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What it is: We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For is an inspiring documentary film that explores education in the UK and challenges us to dream of something more.  Big names (Sir Richard Branson, Germaine Greer, Henry Winkler, Bill Bryson, and Sir Ken Robinson) share their experiences with...

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Student Freelance: connecting talented students with employers for freelance work

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Middle/High School, Subject, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 27-06-2013

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Student Freelance via iLearn Technology

What it is:  Student Freelance aims to connect talented American educated students (sorry, for now this is US only) with employers who want to utilize those talents.  Students get an opportunity to put their talents and passions to work while earning money, gaining experience, and making connections with others in their fields of interest.  Employers win because they get a cost-effective solution and the opportunity to scale up.  The added benefit is the apprenticeship opportunity that exists here.

How to integrate Student Freelance into the classroom: If your students are anything like ours, they are wildly talented and passionate.  They continue to amaze me with the ways that they push themselves to learn in areas of passion.  I’ve had several students ask if I could connect them with someone at Google or Pixar so they can start putting their skills to work. :)  While I don’t always have that ability, I can now point them to Student Freelance.  This offers students the ability to share their skills and passions with the world, while becoming contributing citizens now.  It is also a great opportunity for your students to begin building up an authentic work-experience portfolio while they are still in school as learners.

Jobs are listed by areas of skill expertise and passion.  The opportunity can be a freelance job on location, or in some cases, a freelance job that they can complete from anywhere in the US by connecting online.

I’m looking through all of the freelance offerings of students and wondering…could schools utilize these students as a sort of adjunct teacher/mentor for students at their own school?  This could be a cool way to support students and make valuable connections.

Tips:  Spread the word to local businesses that Student Freelance is an option!  I’m not sure most business owners would know to look here.  It is a great mission to support!

Are you using Student Freelance?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Mural.ly: Google Docs for Visual People

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 03-04-2013

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What it is: Murally is a tool I learned about from my friends over at House of GeniusMurally’s tagline is: “Google Docs for visual people.”  Being highly visual, that description immediately resonates with me!  Murally reminds me a little bit of Wallwisher (now Padlet), it is a way for learners to come together to think, imagine and discuss their ideas.  With Murally, students can create murals and include any content they want in them.  Learners can drag and drop images, video, etc. from any website (or from their computer) onto their mural.   Learners can create presentations from within a mural they have already created.  The best part: this all happens with the ability to collaborate with others.  Murally makes it easy for students to collect, think, imagine, show and discuss learning.  Murals can be made public (shared live with a link) or private (only friends granted permission can access the mural).

*** email address, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus account required for login.  You know what that means: 13 or older!

How to integrate Murally into the classroom: Murally is brilliant in the way that it enables learners to work and dream together.  My FAVORITE feature: you can drag and drop content from ANYWHERE!!! It works like the spring-loaded folders in Apple’s iOS.  LOVE this feature.  Honestly, this ability to clip content is a game changer.  It makes creating a mural incredibly easy.  Stinking brilliant!  

Murally is the tool that I wish existed when I was doing research projects in school.  Students can conduct and collect their research solo or invite friends to contribute to their research mural.  Students can add text, drag and drop links, pictures, video and other content.  After they have gone through the hunting/gathering phase of research, Murally makes it easy for students to go through and mindmap it all into some sort of order.  This tool is going to make me a better writer.  Visually being able to organize research and thoughts is HUGE.

Being inquiry based, I love the idea of beginning a mural for students with the driving inquiry alone on the board.  The learners job: be curious together.  Ask questions, explore, research, collect evidences collaboratively.  Capture all of that learning in one place.

Murally could be used for any mind-mapping appropriate project.  This is mind-mapping in the future.  Truly amazing!  The collaborative nature of Murally is fantastic.

