MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Links You’ll Love

Everybody loves a good skeleton – especially when it’s a free one. Here’s a link to download the free Essential Skeleton app for your iPad (and you are welcome!).

Getting too many emails? Check out Unroll Me. Put in your email address, unsubscribe from the ones you don’t want any more, and you can even choose to get the ones you do want in one daily digest.

What’s your birthday word? Mine is nitpick. Visit the OED Birthday Word Generator, put in your birth year and see the words that are as old as you are!

April 17, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Just in time for Pesach – here’s that fun Rube Goldberg-esqe 10 Plagues video from The Technion:

The Smithsonian Institution’s Tween Tribune is a great news site. You can create a class and have your students join, create assignments, and quiz your students. This also includes a nice “Photo of the Day” section designed to stimulate your students’ imagination.

AnswerGarden is a really fun website that has your students (or anyone) providing instant feedback that you can see! Simply post your question and invite anyone to answer via a weblink. As their answers are recorded, you grow a word cloud. It’s really simple, requires no signup, and is free. No watering required! Check it out.

SoundTrap is basically an online, collaborative version of GarageBand. You can drag in loops, edit multiple tracks and download your creations as .mp3 files. What’s very cool, though, is that you can invite friends to collaborate with you and multiple people can work on the same file at the same time.

March 26, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

If you have a little time on your hands, check out GoogleFeud. It’s a really interesting exploration about how society thinks. And a huge time suck, so buyer beware.

Want to find (or have your students find) articles at their reading level? This is cool – you can use Google’s search tools to help. Just put in your search terms, and on the results page, click on Search tools. Reading level should appear at the top of your screen. Clicking on Reading level will sort the results into Basic, Intermediate or Advanced – just click on the desired level and that’ll filter your results. For a step-by-step, check out this blog post.

If you want to easily create flash cards from a Google sheet (or, even better – have your students do it!), Flippity is a great place to start. Upload your sheet and automatically generate cards.

Hey! You know that Passover will be pretty soon, right? There are some terrific free resources online that you might want to check out. If you’re looking for some fun activities to do with toddlers and preschoolers, TCJewfolk have a very nice Seder kit that you can download for free. JewishBoston.com is also offering their free “The Wandering is Over” Haggadah.

If you have an iPad or a Macintosh computer with the iBooks app, take a moment to check out the amazing array of educational iBooks that you can download (most for free). The breadth of topics is simply mindboggling, and many books take advantage of the iPad’s multimedia capability to integrate video and audio besides text. You can browse the education collection using a computer here. Some of the books that caught my eye are:

To access iBooks on the iPad, open the iBooks app and visit the store. On a computer, go to the iTunes store.

Looking for templates to use with Google Slides? Check out Slide Carnival.

Here’s a terrific resource for your students (or you) to find copyright free photos to use with school projects. Even better – they come complete with an attribution caption. I love it!

NowComment is a cool website where you can create a document and then invite others to discuss it. Students and teachers can use their GAFE account to log in. Here’s a nice overview of it.

March 20, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

If you’re a Google Classroom user, check out this post to learn about some of the updates to this awesome Google app.

When I hear “place mats,” I think of dinner, don’t you? This blog post, though, at  discusses place mats as an instructional model used to combine independent thinking with collaboration. The post gives step-by-step instructions to use GAFE to create a collaborative template. Very nice!

I’ve mentioned GoNoodle before, but I wanted to remind you about this great source for movement videos. They’ve added an indoor recess section with videos that last up to 19 minutes. There are Zumba activities, secret handshake partner exercises, and brain boosters for great short movement breaks as well.

Versal is a new platform to create online learning experiences. You can embed video, create quizzes, and add timelines. This is an amazing and robust website. I’m thinking about creating a workshop to explore this over the summer – let me know if you’re interested.

 

March 6, 2015 Posted by | GAFE, Google, Links You'll Love | , , | Leave a comment

We are more than our tweets

(cross posted from Solomon Schechter of Metropolitan Chicago’s blog)

We post, we share, and we judge . . .

