Livebinders for the Social Studies – Part 5

Livebinders for the Social Studies – Part 5:  Presenting with Livebinders

When it comes to presenting material to the classroom, there are several platforms to choose from – platforms ranging from Microsoft Powerpoint to Apple Keynote and a slew of others.  These platforms provide a means of organizing data and presenting it to the classroom.  I myself have previously used Powerpoint when providing content every now and then to the classroom, which can be useful if used to it’s fullest potential.

With that being said, one aspect that needs to bring special attention to your material/lesson is how engaged will it make your students in the classroom?  Thanks to Livebinders, students (and teachers) can now present the material they have created or put together to the classroom and beyond.

Livebinders provide a sense of ownership

Before we get into how you can present with Livebinders, you may be asking why you should be using Livebinders instead of the other options that are available?  Don’t get me wrong, I think platforms like Powerpoint and Keynote can be useful when used properly.  With Livebinders, however, students can create their own online portfolio and work on it throughout the year.  With Powerpoints, once it is completed, students don’t typically come back and build on it unless you design the lesson that way. Livebinders give the students ownership of their own learning and they are able to reflect upon what they have done.

Presenting with Livebinders

With Livebinders, you have the option of creating a presentation of your material.

To put your Livebinder in “Present” mode, first put your cursor over the “eye” on the top navigation panel:

When you do that, you should see a option to select “Present”.  Click on “Present”.  This will put your Livebinder into a presentation mode, which will look like this:

If you will notice, the “Present” mode gives your Livebinder more of a finished product.  You see the name of your Livebinder at the top left hand corner, the binder author at the top right and of course the material of your Livebinder being the center focus.

Using Livebinders also saves time.  You can fill your Livebinder with links to websites, videos and pictures. There’s no need to create a slideshow and insert images or videos because they are already in your Livebinder ready to go.  Students can use Livebinders to present the material or projects they learned throughout the entire year.

This will show how the student has grown and learned since entering your classroom.  Reflection is a huge part of the learning process.

If you have any videos, pictures or stories to share about how you have used Livebinders in your classroom, I would LOVE to hear about them.  Please feel free to DM on Twitter or Google + at @justinstallings.

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The Role of Technology in Early Childhood Development Programs

Warning: This is a paid advertisement! For a company promoting an idea. 


If you’re studying early childhood development at a school like Kendall College, and are planning to go into teaching, you may already be thinking about how you can implement technology in your classroom. These days, with many high schools purchasing iPads for their students—not to mention video series like Baby Einstein targeting our youngest learners—it’s almost impossible to find an educational program without some kind of technology element. But when you’re working with pre-kindergarten kids, is technology always appropriate? How much does a 3-year-old actually get out of sitting in front of an educational video?

Forest Lake Elementary takes advantage of technology to personalize the classroom. Photo credit:

There are times when technology can be used effectively to help teach young children, but the key is to make sure it’s age-appropriate and that it’s enhancing other activities, rather than being the sole focus. Read on for some tips to keep in mind when you’re preparing to teach at the preschool level.

Tips for Incorporating Technology into Preschool Classrooms

  •  Keep your students active. Young children are most engaged when they’re able to directly interact with the world around them, picking up objects and exploring new spaces. They’re also notoriously bad at sitting still for an extended period of time. Therefore, lessons are much more likely to stick with young children when they involve hands-on activities. If you do want to use technology in your classroom, try computer games or apps that teach kids about things like colors and shapes rather than just putting on a video.
  • Enhance understanding of symbolic representation. Children under the age of 3 are typically within Piaget’s preoperational stage, meaning that they’re beginning to understand how various signs and symbols—such as speech, drawings, and writing—can be used to communicate. Find computer games that allow students to draw pictures, repeat back words that they hear, or match the names of objects to pictures. Touch screen activities may be particularly effective with this age group—as long as you make sure you monitor them closely so that you don’t end up with a lot of broken tablets on your hands!
  • Incorporate eBooks into story time. These days, you don’t need to have shelves of books to have a wide range of stories available to you; an eReader like the Kindle or iPad allows you to easily share stories with your students. Just make sure there are plenty of pictures you can share, and give students the opportunity to “turn the page” on the eReader so that they get the same interactive experience they would have with a physical book.
  • Use technology to enhance play. Letting your students take a break to get some of their energy out? Try using a laptop or iPad to play kid-appropriate songs from Spotify or your iTunes library so that your students can dance.
  • Mix in activities that aren’t tech-based. As big a role as technology plays in our adult lives, early childhood educators need to understand that young learners need a wide variety of activity types to fully engage with the world around them. Make sure that you set a timer when you’re using any kind of technology with your students, and follow computer games up with an activity that gets them moving, like playing a game outside.