Students could begin a Murally with a novel as the base.  As they read, they can include quotes, related thoughts, pictures, video clips, discussion, and related research.  I’m always amazed by the connections that our students make to other learning, a commercial they have seen, or a song.  Murally is a great way to visually collect all of this to share with others.

Murally would be an outstanding way to hypothesize about what will happen in a science experiment.  Students can then add in any research, class notes, discussion, etc.  After students have conducted the experiment they can include observations, photos, and final conclusions.

Use Murally with a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard for class notes.  As class discussions unfold, notes can be taken for the whole class and shared later.  Students can add to these later with additional learning, thoughts, and plans.

Because Murally can be used to show learning, consider creating map boards where students link what they know of Geography with the cultures, habitats, religions, politics of that area.

Murally would make the COOLEST “textbook” alternative.  Student created, mashup of all different tools, collaborative, discussion included, and organized in the way that makes sense to the learner.

This is one of those tools that has my mind spinning.  The possibilities overlap all subject areas and are endless.

Tips: The collaborative feature of Murally is so well thought out, see history and message collaborators quickly and easily.  Wonderful!

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

DIY: a maker site for kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Art, Character Education, Create, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 08-03-2013

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What it is: I LOVE everything about this site.  It truly embodies everything I love about learning and technology.  DIY is an online club for kids to earn maker skills.  Kids (otherwise known as Makers) share their creations and work with a larger online community and collect patches for the skills they learn.  Each skill has a set of challenges that help kids learn different techniques and create something fantastic.  When a child completes a maker challenge, they can add photos and video to their online portfolio to show off their creation.  DIY is a website where kids get a public portfolio, an app that they can use to upload videos and pictures of their projects, makers can choose to do challenges to earn “Skills” badges, and a parent dashboard where teachers or parents can follow along on all activity.

Maker identities are always secure, children are asked to choose an animal and a nickname to help protect their privacy. Parents get access to see what their kids are posting online.

I love that this site encourages creativity, reflective portfolios and using technology constructively.  It is an outstanding balance of online and offline activity!

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How to integrate DIY into the classroom: At Anastasis, we strive to encourage a maker community.  We do have a 1:1 iPad environment.  For many, this equates to a technology rich environment (it is) where everything is done or consumed on a device.  I can think of nothing sadder than reducing learning to a device!  We most often use our technology to capture and share our learning.  DIY is a fantastic site that makes way for kids to be curious about the world around them, create something new and use technology to innovate.

DIY is a great place to help students discover the love and joy of being a learner and a creator.  It fosters a classroom culture of innovation and sharing of learning and accomplishment.  So many of the challenges incorporate learning that support standards and other learning that is “required” in the classroom.  These challenges would be great to take on as individual makers, in small groups of makers, or to tackle as a whole class.  Don’t think of DIY as an “extra” thing to add into your classroom routine.  Instead, look through the challenges through the lens of how it can enhance the learning objectives in your classroom.  Embrace the maker culture in your classroom and allow room for creativity and innovation.  The inquiry model of learning lends itself beautifully toward this.  DIY could be the catalyst to making the shift away from more traditional learning and into an inquiry based model.

Tips: Instead of assigning “traditional” homework (read: piles of worksheets), assign a challenge from the DIY site.  Better yet, let students choose their own challenge to tackle and make time in the classroom for them to share their creations and accomplishments.

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

Nanoogo: Online ePortfolio solution

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 31-08-2012

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What it is:  Nanoogo is a place for students to create and share.  Nanoogo has a digital canvas that lets student share their knowledge and ideas with classmates.  Parents can easily login to view and comment on student work.  As a teacher, you can create a custom channel where you can provide secure access to parents and students and moderate or suggest changes to content before it gets posted.  Nanoogo is currently FREE to all schools, they mention on their information page that this may not be the case forever…I vote to sign up while it is free!

When students view each other’s work, they can rate it with a “like, genius, inspiring, cool, helpful, cute, funny or beautiful” badge.

