In designing a lesson on the recent American presidents, I discovered Lessons on American Presidents website. The website is organized and developed by Sean Banville, which was adapted from The White House website. The Lessons on American Presidents website has an easy to read article on each U.S. president as well as downloadable lesson ideas. Check it out today!
I am in the process of filling out over a dozen teaching applications because I am relocating to New York. Most of the teaching applications are a PDF file. Instead of printing the applications and handwriting them, I am using a website called Fill Any PDF Form.
Any user can electronically fill out, sign, and email the form. No software downloads are needed and any PDF file can be used. The PDF can also be filled out by mutiple people without the need to download, print, scan, or fax. FillAnyPDF.com to be a valuable time-saving resource. Check it out today!
QuickVoice is a useful recording application that is easy to implement into your daily life. You can record new ideas, voice memos, shopping lists meetings, classes, interviews, teacher evaluation, or even an entire class period. This can be used in the professional, educational, and/or personal setting. It could even help students with studying such as recording useful information for a test or a classroom lecture.
QuickVoice can be used in multiple capacities in the classroom or in your own daily lives. This application is easy to use and implement. According to QuickVoice it is “the most popular, full-featured iPhone/iPad/iPod voice recorder available.” Check it out today!
When I bring my students to the library, they print countless articles that waster not only paper but also their time. In a truly digital world students should be able to save the articles in the cloud and then highlight/annotate directly on the file.
Thanks to Richard Bryne’s blog Free Technology for Teachers I learned about Marker.to. Marker.to will allow any user to highlight and then share the highlighted article. First you need to install a browser extension, then simply click on the icon to highlight any text on a website.
Annotating articles or webpages can highlight any important information and help students to better comprehend new materials. Another benefit to using Marker.to is that once you highlight an article you can share the page, which can beneficial on group assignments. Check out Marker.to today!
Thanks to Michelle Doman, a guest blogger at the Simple K-12 blog, I learned about a few interesting ways to “wake” students up in class. I like the ideas to increase engagement and excitement related to a lesson. Thanks Michelle. I can’t wait to try them in 2012!
Here are a few ideas I would like to try:
1. When responding to a writing prompt, have the students drop their pencils on the ground when they have completed the task. You won’t believe how MANY giggles and guilty looks you will get. classroom management
2. Play a sound clip of the Mission Impossible theme, have them act as 007 until the music stops. Then, whoever they end up next to, that is their partner for the activity, or that is the person that they share their Think-pair-share answer with. This is most defiantly a middle school idea!
3. Place random discussion or reading comprehension questions on sticky notes underneath a handful of desks. When you are ready to ask questions, ask them to peek and read-aloud the questions. This works really well for introverted or shy students. Plus, they LOVE secret note passing. Another great idea
4. Have each student call on the next student to answer your lesson questions. This motivates them to stay focused, and they enjoy calling on others! Great idea…. I can’t wait to try it.
5. At the beginning of class on Mondays, ask if anyone has any crazy stories to share from the weekend. I do this with my high school classes and students love to share.
I love using rubrics for assessment. I am constantly looking to improve my own teaching practice through authentic assessments. I recently discovered a website organized by University of Wisconsin, Stout Campus for organizing a variety of different multimedia based rubrics. Check out the rubrics today and save yourself some valuable time. Don’t recreate the wheel, just modify it!
I learned about TableQuiz from Technology Tidbits. TableQuiz is very simple to use and would be great to use in a 1 to 1 environment. Tabletquiz is an application that enables anybody to make personalized quiz and survey apps. First you create the quiz/survey on our website and then you run your app on an iPad, iPhone or Android tablet. Tabletquiz is designed to take advantage of the mobile device screen size, ease-of-use and multimedia capabilities (pictures, audio and video). This allows to create visually appealing apps in a short time, without programming.
The application is very simple to use. The quiz can be 20 multiple choice questions per quiz including images and videos. In order for students to access the quiz they need to either download the application on their mobile device or bookmark the website. Teachers can access the quiz results online and download them to an excel spreadsheet. This application seems very simple to implement in the classroom for a informative assessment or review activity.
I learned about Deliberation Lessons at the NCSS Conference Presentation in Washington D.C. on December 2nd, 2011. The workshop was really interesting and provided me with a plethora of new resources to engage students in the 21st century classroom. The website contains primary documents about controversial issues in our society, which can engage students in the content and create meaningful classroom discussions. Regardless of what you teach these materials and the style of instruction is powerful. For more information visit: Deliberation in a Democracy in the Americas
Deliberation is the focused exchange of ideas and the analysis of multiple views with the aim of making a personal decision and finding areas of agreement within a group. Why Are We Deliberating? People must be able and willing to express and exchange ideas among themselves, with community leaders, and with their representatives in government. People and public officials in a democracy need skills and opportunities to engage in civil public discussion of controversial issues in order to make informed policy decisions. Deliberation requires keeping an open mind, as this skill enables people to reconsider a decision based on new information or changing circumstances.
