Tag Archives: 21st century

Looking for Basic Information? Try Qwiki!

Click the icon above to visit Qwiki

Qwiki is a technology company pioneering a new media format that combines the appeal of video with the interactivity of the web. Each “Qwiki” is easily created through a browser – enabling users to combine pictures, videos, infographics and their own voice into a beautiful, interactive presentation describing anything. Qwiki has raised approximately $11 million in funding from a number of top-tier investors, including the co-founders of Facebook, Groupon and YouTube.

Qwiki was recently recognized by Apple as the 2011 iPad App of the year in the Search & Reference category, with ~1 million downloads. We won the TechCrunch Disrupt (San Francisco 2010) startup competition in 2010 and The New York Times has called us “…a seed that will blossom into another Internet wonder.”

I found Qwiki to be a great way to get and share information in a high-interest format. The best thing about Qwiki? It’s free! Take a few minutes to explore the Qwiki site. Type in a topic, and see what you can learn.

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How Skype can Enhance your Lesson Plans

Skype has to be one of the best free and simple web 2.0 tools available.  Skype makes it easy to collaborate, share files and messages, and work with others from anywhere in the world.  Many schools are using Skype to connect with content experts, leaders, and other classrooms and students.

Skype is software that enables the world’s conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages, and share files with other people. You can use Skype on your computer, mobile phone, or a television with Skype.  Skype has a very easy tutorial for getting started for Windows  and Mac users.  Get started today!

Now, Skype has an resource just for schools called Skype in the Classroom.

Click the photo to access Skype for the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is a free community that allows teachers to connect across the world to help their students learn. Log in with your Skype account to get connected.

Hear how teachers are connecting with each other, finding partner classes and sharing inspiration using Skype.

Click on the “Projects” tab to find a project that might coincide with your curriculum.

Listen to how teachers are using Skype with their students to collaborate with other schools around the world! Find out more about this global initiative and how you can get involved.

 

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Simple K-12: Changing Education through Technology

Click the icon to visit this great resource!

Once again, through Twitter, I have discovered one of those blogs that I just keep visiting over and over.  Each time, I find another quality post that is relevant, accurate, and useful.  I Ed. Tech is definitely a blog worth a subscription.

The blog is one element of the Simple K-12 website, and the motto,  Changing Education through Technology, is evident in every post.  Dedicated to ensuring teachers and school leaders are prepared for teaching and learning in the 21st century, the resources on this blog are current, innovative, and intuitive.  That’s exactly what educators need.  Blog posts are short, simple, and to the point.  Most provide a brief introduction followed by a list of resources with links to each and a short blurb about how to use the resource with students or colleagues.

By signing up for their E-mail list serv, anyone can get access to 11 Hidden Webtools for your Classroom.  This resource provides some excellent free, easy-to-use web resources with direct links.  Blog posts such as:  14 Reasons to Have a Blog, 5 Ways to Transition Classrooms into Web 2.0 Learning, and 6 Must-Have Teacher Tech Tools  are quick reads that can have a great impact on student engagement, student inquiry, and instructional delivery and design.

If you are looking for something specific, the blog uses a tag cloud, a search bar, lists of recent and popular posts, and offers archives listed by month.  Plus, you can subscribe via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS feed.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go, sign up today!

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21 Signs You’re a 21st Century Teacher

I can’t take credit for this blog post.  I found it, like many great educational finds, on Twitter.  This post came from the I Love Ed Tech website.

Here they are – the 21 signs you are a 21st century teacher.  How many define your practice?

1. You require your students to use a variety of sources for their research projects…and they cite blogs, podcasts, and interviews they’ve conducted via Skype.

2. Your students work on collaborative projects…with students in Australia.

3. You give weekly class updates to parents…via your blog.

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4. Your students participate in class…by tweeting their questions and comments.

5. You ask your students to study and create reports on a controversial topic…and you grade their video submissions.

6. You prepare substitutes with detailed directions…via Podcasts.

7. You ask your students to do a character/historical person study…and they create mock social media profiles of their character.

8. Your students create a study guide…working together on a group wiki.

9. You share lesson plans with your teacher friends…from around the globe.

10. Your classroom budget is tight…but it doesn’t matter because there are so many free resources on the web you can use.

11. You realize the importance of professional development…and you read blogs, join online communities, and tweet for self development.

