Here’s a nice slide show from Shelley Terrell on some new ideas you should try this year.
I’m a big fan of critical thinking – how about you? EdTech blogger Lee Crockett has a nice downloadable workbook of critical thinking games and activities, as well as a very cool poster. Get it here.
Want to use recording radio stories as a teaching tool? Check out the lesson plans from Radio Rookies.
The Technology: Klikaklu
Give your scavenger hunts a high-tech edge! Use the Klikaklu app to create and play photo-hunt games that utilize your iphone’s camera and GPS.
It’s a great way to get your students to interact with an environment, and have them explore ideas without being stuck at their desks. Your hunt can include clues that are photos, descriptions of objects, or even QR codes. Clues can be designed to unexpectedly appear when the hunter arrives at a specific location, and you can also include quizzes or polls as a part of your custom scavenger hunt as well.
There’s a great tutorial within the app that shows you how to create your first hunt, and there’s also a good discussion forum on the Klikaklu website with ideas and troubleshooting steps.
Download the app from the Apple App Store, and sign up for a free account to be able to create hunts. The free version will allow you to participate in unlimited hunts, and create up to three of your own hunts. To create more, you’ll need to upgrade at a cost of $9.99. In most cases, a school should be able to upgrade on just one device and have other users download the free app.
Note: Klikaklu is only available for iOS at this time.
In Your Classroom
TodaysMeet is a private, digital chatroom that teachers can use to encourage student participation. It allows students to share their ideas to the entire class by typing in their comments that are then projected onto a board where everyone can see them. This allows for a back and forth discussion in which even the quietest of students are able to easily contribute their thoughts.
To set up a chatroom, simply go to TodaysMeet and pick a name for your room. You don’t need to create an account, but it’s free to do so, and creating one will give you the ability to moderate content.
Once your room is set up, you can give your students the TodaysMeet URL and they’ll be able to type their comments or questions right into the message box. Comments are limited to 140 characters, so brevity is a must! You can keep a room open for up to a year, and close your room at any time.
In Your Classroom
Wow! This periodic table is gorgeous – and it has pictures of how you would actually use the element.
Google Classroom has introduced some features making it easier to use Classroom to differentiate for your students. Now you can assign different assignments to different children within the same class. Matt Miller has some ideas about how you can use this new feature.
Here’s a fun coding tutorial to introduce the timeline of MLK’s life. What a great project – using coding as a path to creating a product! Let me know if you want to explore this kind of activity further.
The Technology: Sketchnoting/ Paper
Taking notes by hand can often be more effective than typing them into a laptop or tablet. Similarly, sketchnoting, the act of drawing a visual story while listening to a speaker or reading a text, can also be an excellent way for students to remember and synthesize new information.
There are many apps that support sketching on a tablet, but my favorite is Paper.
It gives you basic, digital drawing tools like markers, pencils, and an eraser, and allows you to arrange your drawings into notebooks and easily organize your work. You can also integrate photos into your drawings.
After you have completed your sketchnotes, you can save them to the iPad’s camera roll, share them via email, or post them to social media.
Paper is free to download, but you will also need a stylus for your tablet. They can be purchased for as little as $6.00 on amazon.
In Your Classroom
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777
The Technology: audioBoom
AudioBoom is a free iOS app that enables you to record, publish and share podcasts. It’s very easy to use, and while it lacks GarageBand-type editing tools, it’s great for simple recording and hosting online.
Once you install audioBoom on your iPad, you can use the iPad’s built in microphone to record. After you have completed the recording, upload it to the aurdiBoom website, and add a title, category, description and photo to it. Once it is posted to the site, you can share the podcast via social media, and generate a QR code that links to it.
Sign up for a free account at the website, and your iPad recordings will be uploaded to your account. A free account enables you to record podcasts of up to ten minutes in duration.(If you’d like to create longer podcasts, you’ll need to purchase a premium account at $90/year.)
In Your Classroom
December is Human Rights month. Teaching Tolerance’s Perspectives for a Diverse America has some nice resources, which you’ll have to register for a free account in order to access. You’ll find the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1929 poem, On Liberty and Slavery, resources for lesson planning and more.
Simple Machines is a charming website developed by Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Students can help Twitch build simple machines by using inclined planes, levers and more.
Intrigued by 3D printing? Check out Tinkercad. You can create a free account and view their tutorials to learn more about the tool. We’ve found this to be the easiest 3D modeling application for beginners.
You probably know that Google and Facebook are under fire because of fake news sites and the influence they may have had on the recent election. From a tech educator’s standpoint, this is really frightening, and I think we need to carefully consider if we’re doing enough to teach our students how to discern what’s legitimate on the web. Here are some resources regarding this troubling issue:
A great article from the New York Times about the issue.
Information about a free Chrome extension that you can install to let you know if you’ve arrived at a fake news site (including a link to download it).
Leave it to the kids! Three Princeton students tackled the problem during a recent “hackathon” and produced their own Chrome extension – read more about it here.