters behind their name.

Tips: Worried that one of your students might be able to cheat the system and simply open a webpage and walk away? No need to worry! StackUp is built on a patent-pending software system that can detect the difference between a student who just opens a webpage versus the student who is actually engaged.

StackUp doesn’t always have to run in the background and record every single move you or your students make online, it allows users to turn it on or off at any time and delete time spent on a website or in any category…you know, for those of us who spend an embarrassing amount of time on Pinterest. :)

 

Want to really amp up your professional development with the best education conference you’ve ever been to? Join us for the 5 Sigma Edu Conference!

5 Sigma Edu Con- a truly innovative education conference!

Dragon Box: a game for students to learn algebra…secretly

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Download, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 22-04-2013

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      Dragon Box

 

What it is: Dragon Box has got to be the most brilliant game for teaching a new concept I have seen in a LONG time.  I am SO impressed with this app, I can’t say enough about it!  This is a math game that teaches algebra without you really realizing that it is a math game teaching you algebra.  It feels more like a logic card game than anything else.  There are 200 puzzles that secretly teach kids to solve equations.  They unlock each level by figuring out how to balance an equation (you have to isolate the dragon on one side of the board in order for him to emerge). After each level, he grows a little until he is full-grown.  Students learn concepts such as elimination, fractions and isolating variables throughout the game.  This is the best math app I’ve seen. It is NOT a drill/skill type app. It is actually teaching students to think like mathematicians instead of just asking them to solve a bunch of problems.

How to integrate Dragon Box+ into the classroom: I cannot say enough about this app.  The way that it gets kids thinking is completely fantastic.  Students learn algebra and how to think like mathematicians without even realizing it.  The game gives minimal direction, and invites students to explore and try new things to isolate the dragon.  The best way to use this app in this classroom: just let students start playing with it!  I love that this app could be played by students as young as six years old successfully, but also used by high school students where they would get those “aha” moments of understanding how algebra works that they may have missed along the way.

Put your students in teams, or let them explore Dragon Box independently.  Dragon Box allows for multiple logins, so you could even use it as a classroom center rotation.

Because you can download Dragon Box on multiple device types, you could even use this on a classroom computer connected to an interactive whiteboard or a projector and take turns playing as a class.  There are plenty of levels for every child to participate multiple times.

Price: $5.99

Devices: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPod Touch (3rd-5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS4.0 or later

Tips:  Dragon Box is also available on the Mac App Store, Google Play, PC shop, Amazon Appstore for Android, and Windows Store.  Even if you don’t have iDevices, your students can play with Dragon Box!

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Dragon Box in your classroom.

Maxwell for Google SketchUp

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 21-11-2011

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What it is:  If you aren’t familiar with Google SketchUp-you should probably start here and here.   SketchUp is an incredibly powerful, FREE 3D modeling software that lets your students create impressive 3D models.  Maxwell takes SketchUp to a WHOLE new level.  Maxwell for Google SketchUp brings students advanced rendering in an easy-to-use package for free.  The best part: Maxwell is fully integrated so that you don’t have to export or use an external application to render an image. Rendering happens in “real-time” so as your students are adjusting their SketchUp models, they can see the changes in Maxwell.  Maxwell is compatible with Windows and OSX!  With Maxwell students can create materials, set lights and cameras and render 3D scenes.  These are incredibly powerful tools…I cannot believe that they are free (I’m a little nervous to say that too loud in case they decide to change their minds!).

How to integrate Maxwell for Google SketchUp into the classroom: Maxwell takes student work in Google SketchUp and polishes it up to a professional level.  Truly, the results are akin to what the professionals turn out!  The SketchUp/Maxwell combination are wonderful for graphic art classes, math and geometry modeling, advertising lessons, engineering classes, architecture, science models, etc.

Don’t let the impressive results fool you, I’ve had 3rd grade students who made some amazing models using SketchUp.  I look forward to introducing them to the Maxwell plugin so that students can see their work come to life in ways that they couldn’t do before.

At Anastasis Academy, we have several students from 2nd through 8th grade who are extremely interested and passionate about architecture.  Google SketchUp is where I send them!  Students can plan, create and build.  Maxwell will allow them to visualize their creations in totally new ways.

I don’t understand why more schools don’t put these types of tools in the hands of students more often.  Exposing students to tools like this, gives them the opportunity to explore their passions and interests.  The tools are getting easier and easier to use and the number of tutorials is astonishing.  You (the teacher) don’t have to know how to use these tools inside and out, your job is to let your students know they exist, and help them find the resources to use them.  No excuses!

Tips: Using rendering tools teaches students about materials, light sources, shadows, etc.  Use Maxwell to teach students these science concepts!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Maxwell for Google SketchUp in  your classroom!

Moglue: Create interactive ebooks and release as apps!

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Download, Geography, History, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources | Posted on 26-10-2011

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What it is:  Moglue is an interactive ebook builder that helps students create and share their stories on mobile devices as an app.  This download desktop platform makes it a snap for students to create interactive ebooks and release them as apps for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Android tablets and Android phones.  Students only need to build the content once and Moglue makes it compatible with each user interface seamlessly.  No programming is required, this is a great creation platform for all classrooms!  Using a simple drag and drop interface, students can make their stories come to life.  Every child is enabled to be an artist now.