When I was in 7th grade, the big thing (today we would say “trending”) was to have a slam book. A slam book was a simple device: nothing more than a spiral-bound notebook with a different girl’s name written at the top of each page. As the book was passed around, you just left an anonymous comment beneath a name. Some comments were nice, some were just innocuous and some, of course, were mean. Cloaked in anonymity, we felt that it would be okay to say whatever we wanted with no fear of repercussion.

Of course, a slam book came to its demise when a teacher got hold of it. The posts disappeared into the garbage, existing only in the memory of the children who had seen or written them. And, while memory can be powerful, those comments were destined to fade over time.

Social media today is in many ways an immortal slam book. There are differences: anonymity isn’t always guaranteed and even deleted posts or comments can still be found. The biggest difference, of course, is the unbelievable reach those posts have. The slam book of my junior high years was a real, physical thing that could only be seen by so many people at one time and could only be in one place at a time. Social media posts today can go viral in an instant and reach hundreds or thousands of people in mere seconds.

We know this and we try to teach our children about the need to think before one posts. To use everything that they’ve learned about being a good person and about Jewish values before one hits send. And I think we generally do a good job at this.

What is scarier to me is how easy it is to judge others in the world of viral social media, and how quickly one can be tried and convicted in 140 characters or fewer. How good a job are we doing at teaching our children to think about the human being – with all his or her flaws – behind the tweet?

In 2013, Justine Sacco, then the senior director of corporate communications at the media/Internet company IAC, stupidly tweeted a joke before boarding a flight to South Africa to visit family. There’s no question about it, the tweet was dumb one associating AIDS with non-whites. She shouldn’t have tweeted it. She made a really irresponsible mistake. She also only had around 170 Twitter followers, so the chance of it getting around was slim. Unfortunately, the offending tweet was picked up and shared by someone who had over 15,000 Twitter followers. It got around.

By the time Sacco landed in South Africa she had lost her job with IAC. The tweet had gone viral, and Sacco was publicly tried and found guilty by the Twitter community. This 30-year-old woman’s career had abruptly come to an end while she sat unaware on a flight.

Was that fair? Who are we to judge? And should her rash tweet get her fired?

I really don’t know if she should have lost her job and if her career should suffer because of this error. I do know, however, that she never had a chance to speak for herself or to even face her accusers.

Our own tradition has plenty to say about judging others. We’re taught to “tip the scale” in another’s favor, and see if someone’s misdeeds are outweighed by his or her virtues (Pirkei Avot 1:6). Unfortunately, social media seems to be faster at weighing misdeeds!

Certainly, we teach our children that you shouldn’t post anything that you wouldn’t be proud to tell your grandmother or put on a billboard, since you never know who or how many people might read your words. But the flipside of the lesson is also important, and I think it’s one we may sometimes neglect to acknowledge. There is a person behind and in front of every Facebook post, every Instagram photo, and every tweet. They are people with feelings. They’re people who had a bad day. People who used bad judgment. And they are not just their tweets.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Social Technologies | | Leave a comment

Adobe Voice

Crossposted from Behrman House’s Tech Tuesday email. Check out their great resources!

Kids love to tell stories. And teachers love an app that lets kids effortlessly choose photos or graphics, record their own stories and easily create an accompanying video.

Adobe Voice is free and surprisingly robust. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t get in your way – it’s simple and intuitive to use, doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary confusing features, and saves files in a format that you can easily share. Users can choose from a large variety of slide layouts, themes and music to enhance their stories. You can use the images that are in your personal camera roll, or you can search among Adobe Voice’s copyright-free image library (called “icons” in the app). There’s a nice selection of background music, too, or you can use music that’s already on your iPad.

Users need to use an Adobe ID (or sign in with Facebook credentials) to create Adobe Voice stories. You can sign up for an Adobe ID right in the app or do it via the adobe  website. Then, simply download Adobe Voice for your apple device. (Sorry – there’s no Android version right now.)