How Early Childhood Teachers Can Use Technology

Technology doesn’t just have to be for the students—tech-savvy early childhood teachers have the opportunity to use plenty of tools to help them get better organized and keep their lessons on track.

  • Use online calendars. Online programs like Google calendars can be a great way to track things like parent-teacher conferences or staff meetings. You can color code different types of activities, set recurring events each month, and schedule reminders.
  • Get inspired by Pinterest. Pinterest, the popular online pin board that allows users to share images, can be a great resource for pre-K teachers. You can use this social media platform to come up with ideas for your classroom layout, decorations, and even crafts for young children. You don’t even have to look particularly far—just search “preschool” and you’ll find all sorts of boards specifically dedicated to the topic.
  • Download and print eBooks and coloring pages. Search for free preschool teacher resources online, like beginning reader eBooks or coloring pages—it’s a smart way to save a bit of money on class supplies.
  • Save your teaching files in the cloud. Sign up to use a free cloud provider like Dropbox, which allows you to access your files from any computer, provided you have an Internet connection. This will save you from having to remember to bring a flash drive if you’re working on a lesson plan or activity at home and need to have it on your computer at school.

Juliana Weiss-Roessler writes about early childhood education with her husband Josh. Follow her on TwitterGoogle+, and Facebook.


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Law School Past and Present: How Resourceful Technologies Have Evolved For Law School Students

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Technology has changed the way we do pretty much everything now. We use applications on our phones to hail cabs instead of just our hands in the air. We look at websites to find potential mates instead of heading to the bar. And we use computers and search engines from the comfort of our own homes to do research, instead of sifting through stacks of books and relying on the Dewey Decimal system in the library.


The practice of law, however, has largely stayed the same over the past law schoolcentury; even if the tools have changed. Cases are still argued in courts, by attorneys who have passed the bar, in front of esteemed judges or juries.  Criminal defendants are still considered innocent before being proven guilty.  Laws may have changed the substance of American law, but the basic principles behind them mostly have not changed substantially.


Legal research, however, has changed a lot in the past ten to fifteen years. Law schools still have physical libraries, of course, but most of the research that students do is online, using search platforms like LexisNexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg. In the past several years, another search engine has started to be widely used: Google Scholar allows users to search through past legal articles and court decisions – for free.


All of these tools make it increasingly easy for law students to find what they are looking for; it also makes it more likely that they may stumble upon helpful information that they were not seeking. By searching by keyword, by jurisdiction, or by legal principle, students can locate cases that are over a hundred years ago without even cracking a book. Whether a student is searching for a commonly read case or an obscure one, online search engines make them easy to find.


Finding old cases is one of the best features of using online search tools for legal research. A keyword search is infinitely easier to run than searching through piles of books in a library, especially when the topic is not a common one. For example, while it would be easy to find cases on criminal sentencing laws in a particular state, it would be significantly harder to find cases involving exposure to asbestos leading to mesothelioma.


Indeed, the more specific the information a law student is looking for, the more helpful these online search tools will be in locating them.  Using tools like LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg, or Google Scholar, however, requires learning how to maximize their offerings by understanding all the different ways the platforms can be used. While browsing through hornbooks can be the best way to acquaint oneself with a new topic, running specific keyword searches is better for locating particular cases.


