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Category Archives: Leverages Technology

UDL series: Social Studies

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This post is the fourth of a six-part series dedicated to the educational technology resources available for teachers and students to use to offer the best universally designed learning environment possible. There will be resources to provide multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression.

For more information on universally designed learning environments (UDL) please check out the UDL guidelines site.

ENGAGEMENT – the goal is to have purposeful learning and motivated students.

  • BreakoutEDU is an immersive learning experience like an Escape Room experience but set up for the classroom. The experience can be hands-on or digitally interactive whereby groups of students must solve various riddles and find clues to complete or “breakout” of the experience. Teachers can buy Breakout EDU kits and the platform of lessons. There is also a great template for teachers to create their own learning experiences (and students can even create ones too!) Great for any age, any subject area and even for staff. If you really like this type of learning I highly recommend joining the BreakoutEDU Facebook communities as well.
  • Chrome extensions 
    • 1-click-timer
    • Bitmoji – create your own avatar! Drag those images into GDocs as part of your comments on student work. Use them on top of other images/text in a Google Slide. Make a visual story, spruce up an email or grab attention in a newsletter.
    • National Geographic Photo of the Day – have some powerful conversations and or writing prompts with this!
  • Comparisons 
    • Dollar Street: TED Talk, Website – Gapminder visited 264 families in 50 countries and collected 30,000 photos. One can sort the homes by income, from left to right. Watch the TED talk for the introduction.
    • If It Were My Home – use the country comparison tool to compare living conditions in your own country to those of another.
  • RW4GC – Read&Write for Google Chrome has a variety of tools – text to speech, talk&type, dictionaries, highlighters, PDF reader, website reader, vocabulary list builder, etc. A subscription is required.
  • Rubrics
  • YouTube Playlists – curate a collection of YouTube video clips for students to watch and replay whenever they need.

REPRESENTATION – resourceful and knowledgeable students.

 

  • Book Creator – this infamous book creation tool for iOS is available in Chrome. Free teacher account has 40 books in the library that can be used. Students can add text, images, audio, and video. A fantastic way to showcase student learning.
  • Google MyMaps – Examples
  • Online Reference Centre (Alberta access only)

ACTION & EXPRESSION – strategic and goal-oriented students.

  • Big Huge Labs – create motivational posters, magazine covers, pop art, etc.
  • Civic Mirror simulation – great to have students see the results of their actions in an economy. Also nice for CALM for financial literacy.
  • GSuite – opportunities to use a Science template for experiments, writing prompts, collaborations, data collection via Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
  • Historical Fakebook Template
  • Videoconferencing – opportunities to connect with other schools, experts, and events.
    • Mystery Skype – become a member of the Microsoft community for free and then have access to Skype programs.
    • Global Encounters is an international student video conference program, offered through a partnership between the Centre for Global Education (CGE) and TakingITGlobal (TIG). We’ve hosted dozens of events on critical global issues such as child soldiers and armed conflict, women’s rights, mental health, climate change and many more.
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UDL series: the Sciences

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This post is the third of a six-part series dedicated to the educational technology resources available for teachers and students to use to offer the best universally designed learning environment possible. There will be resources to provide multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression.

For more information on universally designed learning environments (UDL) please check out the UDL guidelines site.

ENGAGEMENT – the goal is to have purposeful learning and motivated students.

  • Chrome extensions 
    • 1-click-timer – quick and easy to use.
    • GIF creation with Animated GIF capture or GIFit!. Here’s where making a 3 – 10-second rotating clip from a video or screen can capture a student’s attention.
    • Bitmoji – create your own avatar! Drag those images into GDocs as part of your comments on student work. Use them on top of other images/text in a Google Slide. Make a visual story, spruce up an email or grab attention in a newsletter.
    • RW4GC – Read&Write for Google Chrome has a variety of tools – text to speech, talk&type, dictionaries, highlighters, PDF reader, website reader, vocabulary list builder, etc. A subscription is required.
  • YouTube Playlists

REPRESENTATION – resourceful and knowledgeable students.

  • BioInteractive – multimedia resources, including apps, animations, videos, interactives, and virtual labs, to bring the excitement of scientific discovery into your classroom.
  • Book Creator – this infamous book creation tool for iOS is available in Chrome. Free teacher account has 40 books in the library that can be used. Students can add text, images, audio, and video. A fantastic way to showcase student learning.
  • NASA Live stream of Earth seen from space powered by NASA HDEV cameras aboard the International Space Station.
  • Online Reference Centre (Alberta access only)
  • Periodic Videos – Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century – but this modern version has a short video about each one.
  • PhET Simulations – interactive simulations available for any device.
  • Sciencium 
  • The Concord ConsortiumSTEM repository for K-12+.
  • The Physics Classroom – includes a large collection of HTML5 interactive physics applications.