Student can take screen shots of websites for their canvas.  Here they can add a sentence about what they learned/did.

How to integrate Nanoogo into your curriculum: At Anastasis Academy, we have a digital learning environment with 1 to 1 iPads.  We are largely paperless which has been WONDERFUL!  We don’t do worksheets…ever.  Bliss!  Most of what we do is digital, project based, design thinking, or discussions.  One of the problems this creates is a lack of bread crumbs of evidences of learning.  When you aren’t sending home a constant stream of graded worksheets, quizzes and tests, how can parents follow along and see what learning has been done?  What are the evidences?  Nanoogo could be a great place for students to create and keep an eportfolio.  Students can take screen shots and pictures of the projects and websites they have worked on and add a short reflection sentence about what was learned.  Everything can be shared with parents and classmates through the Nanoogo website.  Parents, students and parents can comment on student work and give it badges.  For everything that students upload on Nanoogo, they earn GoPoints.  These are displayed on a leader board.  Instead of ranking students based on grades, they are ranked based on how much of their learning they share.  I like this distinction…I’m not sure I love that we are still ranking students at all.  I think it might be more useful for students to compete against themselves in the points instead of against others.

Tips: At Anastasis, we use Evernote for our ePortfolio.  You can learn more about that here:

Evernote as an ePortfolio in a 1-to-1 iPad setting

 

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

ClassConnect: all-in-one digital organization for the classroom

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools | Posted on 14-03-2012

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What it is:  ClassConnect is a website I have written about in the past (here) that has made some great changes that make it worth taking another look!  ClassConnect is a fantastic one-stop-shop for collaborating, storing, and organizing your life as an educator.  The real powerhouse of ClassConnect is the ability to build, organize and share lessons and resources easy.  You won’t be pressed to remember where you stored everything (dropbox, diigo, pinterest, twitter favorites) because with ClassConnect you can store it all in one place.  Even better, you can search and use lessons and resources that other teachers have built.  The collaborative nature of ClassConnect makes it easy to work together on planning out and sharing learning.  ClassConnect even started a great movement called “United We Teach” encouraging educators to share more.  ClassConnect is super easy to use, just find lesson plans and snap them into your lessons…there is no need for downloads!

You can set up ClassConnect to automatically notify your colleagues, students and parents when you make updates.  What’s even handier is that everything is viewable on computers, iPads (woohoo) and smartphones.  This makes it easy to plan and use from everywhere!  The lessons in ClassConnect aren’t only files, they are also interactive websites, games and videos.  Everything in one place.  Gotta love that! When a lesson gets updated, everyone who is shared on the lesson gets updated.

Did I mention it is free?  It is ;)

How to integrate ClassConnect into the classroom: ClassConnect is a no-brainer for introducing to your classroom routine.  Who could argue with an all-in-one organizational tool? ClassConnect makes it SO simple to share resources with colleagues, parents and students.  Think about how this could transform differentiation in your classroom.  Instead of just using the “one-size-fits-all” differentiation that curriculum offers (I hesitate to even call that differentiation…what a joke!), you can create folders of lessons; resources; and learning that perfectly fit the needs of your students.  Because they are so easily shared, you can bring everyone who needs to be on board, on board.  Students can go right to ClassConnect to view what you have stored for them there.  Parents can go to ClassConnect for additional support and ideas for furthering learning at home.
The colleague sharing shouldn’t be overlooked.  Imagine how much richer learning could be if we were sharing our best finds with each other freely and in an easy to access location.  Changing the world here.
***By the way, ClassConnect has a truly AWESOME start up story.  This isn’t just some company. ClassConnect was/is created by a student who wanted school to look different. Be sure to read Eric’s story on the About page.
Tips: For every colleague you invite that signs up, ClassConnect will give you BOTH 500mb more of free storage (you start out with 1GB)!  That is a pretty sweet deal!