Further, legal search engines often include non-legal resources as well. Students can search through periodicals as well, which can often be helpful for placing cases in historical context. A student researching mesothelioma cases, for example, may want to look through old newspapers and see when cases were first reported.


Some firms and interest groups offer online resources and educational information including Cooney and Conway in Chicago, who have specifically developed a Veterans Guide to Asbestos Exposure, Mesothelioma, and Lung Cancer. These types of guides are available for free online and offer a great resource to learn more about the type of case you’re studying.


No matter what the topic of research, however, one key to success is to be extremely thorough. Using online research tools makes it easier to be sure that your research does not have holes in it, that you have “scorched the earth” when necessary, and that your opponent will not surprise you by finding a case that disproves your legal theories and arguments. It’s important for students and practicing attorneys both to learn how to use online legal research tools to do complete research that has not missed older cases simply because they are not from the recent past.


Being able to do comprehensive research is an absolutely necessary skill for any law student hoping to become an effective, successful attorney. Even though legal search engines will turn up cases that turn out to be irrelevant, they can be much better equipped for helping students than their paper, bound antecedents. Students who prefer books, though, do not need to worry. They are still important tools, especially for students looking to get specific information on a topic or case. However, when it comes to finding a large number of information on a legal topic, nothing competes with online searches.


About the author: Jessica McNeil is a Legal Assistant to James R. Hopkinson, one of the skilled attorneys at the leading Chicago law firm of Cooney & Conway.  You can find 

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Learn about the Brain with this Interactive Brain Map


Educational neuroscience bridges the gap between science and schools in a way that no other field can. Before the rise of this relatively new discipline, psychology and neuroscience occupied one realm of research and modern formal education occupied another. But the influence each can have on the other has becomeScreenshot 2013-11-15 21.37.26 increasingly clear in recent decades. Educational research creates new challenges for cognitive neuroscience to adapt to the real world practical requirements of educational learning, and findings in neuroscience create new challenges for education, providing important insights into the current state of the learner–including brain state, genetic state, and hormonal state–that could be relevant to learning and teaching.

Neuroscience has advanced to the point where it is time to think critically about the form in which research information is made available to educators. It must be interpreted appropriately for practice–identifying which research findings are ready for implementation and which are not–and employed with the best interests of the brain in mind. By providing new measures of the effects of learning and teaching, including brain structure and activity, researchers can now identify patterns between different types of learning methods and levels of attainment. The next education revolution is upon us–make sure you are a part of it.

Here is the link to the interactive website that can help your students learn about the brain.


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Students Wanted: Participate in a Collaborative 9/11 Memorial Interview/Blog Project

This is a wonderful collaborative project currently involving students in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and St.Croix.  If Interested in participating with your class: please contact me @mseideman or through my contact me page. Here is a direct link to the assigment.

9/11 Memories across the Country

Oral History Blog Post Assignment

Visit the Blog:

Learning Target: Students will demonstrate an understanding of social science methods of investigation through interviewing a family member on their memories of 9-11.  Students will analyze and discuss the interview through writing a blog post.

Step 1: The first part of your assignment is to interview someone who was old enough to really understand the impact September 11th had on America.  Please ask them the following questions and record their answers, either by writing or recording (video or audio).   It is your choice to document the interview through video or voice recording (your smart phone or computer can easily do that) if that is easier for you.

REMINDER:  Discussing the events of September 11, 2001 can be a very sensitive subject for most people.  Please handle the topic with the utmost care and compassion towards your interviewee.  If you face any difficulty completing this assignment to the fullest, please talk to your teacher.  If discussing the events of September 11, is difficult for you, please do not hesitate to talk to your teacher.

Interview Questions:

  1.  Who are you interviewing?
  2. What details do they remember about the day?  Where were they when they found out?  What were they doing?  What was the first thing they did when they found out?  Etc…
  3. What emotions did they experience that day?  What about the days immediately following?  Have them explain these as best they can.
  4. How do they think America has changed since September 11th?

