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What it is: Collaborize Classroom is an online learning platform developed for classroom discussion and engagement.  Collaborize lets students and teacher collaborate in online discussions. It can be used for meaningful conversations related to classroom curriculum, to ask and answer questions, to...

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Shocking! The real purpose of your life! or What are we preparing for?

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, education reform, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, video | Posted on 26-11-2012

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Today @lancefinkbeiner shared this video with me.  It is too good not to share!  Now…how to make this the reality of what learning is really about in schools.  I can’t tell you how often in education that the answer for why something is done is, “we are preparing kids for…”  For example, we give 3 hours of homework to elementary students because we are “preparing them for middle school.”   In middle school we give additional homework and weekly tests because we are “preparing them for high school.”  High school has it’s own set of ridiculous standards in preparation for college.

My question: when are we preparing kids for life?  When are we preparing them to engage in the world around them?  When are we preparing them for healthy relationships with others?  When are we preparing them to ask good questions and seek answers?  When are we preparing them for what to do with failure?

The problem for preparing kids for the next system they will encounter is that the next system isn’t really the goal.  That goal is this imaginary place we call “success” and “perfection”.  Neither exist.  How do we prepare kids to live honest, meaningful lives?  THAT is what I am interested in preparing for.

Creatively Thinking Learn Central Webinar Recording

Posted by admin | Posted in education reform, inspiration, Teacher Resources | Posted on 20-01-2011

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Last Thursday I joined Dean Mantz and the wonderful ladies at Livebinders for an interview/webinar about creatively thinking, digital natives/immigrants, and education. I also talk about my start in education and introduction into technology.   If you missed the live webinar, you can check out the video archive below.

Thank you all who came to support and encourage me!

Just Doodling: Making Math Relevant for Students

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Blogs, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 11-01-2011

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What it is: This has got to be one of my new favorite videos on YouTube.  I ran across this video and tweeted about it a few weeks ago, but felt that it deserved a blog post.  Doodling Stars (above) is a stream of conscious video about doodling in math class instead of  learning about factoring.  As the video unfolds, you quickly realize that she has learned all about factoring through her doodles.  I would have connected in some major ways to this video when I was in school (maybe that is why I like it so much now), it would have given me that “wait that was math?” moment.  Doodling Stars is a video by Vi Hart who has a blog where she has other great math videos.  Her other videos include: Binary Trees, Snakes + Graphs, Infinity Elephants, and sick number games. Explore the blog a little further and you learn that ViHart is serious about her math.  In addition to videos she has mathematical foods, ways to play with balloons as mathematical models, paper instruments (relating music to math), music boxes, bead work, and a variety of other math/music resources.  Vi describes herself as a mathemusician, dig into her blog and you will know why!

How to integrate Doodling Videos into the classroom: Math shouldn’t be a subject confined to a textbook, seen only in terms of equations and functions.  I think I was in college before I figured out that math was all around me.  I had truly never made the connection to the formulas I was learning and their applications in real life.  Oh sure, there were the “If you left Denver at 1:05 pm driving an average speed of 63.2 miles per hour and arrived at another point 12 hours later how many miles have you traveled?” But really? That is not real world…I have NEVER calculated any sort of trip that way, and anyway, now there is an app that will give me all of that information if I really want to know.  If someone had told me that math was in my doodles, in the music I listened to, in patterns of nature?  Now that is something I want to explore more.  I’m sure you have students who have never made the connections between the formulas they are learning and the applications that are all around them.  These videos will have them visualizing math in a whole new way.  Dig a little deeper into Vi’s blog and share her math foods, balloons, and paper instruments.  See if your students don’t start viewing math differently!  Use Vi’s blog as inspiration for your next math lesson.  Use the videos to help introduce or reinforce concepts, or have students complete balloon math models.

Tips: If you can’t access YouTube at school, use a tool like Kick YouTube or Keepvid to download the video for offline viewing.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Doodling in Math Class Videos in your classroom.

28 Tech Tools to Bring out the Story in History

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Create, Evaluate, History, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 03-12-2010

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Below is an article I wrote for theapple.com.  For the full article complete with links, please visit the original article.

Kelly Tenkely | TheApple

When I was in school, I dreaded history.  I found it completely uninteresting, dry, irrelevant, and quite frankly…boring.  This was unusual for me.  Normally, I really enjoyed school.  Creative writing, language arts, science, and even math were fun.  History was unbearable.