ACTION & EXPRESSION – strategic and goal-oriented students.

  • Big Huge Labscreate motivational posters, magazine covers, pop art, etc.
  • Google Science Fair
  • GSuite – opportunities to use a Science template for experiments, writing prompts, collaborations, data collection via Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
 

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UDL Series: Mathematics

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This post is the second of a six-part series dedicated to the educational technology resources available for teachers and students to use to offer the best universally designed learning environment possible. There will be resources to provide multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression.

For more information on universally designed learning environments (UDL) please check out the UDL guidelines site.

ENGAGEMENT – the goal is to have purposeful learning and motivated students.

  • Battlesheets – take the traditional Battleship game into the 21st century with this template.
  • Cathy Yenca – tutorials from Cathy that share how she uses different edtech tools in the math classroom.
  • Chrome extensions:
    • 1-click-timer – for the timing of work time, lessons, etc.
    • Bitmoji – to add to math explanations, math comments or just for fun.
    • Equatio – free for teachers (students need a subscription) and takes digital math to a whole new level.
    • Google Keep – the mobile version allows for audio > transcription plus images that can have students explain their process.
  • Dan Meyer has phenomenal engaging lessons for students to sink their mathematical teeth found at Three-Act Math
  • Desmos Lesson: How Long Does it Take to Charge a Cell Phone? Lesson, Desmos
  • Estimation 180 – a variety of challenges
  • Jim Wilson – has many resources, take time to scroll down to Problems section
  • Ozobots – these little tiny robots can be used in K-12 math classes easily. Check out the lessons, ideas.
  • Robert Kaplinsky – always has engaging and authentic lessons.

REPRESENTATION – resourceful and knowledgeable students.

  • Chrome Extension – Equatio – as mentioned above, it is a digital math area. What I really like is that students can speak out their equations or expressions and Equatio will transcribe it which can then be inputted into a Google Document. The mathspace is also an amazing area. I highly recommend you watch an intro video or attend a webinar.
  • Google Graph Paper
  • Put Music and Math together with Incredibox and talk about patterns, sequencing, and even algorithms. Oh, and make some pretty funky music tunes too!
  • Online Reference Centre (Alberta access only) 
  • Interested in collaborative and omnipresent slide shows that allow student input? Check out Pear Deck and its TemplatesResource Link
  • The UofWaterloo Problem of the Week is designed to provide students with an ongoing opportunity to solve mathematical problems. Each week, problems from various areas of mathematics will be posted on the website and e-mailed to teachers for use with their students from grades 3 and up.
  • Youcubed‘s main goal is to inspire, educate and empower teachers of mathematics, transforming the latest research on math into accessible and practical forms. Create by Jo Boaler and team. There are many resources and ideas for all grade levels.

ACTION & EXPRESSION – strategic and goal-oriented students.

Use whichever tool that would fit your needs at the time and then tuck away a few more for future uses.

 

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UDL series: English Language Arts

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This post is the first of a six-part series dedicated to the educational technology resources available for teachers and students to use to offer the best universally designed learning environment possible. There will be resources to provide multiple means of engagement, representation, action & expression.

For more information on universally designed learning environments (UDL) please check out the UDL guidelines site.

ENGAGEMENT – the goal is to have purposeful learning and motivated students.

  • BreakoutEDU – an immersive learning experience like an Escape Room experience but set up for the classroom. The experience can be hands-on or digitally interactive whereby groups of students must solve various riddles and find clues to complete or “breakout” of the experience. Teachers can buy Breakout EDU kits and the platform of lessons. There is also a great template for teachers to create their own learning experiences (and students can even create ones too!) Great for any age, any subject area and even for staff. If you really like this type of learning I highly recommend joining the BreakoutEDU Facebook communities as well.
  • Chrome extensions such as
    • Bitmoji – create your own avatar! Drag those images into GDocs as part of your comments on student work. Use them on top of other images/text in a Google Slide. Make a visual story, spruce up an email or grab attention in a newsletter.
    • Grammarly for Chrome – the free version auto-checks for spelling and punctuation.
    • Power Thesaurus – a nice option when building vocabulary skills and searching for different words to use in writing.
    • RW4GC – Read&Write for Google Chrome has a variety of tools – text to speech, talk&type, dictionaries, highlighters, PDF reader, website reader, vocabulary list builder, etc. A subscription is required.
  • Rubrics – a great rubric allows students the opportunity to strive for a target. Co-creation with students helps them take ownership of their work as well.
  • YouTube Playlists such as TED-Ed. Creating Playlists and sharing them on a classroom blog/website/GClassroom gives students the opportunity to rewatch key concepts whenever they like. TED-Ed has a fantastic set of video clips that teachers can utilize and also embed questions for student responses.

REPRESENTATION – resourceful and knowledgeable students.

