Richard Byrne- FreeTech4Teachers is always an amazing resource. Looking through my bookmarks, it was clear that his contributions stood out, once again, as valuable to pass along. I will give you a really brief view of a couple of them- and the links to learn more from the source.
One of the tools he posted about this past week was ClassTools' new sorting game- Vortex. I tried out a couple of the pre-made games and thought they would be great for a review game. Gotta say- hate the font choice, but the game was fun and you can create your own. Can't find the original tweet or source, but check out this list of favorite tools of 2019
One other tool that Richard highlighted was Canva. I had looked at Canva back when it first came out, but have not used it extensively. Now that there is a free education edition, this tool is on my list to explore. Check out what Richard wrote and his video below.
Another tech guru that I get ideas from on a regular basis is Wanda Terral- Tech Director down at Lakeland School System down in Tennessee. Wanda is a Google educator and always shares great practical information. This past week she re-posted the links to the TCEA (Elementary) conference handouts from 2019. This is a fantastic resource with tons of wonderful presentations. Well worth spending time to check out for all elementary educators with presentations on all sorts of topics/tools. If you can't make it to TCEA conferences, the handouts are the next best thing.
Wanda also posted this image and the link to the site Retrieval Practices and a great article about Bloom's Taxonomy. Kind of turns the whole idea on it's head. And... she also pointed me to some excellent Google resources - Templates for Google Forms and Designing Infographics with Google Forms ( part of Applied Digital Skills )
Just before the winter break Tinkercad announced their new iOS app. We use Tinkercad for our 3D projects- on chromebooks. I downloaded the app and can't wait to have the students try it out. Looks like a lot of great new features too, along with the new interface. We haven't really ventured into much AR and this may provide a way to make this happen.
Cool Graph Paper
I started going through an online EdTech course -Primarily Google, over the break. The ideas for using Google in early elementary grades never cease to amaze me. One wonderful place to start is Susan Stewart's Primarily Google. Most of the time when I take one of these online courses, I come away with a couple of ideas, most of it- meh- knew that, etc. Not the case here. Yes, I know how to use these tools, but the creative ideas Susan comes up with... well check out her site and I think you'll agree- primarilygooglerocks!
More Poetry Links
I saw this one come up the day after I posted about National Poetry Month and knew that I really had to include it. Be sure to check out Kathleen Morris' blog post with a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry month, a list of 15 great ideas you can use tomorrow and so much more. My favorites- a poem by our friend Kevin Hodgson over at the Norris School and a visual poetry mosaic tool. Richard Byrne also shared links about National Poetry month, using Poetry 180 . Check out his post here. I absolutely loved Tricia Fuglestad's work with second graders on Shel Silverstein's poem.
I was excited to read that StoryboardThat now has Infographic Templates for Education. Many of our HES students have used StoryboardThat to tell a story, as a book report, etc, but now, there's a new, easy to use feature- Infographics. One of the many things I like about StoryboardThat aside from their dedication to keeping our student info safe is their constant work to provide graphics to enhance learning.
Here's the blurb from their site: "Creating an infographic is an easy way to showcase different information and topics in a digestible and visual format! They help students combine data, information, and visuals to further understanding and synthesis skills."
We have a Vimeo Plus account here at HES. One of the new bonuses with the Plus account is access to the Essentials collection- for free. So if you or your students are working on creating new videos and need some stock footage, check it out. See me if you need access credentials for this school account.
Tinkercad 3D projects
AS we all learn more about using our 3D printer, I am always on the lookout for ideas to use the printing capabilities to integrate with and to extend our curriculum. Although it is tempting to just "go shopping" on Tinkercad or Thingiverse, I was happy to see some other examples on the We Are Print Lab click here . Here's one example:
Ideas to Share
Alice Keeler-Infographics Tips
Alice Keeler has an excellent post with easy to follow tips to help you or your students make great infographics with Google Slides or Drawings. Check it out here.
Screenshot of Alice Keeler's tips.
Please visit her site for more info and to download the pdf.
Tips to Organize Google Drive: Miguel and friends
Once again our Texas friend, Miguel, has posted useful, practical information! I think I first tried to organize my Google Drive when I read a post a while back from Jenn Judkins and learned about "Shift-Z". Check out Jenn's easy to follow tutorial here. Miguel Guhlin takes Google Drive organization and breaks it down into 3 pieces : Tip #1 – Create File Shortcuts Tip #2 – Copy Folders in Drive Tip #3 – Backup & Sync Read all about it on the TCEA blog, here.
Still looking for more ideas to organize your Google Drive? Richard Byrne has a great little gif to show you how to use emojis and icons to organize... check it out here.
The topic of digital distraction in the classroom has circled around, yet again.
Is it getting worse? Is it a problem of tech or of classroom management? Have we collected new research that says screens are making us dumber? Are we losing touch with one another, lacking empathy? Yes, depends on who you ask; yes, but it depends on which research you look at; yes, but... One article that many have seen and chimed in on- on both sides, is the WAPO article about putting all devices into little protective pockets while in school.
Business Insider has Stanford University computer science students protesting at Apple around cell phone addiction issues. Need to read more... Here's a few to get you started-
One article: Hechinger Report Another: WAPO- to ban or not WAPO: Screens are not evil
So, are we all talking about the same thing? Distraction in the classroom=screen time=cellphone addiction... Nope, I think that there are various threads to the discussion that kind of blend together, depending on age group or student/parent/teacher and this ends up clouding our discussion. In school- they can be used as learning tools. If they are not being used as learning tools- put them away. In social situations- talk to the real people you are with. When you see beautiful scenes in nature, at concerts, walking down the street- look and enjoy with your eyes and your other senses, instead of always holding up a phone and looking through a lens.
I liked this tweet from a Canadian friend, Alec Couros. He is a professor at the University of Regina and has spoken on and written about The Age of Distraction for about a decade.
As usual, one of my personal go-to sources is CommonSense Media. You can read a lot more about Digital Distraction here... and check out the video below.