Step 2: The second part of your assignment is to blog about your interview! Your blog post should include the following:

In your first paragraph create a summary of your family member or friend’s recollection of the events of 9/11. Your purpose here is to share their remembrances as truly as possible to reality- you should use both quotations and summaries in your own words. Make sure that you put quotes in “  “ marks and that you identify your source using only first name.

 In your second paragraph, explain why you think 9/11 has changed the world we live in today and how America has changed as a result of the events of this day. You may use the first person (I, You, we, my) in this section.

Step 3: Proof-read your blog post and make sure everything is correctly spelled. Read your paragraphs out loud to yourself to make sure the grammar and flow are well edited.  Students from around the country will read your posts, so you want to make sure it is appropriate for the public.

Step 4: Type and email your work to

● In the “To” field put:

● In the “subject”: Enter Blog Title and then Teacher’s  Last Name.ClassPeriod.Firstname&LastInitial (Teacher’s Last Name.1.JoeS)

● In the Text box: Copy & paste step 1 and 2 directly into email and push Send

General Tips:

  • If you want to see a sample blog post, please visit –
  • Make sure you put the title you want for your blog post as the email subject line
  •  Take out any signatures you have in your email
  •  Make sure you put your “First Name, Last Initial, Teachers Name” at the end of your post/email
  • If you have any pictures to share, please post them in the email.

Step 5: Please Comment on AT LEAST THREE other students’ blog posts. Make sure they are substantial, relevant, and sincere comments.  Don’t forget to sign your blog post with “First Name, Last Initial, Teachers Name”

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6 Technologies Propelling Online Education and How Students Are Affected

Warning: This is a paid advertisement! For a company promoting an idea.  


Education is undergoing a technological revolution that’s occurring worldwide at different speeds and extremes. Thanks to the following key technologies, we’re seeing the development of learning platforms and environments that are unlike anything ever seen before in human history. Their impact on students, teachers and entire education related industries will be increasingly profound in the years to come.


1. High Speed Internet

High speed internet connectivity hasn’t yet reached every corner of the world but the latest statistics for 2013 show that subscription penetration worldwide sits at about 10% for fixed line connections and 29% for mobile connections. Furthermore, these numbers only reflect actual subscriptions, not necessarily total numbers of users, which can easily be much larger as students use school and work based connection subscriptions.

What these numbers signify is an absolutely wonderful trend whose impact on education and learning in general is already showing immense results. Since broadband internet technology is the foundation of all online learning capabilities that we are developing as a society, spreading the enormous data transmission power of broadband (be it mobile or fixed line) is giving millions of students around the world, and especially in developing countries, access to high quality online video courses, interactive programs and powerful information download options.


2. Tablets & Smart Phones

With the inexorable spread of broadband technology, there’s also a natural need developing for electronic devices which can access all the connected resources of the data charged high speed internet. This is where tablets and smart phones come into the picture. Though they aren’t quite as powerful as their more software and hardware heavy desktop and laptop counterparts, they’re quickly catching up and at a far cheaper price per unit –especially in the case of tablet computers.

Thanks to these varied little devices, millions of students are given access to powerful video platforms, reading applications and interactive learning software in the form of thousands of extremely diverse education related mobile software applications.

A student with a tablet that they bring to class regularly can use it to download the most up to date information on any in-class subject, find instruction videos and tutorials for their coursework and access massive archives of free online tutorial videos in every available academic subject from websites like with its 3000+ teaching videos on everything from math to history to physics.

Tablets and smart phones are already organically permeating online student learning worldwide, the real trick will be seeing clever educators and school administrators learn to incorporate these devices into their general curriculum in practical ways.


3. Mobile Apps

Along with the nearly exponential proliferation of portable connected tablets and smart phones, there is also a massive market developing for mobile apps that can be downloaded and used for so many different digital tasks that it’s hard to even comprehend the sheer scope of what a student can run on their device.