I can count on one hand the things I remember learning in history.   I learned that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue,  that there was once a thing called slavery and it was abolished (I saw Roots in school at least 5 times), that there have been several wars and battles, and I remember my freshman history teacher breaking out in “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” (though I can’t say why).   For me history was a lot of dates, strange names, places, and events presented as points on a line.  The goal of history was to memorize all of these facts and dates, recite them on a test, and repeat the process the following week. Sadly, that was about it.  It wasn’t until adulthood, and my introduction to the History Channel, that I realized that history is interesting.  History became engaging when it was presented as a story.  It really isn’t about all of the dates, places, and facts.  History is about people.  History is about story.  Students need more than the loosely connected events, people, and dates that fill history textbooks.  They need narrative. Textbook writers are boring, history is not.  In high school I vividly remember reading a first person account of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the horrors of nuclear war.  Why does this account stay with me? Because it wasn’t about the dates. It was about the emotions, the aftermath, the effects on human life.

How can we engage our students with history?  How can we help them make personal connections to the events of the past?

Access to history has expanded, students today have learning opportunities that have never been possible before.  Today students have the ability to view and read historical documents first hand, ‘interact’ with historical characters, and observe the events of the past through the eyes of the children who lived it.    Thanks to technology, students can be truly engaged in the stories of history.

Primary resources are the actual documents, artifacts, and writings from history.  These resources give students an up-close view of life in the past.

Primary Resources:

1.  The World Digital Library is a collection of primary materials from around the world.  Students can explore artifacts that will help them to better understand other cultures.  This incredible collection of resources brings museums from around the world into your classroom for your students to explore.

2. Awesome Stories is a collection of primary source materials separated by category.  Primary sources include images, videos, narration, slideshows, artifacts, manuscripts, and documents.  Awesome Stories is essentially an interactive textbook.  With the interactive textbook model, students are able to delve deeper into topics that interest them.

3. Picturing America takes hold of the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words and applies it to teaching American history.  The National Endowment for the Humanities is providing classrooms and libraries with American art masterpieces. Bringing our Nation’s artistic heritage into the classroom provides students with unique insights into the character, ideals, and aspirations of our country.  The program is free for schools and libraries, providing them with 40 high quality, poster-sized masterpieces, a teacher resource book, and the program website.  Picturing America  brings history into the classroom, helping students create authentic connections to the past.

4.  Primary Access is a web-based tool that offers students and teachers simple access to digital images and materials that provides them the opportunity to create personal narratives.  The idea behind the site is that if students are offered primary source documents, they develop better historical thinking skills.  Students use Primary Access to create digital historical narrative movies that help add to meaningful learning experiences.  The digital movie is 1-3 minutes in length and can contain images, text, movies, and student recorded narration.  Students have a place to write, research, narrate, view, and search within Primary Access.

5. Library of Congress on Flickr is a photostream of historical images on Flickr.  These incredible photographs will bring history to life for your students.  Many of the photographs have no copyright restrictions which makes it a great place for students to find images for projects that they are working on.  These are also great images to use in your classroom presentations, and as printouts for bulletin boards.

Videos have the unique ability to make students feel as if they are witnesses to history.

Historical Videos:

6. The History Channel has a wealth of resources to teach history in the classroom.  From online historical videos, to a daily dose of history with “This Day in History”, the History Channel brings history to life.

7. American History in Video has more than 5,000 free, digital, on-demand videos in its collection.  The videos allow students to analyze historical events, look at events over time through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.  These videos will make students feel as if they were a part of history.

8.  Watch Know is another educational video site.  All videos are offered digitally for free.  Watch Know brings together the best education videos online into one convenient-to-search, safe site.  Students can interact and think critically about the videos by rating them and leaving comments.  There are more than 2,500 history related videos on Watch Know.

There are many websites that let students interact with history.  Whether they are playing a game or exploring a virtual world, these websites help students understand history in new ways.

Interacting with History:

9. Secret Builders Students ages 6-14 can live and play among fictional and historical characters in this virtual world.  Students interact with characters such as Shakespeare, Galileo, Motzart, Oliver Twist, Plato, Van Gough, and Amelia Earhart.  Students take quests, publish artwork and writings, play games, enter contests, and participate in a virtual economy and social life.  Students are given all the tools needed to build out the virtual world with their own ideas, activities and actions.  This virtual world has the added benefit of allowing students to interact with historical figures in ways that are meaningful to them.

10. Scholastic has an email sign up where teachers and students can receive fictional emails from historical figures.  These emails are written as letters from children who live in the past.  Get email letters from a young girl traveling on the Mayflower and a young Native American boy.  This is a fantastic way to give your class a glimpse of history through the eyes of two school-age children.

