Return to My Roots — App & Site Reviews
It’s been a long time since I really dedicated myself to the idea of providing links and reviews to different educational apps and websites that you can use in your library or instruction. This occurred for a multitude of reasons, namely my growing young family took up a lot of my free time (as they should!) and some volatility in my own employment between moving and finding the right fit in a school district and library.
Fortunately both of these have settled down a great deal and I want to get back into the swing. I have to admit, I was putting this off a little bit until I attended a great Bureau of Education & Research (BER) Seminar on Monday — “Making the Best use of Technology in Your School Library Program to Support Instruction and Enrich Student Learning” with Deborah Ford. Because my former district was not too keen on sending me out for seminars, trainings, and workshops, I found that I had missed out a lot on the technology end since leaving Palmyra where my tech side was encouraged in 2013. Now at Cumberland Regional, where my inner techie again is being encouraged and fed, I feel the ability to grow and thrive and share and learn again. Frankly, it’s exciting and I need more hours in my day!
While I work through trying and testing the various websites, apps, and tools I was introduced to on Monday (there are so many!!!) I’ll make sure I share them here as I plan and test them out to turnkey to my colleagues here at CRHS. Thank you BER and Deb Ford for re-kindling this in me!
Thanks so much for hanging in and for your continued support. I can’t wait to share and hopefully find something that YOU can use and love as your work through your own teaching and planning.
If you ever have any concerns, questions, or comments — plesae never hesitate to contact me!
Tags: education, teacher tools, tech integration, technology, update
How to Think Visually
One of the most effective ways to present data and information is by using visual aids. This is why infographics are so popular! Did you realize just how many options there are, however? I am sure you and your students are familiar with many of these methods presented below. We tend to fall into a rut sometimes however, sticking to those visuals we find comfortable while there might be better methods to present the data and this might give you some alternative ideas. Anna Vital has created this wonderful visual to present different visual presentations (talk about meta!). Make sure you visit her page here as she also summarizes each of the 72 visual analogies presented and how to best use them in presenting information.
Click image to enlarge
Tags: data, general, infographic, presentations, reference, teacher tools, tech integration
Sticking with today’s theme of traffic and car related materials, Traffic Simulator gives you and your students a chance to see how slight changes in road systems, driving patterns, and other factors can lead to major back-ups on our roadways.
The initial pattern on the website is a steady circle of traffic (ring road), and you can manipulate different factors such as the total number of cars on the road, the number of those that are trucks, and the acceleration of those vehicles to show how each affects the traffic in a closed system. Once you’ve played with that and messed up rush hour, you can try the other traffic patterns, such as adding an on-ramp (above), off-ramp, construction, hill, or detour to see how each can also change the traffic. Different elements can again be manipulated to test the roads and demonstrate how different factors can lead to traffic nightmares.
Explanations of some of the physics and psychology of traffic are provided through the links on the sidebar, as well as different ways to use the simulation. Traffic Simulator is a wonderful tool for seeing how traffic patterns can shift and change and what affects them, as well as providing students with some problem solving as they work through how to alleviate the traffic and find the ideal conditions for each roadway.
Tags: city planning, critical thinking, interactive, physics, problem solving, psychology, simulation, simulator, tech integration, technology, traffic, traffic safety
Is Social Media Making us Narcissistic?
Narcissism is the preoccupation with one’s self, self image, and an obsession with how they are perceived by others. One of the downfalls of increased use of social media is an increase in the number of people putting themselves “out there” to the world. Feeding off the reactions and praise of others can be good for self-image and self-worth, but it can also have a negative impact on one’s emotional health and well-being.
Today’s infographic points out some of the signs and signals of narcissism and the negative impact that social media (focusing on Facebook and Twitter) is having on many. [VIA]
Click image to enlarge
Tags: education, facebook, infographic, multimedia, narcissism, psychology, reference, social media, tech integration, technology, twitter
Geared toward middle grade students, EnviroMysteries provides a series of three video sets and interactive activities that help students understand various complex health and environmental issues that affect us all.