  • Book Creator for Chrome – this infamous book creation tool for iOS is available in Chrome. Free teacher account has 40 books in the library that can be used. Students can add text, images, audio, and video. A fantastic way to showcase student learning.
  • Differentiated Reading Sources such as
    • Newsela – differentiated reading articles in a variety of subject areas. Ability to change the reading level automatically (5 different levels). A great way to have ALL students reading the same information but at their level. Grades 3-12. Teachers create a free account and students sign up with a code.
    • Tweentribune is much like Newsela, however, its interface is a little busier and does have a few more articles in Grades K-2 (not many but it does have some).
  • Summarizers like
    • Litcharts – online literature guides with a summary, themes, chapter reviews, character information. A solid backgrounder for students. Mainly for middle and high school years.
    • Sparknotes is similar to litcharts. Advertising is a little annoying but the information is good.
    • 60 Second recap is the brainchild of a quirky librarian that recaps middle and high school years books in video clip format. Teachers can use this to introduce, to recap, to review.
    • Thug Notes YouTube Playlist – a raw version of how novels could be reviewed. Does contain inappropriate language yet the explanations are brilliant at the high school level. Highly recommend teacher preview.
  • Online Reference Centre (Alberta access only)
  • ReadWriteThink.org – supported by the National Council of the Teachers of English this site has a wealth of lessons, resources, student interactives, etc.

ACTION & EXPRESSION – strategic and goal-oriented students.

  • Booksnaps with Google Slides, images, Bitmoji chrome extension. Take a text and showcase important information, facts and/or gems.
  • Google Suite apps for education allow school divisions to provide a safe, collaborative, engaging and personalized environment.
  • Hemingway Editor is a desktop app that allows students to see how their writing can be analyzed in order to improve. The free version gives an overview.
  • National Novel Writing Month
    • In the month of November, students can work on their writing via nanowrimo.org. The goal is to write 50,000 words (or a novel) in 30 days.
  • New York Times Learning Network has an amazing array of resources from writing and image prompts to discussions to graphs to comments and even contests.
  • Screencastify chrome extension provides the opportunity for videoing content on display. Easy to use and it save directly into GDrive (and even YouTube).

Just try ONE of these resources in your next ELA class. It WILL make a difference to your students engagement.

 

 

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Graphically Inclined

Having an appreciation of graphic design as well as contemporary architecture, I was quite excited to watch the Adobe Create documentary short film on Barbara Stauffacher Solomon’s work.

As an American graphic design artist who had the opportunity to study under Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Art and Crafts in Switzerland, she was exposed to the black and white Helvetica style of design. Today due to technology, we have access to so many different fonts, it is amazing to see how hand-drawn/created lettering had a powerful purpose 60 years ago.

For me, the video emphasizes the need for knowledge, skills, and attitudes in being able to create, learn, design and imagine. For education, how can we show this video to high school students in order for them to understand that foundational knowledge is just as important as experiential opportunities?

Also, one sees that Barbara continues to work with pencil and paper. How could this be then moved into online drawing programs like Adobe? What would the process be?

Some things to check out:

 

 

Get Techy w/Images

Using images in the classroom allows for all students to either dig into a topic via discussion and observation yet also through inferencing. As well images can convey a lot more emotion and ‘realness’ on a specific topic than just plain text.

Check out the various resources that can be used to obtain images for whatever content that is being studied, discussed, blogged about or presented on.

Machu Picchu, Peru by Abraham Osorio

  • Work within the chrome environment, specifically your Google Document by using the add-on Full Deck for GDocs.
  • As well, the chrome tool Explore found in Google Docs, Slides and Spreadsheet also provide images and the links are brought over automatically.

Explore

creative commons

  • If you have a subscription to Discovery Education, the site has some amazing photo resources for both teachers and students.

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  • Many blog sites have their own built-in image generator or links, check out the dashboard to see if there is access.
  • Haiku Deck is a presentation tool that has access to many fonts, layouts and images filters. It is available via a website or iOS device.
  • Compfight is an image search engine. It is very easy to use.

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If you’d like some more ideas on how to use visuals in the learning environment, please check out some of my other posts:

Above all, have fun with your images, use them to make meaning of the subject areas, and cite when necessary.

 

(Dis)Connected, Distracted or Addicted? Understanding the Smartphone Generation

I had the extreme pleasure to attend both the Public Evening Lecture and the Research Colloquium on this highly important topic. Please view the STORIFY of the tweets and materials for the 2018 event.

Important points from both the evening and day events:

  • we all need SLEEP, 8-10 hours depending on age
  • step away from the turned on screens one hour before bedtime
  • middle years and high school students are going out less, doing less with friends
  • society needs to reconnect with nature – go for walks, hiking, playing ball/frisbee, sit around a campfire
  • all media is educational! It’s just as important to feed the brain as it is the body. It’s the quality of the media that matters.
  • try a weekly digital sabbath with everyone in your family