The apps marketplaces of both Android and Apple, the two largest tablet OS developers, hold nearly two million apps between themselves. Of course, of these hundreds of thousands of apps, only a tiny fraction are useful for online education and information hungry students. But even amongst this tiny fraction, we’re still talking about thousands of incredibly powerful, highly interactive software tools for collecting information, sorting it, collating it into interesting projects and building whole new ways of learning class materials. Apps like these are just a small sample of what’s available.

Thanks to mobile applications like those listed above and others, students learning from anywhere through the web can reach out and grab onto more tools than any student of any prestigious university could have dreamed of just 15 years ago.


4. Video Conferencing

Since the developments of high speed connectivity and visually interactive portable computers both took off during the last decade, it’s only natural that the long since anticipated technology of video conferencing also creeps into online learning.

Probably one of the single most powerful tools for online interactivity between teachers and their students, the ability to talk and share information via high quality video meeting software is becoming cheaper and more accessible than ever.

In some cases, these types of video calling tools consist of high end multiparty video meeting platforms like those offered by Oracle and InterCall, which can be used to hold entire classes online. And in other cases, we’re talking about free downloadable mobile video apps for tablets and phones. However, even these light free apps are incredibly capable thanks to the high tech video encoding and display capacities of modern computers and mobile devices.

Thanks to video conferencing and all its offshoots, we’re seeing the spread of classroom settings such as these.


5. Distance Education Programs

Video calling, high speed internet connectivity, thousands of education based mobile software apps and easy to buy mobile internet enabled devices; with so many beautiful technologies coming together at the same time and in the same setting, it’s only natural that the very old practice of distance education gets an enormous capacity boost!

The kinds of remote learning courses and programs that used to depend exclusively on mailing test papers, assignments and reading materials lists back and forth via excruciatingly slow physical mail couriers, are now giving way to instant online access to teachers, course materials, tutorial videos and information loaded cloud storage platforms that schools use to give their students access to materials 24/7 from any web connected machine anywhere on the planet.

Thanks to the fusion of all these technologies, we’re seeing the slow arrival of a situation in which “distance” education becomes almost as personal and interactive as the process of travelling to school and walking to class every day.

This technology driven revolution in remote learning is going to give rise to many more developed and highly regarded programs such as these from Olivet Nazarene University Grad School.


6. Social Media Platforms

The other, more organic and much more student driven side of the online learning coin is the immense and deeply interconnected world of social media that has grown up around students and teachers like an immense digital spider web.

Through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Students can collaborate with each other on all sorts of projects, contact their professors with questions and access human resources in the form all sorts of online learning groups from all over the world.


The overall contribution of social media when it comes to online education basically lies in the fact that it makes the digital connectivity between all these players that much more instant, constant and robust.


About the author: Stephan Jukic is a freelance writer who generally covers a variety of subjects relating to education, education technology, marketing technology and brand promotion. He also loves to read and write about subjects as varied as the idea of a location-free business, portable business management, and strategic marketing and advertising tactics. When he’s not busy writing or consulting, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico. Connect with Stephan on Google+ and LinkedIn

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Top 5 Innovations in Classroom Technology

Technology in the classroom has certainly been a touchy subject, what with kids using their cell phones as the latest way to “pass notes” in class. But savvy teachers understand that mobile devices offer them a means of connecting with students and enhancing the lessons delivered in the classroom. However, it can be hard to keep up with technology, which seems to advance at the speed of light. So here are a few innovations that every teacher should get behind in order to keep their classroom up-to-date with growing trends.