Water + ? = Trouble: This module is a series of videos where students are able to watch the discovery of and investigation of a mysterious waterborne illness. As the investigation proceeds, students will learn about the properties of water, different waterborne illnesses, and the need for water purification in the face of increased pollution.
Breaking the Mold: This video series traced the discovery of mold spores and the illnesses that result in the home. Students will learn how to identify mold when it appears in the home or other buildings and ways to remove the dangerous mold and prevent its spread and reoccurrence.
Inside Stories: A fully interactive investigation that places students in the middle of a health center where four individuals are facing four very distinct and relevant health issues. Students can view each of the four stories and read through the problems, read supporting documents, and then help work out a solution for the problem. As they read and research, students are exposed to the health issues of skin cancer, the importance of a good diet, asthma, and lead poisoning. As each story is different, and there are different ways to solve the problems, each trip through the Inside Stories can be very different.
EnviroMysteries is a great introduction to various environmental and health issues. Every module and lesson comes with complete lesson plans, teacher resources, and student handouts and assessments.
Tags: health, interactive, science, tech integration, technology, video, webquests
SMS (Text Message) Generator
This is a fun little tool that allows students to create fictional text message conversations between fictional or historical characters. The Classtools SMS Generator does not require students to register or log in and is fairly simple to use. Simply click on the left hand text bubble icon (gray) to initiate the conversation, then on the right hand text bubble (green) to reply. Once finished, students can save their conversation to the Classtools server (with a password and unique URL for further editing) or by clicking on the sprocket icon, they can get an embed code, direct link, or QR code for sharing.
The Classtools SMS Generator is great way to get students thinking about how historical or fictional figures would be thinking and having conversations themselves, as well as providing a unique alternate assessment tool to check for understanding of text or events. Imagine Romeo and Juliet’s conversations if they were only texting!
Tags: education, english, history, SMS generator, teacher tools, tech integration, technology, webtools
The Flipped Classroom
You may have heard the term “flipped classroom”, but do you really know what it means? Simply put, it’s flipping the roles of the teacher and student in the process of learning, but it’s really much more than that. Traditional classrooms still have the teacher at the head of the class, delivering instruction or lecture, then assigning homework and projects based off of that. In a flipped classroom, however, the students take a much more active role in the class, while the teacher acts as facilitator, arbiter, and expert in the instruction. This idea ties in very nicely with the increased use of technology in the classroom and while it takes practice, it can be a very useful (and less stressful) environment for teachers and students alike. [VIA]
Click image to enlarge
Tags: classroom management, flipped classroom, infographic, lesson plans, teacher tools, teaching tricks, tech integration, technology
How Has the Internet Changed Education?
We can’t live our lives today without the Internet, that’s becoming very apparent. In fact, I would wager to say that on any given day, each of you is carrying the Internet in your pocket in the form of a smartphone or some kind of tablet. That is why I am such a strong proponent of integrating technology and Internet skills into our school curriculum. If our students have these technologies and resources, it’s vital that they use this power for good and be taught its benefit in education as well as its proper use.
Today’s infographic helps to illustrate the magnitude to which the Internet has affected and influences education and therefore why it is vital to continue utilizing these tools in education. [VIA]
Click image to enlarge
Tags: edtech, education, history, infographic, Internet, tech integration, technology
The iPad as Teacher’s Pet
Having an iPad in your classroom can be one of the most tools in your arsenal as it’s a veritable Swiss Army Knife of technology. Today’s infographic takes you through the many ways you can use this great device, even if you only have one for yourself. Explore different ways to use the iPad as well as useful apps (many of which are free) that can help you use this technology in your classroom immediately! [VIA – Learning in Hand with Tony Vincent]
Click image to enlarge
Tags: apps, education, infographic, interactive, Internet, iPad, lesson plans, multimedia, teacher tools, tech integration, tech skills, technology, web 2.0