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What it is: Zoho may look familiar to you if you have been with me for a while. Zoho has a great online suite of office productivity tools such as spreadsheets, word documents, and online presentations. If you haven’t ever tried out the Zoho tools, they are definitely worth a look! Zoho has...

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Evernote as an ePortfolio: Postach.io, Voice2Note, StudyBlue

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, Create, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 11-06-2013

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You know what no one tells you about starting a school?  That ending a school year is WAY more work than starting a school year.  Also, no one warned me that I would be licking cheap envelopes while everyone else was enjoying the freedom of summer.  We have just wrapped up our second year of Anastasis Academy.    I’m not sure what it is about heading into year 3, but it feels substantial and important.  Odd numbers are like that I guess.  This feels like the year that all of those nagging things that we wish we had time to tweak are going to happen.  Like we have a great groove to work from and now anything is possible. (This could also be the optimism that comes with every summer when schedules are a little looser and there is more time to dream).

I digress… this post is about Evernote and some neat new add-on apps I’ve been playing with.  At Anastasis, we use Evernote as our digital portfolio.  For the most part, this works brilliantly!  Students can record text, images, and audio directly into Evernote.  Notes can be shared and emailed to teachers and parents alike.  Evernote makes it easy to capture learning that isn’t natively digital in their eportfolio.  Snap a picture or create a short audio recording directly in Evernote and the learning is captured, searchable and sharable.  All of the incredible projects that our students create during inquiry can be reflected in Evernote portfolios.   Another HUGE benefit to the Evernote/iPad combo: it goes with them everywhere.  Recording learning on a field trip? Check. Recording learning at home? Check. Recording learning on the fly? Check. Teachers often send students a PDF instructions for an assignment or a picture to the student’s Evernote account. Parents can login to their child’s Evernote account from any computer or iDevice to see what they are working on.  Not only is learning captured on the device, but it is stored in the cloud.  This means that if a student iPad gets lost, damaged, etc. their work isn’t gone.

Postach.io

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Postach.io is quickly becoming my new BFF.  You see, we had this truly convoluted way of getting student work from Evernote portfolios to an edublog or an edu 2.0 blog.  It worked smoothly about 1% of the time.  BUT, we want kids to be able to “publish” their work for the larger community (Anastasis community and the wider education community).  Postach.io is the answer to our frustrations!!  Here is how it works: Create a pistachio account, click “create site”, authenticate your Evernote account, choose an Evernote notebook subdomain… finished!  Postach.io creates blog posts and pages from student notes in Evernote. All the student needs to do is create a note in a Notebook they’ve specified when creating a site. Postach.io then converts those notes to published posts and pages.  Add “published” or “page” to the tags in Evernote to publish it to the Postach.io blog.  So, now our students can quickly edit their notes to be post worthy, add a little tag, and voila! they have a blog post.  Currently Postach.io uses Disqus to add threaded comments.  (This is a secondary account for your students to create.)

Voice2Note

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Voice2Note is a fantastic way for students to turn their Evernote voice notes into text.  Students record their voice (just like they normally do in Evernote), Voice2Note takes that note and converts it into text.  Students can even tag their notes by saying “Tag with” at the end of their note!  Now students can search even their voice notes!  To use Voice2Note, students need to login to the Voice2Note website to register and connect their Evernote account.  Then, students just record their voice note as they normally would.  The rest gets taken care of by Voice2Note.  This is another app that is going to make some of our students HAPPY!! Many students have fantastic ideas but struggle with getting their ideas out in writing. Voice2Note means that they can say their ideas, have them transcribed into text directly in Evernote, and edit from there.  Not only is this ideal for struggling writers, it is also helpful for emerging writers who may have a large spoken vocabulary, but their writing is limited by what they know how to spell.  Voice2Note could also be really helpful as a pre-writing brainstorming activity, during the design thinking process, or during group discussions.  Previously our students were copying/pasting from Dragon Dictation…not a huge problem, but those extra minutes count!

StudyBlue

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A connection with a StudyBlue account means that students can turn their Evernote notes into digital flashcards they can study from. Study Blue makes it simple for students to turn their Evernote notes into study guides, digital flashcards, and quizzes.  Students can even set up study reminders. When students create an account with StudyBlue, they have the option to Sync with their Evernote account.  The integration will create a new notebook in Evernote called “Study Blue.” If students wish to, they can upgrade their account to StudyBlue+ which will allow them to share their study guides and flashcards, merge with other teachers and students.  StudyBlue gives students more efficiency in their school lives.  They can easily maximize their time by taking notes in Evernote (or recording voice notes and using Voice2Note to make them text) and seamlessly creating study materials with StudyBlue. Students can download the StudyBlue app to their device or log on via web browser.

***Please note that while we use iPads for our Evernote eportfolios, it isn’t necessary!  Any device that has a web browser will work (even that dusty old desktop in the corner of your classroom) and all of the add-on’s mentioned above will work with or without an iPad.

We use lots of other apps that enhance our Evernote portfolio experience because of their integration with Evernote.  Click here for a guide I made last year with some of our favorites!

 

Inside Story Flashcards: The world’s most interesting way to learn words

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 22-09-2011

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What it is:  First of all, how about that for a tagline?  “The world’s most interesting way to learn words” is a lofty goal for anyone to reach, but I must say, Inside Story Flashcards is doing a bang up job of it!  What makes these vocabulary flashcards so great is the accompanying pictures.  They are so appropriate for the words they are describing and offer a great visual to associate with the word.  In addition to the well matched picture, students can click on a speaker icon for audio of the word.  Students can choose to show or hide the definition.  Students can choose words at four different levels: Basic (includes words like seven, comb, typewriter); Easy (includes words like attire, inclined, endorsement); Medium (includes words like prodigy, monochrome, dank) and Hard (includes words like crepuscular, bedizened, atavistic).