Read It Later lets you save what you find on the web to watch and read on any device, at any time.
It’s been called “a DVR for the web” by the New York Times, Business Week, Time, TechCrunch and more. This App is so useful when you want to read something but don’t have the time. You can: save pages from your phone or computer, read it on or offline (even no internet), and access it anywhere. This is a great new application that you should check out today!
Read Anytime, Online or Off
Easily access any page saved in your reading list, even when you are not connected to the internet!
Read It Later can download offline copies of each page in your list. You can pick whether you want to download the entire page complete with images or an optimized text-only view.
Once Read It Later has downloaded your content, you can read your list at 30,000 ft while in airplane mode, or stories below the ground in the subway on the way to work.
I am constantly helping my mother (over the phone) with her computer, iPhone, and basically anything on the Internet. I usually use Awesome Screen Shot to email her animated and descriptive how to guides and walk her through the “complicated process” of using her computer. I have also used remote desktop programs such as Team Viewer before.
I just discovered Quick Screen Share. QuickScreenShare.com is one of the simplest way to share screens with anybody. Some benefits include: No registration required, it’s free, and nothing to install on your computer. It is particularly useful for user support and collaboration.
I discovered another great blog post from Vicki Davis author of the Cool Cat Teacher blog. I could not agree more with Vicki that we should be encourage students to use their cell phones in the classroom. Vicky said “Let’s harness the elephant in the room instead of pretending he isn’t there. Cell phones and mp3 players provide us valuable links to the pockets and minds of the students we teach and qr codes are a great tool to leverage that connection.” Great ideas Vicki!
Here are some great idea’s from Vicki’s Blog: 7 Uses of QR Codes in the Classroom
1 – CoverPage for Portfolios
I have my students write one summary blog post including hyperlinks to everything they have done for that period of time. For the eighth grade portfolio, we do have printed copies of many items that they save to use as reference during high school. (A sample MLA paper, instructions on creating MLA papers, proofreaders marks, etc. as well as their best of work.)
Their cover page has a QR Code on it. I can snap a picture on whatever device I need and have their summary post up on my screen in less than a second. The summary post includes hyperlinks to everything they have done online.
2 – Anything I have to assess online.
If I have 3-4 online items in a week, I have the students generate QR Codes and put them on ONE piece of paper and turn that in on Friday. Assessment is a snap and I can take pictures and use them.
3- When I want them to use an app
I would like to be 1:1 ipod touch or iPad at some point. But, for now, I share free apps with the students and try to find the Android, Blackberry, and iPod/iPhone equivalent. Put a picture of the QR Code for each of those on the Powerpoint Slide and show it on the board. The students can take a picture of the Code for their device and be taken to the app download screen immediately.
4- Take them to a website from a PowerPoint slide
If I’m using a PowerPoint and want them to go to any website, I always put the QR code on the slide.
(This needs to be standard practice at all conferences.)
5- Take them to a website as we are surfing.
Add Mobile Barcoder to your Firefox web browser. When you go to a website and want your students to follow you there on their mobile devices, you can use this handy add on to generate and show the mobile barcode on the screen. Just make sure that the link you are encoding is near the top of the screen, sometimes if you generate it low on the screen, students cannot get a good photo on their camera.
6 – Encode Homework.
This is a new one I’m testing. I don’t give a lot of homework, however, if I have some things I need them to do, I can encode the text and tape it up onto my assignment grid. They can snap a picture and put it into a text program of their choice. I’m not sure whether I’m going to end up keeping it as an SMS message or text file, but for now, I do it as a text file.
7 – To Hardlink and Remember
Our trophy case is FULL of trophies and state championships this year. We’ve just won state boys and girls track, team tennis for girls, state runner up tennis for boys and are hopeful about baseball. We’ve got movies of the assemblies and things. I’m encoding these and putting QR codes on the bottom of the trophies linking to the YouTube videos — for posterity. Eventually, we might put them in small plastic picture frames in front of the trophies, but most of the adults aren’t quite ready for that yet. (See more on hardlinking.)
I stumbled upon BBC’s Witness to History when I was searching for primary documents to use in my U.S. history classroom. The BBC Witness to History blog updates new primary source eyewitness accounts and voices from the BBC archive daily. The website takes listeners back in time to key events in history. I don’t think I could think of a better way to learn about history other than to hear first-hand accounts of people who experienced each event. Check it out today!
