Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sharing with Stupeflix

Stupeflix is an online tool that you or your students can use to create videos. Similar to Windows Movie Maker, you can add images, audio, and title slides. The greatest advantage is that I find Stupeflix much easier to use than Movie Maker. The only setback is that you don’t get much for free; however, this will definitely help students learn how to summarize visual presentations by extracting the essentials to present ideas, concepts, stories, summaries, and so forth. Below is an example of my former students’ hurricane house project.

Application in Science
1. Photos demonstrating the science process during labs
2. Gathering and sharing visual data from labs
3. Photos of Parent Night, Open House, Science Night

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Beautiful Answer Garden

In an age of formative and summative assessments, teachers always need ways to gather data to drive instruction. Now I may not have a green thumb, but I have found one garden that even I can create and use to enhance learning and assessment techniques. Answer Garden is such a great and easy tool to use to gather snapshots of information. It is flexible enough to use before, during, or after a lesson. To create a garden follow these easy steps:

1. Type a task or question into the topic box.
2. Determine if you want to gather unlimited answers.
3. Create an admin password (for editing purposes).
4. Include an email to receive the password and link.
5. Click create.
6. Check your email; copy and paste the link to your website. You can also choose to share or embed.

Here is what an Answer Garden BEFORE it starts to bloom with answers.

Share one thing you've learned about renewable energy.... at

1. No login required
2. Very easy to integrate
3. Provides quick feedback to drive the direction of instruction

Applications in Science:
1. Gather information on prior background knowledge on science concepts (erosion, geocentrism, motion, etc.)
2. Share the link on a social network to crowdsource responses outside of classroom on a topic so students can see outside perspectives.
3. Use as an exit slip after a lecture.
4. Use during a lesson as a Think-Post-Share.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Awesome Highlighter

With the NCLB cloud hovering over our classrooms we must constantly reflect on how we are helping our exceptional students and non-native speakers.  In our classrooms, we like to use webquests or recommend websites our students should use when conducting research.  We must also provide the necessary scaffolding for students who need it.  Many websites still are not kid-friendly, but with some great technology tools we can make the process easier for our learners.  Have you heard of Awesome Highlighter?  Well it is really easy to use.   Just go to the website and insert the link of the website you want to share with students.  Awesome Highlighter will pull up the page and allow you to begin highlighting the things you want learners to focus on.  Begin selecting the text you want highlighter; once you release the mouse the text will be highlighted. Once you're done selecting the desired text, click Done.  Either post the link onto your class webpage or copy/paste on a student handout.  You also have the option to email the link or share (Twitter, Facebook, Delicious).

Here's my sample link:

Application in Science:
1. Internet research
2. Online notes

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cramberry - A Yummy Way to Study

Do your students need another great way to study? Well, try Cramberry.  You can create online flashcards for free, which is definitely a handy tool for science education.  Students can create flashcards or you can create flashcards for them.  It’s actually quite easy to create a set of cards. 
1. Login to Cramberry.
2. Create a title for set.
3. Decide if anyone can use and edit the set of cards.
4. Create set.
5. Type in information for the front and back of your cards.  (You have an option to create your own backmatter or take from the premade options.)
6. Click Finish.
7. Review your set, then select Study Now or Export.
8. Share the URL with student.  Here’s my quick sample:
Your sets can be tweeted or liked.  However, the greatest feature is that students can type in answer and do a self-check.  There is no time limit so students can review words until they are satisfied.  

Application to Science:
1. Create a set of cards for building academic vocabulary.


Can you remember waiting for the Sunday paper so that you could read the comics section? I do and that’s because I loved the characters and the story lines. The comics grabbed my attention and I looked forward to reading each story. Comics in education can have the same effect as reading the comics at home. GoAnimate4Schools is a great tool for integrating comics into your classroom, especially a science classroom. What are others saying about using comics in education?

“The most frequently mentioned asset of comics as an educational tool is its ability to motivate students.” –Gene Yang
“Introducing comics as a new form of literature will bring their education to the next level.” –Sarah Winifred Searle
“Comics…are an especially effective medium in the context of brain-based teaching, which emphasizes hands-on, manipulative-based activities.” –Nancy Frey

Here is my first GoAnimate4Schools comic strip: Reference Point by Monique Prince

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate4Schools. It's free and fun!