11. Scholastic’s “Our America” takes students on a journey through American history from the Colonial period to World War II.  Students learn about major events in the American story by reading journal entries from the people who lived them.  Students can complete their own journal entries about what they have learned.  Activities accompany each time period such as arts and crafts from that time period or designing a period home interior.

12. The Oregon Trail game is one of the memories I should have listed above.  I remember playing Oregon Trail in small groups on our classroom computer in fifth grade.  Through the game we learned about the hardships of being a wagon leader, how to build a team, and purchase supplies that would help us make the journey from Independence, Missouri to Oregon by way of the covered wagon circa 1848. This role playing game helps students connect to events of the past through play.

13. BBC Primary History has an extensive collection of activities, short readings, and a kids point of view on the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Anglo Saxons, World War II, and Victorian Britain.  Students can explore interactive timelines, stories, primary source images, and much more.  Students gain a sense of what life was like during each time period.

14. Picturing the Thirties is a virtual web activity from the Smithsonian.  This virtual museum exhibit teaches students about the 1930’s through eight exhibitions.  Students will get an up close look at the Great Depression, the New Deal, the country, industry, labor, city, leisure, and the American people in the 1930’s.  The virtual museum is full of primary sources such as photographs, newsreels, and artist memorabilia.  Virtual video museum guides explain each exhibit to students.

15. The Secret in the Cellar is an interactive web comic that is based on an actual forensic case of a 17th century person that was recently discovered.  Through graphics, photos, and activities, students begin to unravel a mystery of historical and scientific importance.  Students learn how to analyze artifacts, and examine the skeleton to determine a cause of death.  As students act as historians, they will gain a wealth of information about Colonial life in America.

16.  Kids Past is a history website created for kids that covers topics including: prehistoric humans, the rise of civilization, Middle Eastern civilization, the Ancient Greeks, Romans, African civilizations, civilizations of India, civilizations of China, Byzantine empire, the Slavs, Islam, medieval Europe, Asia in the middle ages, ancient Americans, the Renaissance, the Reformation, exploration and expansion, Asia following the middle ages, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution.  All reading on Kids Past is kid friendly and age appropriate.  There are several history games based on the reading.  Students can also find historical quotes and songs about history that they can listen to online.

17. Historical Tweets- Students can follow history on Twitter.  With Historical Tweets, history’s most amazing men and women can be more fully understood 140 characters at a time.  These historical tweets can act as motivation for students to learn more about historical events.  140 characters is just enough to leave your students wanting to learn more.

Static timelines are a thing of the past, today’s timelines are interactive, informative, and fun to explore.

Interactive Timelines:

18. Franklin’s Interactive Timeline is an engaging look into the life of Benjamin Franklin.  Students can play, listen, watch, observe, and have fun learning about Benjamin Franklin’s legacy.  Students can explore Franklin’s life through themes such as Franklin’s character, Franklin as printer, at home, doing good, and on the world stage. This site breaks Franklin’s life down into manageable pieces for students and provides a well rounded view of Franklin.

19. Capzles is an interactive timeline creator.  Students can add photos, video, audio and text to their timeline.  Themes, colors, backgrounds, and background music can be added to the timeline making it unique and personalized.  Capzles brings the timeline to life and allows students to add story to the dates.

20. Dipity makes it simple for your students to create and share interactive timelines.  Students can embed YouTube videos, Twitter, RSS feeds, Blogger, Flickr, Picasa, Last FM, and more right into their timelines.  Dipity makes timelines relevant and fun for students.  Best of all, students are creating and viewing timelines in “their language” of Digital Native.

21. Time Tube is the perfect website for your YouTube addicted students.  Students can type in a historical event and Time Tube will create a timeline of related videos.  Students will be able to explore historical events through related videos.

Research papers leave much to be desired in the history classroom.  There are ways for students to show what they know in history without the dreaded research report.

Creating with History:

22. Domonation is an animation website where students can create cartoon animations with characters, dialogue, props, music, and special effects.  Instead of presenting knowledge about history through the traditional report, diorama, or poster, students can create a cartoon of an interview with a historical figure or an eye-witness account of a historical event.

23. Xtranormal is a site where students can create and direct their own animated movies.  Students can recreate historical events, or create cartoons about a historical figure.  Hold a historical movie day to showcase all of the animations that students have created.

24. The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults is a site put together by the National Archives.  Students can create their own digital content mashups using primary resources.  Students are able to search photographs, documents, and other records collecting them to create a digital poster or movie.  Students can also create a Pathway Challenge.  In a challenge, students create a series of clues that show relationships between photographs, documents, and other records.  Other students can attempt to solve these challenges.  This is an incredible way for students to interact with history.