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

Pinterest: My new obsession

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 01-08-2011

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What it is:  Pinterest is a new obsession of mine.  I signed up for the invite-only version a while ago but hadn’t done anything with the service since.  In between Reform Symposium sessions I wandered back on to check it out.  Wow. I know there are other tools out there that do what Pinterest do but none that are so immediately user friendly and visually appealing.  I am impressed and addicted.  Pinterest lets you “pin” things from around the web on virtual pin boards.  You can create as many boards as you want and share them with others.  Each time you pin something you can give it a description and tags if you want. Pinterest does the rest and automatically cites the source and provides a trail to get back to the original.  As a teacher I love Pinterest for pinning all of those great ideas I find around the web visually.  I can write a quick reminder to myself about what I was thinking when I pinned it or how I want to use the tool.   SO great!  A lot of times I come across some random craft or picture that spurs an idea for something I want to do for the classroom.  Because it isn’t a tech-tool or related to education it often gets lost.  Pinterest is helping me grab all of those ideas and keep them around so I actually put them to use.  Very nice.

How to integrate Pinterest into the classroom: Pinterest is a great way to organize yourself as a teacher.  Gather up all those ideas you see online and then share them with other teachers (who may or may not be Pinterest users…it really doesn’t matter).

Because you can share Pinterest boards with non-Pinterest users, this is a great way to share things with students.  The resource could be anything- pictures, a website, a video.  Create a board for every unit that you do and share those boards with students so that they can continue exploring and learning.

Students can use Pinterest too, invite young students to help build boards in a class Pinterest account.  Create a board for every letter of the alphabet and let students add pictures that they come across to the letter board that it matches.  Pinterest has a bookmark tool that you can put in your bookmark bar to make this as easy as one click!  Students can put their first name in the description so you (and other students) can keep track of who found what.  Like a year-long web scavenger hunt!

Older students can create their own Pinterest boards.  Pinterest would be a great place for them to collect images that they feel say something about them-an identity board.  These boards can be shared with others and added to all year.  Not only will you get to know your students better, but other students will find connections they didn’t know they had.

Pinterest is a nice visual way for students to share their web findings.  Pinterest even lets students decide if they want to be the only contributor to their board or if they want to open it up for collaboration so others can add their findings to the board.  Way cool.

I have two Pinterest boards that may be of interest to you, one is Classroom Inspiration where I am keeping ideas of things I want to do with students or for our classroom.  The other is School Design where I am collecting inspirational designs that I want to see in our school when we build our own building.

Tips: Right now Pinterest is an invitation only site.  You can sign up to receive an invitation (I received mine in about 10 min) or you can let me know you are interested in an invite and I can get you on the list.  See that? It is worth reading to the bottom of posts- VIP access! Leave a comment if you want an invite and be sure to use a real email address because that is how the invite gets to you.

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

Web 2.0 Library

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Grade Level, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 13-06-2011

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What it is: Many of us are heading into the summer vacation months, a time when our non-education friends and family view us with envy over our “2 month break”.  I don’t know about you, but I NEVER had a summer where I wasn’t working on education in some capacity.  Summer is a time to prepare for the next school year, dream up new projects and explore all of those things we didn’t have time for during the school year.  Web 2.0 Library is a fun one to explore this summer for some new resources for your classroom tech tool box.  Find web tools that will help teachers and students connect, collaborate and create.  When you choose a topic, you will be taken to a login page.  Click “login as guest” to proceed.  Icons accompany each tool that offer additional understanding for each tool.  The i give more information about how to use the tool, the @ gives activities that can be done using the tool and the video icon includes a video that teaches more about the tool.

How to integrate Web 2.0 Library into the classroom: Web 2.0 Library is a great one-stop shop for Web 2.0 tools that can be used in the classroom.  These tools are well organized and the supporting information makes it a snap to find the perfect tool for your classroom.  Quickly get ideas for activities, get more information about the tool and view a video about the tool.  You are sure to find some new goodies that can make your classroom more connected and creative!

