Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the classroom is a wonderful way to bring the world into the classroom. Imagine being able to bring an expert or a guest speaker into your classroom to teach a particular subject. You can even collaborate with a classroom halfway around the world. All of this is possible with Skype in the Classroom. 

Skype in the classroom is an online community that encourages teachers to connect and share with collaborative projects, classroom connections, and guest speakers. It officially launched their website less than a year ago and currently has 20,000 teachers using the website to support classrooms around the world. I am currently making arrangements to have a “meeting” with a 9/11 survivor and a Vietnam Veteran with my 8th grade U.S. history students. I know it will be one of my student’s favorite lessons! Check out Skype in the Classroom today.


For more ideas on how other teachers are using Skype in the Classroom visit the Skype blog called Play or the another blog on education. Here is also another great resource from  Silvia Tolisano’s blog, which has a ton of resources for using Skype in the Classroom.



What do you need to do to establish Skype in the Classroom?
• Create a Skype account – Choose your Skype Name and enter your details so friends can find you on Skype.
• Get Skype – Download Skype to your computer.
• Sign in to Skype – Sign in and add your friends as contacts, then call, video call and instant message with them, wherever you are.
• Register for Skype in the classroom – Meet new people, discover new cultures and connect with classes from around the world, all without leaving the classroom.


For more information on how Skype can extend learning beyond the classroom, visit Skype in the classroom or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


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Design a Website with Weebly

There are hundreds of website creation companies with a wide range of choice on the Internet. Some website designing programs are expensive and others are time consuming. One free website is known as Weebly and this web builder can be a great choice for education, business, or personal use. I learned about Weebly from a teacher at South Western High School.

Weebly is one of the easiest sites I have found on the Internet. It has a simple drag and drop feature and pre-made templates that make designing a website simple, powerful, and professional. The best part about Weebly is that no technical skills are required. Text and editing is as simple as using Word. Creating a website is simple and fun.

Here are two sample Weebly websites I created: one for my US history class and this website is on digital storytelling.




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Use Tout to Create a 15 Second Video

I learned about Tout from Jeff Bradbury at TeacherCast.  Tout is a social media platform that allows users to shoot 15-second video  from  a webcam or a smartphone. It can be shared automatically through Tout, Texting messaging, or email. Through Tout, users can also engage in conversations. Tout is changing how people interact, delivering a rich social sharing experience in full color, sound, and motion. Some things just can’t be fully experienced in text or photos. Life is what you see and hear.


How can Tout be used in class? 

Student’s could take a vocabulary word and then act it out and record it through Tout. The class can then guess the vocabulary word baed on the Tout video. Student’s can create a 15 second description based on a new topic learned in class. The class can then watch the clip to learn about a particular topic. Student’s can watch the tout videos and even comment on them. The ideas are endless!


How Tout is Being Used Professionally? 

Brands like Access Hollywood, USA Today, ESPN, CBS and The Weather Channel interact directly with their audiences, soliciting comments and questions, hosting conversations, and extending the reach of their presence on TV and the web.


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Educator Series at The Henry Ford

This past summer I attended a WONDERFUL workshop at The Henry Ford organized and funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant. The Henry Ford is a wonderful place filled with history, excitement, and real hands-on learning experiences. Check it out today! 

The Henry Ford offers numerous workshops for teachers with the idea to “Learn, Share, co-design, and get rejuvenated and energized to teach!” The Henry Ford truly values teachers as partners in the learning process and provides FREE online resources, interactive lessons, and a plethora of on-site materials. Check out the education page today.

Here are some upcoming workshops:

  • Transportation in America January 20, 2012
 The Auto Industry: A Case Study in American Industrialism 
Keynote- Charles Hyde, Professor Emeritus, Wayne state University
Curator: Bob Casey, John and Horace Dodge Curator of Transportation at  The Henry Ford
  • American Democracy and Civil Rights February 10, 2012
 Leadership in American Democracy
Keynote- Kidada Williams, Assistant Professor, Wayne State  University 
Curator: Donna Braden, Curator, Public Life and Lead Experience Developer
  • Science & Technology March 2, 2012
Evolution of Science and Technology 
Keynote- R. Charles Dershimer, Clinical Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
Curator: Suzanne Fischer, Associate Curator of Technology at The Henry Ford
  • American Innovation Innovation April 13, 2012
American Innovation & 21st  Century Skills 
Keynote- David Pensak, Author, Entrepreneur
Curator: Marc Greuther, Chief Curator, Curator of Industry and Design at The Henry Ford
  • Family and Community Life May 4, 2012
 Changing Roles, Homes and Communities
Keynote: Liette Gidlow, Professor, Wayne State University 
Curator:  Jeanine Head Miller, Curator of Domestic Life at The Henry Ford
  • America’s Industrial Revolution May 11, 2012
 America’s Industrial Revolution: Then and Now
Keynote: Daniel Clark, Associate Professor, Oakland University 
Curator: Marc Greuther, Chief Curator, Curator of Industry and Design at The Henry Ford
 To register, contact our Call Center                           To register, contact our Call Center at 313.982.600 at 313.982.6001