Application in Science:
1. Review big ideas.
2. Address student misconceptions.
3. Demonstrate the scientific process.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Virtual Study Groups with CoboCards

Cobocards is an online flashcard site designed to allow users to create and share flashcards for any subject.  You can create your own flashcards or browse through the available library of premade cards.  Cobocards supports mobile learning because you can access your cards from your iPhone or Android.  Another cool feature is that your flashcards can be printed or exported for students who don’t have access to mobile technology.  This video reviews the basic process:

Applications to Science:
1. Students can work in groups to create flashcards for a current unit of study.
2. Let students provide peer commentary on all student-created flashcards.
3. Create a library of flashcards for your students to retrieve from the class website.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Say Cheese with Twitpic!

Okay so you need a great way to show your parents the type of learning and engagement that’s going on in your classroom and you’re not sure what to use.  I have a great solution for you (and actually for myself, too!).  Now I have been fiddling with Twitter and how to use it in my classroom.  I don’t want to have too many accounts to open and would like to find ways to use one tool for a number of purposes.  I vote for Twitpic for photo and video sharing!  You can sign in with your Twitter account instead of creating another separate account.  I don’t have to upload, save to my computer, and post onto Twitter.  I mean, I could do all those things, but it would just be easier to snap and send with a mobile device.  Twitpic gives users this option via a special email address.  If you want to add a message to the picture, just add it to the subject line and hit, send.  That’s it.

Applications in Science:
1. Share lab experiment pictures.
2. Showcase student work.
3. Display solutions to practice problems.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's All About Presenting with Knovio

Okay teachers, are you ready for this?  There is a new technology resource in the #edtech world called Knovio, and I think it is one that we are really going to like.  Have you ever wanted to create one of those presentations where you are on one side of the screen and your presentation is smoothly transitioning on the other side?  Well, Knovio is here to make your dream come true.  Recently, I signed up for an invitation to use Knovio as it is still in private beta form.  Why do I like Knovio already? Here’s why:
  • ·         Free
  • ·         Can upload custom PowerPoint presentations
  • ·         Only requires a webcam and microphone
  • ·         Sharing capabilities

Applications for a science classroom:
·         Find already prepared presentations and add video.  Post links to classroom website for students to access in their own time.
·         Teachers or students can create tutorials to share (Perhaps, a whiteboard might come in handy as well).
Visit Knovio’s website today and request your private invitation now!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weebly for Education

I really need to thank the presenters who shared their presentations online for those of us that wanted to review the information again or for those of us that didn't get the opportunity to attend ISTE 2011.  For the last few years, I have danced around the idea of student portfolios.  For the last two years, I have tried to make portfolios commonplace as I continually try to expand on my efforts from the previous year.  This year will be no different in my mission, but will take on a new twist.  This year I want to try using ePortfolios.  Now, I have researched this topic actively and had taken notes of great ideas. Dr. H. Barrett has a plethora of information on portfolio development on her blog.  After looking at her contributions I decided to try one resource for a sample ePortfolio that I could share with students.

Weebly for Education
Weebly is a free, interactive website and blog development tool.  No HTML coding is necessary for this website as everything is drag-and-drop.  If you choose to create a regular Weebly account, you won't be able to get student accounts.  However, Weebly for Education provides you with up to 40 student accounts free.  There are a variety of neat features that students can use, but to include some tools requires a premium account. (However, I think you can get around some of this if you are familiar with HTML coding).  Once you create a school account students will be able to access their accounts from here. Students will input the account information provided to them and can get started using their new ePortfolio accounts.  The best feature is that I can check how often students are updating their sites.

Check out my first Weebly website.

Application for Science?
1. Create an ePortfolio for the school year in science class.  The portfolio should contain a section for showcasing work and another section that shows learning progress.  Incorporate a blog of frequent reflection on learning within each student page.

Why not try Weebly for Education today!

Friday, July 1, 2011

10 Ways on How to Make Your Classroom Website Interactive

As I look back over the last school year, I remember the first time I decided to make my own classroom website.  It was October 2010 when I sat with other educators listening to our administration share with us the importance of good communication with parents.  The minute we were asked to update our school pages, my face looked as though I just swallowed lemon juice straight from the fruit itself.  One million thoughts ran through my head as to why I didn't want to use the website provided by the county.  Finally, I asked if I could have the option of using a different source to keep in contact with parents.  It was that day that technology in education had a new meaning for me. 

