Friday, September 30, 2011

SimpleK12 Webinars

SimpleK12 is an educational resource site that offers FREE webinars for teachers on a variety of technology topics and tools. Most webinars take place after school hours. SimpleK12 webinars are open to anyone who wants to attend. Registration is simple, and participating is even simpler! Just register ahead of time and log in to the webinar to learn about ways you can integrate technology in your classroom.

Upcoming webinars:

  • Save Time and Simplify Your Grading
  • Supporting Bloom's Taxonomy in a Digital World
  • Saving Time with Innovative Web Tools
  • 30 Tools in 50 Minutes
  • Create Differentiated and Online Lessons with Screencasts and Audio
  • Digital Storytelling Using the iPad
  • Google Sites: Web Sites Made Simple
  • Interactive Sites for Your Interactive Whiteboard
  • Make Google Forms Work for You (I'll be presenting that one!)
  • 3 Keys to Having a Successful Blog
Click here to read descriptions and register for these free webinars. Bookmark this site and check back often as new topics are added. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Balancing Technology and Pedagogy « Molehills out of Mountains

Balancing Technology and Pedagogy « Molehills out of Mountains

So, is technology a “superman” for public education? Probably not on its own…but it certainly has a role to play. Click to read a short but interesting article about finding a balance between technology and pedagogy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Twenty Everyday Ways to Model Technology Use for Students | Edutopia

Twenty Everyday Ways to Model Technology Use for Students | Edutopia

Get Connected with Skype

Interested in bringing other students, authors, and experts into your classroom? Get connected locally and globally with Skype! It can take just a few seconds to make a video call to another classroom, author, or expert anywhere around the world.

You can access Skype from your Shortcuts folder. If you've never used Skype, you'll need to set up an account first. Once you set up your account, you can add contacts by searching for an email address, name, or phone number.

If you're new to Skype, I would love to help you get started. I can help you find contacts, brainstorm ideas, and give you a tutorial. I'd also love to be in your classroom for your first Skype conversation to help you get connected.

Check out these awesome resources for using Skype in your classroom.

Click here to access Skype in the Classroom, a free community to help teachers use Skype. There are currently 16,457 teachers on Skype in the Classroom, many of whom have set up projects and are looking for other classrooms to Skype with. You can join Skype in the Classroom by signing in with your Skype account.

Click here or here to find authors who are willing to Skype with classrooms for free.

Click here for checklists and tip sheets to help your first Skype conversation go smoothly.

Click here for 50 ideas for using Skype!

Please get in touch with me if you're interested in using Skype and would like a little support. I'd love to help you get started!

Monday, September 12, 2011

5 Ways to use Google Earth when Teaching (from guest blogger Andrea Ward)

Google has many wonderful tools available to us as teachers.  One of my favorites is Google Earth.  I am going to give you 5 ways to use Google Earth.

1.     Using street view
Warning!  Street view has changed from last year.  The little yellow man icon that has been used on Google Maps is now used for Google maps.  So now instead of clicking on the street view layer, you only need to grab the little man above the zoom bar on the right.  Hover over the street view you would like.  If the streets are outlined in blue, then street view is available.  Drop the little man on the street you would like to see. Click along the yellow line to walk/ drive along the street.

2. Using Layers
There is SO much in the layers I couldn't possibly begin to discuss it all.  The very best thing you could do is play around with it a lot.  Look through the titles of the layers.  To do this you must scroll through the layers and click on the + because there are other layers in that group.  Click on the box beside the ones you find useful and see what you can find.  A few that might be interesting: Ancient Rome 3D, Shipwrecks, Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Weather.  These can be used in History/Social Studies classes, Science classes, and Foreign Language classes.

3. Using Pictures
When you zoom in to particular places, you see icons of a photo.  The blue ones are regular photos that have been uploaded by people all over the world.  I have yet to find an inappropriate one.  However, I have found some that are not in the exact right spot.  They are generally near the right location.  The red photos are 360 panorama photos of a location.  These can be particularly useful when viewing the interior of famous buildings.  It is difficult to find the same photo twice.  The best solution I have found is to double click on the photo.  It will bring up a website.  Save that website to your bookmarks.

4. Using Sightseeing Tour
 A tip I was given recently is the sightseeing tour option.  When the 3D building option is turned on, you can click on the Sightseeing Tour option.  This is listed on the left side under the places option.  When both options are clicked, there are 7 to 10 options.  Some are the Titanic and the Eiffel Tower.  When you click on it, it will fly you to the area.  The 'building' will appear in 3D.  You can then click on the building and get information, photos and related websites.

