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Archive for the ‘BYOT’ Category

Map Your Passionate Learning for 2013

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It is not too early to think about 2013 and how you want to grow and learn to move forward. Listing your thoughts and ideas are great but a better approach would be a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer lets you structure the information and arrange important aspects into a pattern. This allows you to view important ideas in isolation and see how some are related and connected. A graphic organizer helps you stay focused on the task and the visual representation makes it easier to remember once displayed front and center. Whatever method you use, map a plan with learning goals for the new year. Allow young learners an opportunity to brainstorm and share what they want to learn in the coming year. These visual representations may share patterns that can lead to group collaboration and increased ownership of their learning. Will you make choice a integral part of your learning map in 2013?

Five for Friday – Graphic Organizers

Popplet is an awesome online web graphic organizer that will allow five free maps with their free plan. The IOS app is a little pricey at $4.99. For more ideas visit their blog or check out 8+ Ways to use Popplet.

Exploratree is a free web resource where you can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too.

MindMeister is a great online brainstorming tool. You must register but once you register you can sync your maps from your iPad to your desktop with their free app.

Realtime Board is an online collaborative board that can be public or private. Find out more about Realtime Board from Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers.

Idea Sketch(IOS app) is a graphic organizer, which converts your graphic organizer to a text outline or vice versa. Diagrams and outlines can easily be emailed or saved in photos.

Image above created from Kidspiration using Lettering Delights Pop School Alphabet  and saving as a .gif. Inspiration Lite (from the creators of Kidspiration) is a free IOS app.



Celebrate Twelve – 12.12.12

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Next Wednesday will be 12.12.12, a date that provides an opportunity to celebrate learning using a variety of engaging activities in the classroom. There are dozens of ideas to celebrate this unique day and integrate it into content. The simplest activity, sharing 12 favorite things, is part of a special student blogging day. You can join 12.12.12. A Special Blogging Day by submitting this form and share learners’ 12 favorites. Canadian educator Nothy Lane, shares Wednesday 12.12.12. Lesson Ideas, which will also get your wheels turning. Whatever you do to celebrate, make your learning engagement relevant and exciting for learners. Even if you do have a list of 12, dig deeper to continue the learning from this list. Have an amazing 12.12.12 Day and try 12 new ways to engage your learners?

Friday Flash – Holiday Activities with Mobile Devices

PNC Christmas Price Index shares the price of the 12 Days of Christmas and provides a lesson on economic trends and inflation. Total Number of Gifts and Total Cost of Gifts are Excel spreadsheets that can be used to crunch the numbers. Learners can use their device to crunch numbers with a calculator and use apps such as Calc Lite Spreadsheet.

Create a QR Code Scavenger Hunt such as this one – The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving at Create a QR Code for the Christmas Price Index so learners can quickly access the site on devices and search for answers. You can search samples quizzes at ClassTools for new ideas.

Create a Socrative quiz using holiday math word problems or practice grammar with holiday sentences. There are so many great ways to use Socrative including ticket in the door or exit ticket. Check out the growing list of quizzes that are shared and can be imported.

Twelve Holly Days and New Year’s Resolution are two MadLibs from Wacky Web Tales. These simple activities work well on mobile devices. Make a QR Code for learners to quickly access these sites.

30 + Free Apps for Celebrating and Learning About December Holidays was recently posted by Shelly Terrell for Tech & Learning. One favorite shared, Red Stamp, allows you to create and share many types of greetings with friends and family. What a great way learners can share gratitude this season.

Image above created with Visual Poetry.





Ask…”What Can You Do For Your Wiki?”

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Choice and usage of multiple digital learning tools is growing in our district by all learners, educators and students. In a recent workshop on four of these tools, participants had the opportunity to select two sessions and grasp the potential of the tools for instructional design. Edmodo, Edublogs, Voicethread and Wikispaces were the tools for collaborative learning and choice was key in personal learning for the day. At the wiki session, many asked the question, what is the difference between wikis and blogs and when should each be used? Blogs vs. Wikis, a fictional debate between JFK and Nixon shared on you tube, is a great video to open discussion and provide answers. During this electoral time, what will you vote for, wikis or blogs? It is your personal choice to which tool addresses the instructional design needed for learning and sharing. Today’s vote is to be a warrior with wikispaces. As JFK stated in the video, “Ask not what your wiki can do for you, but what can you do for your wiki?” 

Four for Friday – Wikispaces Resources

Wikispaces Videos and Tours, is a collection of over 30 how to videos on you tube on various topics

Wikispaces Blog has incredible information on what you can do for your wiki. Check out Class Case Study: Room 14 Goes Mobile in Auckland and how students own and call their pages ebooks. Also note Wikispaces for iPad, which shares how to better view wikis on iPads since currently there is not an app.

Educational Wikis is another place of learning how to use wikis in education. Be sure to view the examples page.

Getting Tricky With Wikis provides advance directions using code to create text effects, layouts, to inserting a print-friendly feature and creating rollovers. Lenva Shearing, the curated for this wiki also created Cool Tools for Schools and Cool Apps for School.