Here is a sample Witness to History: Pearl Harbor
A QR (Quick response) Code is a barcode that can be scanned from any mobile device or computer. The code takes you to a specific website, content information, or more information about a particular concept. I learned about QR codes at the NCSS conference. I originally found information on QR Codes last year when it was blogged about in relation to the codes being placed on conference badges and a useful way for people to collect and share contact details. We see QR codes everywhere from advertisements, magazines, newspapers, on signs, or on business cards. Many creative teachers have seen this as a great opportunity to connect the content to the students through the use of technology.
Creating a QR Code
Creating a QR is very easy. You go online to a free QR code generator here. You can take any website and enter it into the generator and place the code on any handout, website, or email it. Students can now acess information by the quick click of their smart phone.
Reading a QR Code
QR Codes can be read by downloading a free QR reader app to your smartphone or computer.
QR Codes in the Classroom
I created a lesson on the Civil Rights Movement using QR codes. It created a great buzz about my technology class and got the students engaged and already up and searching through my classroom.
Here is a sample lesson on the Civil Rights Movement through a QR code scavenger hunt
According to, the blog Don’t Waste your time, they stated the following examples to use QR codes in the classroom.
Lecture Theatre and/or Presentation
- Place the QR Code in a slide that links to a YouTube video you want the students to watch, but you don’t want them to take up your valuable time in your lecture by showing them there and then.
- Generate QR Codes that refer to materials the students may want to explore, but you haven’t time to show them in the limited lecture/seminar times.
- Place the QR Code in your slides that links to the information about the core text for the lecture, details of what it is and where in the Library it can be found (floor, section, shelf details, etc, or even link to eBook version if it’s available?).
- Generate a QR Code that links to an online survey or question you want them to answer while they’re with you, and show them the results (like a CPS system?)
- Put the QR Code at the end or your presentation for the students to scan as they exit the theatre, that links to an audio copy of the lecture, or to the activity you’ve asked them to do.
Books & Textbooks
- As these wonderful codes are being used more and more, how about the publishers using them in their printed versions to link to publisher-generated, and user-generated, content? This opens up so much more content than a CD in the back cover could ever do! The following YouTube clip demonstrates how this is already being done.
- Not every classroom has posters and things stuck to the wall, but what if you and your students worked on a poster about, for example, the San Andreas fault line? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to include audio and visual content in the 2-dimensional presentation? While we wait for video paper to come of age and be affordable, the inclusion of a QR Code on the poster means the person viewing it can still access the video content without typing a long complicated link.
- If you have a name-plate why not put a QR Code on it which links to your online profile page on the Institutions website? Why not get your business card printed with one it the back; you can then put so much more on it (contact details, publications, research, readings, RSS feed, etc).
- As I’ve already mentioned, Andy Ramsden and his team at Bath University are leading the way in this field and application of QR Codes, and he recently tweeted that they’d catalogued 1384 assignments. Please read about his work as it is not only a good example of using this technology, it is also a beacon for all of us learn from about bringing the various different departments and interested parties together to develop the system and working practice to make it work
The NCSS Conference in Washington D.C. was so useful and relevant to my teaching. I learned about useful resources, meet new friends from around the country, and gained a better understanding about teaching to the 21st century learner. I love going to workshops that are useful and can be applied to my classroom. I can’t wait for next year!
Here are some helpful links I have discovered:
Making History Matter http://outsidethecave.org/
- Nice sample lessons website
- World History for Us All website
- Reading like a Historian website
- Controversial Issue Discussion (like a debate) very practical lessons website
- QR Code assignment http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
- QR Code Scavenger Hunt website
- Using technology to engage students website
- Great Sociology website
- US History Pearson
- World website from Pearson
- Leaving a history blog
I am presenting “Teaching History in the Digital Era” Friday December 2, at 2 p.m. at the National Social Studies Conference held in Washington D.C. The presentation is designed to help teachers bring the past to life by incorporating multimedia resources into their teaching. Participants will learn new Digital technologies to make history come alive.
The ancient tradition of storytelling meets the digital age. When students create a movie or interactive slideshow to tell their story, learning becomes personal. By incorporating digital storytelling projects into learning, you can reach today’s students and, at the same time, help them to develop the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century.
Digital storytelling learning projects may not be a cure-all for reluctant learners, bored students, or students who have trouble retaining information, but the digital storytelling experience in the classroom confirms this approach is exciting and a compelling way to engage students in the learning process and to inspire them to become lifelong learners.