How to integrate Moglue into the classroom:  I think tools that make content creation simple are absolute genius.  As much as I would love for every student (and myself) to know how to program, it takes quite a bit of know-how before students can make their stories and ideas come to life.  The intuitive interface of tools like Moglue let students focus on breathing life into their creations and not on the technology tools used to build them.  Tools like Moglue are wonderful for the classroom where students are often short on time and resources (someone to teach them programming).  Because the interface is so easy to use, students can focus on telling a story, releasing their inner artist, and letting their creativity shine.

Students (or classes) can use Moglue to:

  • Tell a fractured fairy tale
  • Create a choose your own adventure story
  • Demonstrate science concepts in an interactive “glossary”
  • Create a class dictionary of math, science, economics or geography words
  • Write creatively
  • Create an interactive “textbook”
  • Create an illustrated dictionary for a second language
  • Create an interactive “travel-the-world” geography book
This is a neat way for students to publish their work and share with others!

Tips: The Moglue builder can be downloaded on Mac or Windows computers and has a great tutorial to get your students started!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Moglue in  your classroom!

34 Free Productivity Tools That Will Help You Eliminate Expensive Software

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 04-11-2010

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Today I am sharing a guest post that I wrote for Inspired Classroom: 34 Free Productivity Tools That Will Help You Eliminate Expensive Software.  These are my favorite free productivity tools to use in the classroom.  Here is the first paragraph, hopefully it will convince you to go take a look at the full article :)

Software can be an expensive burden for schools to carry year after year.  This expense can result in a decreased use of technology because schools can’t purchase the tools that make the technology worthwhile.  Lack of budget doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks.  There are thousands of free technology resources and online tools that will keep your students learning even without a large software budget.  Below are a few of my favorite free online productivity tools that offer excellent alternatives to their expensive software counterparts.

To view the rest of the article click here.

Aviary Education

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 25-06-2010

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Great news! Aviary has come out with a special education edition!  In the Education version, teachers can create private student accounts, manage assignments and projects, use the image editor, vector editor, audio editor, and music creator.  All content and images will be 100% school safe!  Right now the Education site is in Beta, you can request an invitation to test the site with your students.  If you aren’t familiar with the Aviary tools, check out my previous posts HERE. Aviary is a fabulous online alternative to those expensive Adobe creativity suites.

Ollie’s World

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Fun & Games, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 08-04-2010

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What it is: Earth Day is April 22nd, Ollie’s World is a fantastic place to begin the celebration early.  Here students will learn about the 4 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink as they apply to the 5 action issues of waste, water, energy, air, and biodiversity.  The site is packed full of games, puzzles, information and projects.  Students can create web pages using a free (downloadable) version of WebEasy.  The information section has kid-friendly reading about the 4 R’s and 5 action issues.  In Ollie’s clubhouse, students can play games and work on puzzles.  Students can also watch the Mis-adventures of Ollie, 3 animated videos about Ollie and his friends, dealing with issues of sustainability (currently there is only 1 video available).  In the movie section, students can watch short flash movies about important environmental issues.  This site is loaded with information, games, and video.

How to integrate Ollie’s World into the classroom: Ollie’s World is a nice introduction for students learning about their ecological footprint.  Starting out in info, students can read about the 4 R’s and how they apply to the 5 action issues.  Students can watch videos and play games that reinforce the lessons they are learning.  You can use the videos as discussion starters in your classroom.   Download WebEasy to your classroom computers where students can build a webpage about their new learning.

Tips: Check out the educators section of Ollie’s World for professional development opportunities, lesson ideas, and project instructions.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Ollie’s World in your classroom.

Tangram House

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Websites | Posted on 05-08-2009

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Tangram

What it is: I love tangram puzzles, so when I found Tangram House I was thrilled.  This online version of the Chinese puzzle lets students select a puzzle to complete and work with 7 tans (shapes) to fill the puzzle.  The tans can be rotated, flipped, and dragged into place.  The puzzles can be completed online or downloaded for free as an offline game.

How to integrate Tangram House into the classroom: The format of this website would be appropriate for an interactive whiteboard activity.  Split students into teams that will take turns at the board forming the tangrams.  Encourage the students who are not at the board to help out with good directions and clues for the student working on the puzzle.  This is a good way for kids to practice giving and receiving quality instructions and descriptions.  Tangram House could also be used on classroom computers as a math learning center or individually in a computer lab setting.

Tips: Play online or download for free and play offline.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Tangram House in your classroom.

GeoEdu

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Software, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 22-06-2009

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What it is:  GeoEdu is a free software download for both Macs and PC’s.  The software contains two parts, the first is an atlas with interactive maps and details for each country including the capital, flag, land and water borders, length of the coasts, the population, official languages, internet and country code, currency, international organization membership, and more.  The second part of the software is a game offering more than 100,000 geography questions about worldwide geography.  The game lets players give an answer or choose to answer with clues or multiple choice.  After answering a question, students can view their score and look at detailed data for the territory.

 

How to integrate GeoEdu into the classroom:   I’m not sure why school supply stores still sell the pull down atlas, with all of the amazing atlas and map tools available for free, buying a map seems so last century!  GeoEdu is a bright and colorful interactive atlas with great details for each country.  This free software is perfect for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector.  The game included is a great way to increase student geography knowledge.  Play the game as a class during geography or any time you have a few extra minutes.  Keep a running score going throughout the year that can be added to easily.  GeoEdu is also a great download for classroom and library computers.  Use GeoEdu as a geography/atlas center where students can stop by and interact with maps and play the game.

 

Tips:   This site does require a download so be sure to add it to your wish list before the start of school.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using GeoEdu in your classroom.