Diversity of the Leaf and Learner

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Fall color is in all its splendid color in some regions and just beginning in other areas. The Miracle of Fall provides many links to follow leaf change with web cams and foliage updates. You can even watch leaf change in less than 30 seconds. This month’s National Geographic article, “The Glory of Leaves” by Rob Dunn takes a closer look at why leaves look the ways they do, from different shapes, colors, size, texture and taste just to name a few attributes. Leaves are very diversified in nature due to climate, competition and defense and as noted in this article, a work in progress. As we observe their majestic fall beauty let us be reminded of their diversity and beauty. Let us also remind ourselves of the diversity of all learners and what shapes their growth. Just like leaves, they are also a work in progress. Let’s do our best to provide the best climate, instill competitive spirit and model best practices in online safety as we guide them in learning. Take a closer look everyday.

Five Apps for Friday – Collage Creators

Photo Collage

Frame Magic

PolyFrame Lite

Photo Wall Lite

Diptic $.99

These collage creators are just tools but a choice for students to share learning.

Photo above created with Photo Collage

Ramp Up Learning with Walk Throughs

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Building walk throughs have become a vital piece in our district’s support of 21st century learning. Walk throughs in years past have primarily been administrators’ role as part of teacher evaluations. Recent walk throughs have become more learning walks involving teams of media specialists, instructional technology specialist and even small groups of teachers from other schools. Teams rotate and spend five minutes in classrooms to observe and provide confidential feedback via Google docs. What is more powerful than the observation is the learning of the observer. On a recent learning walk educators observed students in a science class sharing images, videos, data and strategies posted in their group motion and force wikispaces project. Students in several classrooms were reading literature selections and back channeling in TodaysMeet. Edmodo was used to share Socrative links and various instructional activities. Students were working in the hallway to pair and share Spanish fluency recordings. All of these activities were possible, not because of textbooks, but because students were using their own devices. I should mention textbooks did physically support part of the science motion and forces lesson. When will you conduct a walk through and ramp up learning?

A Few for Friday – Let Learning Drive the Tools

Socrative can be used to drive learning in so many ways as shared by The Landscape – 13 Ways to Use Socrative. Be sure to check out Socrative’s Blog – Socrative Garden to see how to share quizzes and harvest many other ideas.

TodaysMeet is a great platform for discussion and back channeling. Learn it in 5 shares a how to video and here is a two page pdf guide. Have you seen this great lesson from Read Write Think- Seuss and Silverstein: Posing Questions, Presenting Points. Could TodaysMeet be a part of this lesson and give shy students their voice?

How are you using Edmodo? Check out this Edmodo Resources Livebinder with lesson ideas or view a few videos from Edmodocon 2012.  Mr G Online shares Literature Circles -co-starring Edmodo. This passionate educator’s blog is worth following.

Collaboration – The Big C – Do Not Wait!


Collaboration is one of the 4C’s that propels our district’s 21st century vision of learning along with Creativity, Critical Thinking and Communication. Collaboration is the big C that embraces the others and makes them stronger. Learners love to connect and share their knowledge in the classroom with each other and their desire to experience and share beyond walls is obvious. As they think, communicate and create collaboratively, the learning becomes larger. I am reminded of one collaborative project with first grade students, Hands Around the World, and how we worked to squeeze this project into the end of the year. It was a huge learning process for all learners including myself. Why should we wait to the end of the year when we have many resources and digital learning tools such as Edmodo and Wikispaces? Connect with a project or begin your own and collaboratively share your learners’ knowledge with others. Do not wait!

Five for Friday – Global Collaborative Connections

A great place to start is The Global Classroom Project, where teachers and students share on the global stage. Their wikispace shares ways to follow via twitter and facebook. Be sure to check out the Craze Crazes, under What’s Happening?

Projects by Jen, from Jen Wagner (creator of Wordle of the Day) provides projects for K-6 grades throughout the school year. OREO 2012 is a simple project for young learners and provides a wealth of resources to celebrate the 100th birthday of the OREO. Registration is now open with project lasting Sept. 17 – Oct. 12. Follow Jen Wagner on twitter @jenwagner.

Journey North offers collaborative sharing throughout the year. Currently Hummingbird Migration is being observed and reported weekly. Journey North now has an app to report sightings.

The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, CIESE, offers many ongoing and collaborative projects inspired by real time data.

Flat Stanley is a project that has truly embraced all ages. Be sure to check out current news and check the free IOS mobile app.


Appsolutely Blooming Year

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It has been an incredibly beautiful spring in the south with floral blossoms abundant with many varieties extremely prolific and showing splendid color. This abundance could be attributed to the milder winter we have experienced. On the education front, this year has been anything but mild. We have experienced the growth of BYOT in schools and explosion of new applications for learning on mobiles devices. It has been an appsolutely blooming year of the app. Fortunately an abundance of app resources have been shared by educators that are tied to Blooms Taxonomy. It is up to us to harvest and pick the applications that will best fit the learning objectives of our students. It is appsolutely a great time to choose new ways to incorporate these tools seamlessly into the curriculum. What colorful apps will you share with learners to help them grow and bloom?

