Friday, September 28, 2012, your own online newspaper

I have spent some time this week playing with, a personal online newspaper creator.  This tool is easy to create.  All you do is create an account, and then pick the the sources you would like to use to compile your newspaper.  You can choose to pull content from Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feeds of your favorite websites or blogs, pretty much anything you would like to read.  I chose to create an online newspaper from my tweets, my blog posts, and RSS feeds and Twitter feeds that I particularly enjoy reading.  Once your newspaper is created you can have it updated daily or weekly.  I have chosen to have my newspaper compile each week to share with teachers that might enjoy reading articles about education and technology.  I think this is a great tool for busy teachers who don't have time to sift through their Twitter feed never mind check their favorite blogs.  This newspaper will do the work for you.  Another great way to use this tool is to create a newspaper of materials and topics that would be of interest to your students, and share the newspaper with them on a daily or weekly basis.  Check out my newspaper.

Link to my newspaper:

Technology Integration PD through Edmodo

Starting next month, I will be facilitating a new course for teachers centered around Technology Integration.  If you are a loyal reader of my blog, thanks Mom, then you know that the blended learning course I offered this summer ran through Moodle.  I chose to switch this course to Edmodo for a few reasons:
1) I wanted to introduce my teachers to another Course Management Tool.
2) Edmodo is FREE.
3) Edmodo is easy to use for teachers and for elementary students.
4) Integration with Google Docs

Here you can see my Edmodo Home page.  It reads like a social networking site with simple controls for uploading files, creating assignments, and sharing assignments and ideas.

Below is my library where I upload files and links that I would like to share with my class.  You will notice on the left side of the image that I have created files to easily organize materials to share with my class.

We will begin our venture into using Edmodo for our class starting in October.  Check back here to see how it goes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Add Questions to YouTube Videos

YouTube has enabled the Video Questions Editor (currently in Beta testing).  This means you can now have students watch a video with questions directly embedded into the video.  This feature can be used on videos you pull from YouTube, and ones that you have created and uploaded.  You can also ask students to find add questions to videos they are using in their research or are related to a topic you are studying.  This exercise is a great way to have students evaluate the content of the video and demonstrate their understanding of the important points to understand in the video.  If you're interested, check out the steps below.

2) Go to your YouTube account and click on Video Manager.  Choose a video to add questions.

3) Click on Questions

Then just add questions and save.  When viewers watch the video the questions will be embedded.  When your viewers have watched the video and answered the questions, you will be able to go back through the analytics page to see how your viewers answered the questions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Google Maps for Storytelling

Mr. Burns' 5th grade class has started using Google Maps to trace the journey of a character in their book.  Using place markers, images and video, students have identified elements of the setting, events in the character's life, and details about her character.  They are also starting to add trails to their maps that show how these places and events are connected.  What a great way to encourage your students to analyze important elements in a story and make connections.

When talking to these students, I was the most impressed that when I asked them a question, they picked up their text to refer to elements in the story.  As a former English teacher, I was ecstatic that they were already understanding how important it is to refer back to the text to illustrate a point.  When talking to me about this project, Mr. Burns commented that he was excited to see how comfortable students were sharing and explaining their maps.  As we start shifting to the Common Core Standards and Speaking and Listening Standards become an emphasized focus, projects like this one, where we empower our students to create their own representations of their learning, provide our students with avenues to practice and polish these skills, and maybe have a little fun, too.

Check out these students at work.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Want Desktop Icons for Gmail, Calendar, Docs?

If you would like to install Desktop Icons for faster access to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs, then follow this link to directions on how to install the shortcuts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Find Aegom Smart Notebook Lessons (K-5)

If you would like to access the Aegom Smart Notebook Lessons, please follow these directions.  They no longer live in your Smart Notebook Gallery.  They are now housed on our network staff drive.

  1. Logon to your account at school
  2. Go to My Computer
  3. Choose DBS Staff Drive

4. Choose Aegom folder

5. Choose ELA, Math or Science

6. Choose the last file to view the Sequencing file. 
 If you know which file you want, just choose it.  These files are only read only.  If you would like to make changes, please go to File>save as>save to your network folder.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Helping Students Become Citizen Scientists

Engage your students in the world around them, literally, by challenging them to take part in real-life research.  The Vermont Center for Ecostudies, encourages everyone to take part as a volunteer in their on-going research projects.  Sounds cool, right?  It is, check them out at:

Here is a list of their current projects to start exploring with your students.