Tips: Don’t forget to login as “guest” to access all of the web 2.0 goodness.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Web 2.0 Library  in your classroom!

IDroo: Online educational multi user whiteboard

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Download, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 07-03-2011

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What it is: IDroo is an educational multi user whiteboard that lets students instantly collaborate online.  Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time.  IDroo supports an unlimited number of meeting participants, the only limitations are computer power and internet connection speed.  There is a professional math typing tool built-in making it easy to teach or work through math problems collaboratively. Best of all, IDroo can be used with Skype! IDroo is free for non-commercial use. Now for the downfall (and this is a HUGE downfall in my humble opinion), IDroo is currently only available for Windows.  I  know, disappointment for us Mac lovers. *sigh*  If you are using a Windows computer this is a great way to collaborate online!

How to integrate IDroo into the classroom: IDroo would be a great app for collaborating with other classrooms around the world.  Students can use the multi user whiteboard space to work together, share ideas, and brainstorm.  IDroo would also be fantastic as a way for teachers to tutor students virtually.  Set up an “open lab” time once a week online where students can drop in and get extra help.  Virtual lab times are especially helpful for elementary students who can’t dictate their own schedules and often can’t stay after school for extra help.

Tips: Don’t forget to allow IDroo to access Skype API after you download!

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

Google Science Fair: Registration open!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Character Education, Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-01-2011

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What it is: About a month ago I wrote a post about Google Science Fair… great news! Registration is now open :) Google has partnered with NASA, CERN, National Geographic, Scientific American, and LEGO group to create a new global competition.  Students ages 13 to 18 can take part in the competition and compete for prizes including once-in-a-lifetime experiences, internships and scholarships.  Submissions will be accepted between January 11 and April 4, 2011.

From the Google Science Fair website:

Why Google Science Fair?

  • Digital — Students are immersed in a digital world and can be thought of as digital natives. Why not have them investigate, evaluate, analyze, synthesize, and publish their results using an electronic medium that is relevant for them? It is a cost–saving and greener alternative.
  • Global — This program’s reach goes far beyond that of any school site, district, region, or even state. Be among the schools around the world that will be sharing students’ findings with each other.
  • Collaborative — Google tools are all made to be collaborative whether students (and teachers) are in the same classroom or across the Atlantic. Students have the ability to work together anywhere, anytime to investigate a topic or question of interest.

How to integrate Google Science Fair into your curriculum: Google Science Fair is a fantastic opportunity for your students to connect with others globally and work on some scientific inquiry at the same time. Check out the website for full details about the competition and ways that you can integrate it into your classroom.

Tips: Sign up today to receive the Science Fair kit and get your students entered into the competition!

Dushare

Posted by admin | Posted in Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 10-09-2010

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What it is: Dushare is an incredibly easy way to share files.  Dushare lets you transfer files via a web browser as fast as you can upload.  The site could not be easier to use, just pick your file, decide if you want it password protected to download, and then share the file.  Dushare requires NO login or registration, it really is simple to use!  While the transfer is in progress, you can chat with the person you are transferring the file to over Dushare.  File sharing just doesn’t get much easier than this!

How to integrate Dushare into your curriculum: Dushare is a great way to quickly share files with students, colleagues, or Twitter friends.  In a computer lab setting, quickly share a file with all of your students via url.  If they can access a website and have downloading privileges, they can access the file.  Students can use Dushare to quickly turn in work or send in work that needs a quick review.  Need to send something to a colleague but your work email limits the size of an attachment? Dushare can make sharing that file a breeze.  Dushare works when an IM transfer fails, it’s too big for email, or someone is blocked behind a firewall.  Share away!

Tips: Dushare doesn’t view chats or files, they just facilitate the transfer of files over a secure connection.  Dushare sets absolutely NO limits on file sizes of file types making it easy to send whatever you need to.

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