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Monday, February 12, 2018

A Must Have Chrome Extension For STEM Teachers!

Rejoice math and science teachers of the world!  You have an extension to Google Chrome that works great with Google Docs and Google Forms!  That extension is Equatio!  My tone of excitement stems from knowing that Equatio is awesome!  Ok, no more exclamation points.  Equatio is an easy way to integrate Chromebook's into math and science classrooms.

In the EdTech universe, apps for math seemed to have lagged behind those apps that can be used more easily with English and Social Studies.  Equatio levels the playing field with its ease of use and the simple way it's used with Google Docs.

Add the Equatio extension to Google Chrome and you're off and running.  After creating a new Google Doc, clicking the Equatio button on the browser opens the Equatio toolbar on the bottom of the document.  The toolbar contains the equation editor from which you'll fashion your equations.  One of the cool aspects of Equatio is that it predicts what you want to say and inserts it into your equation.  For example, typing 2xsq will tip Equatio to type your equation with the superscript while typing 2pl will tell Equatio to insert the "+" symbol.  Cool huh?  Also, anything you insert into a document, you can extract as well into the Equatio editor for further editing.

Formulas are also included in Equatio's prediction abilities.  For example, type "qu" and you'll get various formulas such as the quadratic formula.  Chemistry compound predictions are also included in Equation.

Equatio has two other components that make Equatio a must for STEM teachers.  The first is its handwriting component.  Use your trackpad or stylus to write out an equation and Equatio will translate it into a clean type that can be exported into your Google Doc.  The other part is speech recognition.  Speak an equation and Equatio will filter out the non-math terms and create your math formula or problem.

If you're a STEM teacher, you need to go get Equatio!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

5 Ways Teachers Can Manage Their Class From Their Phone!

1. ZipGrade:  You find yourself in the unfortunate position of not having much technology in your classroom--but you have your smartphone!  ZipGrade is an app that allows the teacher to turn their phone into an instant Scantron machine.  With ZipGrade, students won't have to wait to get their results of a quiz.  Simply hold the phone over the sheet as you would for a picture or scan and the app does the rest, instantly providing the results.  And, you can send the class results to a PDF or CSV report.

Correct papers with ease with ZipGrade
2. Remind:  Most of your students have cell phones.  So why not use them as a class communication tool?  Ask your kids to install the remind app to get class updates and class news.  Use it as a tool to remind the students of upcoming tests and due dates.

3. Dropbox:  Create an account to be used specifically for your classes.  Then, create separate folders for each class.  Instead of students handing in paperwork, use your phone to take a picture of student work and put it in the appropriate folder.  Students can also set up their own Dropbox accounts and turn in work via a shared link.  Teachers can also deposit class assignments into a shared Dropbox for student retrieval, making the class paperless.

4. Scannable:  Scannable is an iOS app designed by the people at Evernote to make scanning documents easy.  And, if you're already an Evernote user, Scannable makes it easy to scan documents directly to Evernote as it will save directly to Evernote.  Scannable also allows for saving to a multitude of apps as well, including Dropbox and Google Classroom.  Collect student work by scanning into Evernote or Dropbox.  Create student portfolios by scanning student work into your Evernote notebooks.

Scannable makes storing papers easy!
5. Workflow:  Workflow is an iOS app that automates your iOS tasks into the push of a button.  Workflow can save you valuable time by combining multiple tasks into one.  You want to save that picture or scan to Dropbox? You want to save a screenshot or picture as a PDF so students can annotate it?  Create a workflow and do so with the push of a button.  

Workflow can save a teacher valuable time.

Friday, February 2, 2018

10 Apps Students Can Use to Storyboard

1. Storyboard That: Works great with Chromebooks. The free version allows for 3 or six cells. Students can customize the scene, the characters, and numerous other aspects of their storyboard.

2. Google Slides/Keynote: Tools you likely already have access to if you have Chromebooks or iPads. Students can add pictures and text to their slides to create a storyboard with as many slides as they want.

3. Book Creator: Students can create a short book with pictures and text that can be used to storyboard a video project.

4. Trello: Trello is a great organizer. But it’s also so much more. Students can create columns for each scene, then detail each scene according to the column.

