What it is: Interactives is a truly amazing website for teachers and students. Interactives provides educators and students with strategies, content, and activities that can enhance and improve students’ skills in a variety of curricular areas including math, literature and language, science, history, and the arts. The site has great webquest/interactive activities on a variety of subjects for first through twelfth grades. These activities are extremely well done. The spelling bee activity is really the only activity appropriate for first grade but I found that many of the activities that were rated for middle and high school students, would be appropriate for elementary students as well. I cannot say enough about this site, it is a truly amazing site for teachers and students!
How to integrate Interactives into the classroom: Interactives has a variety of interactive activities for the subjects listed above. These would be great to use as an introduction to a new unit, or as a learning activity or field trip in a unit. The Interactives could be completed as a whole class (using a projector), in groups (center style in the one or two computer classroom), or individually (in the computer lab setting). Any of these options would be time well spent for your students! Each Interactive presents the student with information about the unit and follows with interactive activities such as building a roller coaster, collecting rocks, or tracing the growth of the United States.
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What it is: Gabcast is a podcasting and audioblogging website that offers an easy way to create and distribute audio content. The most amazing part of this resource is that students can actually use a touch-tone cell (yes I said cell phone, put them to good use!) or land line telephone to make their recordings. Gabcast also provides worldwide access to the sevice through VoIP. Once a student has mad a recording and had it published, a newsfeed is automatically updated to alert subscribers (like other classrooms, students or parents) to your channel.
How to integrate Gabcast into the classroom: What makes Gabcast so ingenious to me is that there is no need for fancy equipment (i.e. immediate computer access or microphones) to record a quality podcast. If you don’t have a classroom computer, or want to be using the computer for other activities or centers, Gabcast is a perfect solution for creating podcasts. Gabcast is an outstanding alternative to more ‘traditional’ methods of podcasting. Students could also easily create podcasts from home since the only equipment needed is a telephone. Use Gabcast to create a weekly radio type broadcast for the rest of the school or learning buddies, create audio books for other students, or for interviewing others. Bring along a cell phone on field trips and record audio clips (like of animal sounds at the zoo). This tool would be wonderful for auditory learners. The possibilities with Gabcast are nearly endless.
Tips: Gabcast is a toll free call, visit the overview page for the toll free phone number for your country. You can embed Gabcast on your school, or classroom website or blog.
What it is: Kidz Online is a digital production and distribution organization with online learning. Kidz Online is the leading provider of training videos for students and teachers. Each of the 12 technology subjects is explored through five channels. The variety of formats draws students from a wide range of skill levels and interests. The teach IT section has videos that target viewers who are interested in hands on learning. A host guides students step by step through the concepts and tools behind each tech topic. Animations and screen demos aid in understanding. The KTK Live! uses sketch comedy to introduce the potential of technology. Streaming Features is an online career resource and shows students what kind of jobs are available in the field of technology. Gurl Tech emphasizes the importance females have in technology. Technology in Action is the final channel, it allows anyone to submit their work online, showcasing their learning to fellow students.
How to integrate Kidz Online into the classroom: Kidz Online is an amazing resource for teachers who are lagging in their technology skills or simply don’t have the time to teach technology skills. Students can learn at their own pace using the online instructional videos. Videos can be downloaded or streamed online. Students can learn about a topic or program that interests them or all students can watch and learn from the same videos. The videos are very well done and user friendly. Kidz online is the perfect tool to teach students self-directed learning skills. Challenge students to become the class “expert” in one of the programs featured on Kidz Online and let them teach each other. This site will excite your students about the possibility of technology in the classroom and in the future. Students can also create their own video tutorials and post for other students. Have older students create video tutorials of programs that younger students use.
Tips: Make sure to click on the “Lesson Plans” page for some great lesson plan ideas and teacher resources. While you are there, click on the Teacher’s Tool Kit for free resources including: instructional web videos, step-by-step tutorials, technology integrated core-curriculum lesson plans and streaming videos on various topics like girls and technology (gURL Tech) and career exploration (Streaming Futures). This is an amazing resource!