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Picturing America Part 2

   What it is: I have posted about Picturing America before (March 18th) but I just received my Picturing America kit yesterday and had to post again and make sure everyone was taking advantage of this amazing resource.  I knew that the kit was going to be good but I truly had no idea how AMAZED...

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The Answer Pad: BYOD Student Response System

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Classroom Management, collaboration, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-04-2013

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What it is: The Answer Pad is a student response system…only better!  What makes it better?  The ability for use with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) classrooms and the ability to collect student responses outside of your typical, limited multiple choice answers that most student response systems are limited to.  The Answer Pad is really made up of two parts.  1. The student response piece that lets students go interactive with outstanding drawing features.  2. The answer sheets that score and capture data from existing paper exams including full online reporting, the ability for students to show their work, and a variety of question types. The Answer Pad is available for the iPad, Android or from any web browser.  Download the TAPit Free app for the iPad!

The free version of The Answer Pad is pretty robust for teachers and students.  Premium features are available at a reasonable price that take it to the next level.

How to integrate The Answer Pad into the classroom: The Answer Pad is a really useful addition to the formative assessment puzzle.  I LOVE that it doesn’t limit teachers to gathering low-level data in the format of multiple choice answer (although this feature is available for those times when you want to check for entry level understanding).  The Answer Pad lets students draw and type out answers, making the feedback they give to you during a lesson that much more valuable.  The fact that it isn’t limited to the basics is GREAT!  Imagine a math lesson where students are able to actually show and demonstrate their understanding (not just their amazing guessing skills).  The instantaneous feedback is wonderful for adjusting lessons and providing more individualized instruction based on what you are seeing.

In addition to collecting more valuable math feedback, The Answer Pad also gives you valuable feedback for any subject, a blank template lets students free write/draw their understanding.  This might even be a great way for students to take notes during learning, you can give your students feedback on their note taking during a lesson.  I am always amazed when I look at student notes, some of our students really don’t know what is important enough to write down and how to organize themselves best for later reference.  Using the free draw in The Answer Pad would give you good insight into a student’s thinking process and help you to guide and direct them appropriately.

The reporting feature is also really helpful, being able to look not only at student answers, but also at the written work that led to the answer is SO valuable.  This embedded feature makes Answer Pad more than just a self-grading platform, this is feedback and data that you can really use to drive instruction.

Tips:  Premium features include: custom frameworks for scoring tests, ability to bundle assessments together for side-by-side comparison and reporting, advance functions for test scenarios, an additional drawing palette for the Go Interactive portion, support by phone, and access to black-line template library.

Thank you to @dkapuler for introducing me to The Answer Pad!

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  The Answer Pad in your classroom.

Codecademy: Learn how to code

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Create, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 05-01-2012

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What it is:  Codecademy makes learning to code a snap.  It is an interactive, fun way to learn coding one step at a time.  The site will prepare students to program websites, games and apps.  Learn independently or with friends, keeping track of their progress and comparing it with yours.  Students can track and share their progress to see how much they have learned and to stay motivated.  The platform could not be simpler to use and after just a few lessons…I’m starting to really understand and get the hang of programming.  I think that is pretty impressive considering that I have never had a lesson before now (not entirely true, a few years ago I went through the learn C in 24 hours course…I could follow along but didn’t really understand what I was doing.)!
How to integrate Codecademy into the classroom: With the popularity of apps, I have students who are just itching to learn how to program.  It is great to see boys and girls of all ages excited about learning how to code.  Codecademy is something that you can use to learn right along with your students.  You don’t have to be the expert because Codecademy guides everyone step-by-step through lessons and lets everyone move at a pace that is comfortable to them.  If your students can read, they can learn to code with Codecademy.  Today, a fourth grader at Anastasis started going through Codecademy lessons and quickly surpassed me.  His excitement was evident as he figured out variables in lines of code, how to set off an alert or command.  What I love about using Codecademy as a class or school is that students can work together, encourage and challenge each other.  When students hit certain lessons, they unlock new badges to display.
Codeacademy’s obvious use is to learn how to code.  For students who are passionate about gaming, websites, and programming this is a great sandbox to learn in.  Students get immediate feedback about the code they are writing.  Start a class club where students learn how to code together.  Use some time each week to learn to code with students, you could set the goal of learning to code together over the course of the year.
Codecademy is great for students who are reluctant to read but love technology.  This reading is for a purpose and students love it!  With Codecademy, getting an online education has never been so much fun!
Tips: Codecademy has created a new site called Code Year.  Make your New Year’s resolution to learn to code and sign up for Code Year.  Each week, you will get a new interactive lesson delivered to you via email.  By the end of the year you (or your students) will be lean, mean coding machines!  So cool!  I’m taking the challenge with several interested students and am looking forward to learning something new this year!

