Three Ring

I recently ran across this clever resource on this blog by Richard Byrne. Three Ring allows users (with the free app – both Mac and Android) to take pictures of student work and easily upload it to the synced website. Work can be sorted by class and student as well as tagged for easy categorizing. This creates a quick and easy electronic collection or portfolio of student work.

The main benefit here is that you can just snap a picture with your iPhone or Android-based phone, organize, and tag and you’re all set. Files can then be viewed online by students and parents.

Classroom uses: electronic portfolios, electronic files (without scanning!)

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: Creating, Evaluating

Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life (www.eol.org) “is a collaborative effort among scientists and the general public to bring together information about all 1.9 million species on the planet. All information is open source and freely accessible.”

Originally created for professional use, this online resource has been redesigned for public use. This amazing resource is absolutely full of information for students and teachers.

Some of the resources the website offers are:

Uses in the classroom: See list above or go here to DISCOVER…Also, students/teachers/normal people can join and create collections of content to share.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: understanding, remembering, creating, evaluating

Qwiki: Good for audio learners

I don’t want to spend too much time on this resource, but it does deserve some recognition. The thing that really made me stop and take a good look at Qwiki was the audio component. It seems that most websites rely heavily on images (which Qwiki does) and text as communication tools, but stop there. On Qwiki, audio narration accompanies images for the viewer – a great resource for those audio learners. Sometimes the words are mispronounced, but the voice is quite pleasant and gets the job done. Once the presentation is over, the site then directs the user to additional resources on the chosen topic. This is a good resource for student research or just for sitting down and learning something new!

Using it in the classroom: Research information, ideas for presentations, review content taught in class

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: Understanding, evaluating

Weebly. It really doesn’t get any easier.

If you haven’t yet heard of Weebly, this free website builder is just about the easiest program out there to use. Step 1, sign up for a free account at weebly.com. Step 2, click the add site button. Step 3, start adding content to your site with the drag and drop editor. It is really that simple.

Some ways to use this in your classroom? Some schools I know are using this as a class website for home/school communications. Teachers and can upload all kinds of content like assignments, videos for instruction, newsletters, announcements…the list goes on. Students can be added as editors to the website so they can turn in assignments, upload personal media albums like videos and slideshows. Other resources include Google maps, audio player, polls, and online bookings. It truly is a great way to build a free website. Upgrade to Weebly Pro and you get even more.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: Creating, Applying

Quizlet


Quizlet
is an online study tool that allows students/teachers to upload and share content. Likewise, users can search for specific topics, study, and take quizzes that are already online. It offers 4 different study modes: flashcards, speller (write what you hear), learn, and test. A free account is available or you can pay US$15/year for an account with more bells and whistles.

Other features:

  • Audio in 18 languages
  • Games for learning
  • 9 million free sets of flashcards to search
  • Standardized test practice (AP, SAT)
  • App for mobile devices
  • Instant feedback/reteaching

If you are feeling smart (Fabian) take some quizzes and see how you do. Great classroom study tool for all grade levels.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: Understanding, Remembering, Analyzing

PBS Kids Lab

PBS is just awesome. There’s no two ways about it. They work hard to make sure kids are learning and having fun while doing it. All their content is research-based, aligned with standards, and highly interactive. They keep up with technology and know what works best for educators and students. But wait…it’s also free! How’s that for a sales pitch?

The PBS Lab has recently gone through some upgrades and now has more than 50 games to help children ages 2-8 improve their math skills. You can read more about it here. It has games designed for home, the classroom, interactive whiteboards, and mobile devices. They have it all covered. Go see what the hoopla is all about.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: Evaluating, Applying, Remembering

Pinterest – Be Prepared to Get Lost

Okay, I have to admit that originally I was against Pinterest. This was because all the friends I knew that were signing up were, ahem, girls.

I’ll restart this post with an apology…I’m sorry I judged Pinterest based on the subscribers I knew. In all honesty, I now love this site and often find myself whiling away my precious time because, “that’s awesome (click), and that’s awesome (click), and that’s awesome (click)”…on and on it goes.

For those of you that don’t know what Pinterest is, it is basically a bookmarking site that you share with people you know (and don’t know). The program organizes your bookmarks (pins) into boards – kind of like a bulletin board. This is actually what made me think it was too girly for me. I had visions of scrapbooking (not that there’s anything wrong with scrapbooking) in my head, and I don’t do that. Anyhow, when you find something you like, you click the “Pin It” button you got from the Pinterest site and all the graphics you see can then be “pinned” to your boards. When clicked by other users, they will be taken back to the related site. You can also comment on and repin other pins. That’s a lot of pinning.

The cool thing about Pinterest is that there is an entire section on Education. This would also be a good resource for classroom websites. Sqworl for the more refined. Go check it out. Dig around. If you want to join, be aware that you will have to wait a few days until your invitation is complete. I guess they are kind of snobby that way, but it also reminds me of a tea party.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: Analyzing, creating, remembering

Map Work

Free is good, no? Granted, what is free today may not be free tomorrow. Or, if you live in Hong Kong it will just be gone tomorrow. So, get it while you can!

Scribble Maps is yet another resource powered by Google (so it should be free forever). It uses the Google Maps database to create instant maps that teachers or students can customize and embed into other content. In no time flat, I created the vision of beauty above. Add text, lines, shapes, notes, images…the list goes on. You can also view a variety of different maps: satellite, topo, and constellations! Use it in the classroom to mark historical sites, create detailed images for presentations, locate geographical landmarks, etc. Once you finish scribbling, save the image or share it.

The editor was sufficient, but I really needed an undo button (ctrl z worked most of the time), and I wasn’t able to figure out how to resize those images, so make keep that in mind when you get working.

If you and your students need maps you can customize and save, this is the place. Enjoy!

BDT: creating, analyzing

Mind Mapping

Ever have ideas in your head that need organization? Have thoughts in your mind that would make more sense on, say, a map of some sort? Maybe like a mind map?  Every year I teach my students how to map out their thoughts on everything from story elements to science projects. This quick exercise helps students stay more organized and logically process their ideas. It was especially helpful to those visual learners who needed to see their ideas on paper.

A quick search of “mind mapping” brought up this blog. The author lists 11 different resources for mind mapping. Some are free and others ask you to sign up to use their service. There are also a few applications that you need to download to use. I personally like the online programs because you can save it and work from any computer later on. Mind42 even allows you/students to collaborate together on a mind map when they are signed into their accounts.

I tried out Mind42.com and bubbl.us. Both were extremely easy to use and within 5 minutes I came up with these maps:

Mind42.com

Bubbl.us

If you really want to get into it, go here to download Freemind and make something like this:

Get mapping and free up some brain space!

Bloom’s digital taxonomy: analyzing, understanding

TED

TED talks is one of those video resources that you should already know about, like Khan Academy, EDU – YouTube, Teacher Tube, God Tube…all the “Tubes”. But, I still run into people like my friend Brad (extra smart guy) who still hasn’t seen TED. I can’t judge him too harshly, though, I had no idea YouTube Teacher Channel existed until a few days ago.

If you go to www.ted.com you can watch as many of these amazing videos as you have time for (or make time for). They have been going on for more than a decade as far as I can tell. Search for “technology” and you will get thousands of results on everything from Technology and Faith with Billy Graham to The Technology of Storytelling. I recently watched a TED video on how the magician David Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes underwater. Amazing.

Share this with your friends, students, and strange neighbors and learn something new today.

Bloom’s digital taxonomy: remembering, understanding, analyzing