  1. The connected classroom. You can hardly operate a classroom these days without allowing for the enhancements offered by the internet, including the research opportunities provided by search engines and the education and entertainment value delivered by targeted video content. But there’s more to making your classroomClassroom-Tech connected these days. It involves not only hardware like smartphones and tablets, but also software, apps, and social media meant to help you connect with students on a level that they are comfortable and familiar with. Getting your classroom connected can help you to enhance your regular lessons, engage with students, and virtually find more ways to communicate with kids that might not necessarily interact otherwise.
  2. Facebook pages. Facebook is nothing new, but more and more teachers are starting to see the merits of creating group pages for each of their classes. With the proper protective measures in place (privacy settings, passwords, etc.) you can keep parents happy. And utilizing the platform provides you with a forum to interact with and help students outside of class, as well as encouraging them to help one another. In addition, you can use it to post assignments, add instructions, and facilitate communication for group projects. In short, Facebook (or similar social networking sites) could certainly add to the educational experience.
  3. Study Blue. There are all kinds of mobile applications designed to help students study smarter, but this freebie (with in-app purchases) offers options for study notes and flashcards, as well as the ability to message with the teacher or other students for sharing, feedback, and help. It’s a great way for students to stay on track with their studies, both inside and out of the classroom.
  4. Tablets and smartphones. Although many teachers remain hesitant about allowing students to bring their mobile devices to class, others have started to realize the many educational opportunities inherent in these gadgets. With options for apps, programs, and videos (amongst other things), tablets and smartphones are paving the way to a technological future through classroom usage.
  5. Digital lectures. With options like Ted Talks and Khan Academy grabbing the interest of older students, it’s not surprising that teachers at all grade levels are taking the cue and flipping the concept of lectures end over end. Boring speeches need not take up every class period when teachers create Power Point presentations or video lectures for students to watch in study hall or at home. And this concept paves the way for more interaction within the classroom setting. When students come prepared, having watched a lecture in their off-time, teachers can focus on answering questions and clarifying points, as well as engaging in activities that offer hands-on opportunities to drive home important information. Whether you teach at the grade school or high school level or you’re an instructor at WSU online, digitizing lectures can lead to increased opportunities for interaction in the classroom.

Leon Harris is a freelance writer and editor based in sunny Southern California. In his spare time, Harris enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers.

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Make your Life Easier with Google Chrome Extensions

Chrome Extensions are extra features that you can add to Google Chrome. Extensions can make your life easier and help you browse the internet. Some Benefits of Extensions: get bonus information about a page, get timely notifications, and get more accomplished with fewer clicks.  My favorite extension is Evernote Web Clipper, which allows me to save anything I find on the web or on twitter. It is so useful when you want to save an article or website for later. I no  longer use bookmarks and if you correctly tag and save your search in a notebook you can easily access your files.

Here are my Chrome Extensions.

Here are my Chrome Extensions.

  • Autocopy – Automatically copies text or links when they are selected. Imagine how many times a day you click Control or Command + C. Now, you don’t have to!
  • Awesome Screen Shot – Capture a whole page or just a portion. It also ncludes annotating tools.
  • – Removes YouTube add-ons and related videos from the screen, showing only the video and the search bar. Great for removing questionable ads and related videos that pop up.
  • Docs Quickly – Allows you to quickly create a new Google Document, Presentation, Spreadsheet or Drawing.
  • Dropbox – Provides easy access to your Dropbox account and files as well.
  • Evernote Web Clipper – Lets you send any link or site to Evernote.
  • URL Shortener – Shortens a URL and also provides the option to create a QR code and additional details.
  • Google Voice – Allows you to keep up with Google Voice from your computer. You can even send text messages back and forth.
  • Pinterest – Pin from any website to your Pinterest boards.
  • Printliminator – (not an extension) Use this bookmarklet to remove unnecessary or unwanted aspects of a web page before printing.
  • Send to Google Docs – You can take any webpage and turn it into PDF that you can send straight to Google Docs.
  • Sound Gecko – Creates an mp3 of the text of a web page and allows you to save it to Google Drive or listen on the mobile app. You can also read along with the text.
  • Yellow Highlighter – You can highlight webpages and share them through Twitter and Facebook for others to read. It also creates a unique URL to share your highlighted annotations with anyone.
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5 Ways for Teachers to Integrate Technology in the Classroom

It is becoming all too apparent that kids who fail to learn about technology will be left behind when it comes to advancing in school and in the job market one day, as well. Not only have devices changed the way we socialize as a culture and carry out interpersonal relationships, but the rapid advancement of hardware and programming, especially in the online and mobile arenas, have led to a massive overhaul of the way business is conducted. Good luck finding a companyClassroom-Technology these days that isn’t connected 24/7 thanks to the internet and smartphones. The point is that it’s imperative for kids to become familiar with the devices and software that will dominate their lives, both personal and professional. And schools need to get on board with integrating the technologies that will help to prepare children for the future. Of course, most public schools don’t have a ton of money to spend on pricy equipment. So teachers may have to get creative when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. Here are just a few options.