12. You take your students on a field trip to the Great Wall of China…and never leave your classroom.

13. Your students share stories of their summer vacation…through an online photo repository.

14. You visit the Louvre with your students…and don’t spend a dime.

15. You teach your students not to be bullies…or cyberbullies.

16. You make your students turn in their cell phones before class starts…because you plan on using them in class.

17. You require your students to summarize a recent chapter…and submit it to you via a text message.

18. You showcase your students’ original work…to the world.

19. You have your morning coffee…while checking your RSS feed.

20. You are reading this.

21. You tweet this page, blog about it, “like” it, or email it to someone else…

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Youth Voices: An Online Writing Community for Students

Youth Voices is a site for students to engage in authentic conversations about what matters to them.

What could be more exciting and motivating to a student to see his or her opinions posted online where other students can see them and respond?  Youth Voices is a site for conversations that invites “youth of all ages to voice their thoughts about their passions, to explain things they understand well, to wonder about things they have just begun to understand, and to share discussion posts with other young people using as many different genres and media as they can imagine!”

Youth Voices is a school-based social network, started by a group of National Writing Project teachers, who merged several earlier blogging projects. The goal is to connect students around the country through writing about their passions and reading and commenting on the work of others.  This project has provided a vehicle for the marriage of curriculum and digital literacies.

One of the best things about Youth Voices is that membership is free, and the authors invite you to join them. They welcome any teacher interested in having students publish online and participate in the give and take of a safe social network.

Click to Access the NYC Writing Project Home Page

Here is what the authors of this site have to say about Youth Voices:  “We are much more than a website or a social network. We are also a welcoming community of teachers who have been planning curriculum together for years. Many of us are active members in our local National Writing Project sites, and Youth Voices is managed by teachers in the New York City Writing Project. In addition, many of us count ourselves as members of the World Bridges community, and we meet regularly using Google+ Hangouts and Livestream on a weekly webcast/podcast, Teachers Teaching Teachers, which has been broadcast live every Wednesday evening over the EdTechTalk channel of the WorldBridges network since 2006.”

An excerpt from one student's article: My Army Past, Present, and Future

Involving students in “authentic conversations” is one of the passions that sparked the idea behind Youth Voices.  Teachers working with the project have learned that nurturing and guiding students to write and create well-crafted products is important, but it is just important to allow time for students to read other students’ posts and to write comments to them.  Developing global conversations around posts provides students an opportunity to see what is happening around the world and in the homes and lives of others.

The site offers several “channels” where students can post their reflections.  Current topics include:

Students can choose from various channels to post their work:

  • Art, Music, and Photography
  • Gaming and New Media
  • Literature and Inquiry
  • Local Knowledge/ Global Attitude

Click the photo to visit the National Writing Project website.

And…if you are looking for something specific, authors use tags to make their work easily searchable.  Youth Voices is a safe, academic social network for students to share their thoughts with the world.  Maybe it is the right platform for your students…

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QR Codes Can Transform Your Learning Environment

Scan this QR Code with your smart phone, and see where it takes you!

I know you have seen them…those pesky and unnerving little boxes of black and white jibberish that students and other young people use their smart phones to scan. These codes can be found online, on advertisements in restaurants, hotels, and even at the gas pump.   We get them in the mail, and now they are even in print media such as magazines and newspapers.  So, what ARE they?

A QR (Quick Response) code is a type of matrix code first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the auto industry due to its fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background, and the information encoded can be made up of any kind of data.

What’s hiding behind the code?  Watch this short video created by McGuffey School District in Claysville, PA to see how this school district is using QR Codes to enhance learning opportunities for students.

So, how do you get started?  First, you need to make some QR codes!  You won’t believe how easy this process is.  Go to QR Stuff, and start creating codes today!

Need a scanner?  Go to your App Store and search for “QR,” and you will be scanning and surfing in no time.

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Thinking Outside the Instructional Box: The Flipped Classroom

We have all heard that our  21st century students need hands-on, interactive experiences.  Teachers today are being asked to teach in ways that they were not taught  — with technology that is brand new and often unfamiliar. How exciting…..and scary…all at the same time.

One controversial method of building in more hands-on class time is called the Flipped Classroom Model.  The major difference in this model and traditional instruction is that teachers videotape lectures they would generally provide in class, and students access them online as homework.  This trend, although not new, is gaining popularity with teachers who are thinking outside the box to find ways to preserve instructional time for students to explore, collaborate, create, build, and experience the curriculum.

Check out Aaron Sams’ classroom as he explains why he flipped his classroom. Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann were early adopters of the flipped classroom. Both Sams and Bergmann currently teach in Woodland Park High School in Colorado.  They are writing a book about the Flipped Class.

Learn more about Aaron and Jonathan’s philosophies and how their flipped classrooms came to be by clicking here.

Still interested?

Read the latest article here from Ed Week about the flipped classroom:  Lectures are Homework in Schools Taking Khan Academy Lead

Want to learn more about The Flipped Classroom?  Click here!

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