5. Canva: Canva is essentially a blank canvas where students can choose from a variety of templates to create a storyboard. They can choose from templates such as a photo collage, presentations, and posters. Each poster or photo collage could serve as a specific scene.

6. Popplet: Great for mapping out a project . Popplet is a mind mapping app that allows for the insertion of pictures and allows for the ability to draw ideas in a cell.

7. MindNode: Another mindmap/concept mapping app. Like Popplet, students can insert pictures, change colors and styles of the map. A fantastic app for mapping out the entire project on a single sheet.

8.Paper by 53: Paper is…paper. Paper allows for the use of various drawing tools on a blank canvas. Students can create a notebook where they can draw out each scene and insert text where appropriate. After the storyboard is complete, the notebook can be exported as a PDF.

9. Evernote: A fantastic note-taking app. First, create a notebook for the project. Second, add a new note for each scene or section. Allows for the insertion of pictures as well.

10. Paste by 53: From the people that brought you Paper, Paste is a new take on the slide deck. Paste features a simple drag and drop interface where, along with text, you can insert pictures, links, and documents. And, Paper integrates very nicely with Paste. Simply drag from Paper into Paste.

5 Ways to Deliver Interactive Presentations

 — Nearpod and PearDeck are both great interactive presentation apps. I put them together because they’re the same type of presentation app. As the teacher, you can insert assessments, videos, polls, and drawing activities. The students are engaged because they are literally participating in the presentation.

Google Slides Q&A — Ask students to post ideas, questions, or comments to your Google Slides presentation. During the presentation, the teacher is gathering questions and comments that are posed by the participants. Students can then vote on which questions or comments they find most relevant then, the teacher can show the questions on the presentation screen and address each question individually.

Socrative — Use Socrative to pose questions periodically throughout the presentation. Have students use their notes to address the questions in Socrative. The questions can be multiple choice, true/false, or short answer.

Recap — Use Recap for student questions and comments. The teacher can choose discussion topics from the lecture. Then, during the lecture, teachers can post questions on Recap for the students to address. It can be used as a safe classroom chat tool. Teachers can use Recap not only pose questions for the students to answer, but use it for student discussion, digging deeper into the topic.

EdPuzzle — Record your lecture and have your students answer questions about the lecture. EdPuzzle is not only great to insert questions into professional videos and documentaries, but teachers can upload their own lectures, then, insert questions throughout their lecture. This is a great way to flip your classroom or plan for a day where the teacher is physically not in the classroom.

Friday, December 29, 2017

9 Apps To Help Get Your Students Writing

Sometimes you’ll find that your students need a little inspiration to get started in their writing. The following apps can give them the push they need.

Tag Journal: Ask students to journal. They can journal about a memory or about their day or week. In some cases, thinking about a memory can spark creativity and give them a topic to write about. Or, ask them to review past journal entries for ideas. The thing that makes Tag Journal unique is that it allows you to “tag” entries. A student can tag certain themes, places, and people for easy retrieval later.

Padlet: Ask students to fee associate things that come to mind and create a Padlet. Have students create topics as headers for columns and then fill out those columns. For example, columns could be titled “Home,” “Work,” and “School.” They can populate the columns with terms that come to mind in each of those categories.

Lists for Writers: A great way to break writer's block. If a student is stuck because they need the right name, place, phrase, or setting, Lists for Writers can help. It is a fantastic resource to help get the writer back into their writing.
Story Starters for iPad: It’s all in the name. Story Starters for the iPad is a fantastic way to start a writing project. A student can simply take a look at the main menu, which includes speeches, phrases, pictures, and settings, and choose which inspiration they’d like to start their story with.

Skitch: A fabulous markup tool. Skitch can be used in many ways in the classroom. For writing inspiration, ask students to take pictures of people, locations, and/or things. Then, using the markup tool, they can describe the pictures, giving them characteristics that can be used in their story.

MindNode 5: Great for organizing ideas. Asks students to write down people, places or ideas. Then, ask them to free associate about those topics. After a certain amount of time, connect those ideas. The result is a skeleton of a story.

Popplet: Another great way to mind map or organize a story. It’s kinda like MindNode in that you can connect ideas and maps. The difference is in the usability and design. Again, have students free associate and connect ideas they can use in their writing.