The online flashcards are fantastic but there are also free printable flashcards for offline use!

How to integrate Inside Story Flashcards into the classroom:  Inside Story Flashcards are a superb addition to any classroom.  They are just the ticket for visual learners…petrified will forever more be associated with the kitten picture above in my mind!  These flashcards are a fun way to practice vocabulary and learn a new word.

Use the site with the whole class using a projector-connected computer or an interactive whiteboard.  Split students into teams to see which team can come up with the most creative sentence using the new vocabulary word.  The online flashcards also make a great creative writing prompt.  Students can use the newly learned vocabulary in connection with the picture displayed.

Students can practice their vocabulary skills on classroom computers using the “hide definition” feature.  Students can quiz themselves and then show the definition to find out if they are correct.

The print flashcards can be used in the low tech or no tech classroom.  Print out flashcards to keep in a writing inspiration station.  Students can use them to learn new vocabulary or to inspire writing.

Start your day with a new word.  This can be the “word of the day”, challenge students to use the word of the day in conversation at some point during the day.

Do you have students who are gearing up for the SATs?  Send this link home for some fun practice/learning time.

Tips: At Inside Story Flashcards, you can also purchase sets of flashcards with a theme.  I’m liking the cat and dog flashcards.  Can Haz vocabulary.

**For those who are wondering, I did write this post on my iPad.  It was not wicked hard…just different.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Inside Story Flashcards in  your classroom!

Study Blue

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 03-02-2011

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What it is: Study Blue is a very handy study tool for high-school and college students that works the way they do.  Students can use it to store notes and create flashcards.  Study materials are then accessible anywhere that students have an internet connection and even from their phone.  Best of all, it is free to sign up and get started!  Study Blue helps students study more efficiently by keeping track of what students have already mastered, and what they still need work on.  This makes studying focused and productive.  Students can easily create flashcards based on their notes and use those flashcards to study online or from their phone.  Study Blue is logically organized (by class) making keeping track of study materials easy.  Students can invite classmates to add to the notes or study materials from within Study Blue. Students can even upload notes they have taken outside of Study Blue. As students are creating flashcards and notes, they can enter text, audio recordings, and images. Even better, Study Blue has a library of special characters that can be inserted into notes and flashcards-perfect for math and language studying.

How to integrate Study Blue into the classroom: What makes Study Blue so brilliant, is the way that it works for students.  The features within Study Blue are robust enough to stay up with students needs, but simple enough that it will get used often.  Study Blue is a must-recommend to students. I love the way that Study Blue pays attention to what has already been mastered, and works with students to strengthen study habits.  The ability to share within Study Blue means that students can work together to share resources, collaborate, and tackle their studying.  It may be worth creating a teacher account to share lecture notes with students via Study Blue.   Study Blue is a great way to help your students stay organized, and make the most of their study time in a way that makes sense for them.  It is flexible enough to work for any student!

Tips: Students will need an email address to sign up for an account on Study Blue.  Study Blue is a free service to use, they also have an upgrade version that lets students compare notes with others, print notes, combine flash card decks, etc.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Study Blue in your classroom

Sumdog: Fun Math Practice Games

Posted by admin | Posted in Knowledge (remember), Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 06-10-2010

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What it is: Sumdog math is a site with an outstanding collection of math games covering over 100 numeracy topics and split into 10 levels.  The games are free to play for home and school math practice.  Sumdog games can be used as an engaging anticipatory set for mental math, or to reinforce a specific math topic.  The games can be played individually or in multi-player mode.  Teachers can create school accounts and upload classes to the program.  For a low-cost school subscription you can also have detailed class and student reports, set up class competitions, and set a minimum level for a class.  The free features of this site are more than enough to get your class having fun interacting with math.  With 100 numeracy topics, you are bound to find games to help your students practice exactly the skill they are working on.  Topics range from ordering numbers, addition, subtraction, doubling, rounding, multiplication, and division, to positive and negative numbers, advanced number sequences, prime numbers, and adding and subtracting negative numbers.  Each game asks targeted questions based on the level chosen, provides immediate feedback to students based on their answers, allows students to review any questions they got wrong and lasts about a minute.  Multi-player games let students compete against their class or students online worldwide, and provide an option for playing solo or against the computer.  Students can play athletics where they sprint against players worldwide to get the most questions correct; Street Racer where they are head to head in a car race against other players to cross the finish line first, Alien Invaders where students compete against another player to see who can survive the longest against alien invasion; Penalty Shootout where students compete against another player in a soccer penalty shootout of math questions; Tennis Tie-break where students trade volleys with a real opponent; Talent Show where they answer questions correctly to please judges in a talent show (think American Idol); or Canal Clear Up where students clean up trash from a canal by matching questions to answers.

How to integrate Sumdog into your curriculum: Sumdog is a fun way for your students to practice mental math.  The 60 second time limit of each game makes it a great math center activity.  If you have one or two computers in your classroom, students can sign into their account, choose their level and practice mental math for 60 seconds; when they are finished with the game, the next student can rotate into the center.  In a computer lab or 1-to-1 classroom setting, students can save and track their progress as they practice with a variety of games.  Sumdog is a welcome break from timed worksheet exercises and flash cards.  It lets students compete with kids around the world in a safe environment while helping them with faster number recall.

Tips: Don’t forget to tell parents about Sumdog, they are always looking for new ways to help their kids with math fact practice.

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