25. Creaza is a suite of web-based creativity tools.  There are four tools in the Creaza toolbox that will help your students organize knowledge and tell stories in new creative ways.  Students can arrange events in history with Mindomo the mind mapping tool.  Using Cartoonist, students can create comic strips and digital narratives about historical events or characters.  Movie Editor makes it possible for students to create movies with thematic universes, video, images, and sound clips.  Movie Editor can import historical film clips, sound clips, and images to tell a story.  Audio editor is the final tool in Creaza’s creative suite.  Students can splice together their own newscasts or radio commercials that display their knowledge of any historical event.

26. Animoto for Education is a site where students can create compelling and impressive digital content quickly and easily.  Teachers can use Animoto to teach complex concepts in history.  Students can showcase their understanding of history through pictures, music, and text.

27. Blogging- Assign each of your students a historical character to play.  They can research and learn about the time period, events, and people.  Students can then blog as if they were the historical character.  Other students can read and comment on the historical posts.

28. Museum Box is a website based on the work of Thomas Clarkson who collected items in a box to help him in his argument for the abolition of slavery.  Students can use the Museum Box website to collect information and arguments in a virtual  box of their own.  They can collect items to provide a description or add to an argument of a historical event, place, or time period.  Students can add images, text, sounds, videos, and external links to help them form their own virtual museum.  The finished box can be shared with other students, saved, or printed.  Students can view and comment on boxes created by other students.  This is a fun medium for students to learn and collect information about a historical event, person, or time period.

History shouldn’t be dry, boring, or irrelevant to students.  Technology makes it possible for students to interact with history in new and interesting ways.  Use these resources to take your students beyond facts and help them to realize the stories that make up their past.

Google Search Stories Video Creator

Posted by admin | Posted in History, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-04-2010

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What it is: Do you remember Google’s advertisement at the 2010 Superbowl?  It was called Google Search Stories and showed a story of Parsian Love  through a series of Google searches. Brilliant.  Now you and your students can create your very own Google Search story with Google Search Stories Video Creator.  There are three steps to creating your own Google Story: 1. Write the story, 2. Add Music, 3. Preview and Upload.  As you write your story,  you can choose to search by web, blog, images, maps, news, product search, and books.  

How to integrate Google Search Stories Video Creator into the classroom: Google Search story is an innovative way for students to display understanding or tell a story.  This tool teaches students to get to the heart of the story and tell it in a new, creative way.  Students can demonstrate their understanding of history, current events, a book that they have read, or a math sequence.

First, students come up with 7 events to search, paying close attention to story structure.  They should consider mixing web, images, maps, and blogs.  This will make the story more interesting.  Next, students choose music to fit the theme of their story.  It can be comedic, dramatic, romantic, country, horror, family, or sci-fi.  Finally, students can preview their story and share it with the world.

Think about sharing the life of a historical figure, or the story of Romeo and Juliet, or the scientific method in an experiment, or the story of their digital footprint,  or a fictional story that the student created.  Instead of writing out a traditional outline for a story, why not turn it into a Google Story?  The possibilities of this tool are nearly endless!  If you are introducing new information or learning to your class, consider doing it through a Google Story.  Watch the story as a class and find out what your students already know, what they need to learn, and what they want to know.  You could also create a Google Story as a class after new learning.  As you teach, ask students to jot down thoughts about what they could add to their search story to sum up the learning.  This will keep students engaged and thinking critically about the new material.  After the video has been completed, students can access it from home as an outline of what they learned in class.

Tips: Check out the Tips offered for starting a story, these tips will give you, and your students, a great jumping off point.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google Search Stories in your classroom.

Safe Share TV

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 05-01-2010

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What it is: Safe Share TV is a fantastic way to share You Tube videos with your students. Safe Share TV removes all distracting and offensive elements that surround a video on You Tube and allows you to share the video with a unique link.  Safe Share TV also gives you the option to crop videos before sharing them.


How to integrate Safe Share TV into the classroom: I love the way that Safe Share TV eliminates all of the related videos, comments, links to other videos, etc. from a You Tube video and makes it available with a unique link.  You Tube has some excellent videos to use in the classroom on demand. The problem? You Tube can share too much with your students.  Related videos may be inappropriate for the classroom, or comments left by others may be offensive.  Just today I was searching for a School House Rock video for one of our first grade teachers.  I found the video on You Tube but shared it via Safe Share TV so that the distracting content would be excluded.  This is the perfect way to share You Tube videos with students on a projector, interactive whiteboard, or as part of a center activity on classroom computers.