First things first, I needed to find out what makes a class web page great.  Better yet, I wanted to find ways to also attract the students to it as well.  While there are so many blog platform options out there, I chose to go with Google Blogger because of the ease of use.  Now my search led me to sites at different grade levels and content areas.  I jotted down my observations, learned about HTML coding, and more.  Today, I have a personal blog, one for my parents, and one for my students.  Each blog page has features for the target audience.  Notice that I did say features because let's face it, no one just wants to read words all the time, especially our students. 

So what are the best features for making a classroom learning website more interactive?  I may not be the guru on this, but I can definitely say that the responses my students have shared about my web pages say that I am on the right track!

Here is a list that covers the mere basics for interactivity. Got your pen?

1. Polls - Students like to vote on how they learn best, what technology they'd like to use for an upcoming project, or interests. This is a quick way to gather up information when designing a lesson. (Flisti, SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, Poll Everywhere, Poll Daddy)

2. Quizzes - I like to add these when I start a new unit or when I want to provide students with an additional study resource. I like the online options that let students see their results after they've completed the quiz.  This way they are able to return to class the next day and tell you what they still need help in specifically rather than give you the "deer stare" when you ask. (Quibblo, Flashcards)

3. Video Conferencing - For some students, helping via email is sufficient. However, others might still require additional visual assistance. Set a regular time and day where students can meet you online for after hours support.  (Wetoku, Tokbox)

4. Links - Everyone loves links! While sharing information, hyperlink sites throughout the text so that students may visit those sites to gather valuable information.  Some tools like Snapshots will allow users to preview a website before clicking on it or even allow them to stay on your page and view the link right then and there. (Snap)

5. Videos - Whether the videos are teacher-created, student-created, or just embedded from some other source, they can play a valuable role in learning. (Youtube, Schooltube, Teachertube, Vimeo, Fliqz, Flow Player)

6. QR Codes - QR codes are on video games, plants in the gardening section, and your toothpaste, so why not on your website! Create a vCard, which is an electronic business card, so that parents and students can have your school contact information within thumb reach. (Kaywa)

7. Audio - Students love to listen to themselves, especially in middle school.  Share their discoveries through podcast recordings embedded on the class page.  You can also embed a text-to-speech podcast on your website so that students have the option of listening to the text while reading it.  (Podomatic, Audioboo, Cinch, AudioPal, Odiogo, iSpeech, Yakitome)

8. Photo Albums - Share student work. Need I say more? (Picasa, Flickr, Piknik, Photobucket, Slide)

9. Comments - Whether you do all the blogging or your students share in the effort, having a way for continuous dialogue to occur is essential.  There are many tools out there to keep discussions going, feature top commenters, and so on.  We all need a way to keep are kids reading! (Disqus)

10. Chats - While comment features and video-conferencing options are available, sometimes all our students need is some chatting in real-time.  I have the same recommendations for chat boards as that for commenting and video-conferencing.  Some chat tools will allow you to say discussion for archiving, while most do not.  You be the judge on what will meet the needs of your students best. (Tweetchat, Meebo)

Enjoy making your classroom learning website INTERACTIVE!


Let me introduce you to two great ideas: Augmented Reality and Daqri.

Augmented reality (AR) occurs when a link is made between technology and the physical world. We've seen it in the movies, all over Youtube, and now the iPads. Daqri is one product that allows you to mix your reality with AR by using QR codes. Well what happens when augmented reality and Daqri collide? You get a WOW experience in the classroom! Daqri is a new tech tool that can be use to enhance classroom lessons. Can you think of a lesson that students generally struggle with year to year and you're just searching for a way to improve their experience? Daqri is one way to go! Since Daqri is in beta mode you will still need to request for an account. Once you get your account, you can add video, images, audio, text, PDFs, and 3D objects into a bar code. You can send the bar code to students in a number of ways or you can provide it to them through handouts or presentations.

I wanted to play around with this tool to see just how easy it would be to set up and to use. I must say that I am really impressed. Here's my first Daqri (somewhat related to science).

Application in science?
1. Create a guided reading activity and post a copy of the Daqri QR code for students to scan on mobile technology. (Please encourage your students to bring their own headsets if you add audio/video resources.) Provide cues for when to use the code.

2. Create a nature activity. Kids love outdoor classrooms.  As they observe something, have QR Codes posted for them to gather additional information about tasks and more.

3. Enrichment support is also a good idea. Perhaps videos on how to use science/math formulas for calculating density, speed, pressure, and mechanical advantage.

I did touch base with @daqri (Twitter) for some technical advice for 3D objects and they were very helpful.  So in case you have issues with this resource don't hesitate to contact them.

How can you use Daqri in your classroom?
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