Tag Archives: web 2.0

Student Blogging Challenge

Do you have students in your class that need an anchor activity to work on when they complete their work? Do you need a way to interest reluctant learners in your class?  Maybe you want to learn with your students about how you can incorporate blogs in your classroom.  Perhaps the Student Blogging Challenge is what you need.

Edublogs is sponsoring its 8th annual Student Blogging Challenge.  Students, classes, and mentors from all over the world are invited to join the challenge — regardless of their blogging skills. That’s right, REGARDLESS of their blogging skills.  🙂 The challenges take place over 10 weeks with goals of improving blogging skills and allowing students or classes the opportunity to collaborate with students all over the world.

Information for first-time participants, including FAQs and information about the challenge can be found here.

Committed?  Ready to register?  Click here!


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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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The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators

Click on the photo above to check out the Super Book.

I am very excited that I will be presenting a session at the 2012 Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement March 19-21, 2012.  As I began to plan for my session – Just a Click Away:  Free Online Tools to Enhance Instruction, I have been digging into some amazing free resources out there on the web.  One of these resources is The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators.  This free downloadable publication is an incredible resource compiled by some of the most recognizable names in 21st century instruction.  Steven Anderson, Adam Bellow, Richard Byrne, Larry Ferlazzo, and Silvia Tolisano are just a few of the contributors.

Some of the best features of this online book include the overview from the administrator’s perspective; specific resources appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school; resources appropriate for ESL and EC students; and tools for educators.  The contributors have certainly made learning about new tools extremely simple for busy educators.

Check out The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators!

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A Newspaper of Tweets?

Click the icon to visit paper.li.

I follow Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher on Twitter, along with her other 29,000+ followers! Here was one of her tweets today:

The Cool Cat Teacher Daily Tweetpaper is out! http://vsb.li/wgtdwK.

So, I clicked on her link and found her daily newspaper compiled completely from her tweets!  I said to myself, “How did she do that?”  Then, I did what any 21st century educator would do, I went to my Google search bar and typed, “How do you create a Twitter newspaper?”  Within seconds (and I seriously mean seconds), I had discovered paper.li, created an account, and published my first Tweet Paper.  🙂

New to Twitter? Click the icon above to read my blog post to get you oriented with Tweeting!

Paper.li is a free service that takes links from the people you follow on Twitter and organizes those links into a virtual paper for easy reading.  Plus, it is incredibly simple to create an account.  Sign into paper.li with your Twitter account, and you are ready to publish.

After I had published my first paper, I realized that you might not be interested in some of the musicians, politicians, or athletes I follow, so my first paper really isn’t a great example of a good instructional paper.  But…that is how you learn.  I quickly discovered that I can publish a paper based only on my own tweets,  from those I follow, from specific tags, or even create my own custom paper. So, I went back to my settings and customized my sources.  The result:  my second paper is more specialized to education and instruction.

Another feature I really like about the paper is that the original tweeter’s name appears under each post, so the source is transparent.  I am going to continue to play with the settings, but I can already tell a difference between the content of my first and second editions.

Here’s it is.  What do you think?

Click the photo to visit my online tweet paper.

Then, I began to imagine the possibilities for classrooms and school districts!

What if, you tweeted a series of web pages, videos, articles, etc. on a certain topic, and then your students read your Tweet Paper for the day to get information.

Even better…what if students tweeted information they found on the web that coincided with concepts, topics, and units they were studying.  They could peer review Tweet Papers, choose favorite resources, and explore topics in a way we have not done so before.  A Tweet Paper might even be the foundational piece of assessing student understanding.  By asking, What did you learn from this video?, or Why did you tweet this article?, we can have our students articulate their reasoning through analysis and evaluation.  Excited yet?

If you are interested in subscribing to my Tweet Paper, click on the icon to visit my paper.

What about our instructional leaders, curriculum folks, and instructional technology specialists out there?

Paper.li is the perfect resource to provide teachers, principals, and other stakeholders with the latest and greatest information pertinent to their needs.  If your focus is the Common Core, go out there and tweet away.  If you are looking for literacy resources, find them and tweet them.  The great thing about your tweet paper is that you can create a new one each day, and each of your old papers is archived by date, so you can recall them at any time.  You can change hashtags, authors, or even who you follow to create a customized experience for your readers.

I can’t wait to get my morning paper!

How cool is that?  Are you ready to create your tweet paper?

Once you get started, if you are interested in more advance options, paper.li has a great FAQ and support page.

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C4LPT Announces the 2011 Top 100 Tools for Learning

The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies recently finalized the 5th Annual Survey of Learning Tools. The rankings this year were compiled from feedback from 531 learning professionals worldwide – from education, training and workplace learning.

Each slide contains the following information:

  • Tool Name and Icon
  • Website
  • Short Explanation of Purpose or Use
  • Cost and Availability Information
  • 2011 Ranking as well as Rankings from Previous Years


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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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Purdue University’s “Hotseat” – Yet Another Indication that the Backchannel is Here to Stay

Purdue University has developed Hotseat, a social networking-powered mobile Web application that creates a collaborative classroom, allowing students to provide near real-time feedback during class and enables professors to adjust the course content and improve the learning experience. Students can post messages to Hotseat using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, sending text messages, or logging in to the Hotseat Web site.

Imagine the possibilities for your classroom or school district.

Learn more here:  http://www.itap.purdue.edu/studio/hotseat/

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Virtual Field Trips: Take Your Students on an Adventure

Everyone loves a field trip. Now we have the technology and ability to bring the field trip to our students.

Virtual field trips are all the rage, but what exactly is the difference between surfing the web and talking with students about what’s on the their screens and a “virtual field trip?”  Virtual field trips provide students interactive experiences using the Internet.  Well-developed virtual field trips guide students through an exploration of content that might include themes or concepts in history, science, art, geography, or music.

Virtual field trips offer students experiences they would not normally be able to experience otherwise. For example, students may be able to travel to the inside of a volcano, view paintings on the walls of the Louvre, visit Congress. Virtual field trips allow students to experience a variety of different environments and cultures.

Obviously, virtual field trips may not offer the same sensory experience as being the physical location, there are some distinct do advantages of using virtual field trips.  For one, students can experience the field trip at their own pace and take the time to explore the virtual environment in a manner that best meets their learning style – reading and interacting with the content at an appropriate pace.  Furthermore, encouraging students to explore topics related to their own depth of interest allows them the opportunity to take control of their own learning, making the virtual field trip a more meaningful experience.

Simple K12 provides a VirtualFieldtrips-eBook on the top 7 virtual field trips complete with websites and a short blurb about each of the website.  This resource is a great start, but turning these websites into virtual field trips takes a little more work on the teacher’s part.  Asking yourself, “What do I want students to gain from this experience?” is a great place to start.  Sharing with students how to navigate the site(s) and then providing them with some questions that will stimulate their creative thinking and research will enhance the experience for students.  Providing students with choices is also a great way to differentiate the learning experience for all learners.  You may use one of the virtual field trips mentioned by Simple K12 as a starting point for students as they build their knowledge base and understanding of a topic or concept by visiting multiple websites.

Check out the Google Art Project overview as a potential site for future virtual field trips!

Build a virtual experience to address your content standards as well as meet the needs of your students.  What are you waiting for?

Check out my Delicious stack of resources to help you plan your Virtual Field Trips for more ideas.

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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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