Friday, April 12, 2013

1-to-1 Essentials Program | Common Sense Media

1-to-1 Essentials Program | Common Sense Media:

As technology becomes cheaper and as we move closer and closer to Common Core implementation where the standardized test becomes computerized, more schools and districts will be moving to a 1 to 1 program either through netbooks, tablets, or laptops.  Having a plan, managing the devices, commuication with parents, teachers and students, and integration of the technology into daily lesson plans are a few of the factors that will determine if your 1 to 1 program will be a success or failure.

Common Sense Media has a in-depth look at how a district or school can work through these issues in a 3 phase process.

Phase 1 is Envision.  Here is the foundation work to make your program a success.
Phase 2 is Communicate.  Begin the process of communication to the key players involved in your 1 to 1 program.
Phase 3 is Implement. They have posters for care and maintenance for a variety of ages, planning calendars  and sample user contracts for a variety of topics.

All phase's have handouts and videos that will be helpful for every teacher, student, parent and administration that are all downloadable and free for educators.

'via Blog this'

Friday, April 5, 2013


There have been some wonderful TED talks over the years about almost any subject by artists, educators, business leaders, lawyers and more.  Ted Talks are very well organized
 and can be found at their own web site, Youtube, iOS apps, and even as podcast at iTunes and iTunes U .  In the past two years they have added a new section called TED ED which takes some of the talks from the past and even new talks and enhanced the talks with questions, the permission to edit, add to, and enhance for your use in the classroom.  Here is the short introduction to TED ED.

The reason I am revisiting this is that recently David Warlick wrote a post about "Exploring the Ocean" which was a great video to show biology students about the diversity of ocean life.

 For each talk, you have video of each talk a section to meet the creators, which include the speaker, director, artist, producers and more. "Think" link are multiple choice questions for each video that students can answer.  "Dig Deeper" is links to resources that provide additional information about the topic being discussed.  And some also have a "Discuss" section which is a guided questions about the video.

And best of all, it is free.  On a side note, I stumbled across a talk somewhere that said, "TedxAnchorage" and went "There's a TED conference in Anchorage?"  A little research and found the facebook page and saw that it has been happen for at least the past three years at the end of January and is free and open to the public to attend.  These talks have a distinct Alaska slant to them and the issues that Alaskans face throughout the state.

Additional Resources:

The most watched TED Talks.

TED Talks based on Subject

YouTube Channels

One last video 4 minute video about a 6th grader who writes and sells his own apps.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Google Story Builder

So we were discussing Google Story Builder yesterday during work and how it could be used in the classroom.  This is based on the concept of having two or more people working on one document within Google Docs.  Here is one of the promo videos that was made using the service.

One of the more powerful ways that emerged for use in the classroom that could be used to work on synonyms and antonyms.  You could create a script for the students on a handout and then have them visit Google Story Builder and find synonyms and antonyms for selected words and turn it into learning experience.  Other uses could also include famous moments in time between two people and how a conversation might have taken place.  One could use it as a discourse topic in government to show two opposing view points.  This project works best if you choose two or more characters and having working toward a greater good or having them debate a topic.   Your allowed to have 10 spots for conversations so you have a concise discussion in the telling of your story.

Husband:  I Love You!

Wife: (change the word love using a synonym)

Husband:  (change the new love word using a synonym)

Wife: Although I hate it when you do not wash the dishes.

Husband: (change the word hate using an antonym)

Wife: (Change the new “hate” word using an antonym again)  (then add) Anyway, let’s change teh subject.  Come help me find inspiration for your new book?

Husband: (Change the word inspiration and book using synonym) (and then add) Since your last book was horrible.

Wife: What?????

Husband:  (change horrible using an antonym) (and then add) Sorry (after what???)

Wife:  That’s more like it!

After you have the writing aspect down, they then provide you with theme music to enhance the situation to make it more dramatic as well.

Then share the link and you are done.  There is no way to save your work.

This is what it would look like.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Being a Math teacher turned instructional technology teacher I could not have been happier to see such a wonderful web tool as Desmos, an online graphing calculator.  It will do almost everything a $100 plus graphing calculator will do and sometime more.  It is based on html 5 code so it works on all mobile devices and does not use a lot of broad band.  On YouTube, Desmos has their own channel where you can learn more about the graphing calculator and all that can be accomplished using this wonderful tool.  They even have google account tie in so if your school has Google Apps for education, you can have your students use their district provide accounts to save graphs as part of their assignment without having to create an account on their own potentially.