Vermont and Hispaniola eBird
Report and explore bird sightings with this online checklist
Kent McFarland
Beginner to expert
Mountain Birdwatch
Adopt a mountain and survey Bicknell's Thrush and other mountain songbirds.
Judith Scarl
Beginner to expert. Hiking required.
Participate in the annual one day census of Vermont's breeding loons and help create a snapshopt of Vermont loon populations.
Eric Hanson
Beginner to expert
Vermont Loon Recovery Project
Help monitor nests and lakes.
Eric Hanson
spring - summer
Beginner to expert
Forest Bird Monitoring Program
Help track long-term changes in populations of interior forest songbirds.
Steve Faccio
Ability to identify forest birds by sight and sound. Hiking required.
Vermont Breeding Bird Survey
Help track long-term changes in populations of interior forest songbirds.
Steve Faccio
Ability to identify all birds by sight and sound.
Vermont Vernal Pool Mapping Project
Help map vernal pool locations statewide by conducting field visits to potential pools.
Steve Faccio
Primarily Spring, also Summer and Fall
Beginner to expert

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blended Learning PD

This summer I offered a technology integration course, TechSploration, to the staff at our schools in Hartford.  This 1 credit course proposed to touch upon Common Core and Technology, Google Apps, Web 2.0, and Social Media in Education.  This course was offered predominantly online over the summer through the course management system, Moodle.  

We kicked off the course by meeting in person to introduce everyone to Moodle, and to review the outline of assignments, communication and expectations for participation.  I asked participants to post their goal for the course on our WallWisher, which I posted on the front page of our Moodle site, to serve as a reminder for them throughout the course.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Google Reader

Google Reader is an application within your Google account that allows you to subscribe or follow blogs and websites.  Simply put, that means you can choose your favorite blogs and websites and have their content sent to you as soon as it is updated, rather than having to keep visiting the site to see what is new.  Think of it like your own personalized newspaper or magazine.  New content delivered to you, instantly.

Subscribe to blogs and websites that you want to share with your students, or if they are old enough, help them set up their own Reader account so they can start exploring topics of interest on their own.

Some suggestions for subscriptions:
Nat Geo Wild
Free Technology for Teachers 
The Learning Network (New York Times)
Science Friday

Take Technology Outside

I feel fortunate to enjoy the balance of loving and promoting technology use, as well as enjoying and engaging in the outdoors. I am often engaged in discussion with people that are resistant to using technology, or allowing children access to technology because they believe it will take away their curiosity and passion for being active and playing outside. I disagree. Technology, as I will say over and over in this blog, is a tool that can further enhance many experiences.

LeafSnap. Try the free app, LeafSnap. This app created by (add). Take your device outside and snap pictures of leaves, and then watch as the app helps you identify them. Not only does this app serve as a field guide, it also provides gorgeous, detailed photos of the cycle from the blossom to the leaf. Next time you take a walk, take along this app and see what you can find. Or better yet, create a scavenger hunt using LeafSnap.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Started With YouTube EDU

Here is a short introduction I put together to show you some of the features of your YouTube for Schools account and the content in YouTube EDU.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vita Learn's Tech Conferences and Workshops Fall 2012

Do you have a one-to-one program in your school? Do you have questions? Do you have answers? Are you planning for one-to-one, in the throes of starting one, moving it to school-wide, or struggling with sustainability? Come meet with other teachers and administrators and share information on starting, running, and maintaining a successful one-to-one computing initiative. 

Welcome to Vermont Fest 2012
VITA-Learn, the state’s leading Educational Technology Association, is pleased to offer three days of wonderful educational technology professional development opportunities for Vermont educators.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bitly, That Handy Little Tool

Bitly.  I first started using bitly when I wanted to send or post a link to a website, but didn't want to paste long links.  It was great.  But lately bitly has gotten even better.  Now bitly is turning into a social bookmarking site akin to diigo or delicious.

Bitly not only shortens your links, but allows you to create bundles where you can group links into groups based on topics.  For example, I can link all my shortened links to my blog posts in a bundle titled, Blog Posts.  Handy.  You can also share these bundles with others so they can view and/or add to your bundles, making collaborating and group projects even easier.

YouTube for Schools

Soon we will be moving to YouTube for Schools. Yay!

What this means for you:
1) Students will now be directed to YouTube EDU where content is filtered for educational purposes.
2) You can now create playlists of videos to share with your students.
3) You can upload class videos to our secure domain. These videos can be shared with specific users or made public.
4) You can still pull videos from public YouTube, but students will only be directed to YouTube EDU.
5) Thinking about flipping? You can create instructional videos for students to watch on their own.

So make the switch and start searching. There are great resources available like Ted Talks and Discovery.

Check out this article in The New York Times about YouTube for Schools.
YouTube Subtracts Racy and Raucous to Add a Teaching Tool

If you would like help setting up your account, just let me know.