For more information contact The Henry Ford

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Web Doc is like Glogster, but so much better

I  have been looking for some nice alternatives to Glogster, ever since they have announced that the free version will only allow each student to create one free Glog. I discovered  Web Doc. Web Doc is very user-friendly and allows students to be creative with their project layout. My students are creating a Web Doc on the Cold War. Here is the rubric I am using through Google Apps.  Here is a link to a how to use Web Doc guide.

I really like the social feature and the accessibility of Web Doc as compared to Glogster. Participants can put almost anything into a WebDoc : pictures, videos and music from all over the web, but also interactive applications like games, polls, slideshows or web services such as Google Maps and Twitter. Anyone can start a conversation naturally with just one friend or all of them, and users can both friend people and follow conversations.

Here are two sample projects from my class. Project 1 and Project 2 

webdoc in action from webdoc on Vimeo.



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Channel Me- Share a URL and Chat in Real Time

Channel is web based software to surf the web together, add notes, and chat on the same webpage in real-time. Channel Me is an easy and useful way to share a website with another person. It is a web-based software that allows you to surf the web, write notes, and chat in REAL time. I can see this site being really useful when teaching someone about a new product or program. Check it out today!


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The Henry Ford has TONS of resources

I am currently attending the National Endowment for the Humanities Workshop at The Henry Ford in Dearborn Michigan. I am learning from numerous history professors from around the country, touching historical artifacts, experiencing life in in early colonial America through the present, and learning about creative resources at The Henry Ford to teach my students.

I am learning about the numerous resources The Henry Ford provides teachers for FREE both onsite and online. Check out all the educators resources here

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Today’s Meet- backchannel in your classroom

Todays Meet helps you embrace the backchannel and connect with your audience in realtime.

Encourage the room to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and use that feedback to tailor your presentation, sharpen your points, and address audience needs.

Students can have a discussion about class, ask questions, and be engaged in the classroom with the use of Today’s Meet. Check it out Today!

What is the back-channel?

The backchannel is everything going on in the room that isn’t coming from the presenter. The backchannel is where people ask each other questions, pass notes, get distracted, and give you the most immediate feedback you’ll ever get. Instead of ignoring the backchannel, Todays Meet helps you leverage its power.

Tapping into the backchannel lets you tailor and direct your presentation to the audience in front of you, and unifying the backchannel means the audience can share insights, questions and answers like never before.

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Online Sticky Note Collaboration

Edistorm is an interesting website that allows users to create an online forum of sticky notes. Students can collaborate and brainstorm ideas using Edistorm. The online sticky notes are called “storms” which can be made public or private. Check it out today!

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Flip Snack- Make PDF Files Flip

I am organizing some of my AP government readings  and uploading them to my website. Rather than uploading to word for my students to download, I am uploading them to an amazing program called FlipSnack. This program takes PDF files and makes them into easy to read and embeddable into any blog, wiki, or website.

According to the website, “FlipSnack is an online flipping book software that allows you to convert PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications. It’s the ideal solution for those who wish to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio or any other kind of document into a website or blog. Once created, you can embed your flipping book collection, download them or share them on social networking websites such as Facebook.”

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Education Evolution

Watch this short video made by a middle school class from Texas, taught by a friend of mine. We need evolution reform! Our current system, which may have worked 100 years ago, is outdated, and today’s children need a more interactive, more interesting, more collaborative learning environment. Help him spread the word.

Complete restructuring of a classroom, student class placement based on ability/interest, collaborative technology use and evaluation rather than multiple choice and worksheet? As blasphemous as the idea is to people, if kids find education more fun, they are more motivated, and thus they are more apt to learn.

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