Then one of my favorite bloggers tweeted this on March 5, 2013 about an offshoot using Desmos which led me to Daily Desmos.  This site challenges you to match different graphs using Desmos and then send them your solutions.  This would be a perfect way to challenge your high level students.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Google Reader

Google Reader is one of the top five services I use from Google on a regular basis as it helps me keep current on trends for education and all other topics I find of interest.  It is pretty easy to get started as you just have to find the url address for a web site copy it and the paste it into the big red subscribe button on your google reader home page.

There is a YouTube Google Reader Channel that offers up videos on the in's and out's of using Google Reader.

You can link to any RSS feed into your Google Reader account and then use Google reader or my personal choice "Feedly" to read all of your updates.

Once you find a good collection of feeds you can bundle them and share them on your website, Facebook page, blog or various other places you can use embed code.

Learning Upgraded

This is a YouTube channel that is called Learning Upgraded that features math and english concepts that are used in their online learning program.  There are limited amount of videos for both math and english as they would like you or your school to sign up for their online tutorial business, but if they are offering free videos you can always use them in your classroom as well as a way of introducing a given topic.  The videos can seem a little "over the top" but you students will probably remember them because of that.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Google Books and Magazines

Google Books and Magazines is a collection of books and magazines that are available to access for students and teachers. Some are complete works especially if they have a copyright date before 1923 and if the copyright is after 1923 it may be a complete copy or they may have a limited preview of the material. The limited preview could be upwards of 80% or more of the book or magazine.

There are curently 1 million books for download including what many people would consider the classics. Other books have a preview which means random papes are withheld from the preview. Although you can not see the entire book, you can get a feel for what is being presented and maybe be able to find valuable quotes for your research paper that you put off till the last minute and the library is closed.

If find an interesting book or magazine you can also embeded into your website or blog post at the page you found interesting.  Not all books and magazines can be embedded but you can link to some great resources that one can use in the classroom.

Some files that seem like they should embed just won't work properly but they do create a link to the google book or magazine page number so that you could post a link to an article you could have your students read and respond to for a class assignment as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

30 Days of Google

I decided that there are so many Google tools that we as educators could use that I will do a blog post a day about 1 tool for an entire month. The goal is to:
  • describe the tool
  • explain and/or give examples of how it is being used in the classroom
  • post a link as to where you can learn more information about a particular tool
  • potential lesson plans and/or resource links to lesson plans
  • list other websites that may be of use
This will be an annual event due to all that google provides not just for educators but to the world for free as long as you don't count those cute banner ads on the sides of your searches. I will be covering the main ones people know like google earth, bloger, etc, but I will also be covering some tools that not a lot of people take advantge of either like google books, voice, and other various tools that can be found here. My hope is that during the "30 days of Google" you will find something useful about the tools you are already using, and find a new tool or two that you are not using to add to your ever growing teaching toolkit. I will being this journey and wrap it up around the time spring breaks starts up here in Fairbanks, AK.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Quizlet - The Place to Study Vocabulary

Quizlet is easily one of my personal favorite websites for studying definitions. I only wish this was around when I was in high school and had to memorize well almost anything vocabualary wise. They have improved this site over the years with three features that I really like.

Students get instant feedback, they can track their progress and much more.  If you need students to learn vocabulary this is the site I wished I had 20 years ago to study vocabulary.

Pictures - You can now link pictures to your terms and definations for your students to study. This is especially useful when learning new words and for all of those visual learners out there.
Scatter - This is the second game that is availble to play to learn the vocabualry.
Social Network - You can now let your friends know what sets you are currently studying or creating through Facebook or MySpace.

If you have never been here before you can view and practice different sets without becoming a member, but you can not create your own. Once you are a member you can create your own set or share that task with a fellow teacher or student by inviting them into the process as well.

They have a detailed help menu to help you get started or learn advanced techniques to get the most out of Quizlet.

Below is a video explain the ins and outs of Quizlet.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Vernier Probeware

So we recently attended a district wide training session on Vernier Probeware with a local professor from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, UAF,  and had time to sit down and learn how we might use the probes within a math and science curriculum.  We also had a chance to see how students could use software for the iPads that might be useful as well.  There are close to 60 probes available for use in pre made labs or if you think of your own learning experience  you could easily create your own as well.  As for a Math teacher, you go to probes would be the motion detector and the temperature probes.  During this time I worked on a lab called Tic Toc found in the Real World Math book.  You can set up a Pendulum and have the students model and explore real life cosine functions and how to manipulate different aspects of a cosine function from amplitude, frequency, and the period.  I set up the Pendulum using an ice fishing rig, some string, and fishing takle bob.  But if you have real science equipment you could easily set it using equipment from the science department of your school as well.  We had a great turn out during this session and lots of interest using the equipment from teachers.  As I work with teachers district wide I will post about the learning opportunities that students have had and the engagement level of the labs as we proceed.