An edublog about integrating technology into the classroom.
What it is: Science Bob is a great resource library for the elementary science classroom. It is an excellent place for students to explore science concepts. Students can get some fun science fair ideas, experiments (that can be done offline), research helpers, science questions/answers, and science...
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!
What it is: Yesterday as I was scanning through my Twitter stream when I came across this tweet from my friend @jasonshmidt123: “Holy buckets of love, this is cool! RT @plugusin: Checking out Wiggio: http://wiggio.com/ for collaborating.” Now, any time buckets of love are involved I am intrigued- I had to check it out. I must say, Wiggio is a way cool tool for collaboration. Wiggio is a completely free online toolkit that makes it easy to work and coordinate with groups. Wiggio is SO very simple to use and has a very straight forward interface that makes it easy for even those who are low-tech. Wiggio lets you share and manage files, manage a group calendar, poll your group, post links, set up conference calls (including voice, webcam, shared whiteboard space, and screen sharing), chat online, send out mass text messages, and send voice or email messages to the entire group. Wiggio has a lot of features that remind me of Google Groups but some additional features that truly make it a “holy buckets of love” experience. Everything is in one place, handy and easy to use!
How to integrate Wiggio into your curriculum: I can see a lot of possibilities of Wiggio in the classroom. Use it to create a class group with student families each year. Keep families up to date with the latest happenings in your classroom, volunteer opportunities, and class projects that will need some parent support. Share all important documents, videos, and resources that you use in your classroom for easy access from home. (I can’t tell you how many, “I’ve lost the permission slip could you please send a new one?” I get in a year!). Keep all those documents in your Wiggio group file and parents will never have to worry about lost paperwork again. Live meeting opportunities mean that you can hold a virtual parent university where you catch parents up on the new math/reading/science/writing curriculum. Teach your parents everything from reading strategies to use at home to working through math problems together. Parents would love a little support in this area! Offer virtual conference opportunities for parents who are unable to make it for a live conference due to long-term illness, job travel, or in multiple parent homes.
Use Wiggio to create student groups where you keep students up to date with classroom happenings and resources. Offer your students a study hour where they can meet with you virtually for a little extra support or mentoring. Remind your students of upcoming assignments by creating to-do’s. Collect digital assignments using Wiggio files.
Students can create study groups of their own for collaborative projects. As they work together they can meet virtually, share resources and links, and create a schedule to keep themselves on task.
Working with a class outside of your school? Maybe in another state or country? Wiggio is the perfect platform for connecting them, they can work together with shared space and chat live from your classroom.
Wiggio can be used with teaching staff to keep teaching teams organized and give them a place to share resources, ideas, and share a common calendar of events.
Have ambitious parents? They can use Wiggio to collaborate and work with other parents for fundraiser events, coordinating volunteers, and special days.
I am currently using Vyew as my virtual classroom meeting space but Wiggio offers so much more functionality all in one place, I think for the next round of virtual class I will be making the switch! To quote Jason again, “Holy buckets of love, this is cool!”
Tips: Wiggio has a demo area where you can play with all of the features yourself without registering or creating an account. Note to all web 2.0 companies…this is a really nice feature, I wish you all would do it
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Wiggio in your classroom!
What it is:Only 2 Clicks is a bookmarking website that lets you store and categorize websites so that you can get back to websites in only 2 clicks. What is great about this bookmarking site is the picture preview of the page. I don’t know about you but I collect so many great sites that even my clever little descriptions don’t always jog the old memory. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words and generally I remember the site as soon as I see it. With Only 2 Clicks you can access your bookmarks anywhere anytime…even from your iPhone woo hoo! If you set Only 2 Clicks as your browser homepage, you always have your frequently visited sites in one simple place. Only 2 Clicks is very user friendly, rearrange your sites by dragging and dropping (how very Apple of you!) If you add search engines to Only 2 Clicks you can search directly from that page! You can also add a handy dandy bookmarklet to your browser so that when you find that great new reading site, you don’t have to leave it to add it to Only 2 Clicks. Equally awesome is the little tool that lets you import bookmark collections that are currently stored in your browser…so handy and making life easier. And, the cherry on the top? You can customize the look of Only 2 Clicks to match any great new pair of shoes you happen to be wearing! You have to love that!
How to integrate Only 2 Clicks into the classroom:Only 2 Clicks is the perfect solution for keeping yourself organized. You find a lot of great educational (and other sites) all the time. Why not keep them all organized in an easy to use place so that you can get back to that stellar math website you found last summer when you start your money unit? Not only is Only 2 Clicks the perfect place to keep yourself organized, you can make Only 2 Clicks the homepage for your classroom computers. Store all of the links of games and learning sites that your students use throughout the school year. Students won’t have to remember hundreds of web addresses or try to remember the name of their favorite reading website…they will know it when they see it. Students can use Only 2 Clicks as a place to collect research for projects they complete throughout the school year. Does it get any better than this? Did I mention that it has an iPhone (and iPod touch) interface?!
Tips:Only 2 Clicks also offers the ability to share your links with students or colleagues without logging in. Just choose a public web address and start sharing your categories. Is this cool or what?
Leave a comment and share how you are getting organized with Only 2 Clicks in your classroom.
What it is: Remember how outstanding School House Rock was? I know as soon as you read the title of this post Conjunction Junction popped into your head and all those great grammar rules came flooding back. Well now your kids can benefit from the School House Rock videos and lyrics. Sqool Tools has gathered links to all of the School House Rock videos on America, grammar, science, money, and multiplication in one place and posted the lyrics to accompany each video. How sweet is that?!
How to integrate School House Rock into the classroom:School House Rock is such a classic. My fifth grade students had a blast going through and watching these videos…I can still hear them singing them in the halls! These videos are a great way to introduce or reinforce a concept. You can also encourage students to create their own School House Rock type songs and videos. They will come up with some really great jingles to teach math and science concepts.
Tips: Now for the downside…these School House Rock videos are hosted on You Tube which is blocked by most schools. But, not to worry, I have a solution for you (it may require slightly more planning on your part): Check out Tech Crunch. Here you can type in a You Tube video URL and Tech Crunch will download it to your computer. Save to a flash drive or CD at home and use the video in class the next day.
Leave a comment and share how School House Rock is rocking your classroom.