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

Ideas to Inspire

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Grade Level, inspiration, professional development, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 27-07-2011

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What it is:  Ideas to Inspire has been a favorite of mine for years, it recently got a design boost that makes it even more useable!  Ideas to Inspire comes to us from @markw29, Mark invites teachers from around the world to share their inspiring ideas for using technology in the classroom.  These are pulled together as a presentation that teachers everywhere can benefit from.  Ideas to Inspire has a handy new filter tool that let’s you find the exact resources and ideas you are looking for easily.  Inspiring ideas include: Amazing art, A to Z of ITC, audio, books to engage boys, ideas for classroom blogging, games to enhance learning, creative geography, geography gaming, get to know your new class, GIS and GPS, Google forms, Google maps, Google search, ICT control and modelling, ICT in the early years, interesting images to use in the classroom, incredible science, inspiring writing, interactive math, Internet safety, iPad, iPod Touch, learning platforms, making your lessons ESL/EAL friendly, mobile phones, Moodle, netbooks, Nintendo DS and DSi, Non-tech strategies, ways to present Internet research, Prezi, Primary Pad, Purple Mash, QR Codes, student voice, super science investigations, super snow day activities, supporting math, supporting spelling, techy tips for non techy teachers, things to do with digital images, Twitter, using backchannels in the classroom, using video conferencing to support the use of quality texts, Wallwisher, webcams, web conferencing, Wii, wikis, Wordle, document cameras, supporting writing, search engines, marvelous music, interactive whiteboards, Google docs, ICT shopping list, creative curriculum topics, pocket video cameras, teaching reading comprehension, Voicethread, YouTube and (if you can believe it) more!

The new filter let’s you filter by curriculum linked presentations or interesting ways to use: hardware, software or online tools in the classroom.

This great resource is not to be missed!

How to integrate Ideas to Inspire into the classroom: Sometimes we could all use a little inspiration.  Ideas to Inspire is just the place to stop for some guaranteed inspiration! I love that the ideas shared on Ideas to Inspire are collected from classrooms and teachers around the world.  That tool you have been using forever in your classroom? Someone, somewhere has thought up a great new innovative way to use it in your classroom for learning!  Does not get better than that!

For those of you who are enjoying the last few weeks (gulp) of summer, be sure to stop by Ideas to Inspire while you have some time to be inspired and make plans for the upcoming school year.

Tips: Fair warning: this website will suck you right in and make you want to spend hours exploring. :)

 

Stories of Learning: Christopher Columbus Creates 21st Century Explorers

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, History, inspiration, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, video, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 27-10-2010

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Yesterday, Silvia Tolisano of Langwitches Blog (The Magic of Learning) shared an incredible story of learning.  After reading through her post I asked if I could share the story here and she graciously agreed.  Siliva and the fifth grade teacher she worked with did an incredible job of letting her students take charge of their learning.  It has been so successful that her students want to continue learning and connecting their knowledge about Christopher Columbus.  I love that Silvia’s story of learning begins with a glimpse of what the planning for the learning looked like.  Silvia lets us peek inside the intentional planning and organizing of the learning.  Using an iPad and the iThoughtsHD app, Silvia and the fifth grade teacher planned a unit on Christopher Columbus that went beyond the textbook and exposed them to authentic research,  multiple perspectives, and the opportunity to come up with their own conclusions about the “hero” status of Christopher Columbus in the United States.  The results are truly incredible. You can read this awesome story of learning at my blog Stories of Learning or directly from Silvia’s blog.

Animoto for Education

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Character Education, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive book, Internet Safety, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 07-08-2008

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What it is: There are some really neat online tools that I find that live in my Google Notebook for a long time (I have upward of 800 links for educational websites yet to post to iLearn Technology…and growing daily!) Some get pushed aside for my newest cool find, and some move to the bottom of the list because, while they may have educational value, they are not intended JUST for education and may have some questionable user created content that I wouldn’t want my students to stumble on. Animoto was one of these sites for me. It is an amazing and COOL tool but wasn’t necessarily geared just toward education. I got a fun email today that Animoto now has an education only site! Animoto for education is a site where students can create compelling and impressive digital content quickly and easily. It is the perfect addition to your classroom’s digital storytelling kit. It is very intuative and easy to use, in no time students have digital videos that they created! This is also an amazing place for you, the teacher, to create a video that will bring your lessons to life. You can post or embed videos on your class site or even, are you ready for this?, download for in class presentations. Animoto for Education makes it simple to mix audio and visual for a dynamic, unique presentation in no time. It is so easy to use that students could create a complete animoto presentation in one computer class.

How to integrate Animoto for Education into the classroom: Animoto for education is a great place for you to teach from. Make any lesson come to life with audio and visual, use at the beginning of the day as a ‘teaser’ for what your students can look forward to learning each day or use to teach complex concepts in history, math, science, or character education. Students will respond to new media in the classroom. Allow your students to display knowledge of a concept using Animoto. Use Animoto for Education for a beginning of the year get to know you activity. Students can each create an Animoto showcasing who they are through pictures and music. Animoto presentations are quicker to create than traditional PowerPoint type presentations making them ideal for digital storytelling in the classroom setting. Because Animoto is completely web-based, students can create videos from school and continue working on them at home. The ability to download videos is outstanding…students could save their work for offline viewing too!

Tips: Children under 13 can’t sign up for their own account. To use Animoto for Education with your students you can register your students with dummy accounts using dummy email addresses. Animoto is private to your school. This means that other people can’t come accross student videos or contact students through the site.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Animoto for Education in your classroom.