Tips: Safe Share TV includes cropping capability for You Tube videos, it is simple to crop videos down to the exact clip that you want to use with students.


Leave a comment and share how you are using Safe Share TV in your classroom.

ZuiTube

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Character Education, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, Geography, History, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Spelling, video, Websites | Posted on 11-11-2009

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What it is: KidZui is a site I have written about in the past.  The KidZui network has added some sites to the network that I just learned about.  ZuiTube is a kid friendly You Tube portal.  It is the largest collection of kid friendly videos online.  New videos are added to ZuiTube daily.  All videos are approved by parents and teachers before being posted on ZuiTube.  Students can watch educational videos, funny videos, movies and movie clips, silly songs, and music.  There is also a special section on ZuiTube just for videos related to Thanksgiving.  The Thanksgiving collection includes everything from the Turkey Dance to videos about Native Americans and Pilgrims.

How to integrate ZuiTube into the classroom: ZuiTube videos can be used as an introduction to new teaching (on nearly any subject), to add some humor to the classroom, or to reinforce teaching.  Videos are a wonderful way for students to make connections to new learning.  I have found a video that correlates with nearly every part of our curriculum.  I even found a great Berenstein Bears video for character education…gotta love that!  With all the snow we get in Colorado, there are bound to be some indoor recess days for the kids.  ZuiTube is a safe place to find kid friendly videos that students will enjoy while they are staying dry and warm inside.

Tips: I often have parents asking me what they can do at home to keep their kids safe online.  KidZui is an excellent recommendation, the parent reports are a great way to keep parents involved in their children’s online activities.

Leave a comment and share how you are using ZuiTube in your classroom.

If You Give a Teacher a Mouse

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 19-02-2009

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Today I finally finished a project I have been working on with my students.  I borrowed this concept from a video that I saw on Teacher Tube and thought it would be a fun way to get our teachers, admin, and tech staff thinking about technology.  I had one of my first grade classes record the audio for me.  The kids were thrilled to see something they had a part in on You Tube :)

Watch Know

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 24-11-2008

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What it is:   Watch Know is a new educational video collection site.  The site has not been officially launched and is still in beta version but already has a number of outstanding educational videos all offered for free!  Watch Know brings together the best educational videos online into one convenient-to-search, safe site.  Teachers, parents, and kids come together to find the videos, the videos are then approved for appropriateness by a media review panel made up mostly by school teachers and librarians.  The site is very easy to search by category, topic, or keywords.  Every video that I viewed was outstanding!

 

How to integrate Watch Know into the classroom:   Watch Know is a great place to find educational videos to introduce any topic to students.  The videos are wonderful to use as the anticipatory portion of a lesson to capture students interest in new topics, themes, or subjects.  The videos are also well used as discussion starters for classroom debates/discussions.  Because the videos are collected from all around the Internet but hosted on the Watch Know website, you can bring educational You Tube videos into the classroom even if your school blocks You Tube.  Encourage students to interact and think critically about the video by rating the videos and leaving comments.

 

Tips:   Videos are collected from all over the Internet from sites like SlideBoom to sites like You Tube.  Some videos are interactive.  I particularly liked the Logic puzzle interactive video where a logic puzzle is presented, kids can work out the puzzle and then click the video for the correct answer.  

 

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

Studio4Learning

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-09-2008

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What it is: Studio4Learning is a great site for students in fifth through twelfth grades.  It provides students and teachers with free, high-quality videos that can be watched online.  There are ten categories of videos to choose from Math, Sciences, English, Languages, Social Sciences, Business, Arts, Test Prep, Find a Job, and Tutor Corps.  Each category is broken down into several sub categories.  Videos are engaging and teach key skills and concepts in a fun way.  Students can also use the sites search feature to search for a specific topic.

How to integrate Studio4Learning into the classroom:  Students can use Studio4Learning as a place to stop for homework help and to learn or review concepts learned in class.  Teachers can use Studio4Learning as a center, with a projector, or on individual student computers to illustrate new teaching or as a place where students can review information.  Studio4Learning is free to use, if students register (also free) they can bookmark videos.  Teachers can upload class topic videos to Studio4Learning, again free. (Are you seeing a theme here? It is all free!)  As an added bonus, if you have a class website or blog, you can embed videos directly into your site for students to watch on any subject you are studying in class.  


Tips:  Browse through a couple of videos on the site, I know you will be hooked!

 

Leave a comment and share how you are using Studio4Learning in your classroom.