In Your Classroom

  • Have students bring in Jewish holiday family heirlooms and take photos of them holding them. Then, record the students talking about their object and how it’s important to their family.
  • Invite your students to retell a Bible story. Ask them to create between three and four drawing that depict important parts of that story. Then, use Adobe Voice to record students’ voices retelling the story to you, and add images of their drawing to accompany their telling.
  • Use Adobe Voice to create a tutorial for students struggling to learn how to pronounce prayers. Record yourself reciting the words to a prayer, and add imagery that relates to the meaning of the prayer.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, iPads, Mobile devices and apps, Storytelling | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Emaze is a really slick online presentation tool. It feels (and looks) a little like Prezi, but presentations can be downloaded as PDF files, presentations or video. You can embed images, charts, video and sound, although you cannot record audio directly to an emaze presentation.

If you’re looking for resources to teach sight words, check out SightWords. You can create and print out flash cards, make games, and learn research-validated teaching methods.

Friday, March 13th is the fourth annual Digital Learning Day. The website for DLD has lots of resources to inspire you to participate.

Confused about the difference between suggesting, commenting and directly editing a shared Google doc? I’ve created a how-to – you can access it here.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Stoodle is a new free online collaboration tool hosted by ck12.org. You can use the Stoodle collaborative whiteboard on any platform simply by launching a browser. There is no app to download, no account to sign up for, and no bill to pay. You can upload documents from your Google drive or computer, and use your device to take photos, or record audio or video.

JeopardyLabs is another entry in the “create your own Jeopardy-type game” category, and it’s a nice one. It’s simple to use, and there are a lot of games that you can choose from if you want to avoid creating your own.

If you’re looking for some new ideas on how to use the iPad in the classroom, check out this image. It starts with relatively simple ways to use the device – by consuming information – and moves to more complex models such as collaboration and creation. This is a good way to explore using the iPad to support Thoughtful Classroom dimensions.

I really love this one. This article explores thoughtful ways to approach integrating technology in education. This is a must read!

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There’s no app for good teaching

Tktchr:

This is a must-read for anyone interested in thoughtfully integrating technology in education.

Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:

See all articles in the series

8 ways to think about tech in ways that actually improve the classroom.

Bringing technology into the classroom often winds up an awkward mash-up between the laws of Murphy and Moore: What can go wrong, will — only faster.

It’s a multi-headed challenge: Teachers need to connect with classrooms filled with distinct individuals. We all want learning to be intrinsically motivated and mindful, yet we want kids to test well and respond to bribes (er, extrinsic rewards). Meanwhile, there’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, in the US alone, hoping to sell apps and tech tools to school boards.

There’s no app for that.

But there are touchstones for bringing technology into the classroom. With educational goals as the starting point, not an afterthought, teachers can help students use — and then transcend — technology as they learn.

Children as early as Pre-Kindergarten at Love T. Nolan Elementary School in College Park, Georgia have access to the iPad to reinforce techniques taught in the classroom. https://www.flickr.com/photos/116952757@N08/14161914543 Starting in pre-kindergarten, children at Love T. Nolan Elementary School in College Park, Georgia, have access to an iPad to reinforce techniques taught in the classroom. Photo by Amanda…

View original 1,587 more words

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

FakeiPhoneText and iFakeText are a simple little websites where you can enter text and the site will render an image that looks like it’s a text. This would be a great way for students to create fake texts between two historical characters. Ifaketext even lets you choose your carrier.

Need an easy way to create an animated video? Check out Explee. You can add images, text, music and voiceovers. Movies export to YouTube or can be downloaded.

Design thinking – tackling a problem at a deep level – is something you can do with your students at any grade level. This article gives some valuable tips on how to do it with iPads.

You know that there have been dozens of times when you thought, “if only I could create a Google form from this Google doc that I have…” If you install the Google add-on Doc to Form, you can do that! Check it out!

February 5, 2015 Posted by | Google, Links You'll Love | , , , | Leave a comment

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