Prompts: Prompts is a writing prompts app where, upon starting, presents you with a prompt such as “I love it when…” then the student can build something bigger from the prompt. But that’s not where Prompts ends. If you find you’re stuck in your writing, clicking the Prompts icon will prompt you again, making a suggestion on where you should go next with your writing.

GarageBand: record sounds for inspiration. Ask students to record everyday sounds. Then, using those sounds as inspiration, base a story on the recordings. Have students give the voices, the bird chirps, and the everyday sounds characteristics they can use in their writing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

5 Ways a Teacher Can Digitally Poll Their Class.

The use of digital polling in the classroom can benefit the teacher in many ways, including:
-Letting the teacher know which materials need to be covered again.
-Improving classroom engagement.  More students can participate at the same time using technology.
-Getting those students who are less likely to participate in class to take part in the class discussion. 

Below are some great ways to take a poll in your class and check for understanding:

Answer Garden:  An easy way to assess your class.  Prepare a few questions before class to assess the days learning.  Then, at the end of the class, pose the Answer Garden questions to get an idea of where the class stands in their learning.  The most repeated answer is shown in larger text.  Answer Garden includes a couple of key options.  One option is the Answer Garden mode where the teacher chooses whether they answers can be moderated or whether an answer can be submitted only once.  The other option is spam filter.  The spam filter removes unwanted answers (such as inappropriate language) in the Answer Garden.

Google Classroom Poll Feature:  For those of you knee deep in Google Classroom, this is a welcome feature.  This feature is included in the Google Classroom stream.  Simply click the "plus" button on the bottom right, choose "create question," and type away.  The question and student answer will appear in the class stream.  This is great for not only checking for understanding during class but asking students to answer the question for homework as part of a flipped classroom.

Mentimeter:  Takes a few more moments to create questions on the fly, but it can be done.  Like the other poll apps, Menitmeter allows the teacher to check students for understanding.  Mentimeter is unique in that the teacher can choose from various question types such as multiple choice and word cloud.  Mentimeter is great to have prepared before class and institute as a warm-up and end of day exit ticket.

Kahoot:  Gamify your check for understanding with Kahoot!  Set aside ten minutes at the end of class for a review Kahoot.  Include review questions of the days topic.  At the end of the game, a game report is available for download, letting the teacher know not only which questions the students need work on, but which students need extra help.

Socrative:  Check for understanding with the "Exit Ticket" and "Quick Question" options.  With "exit ticket," the teacher is given three questions to present to the students.  Those questions ask the students what they learned that day, how well did they understand the material and an open-ended teacher generated question.  With the quick question option, the teacher can give the kids one of three types of questions.  The teacher gets the results in real time.  Excellent to find out which students need a little extra help and which areas of study should be reviewed.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

16 Ways Teachers Can Use Social Media in the Classroom

I found most of these ideas can be used with either Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter unless otherwise noted.
  • Track student work over the course of the year. Take pictures of the progression of a student project or track their learning.
  • Use it to post homework. Ask them to write about the significance of a posted photo — perhaps a map, person, or document.
  • Share classroom news with parents and faculty. Showcase student work.
  • Remind students of upcoming class events.
  • Create out of class study groups using specific hashtags. Give the group a question and ask each member to contribute to the hashtag.
  • Flip the classroom by posing questions and asking the students to contribute. Students will be ready to discuss the questions in class.

  • Send out an occasional extra credit question.
  • Share memories of field trips or extracurricular activities.
  • Create a tweet as a literary character. Give the students a topic and asks them to tweet as the character would.
  • Create a tweet as a historical character. Give the students a current event and ask them to tweet as a historical figure would have.
  • Use Instagram to feature a student of the week.
  • In language class, use Snapchat to take a picture of an item and label it in the appropriate language.
  • Take videos of real-life examples of the content as a study guide or ask students to identify the video based on the content.
  • Ask students to annotate an image provided by you, identifying key elements on a map or a picture.
  • Use Twitter for extended office hours. Advise students that they can tweet you at certain times of the day.
  • Use Twitter to take a poll using a certain hashtag.