  1. Podcasts. Even teachers that don’t have a lot of extra cash devoted to their classroom may be able to finagle a decent computer or a single tablet out of the budget, or they can simply bring a personal device to class in order to use it as a teaching aid. And one of the best resources out there for lesson enhancement is podcasts. These targeted “radio” shows cover a vast array of topics and often include speakers that are experts in their field. As a bonus, many are free to download, making for an interesting addition to any classroom that won’t cost a dime.
  2. Online instructional videos. Any classroom with a large monitor or video projector can benefit from the bounty of video content to be found online. Teachers may peruse YouTube in search of videos that assist them in teaching myriad lessons on subjects like science, history, language, and more. It’s an especially good resource for current events. But there are also plenty of websites devoted to delivering instructional or otherwise academic videos. Khan Academy and Ted Talks are two fantastic resources for teachers.
  3. Cell phones. Most schools are banning the use of cell phones in their halls, but the teacher that finds a way to integrate these handy devices will win the hearts of students. At the high school level, many students have cell phones of their own, and teachers can use this to their advantage by having their pupils register their numbers with the school so that the teaching staff can send out assignments by text, for example. Or they might set up a classroom Facebook page and allow students to post questions and comments during lessons that the teacher will address at the end of the lecture. This allows students to use their technology in a creative and educational way.
  4. Tablets. The go-to device for classrooms these days is the tablet. And although it can be a hard road trying to get administrators to approve the budget needed to outfit a classroom with enough tablets for each student, the benefits are well worth the effort. There are so many ways that students can use these handheld gadgets; to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination, to connect with other students and even other classrooms, and to interact with a slew of programs that provide just one more avenue for learning. The only real downside is the cost.
  5. Edmodo. Let’s not forget about the programs that make many modern devices worthwhile. There are so many apps out there for computers and mobile devices that you have your pick of the litter when it comes to software designed to enhance your classroom. But Edmodo is one of the best programs out there for teachers. It acts as a safe hub for students and teachers to connect in mobile space, providing tools that allow for interaction both in and out of the classroom setting. Teachers can also connect to each other to share insights and even lessons. And they can personalize lessons, track student progress, and even hand out badges and grades. It doesn’t take an online emba to see that the sky is the limit with hardware and software that practically begs for classroom integration.

Guest Post: Leon Harris is a freelance writer and editor based in sunny Southern California. In his spare time, Harris enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers.

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Simplify your iPad with CloudOn

I recently discovered CloudOn from a colleague at work. CloudOn brings Microsoft Office to your iPhone and iPad. With Cloud on you can create and edit files in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on your iPhone or iPad. You can Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 10.06.09 PMmanage documents with your Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive accounts. You can track changes and set notifications while editing the document.


CloudOn also automatically saves documents so you will never lose your work.  The application is a direct and wireless link between your desktop and your ipad, which will allow you to work without any issue.  CloudOn is completely free, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out. Click here to download it for the iPad.






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Top Tips for Tech Security in the Classroom

Running a classroom full of computers that are constantly getting used and misused by dozens of potentially very clever students can be a disaster waiting to happen.

Photo Credit:

Aside from all the potential accidental physical or software related harm that your young users can cause thanks to their own carelessness, there’s also the possibility of deliberate hack attempts by especially tech savvy students who just want to screw things up and hack away at their school’s property.

To protect against either as well as you possibly can, just follow the following easy to implement tips.