5. Using the toolbar on top
There are several useful tools at the top of the map screen.  The pushpin icon is a placemark.  You can add a placemark to anywhere on the globe and go back there quickly.  You can add several of them in a city or country and go on a virtual field trip.  The second one is a polygon.  You can add a polygon to highlight a specific area of the earth.  The third is a path.  You can add a path to go from one location to another.  It will show up in Street View and the other layers.  The fourth icon is Image Overlay.  You can put an image on top of the satellite view.  This could be useful when discussing the before and after of a place in history.  The fifth icon is Record a Tour.  When you record a tour, you can automatically go from one location to another without clicking on it.  This could be useful if there are places you visit often in a specific order.  The sixth icon is Historical Imagery.  When you click this a slide bar will show up.  Use this slide bar to move backward and forward in time to see how places change over time.  The seventh icon is to show Sunlight across the Landscape.   This can be moved backward and forward in time.  It is set for 24 hours and the time is the one on your computer.  You can change this in settings.   The eighth icon is Space View.  By clicking this you can go to the moon, the stars, or Mars.  The ninth icon is a Ruler.  You can quickly measure the distance between 2 locations with a variety of measurements.  The tenth icon is Email.  You can mail an image, a placemark folder or other items.  The eleventh icon is Print.  You can print an image, search results, or a placemark.  The twelfth icon is Google Maps.  This will switch your view to Google Maps.

Final tip:  Play around with it.  There are so many items available to you that will enhance your teaching. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Blog post written by Andrea Ward, Spanish teacher at Newton-Conover Middle School and member of NCCS Tech Team

Friday, September 9, 2011

Want to Win an iPad?

Enter the Prezi Zoom Back to School contest! Create a Prezi demonstrating what you're excited to study this year and you you plan to use Prezi to facilitate the open exchange of ideas in your classroom. One Grand Prize Winner will win a new iPad with the Prezi Viewer. Three runner-ups will win 1 year Prezi Pro licenses. The contest deadline is October 15, 2011. Winners will be announced on November 1st. Find Prezi on facebook to enter the contest.

Contest Guidelines:

• Your Prezi should showcase a “Lesson” about the ideas you are excited to explore this year. It should teach people about your subject.
• Best Use of the Prezi Functionalities: How can you use the possibilities of Prezi in innovative ways to best illustrate your concepts?
• Most Fun! How can you use Prezi to show just how excited/ passionate you are.
• Most Liked: Spread the word and get people to ‘like’ your prezi!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Classroom Technology Makeover Contest!

eInstruction is hosting its 5th Annual Classroom Makeover Video Contest. Enter for your chance to win a $75,000 classroom technology makeover!! To enter the contest, have your students help you make a short, creative music video demonstrating how you and your students use technology to enhance learning in the classroom. Contest entries are due October 21st. On November 9th, five finalists in each grade category (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12) will be selected and voting will start, wrapping up on December 5th. One grand prize winner for each grade category will be announced on or around December 12th. Click here to read more or submit your video! Click here to read about the technology to be awarded.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Introducing Technology to Your Students

If you are planning to use technology tools as important components of your teaching and your students' learning this year, this is the time to begin teaching students how to use those tools. You may be planning to use a wiki to organize your students' learning, Glogster to let your students show what they know, Edmodo for students to communicate, or Wallwisher for idea sharing. Go ahead and use those tools in meaningful ways so students begin to get familiar with them and understand your expectations for their use.

Many technology tools that you will use for learning later on can be helpful in beginning-of-the-year tasks right now. A few examples:

  • Use a polling site now to vote on classroom rules and later to take quick, informal assessments of student learning (
  • Use Wallwisher now to find out what students know about a topic and later as a word wall (
  • Use Glogster EDU or Popplet now for students to introduce themselves and later as a reading response tool (,
  • Use VoiceThread now to conduct a scavenger hunt around the school and later for peer sharing of student work (

Giving your students experience with those tools now will make teaching and learning with them so much easier. The time you spend now teaching students how to utilize tech tools will save you a lot of time later on.

Ms. Simpson, 5th grade teacher at South Newton, is participating in the iPad pilot program this year. We've spent time this week training students how to do a variety of tasks that they will be doing on a regular basis once the iPads arrive. We are planning to continue training students on the iPads so they can be used as a seamless part of classroom instruction. Ms. Simpson won't lose any instructional time later on because her students are already developing the skills they'll need.

If you're wanting to introduce and teach some technology tools to your students but don't know where to start, I'd love to work with you. I can help you brainstorm ideas, plan lessons, teach the tools to the students, or support you in any other way. Please let me know how I can help you jump-start your students' learning with technology.