Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Classmint: An option for note-taking and sharing

No matter the technology or latest educational catch-phrase, students need to be able to take notes, write things down, organize their thoughts, explain answers, etc. In the past, paper/pencil was the only option, now, however, there are many options out there to help students take notes. is a great note-taking tool for students and teachers to use. With classmint, you can take notes about a topic and virtually "fold" the note over to cover up the writing part, to allow you to see if you can remember what you wrote about the certain topic. You can share these notes, which would allow the teacher to get notes to students who may need a little extra help. Sharing them online is key because then they can't "get lost" and the student can access them. Classmint will also read the notes to you. Classmint allows you to upload documents from your computer as well. If we ever get 1:1 in this district, this could be a very useful tool in taking notes for students. 
 I have posted an example of classmint notes below. If you click on the link, you will see some "notes" that I made about the rise of Mesopotamia as a powerful civilization. I would provide this to my students as a review tool, as we have already discussed these "events" of Mesopotamia. The students can click "fold" and the note will fold over so the "answers" are covered up. Some might say, "Why can't they just use their paper? Why do we need this?" The answer is simple: the ability to share and edit together is a big thing. Also, having the "notes" on the internet makes it easily accessible anywhere, even on the way to practice or grandma's house. Check out classmint and perhaps you could find a couple other ways to use this in your classroom and help to integrate more technology into your curriculum.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Teachem: A tool to make YouTube videos more dynamic

YouTube is a great learning tool, especially as we move to self-paced, mastery learning and hopefully 1:1 sometime in the next five years. YouTube allows students to watch videos on their own and go at their own pace. It is especially helpful for the visual learner. It is something they can pause, rewind and re-watch to make sure they understand the content. Simply posting a video for your students to watch is a good thing, but we can make it even better with "Teachem.
Teachem is a free tool that allows you to incorporate flashcards into a Youtube video. As the student watches the YouTube video, flashcards will be visible on the side of the video for students to think about and respond to as they watch. When creating a teachem project, you first find a youtube video. It can be one that you made or one that already exsists. After selecting the video you want, you can set flashcards to certain times of the video. If the student clicks the flashcard, the video automatically goes to that spot in the video. This is a way we be more focused with our videos and help our students narrow in on what we want them to get out of it. 
To share your Teachem Youtube video, you can provide a link or embed the HTML code so no clicking is required. (except "play" of course.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Use Blendspace to create and share digital content

Edcanvas is a great tool to share digital content with your students online. However, Edcanvas has changed and is now called "Blendspace." With Blendspace, you can create a free account and customize how/what you share with your students digitally. With the amount of time our students spend online each day, let's use that. Blendspace gives you many options to push out digital content, pictures, video, information, powerpoints, etc. You can also create quizzes for them to take after navigating the content on your specific Blendspace. In creating your blendspace project, you can pull from flickr, google, youtube, vimeo, drop box,  google drive, and many other places. It is a free tool with loads of possibilities.

Above is an example of some of the things you can do/create with  Blendspace. You can share your creation via link, embed code, email, twitter, facebook, or even get a QR code! (QR code is a black and white box that looks like a t.v. when the channels don't work. Ant race, you might call it.)
Use Blendspace to provide your students with resources/learning tools they can use/access anywhere with internet. The learning is not just in the classroom or at the home anymore. Learning can be done on iPhone on the way to practice, waiting in line at Wal-Mart, or via their X-Box 360.