1. Install Security Software

Your first, most basic step as a classroom computer administrator is to install security software on every machine. For one thing, all of your computers should as a group be protected by an external, network-wide (router attached) firewall whenever possible, but if not, then at least install this protection on each individual machine.

Additionally, put in place a suite of high quality security software that protects your entire network. If you want to keep things simple (but more expensive) you can install a single anti-virus suite across all the machines in your network and protect them collectively through a single administrator account; or, you can take the budget route and set up free (but very effective9 programs like the AVG Free Edition on each individual machine. A good idea would also be the installation of specialized anti-malware and spyware tools that not all anti-virus programs cover fully.


2. Keeping Every Machine’s Software Updated

One of the most basic security steps you can take to protect your classroom machines is making sure that all of their security and other software applications are kept consistently up to date. Thus, if each of your computers is running an internet connection (as they surely are) then make sure that their browsers, software plugins like Flash,  Adobe and any other applications that your students use are updated at least once a month.

Also, more importantly than anything, make sure that each machine’s security software is fully updated on a regular basis and fully functional. You can do all of this easily and efficiently by simply setting all of your computers’ software applications to update automatically whenever new versions become available.


3. Set up Limited Access User Accounts

As the administrator of all the machines in your classroom settings, you’re obviously going to grant yourself Administrative access to each of them, giving you the power to install and uninstall programs however you want or need to. However, what you don’t want to do is let your other users, especially student users, have access to the same privileges. Instead, set the admin accounts on each machine so that they aren’t easy to hack into (no using obvious passwords that a clever student can easily guess) and set up separate, limited, user accounts for your students to work from.

Set these accounts so that no downloading or installation of software can happen without administrator permission; this will prevent your students or any unauthorized users from accidentally or purposely adding applications that they’re not supposed to have on the machine they use. Additionally, you might also wish to set up a tracking system on your machine network, so that every person who uses any of the computers needs to identify themselves first and can have their activity tracked remotely; this will add an extra layer of use limitation on top of limited access accounts.


4. Use Resetting Software

Resetting software such as Deep Freeze by Faronics or other, similar software packages are an extremely useful additional measure that you can set up across you entire classroom network.

In essence, what these systems do is maintain all computers in a certain, constant fixed state by automatically restoring them to certain predetermined settings as soon as your machines are shut off each day. Thus, all new software that’s installed and all new files or changes that are created are automatically erased and rendered unrecoverable unless you as the administrator make an exception for them individually. Your students will be able to save outstanding work on external media or save it to certain preselected folders inside the class computers for later use, but they won’t be able to modify or damage the machines in any other way.

With resetting software, any harmful changes that do manage to happen on a machine will be gone as soon as it’s restarted and automatically reset to its fixed safe state.


5. Don’t Forget About Digital Forensics

If you’re running a large network of machines that get used a lot by different people in your school, then you are pretty much guaranteed to eventually suffer a critical hard disk failure of some kind or another. This eventually happens even on well cared for private devices, so its likelihood is much, much larger in any multiple device setting.

In order to cope with this possibility and its potential consequences, you need to have your digital forensics protocols in place and ready for a worst case scenario right from square one.

For one thing, you should probably have a suite of forensic recovery software such as GetDataBack ready and waiting on one or two different machines, and an accompanying external hard drive case stored away somewhere as well. With these two on hand, you can quickly remove a damaged hard disk, insert it to your external case and connect it to a computer with the digital forensic recovery software inside it, allowing you to quickly save seemingly “lost” hard drive files.

In worst case scenarios where much more severe physical damage has been done to your computer hard drives through an accident or deliberate harm, you might want to consider hiring a data recovery firm like LWG Consulting to do their own forensic extraction of any data you find especially valuable.


About the author: Stephan Jukic is a freelance writer who generally covers a variety of subjects relating to the latest changes in white hat SEO, education technology, marketing tech and digital security. He also loves to read and write about location-free business, portable business management and finance. When not busy writing or consulting on technology and digital security, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico, where he spends part of the year. Connect with Stephan on LinkedIn.




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