A Few For Friday – Blooms Taxonomy Apps

Bloomin’ Apps curated by well known educator, Kathy Schrock, provides Google apps, iPad apps as well as Android apps correlated to Blooms Taxonomy.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, at Langwitches’s Blog, shares two beautiful posters from Learning Today along with her list of apps adapted from Kathy Schrock’s and Kelly Tenkley’s web sites. Her detailed list of apps had to meet certain criteria to be included and several overlap the different level in the taxonomy.

Kelly Tenkley curated Blooms Taxonomy of Apps and creatively shared using the publication site Issuu. Tenkley also shares a wealth of information in her Livebinder, Digital Blooms Taxonomy.

Photo courtesy of irewired and Quirco

New PLAYgrounds – Tilt that Seesaw

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Old Playground Circa 1897

Assessment weeks are winding away and hopefully learners will have more opportunity to play and explore new learning experiences. A recent post via Daily Adventures, shared global hero, Henry Jenkins – “Play is at the heart of learning – USA” and his influence on educators throughout the world. “Give yourself and your students permission to play, ” say Henry Jenkins. PLAY stands for Participatory Learning and You. Jenkins goes on to state play is the basic human mechanism for learning. Many schools view play as disruption of the educational process but Jenkins notes that play actually motivates learning and provides new forms of engagement. He highlights five core principals to embrace participatory learning. These core principals are key concepts to frame and apply to learning new media literacy’s. Jenkins says, “New media literacies cannot be an option (meaning new media shouldn’t be set aside for the end of the week if the students have been “good”). It is not about the tools or technology; it is about experimentation, more collaboration, more creativity and more play. ” Read entire post about this global hero in education and be inspired. How will you tilt the seesaw and provide new opportunities for participatory learning? Will you wait till work is finished or testing is complete?

Four For Friday – Apps to Take Outside to Play

VidRythm is free app to share learning experiences easily remixing short video clips. There is no actual game to play but it is a lot of fun to play and create. Promote play by sharing play.

Viddy is another video capturing app with cinematic features that allows you to quickly share memorable moments. Viddy is the instagram for videos.  Check out this one titled “Water!”

Kinotopic creates kinos, which are also known as cinemagraphs. Kinotopic allows you to make still photographs and add small areas of movement. Make some playful animations!

Snapster is new app released this week that allows you to take square photos. To improve your photography skills you have to play and take lots of photos plus it is always fun to play with something new!

Photo Courtesy of iRewired – Old Playground in Colorado






BYOT Outdoors – The Sky is the Limit

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One of the best perks about having a mobile device in hand is the ability to take it outside. The walls of the classroom are gone and the open space can lead to new conversations. The sky is the limit and the curiosity of the outdoors will lead learners to new spaces of learning. One space to spark outdoor curiosity is Project Noah and its free mobile app. Noah is the acronym for “Networked Organisms And Habitats.” Project Noah provides educators a place where learners can explore nature and document observations. Learners can join missions and become “citizen scientists” solving real world problems. Check out this video on the 2011 BioBlitz to inspire BYOT outdoors. Will you create an outdoor mission? The sky is the limit.

A Few For Friday – Grow Curiosity

Share You Tube Time Lapse Videos of Plant Growth such as Time Lapse of Plant Growth. Time Lapse of Flowers in Growth is incredibly beautiful and a must see!

Visit sites that are interactive and engaging such as The Life Cycle of a Plants which has a whiteboard view. Science Kids has an interactive page with drag and drop features for life cycle. Plants is another short learning experience for younger learners. Note that many of sites contain Flash and using Rover, an app browser on the iPad, works for viewing on IOS devices.

Visit sites with lots of photos to inspire your young phoneographers. Arkive is an incredible site with lots of earth images and videos for student exploration and learning.

Photo collage created by irewired with Diptic


Is Your Parking Lot Full?

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Our libraries – media centers, are the best rooms in the house but for some schools these learning spaces are missing the key instructional leader, the media specialist. As districts move toward building learning communities to support professional development to ensure student learning and growth, the role of the media specialist will ever more be an important key to build the media center as the heart of a school. As team leaders of the learning communities, media specialist provide professional development opportunities and collaborate with teachers to create authentic learning opportunities for students in a place that provides more than “just books.” Todays’ media centers are hubs for learning, equipped with new technologies and learning spaces that should be supported by the best of the best in educational leadership. Who will manage and support these learning technologies as students bring their own mobile devices into this very important room? Will your library parking lot be full or will it just be a place to check out books?

Five For Friday – Media Centers – The Heart of Schools

BYOD and the Library – Doug Johnson shares how indispensable librarians and library programs are in these technological times. Johnson shares thoughts on how librarians -media specialists are vital to support BYOD in the library and not DOA.

Time to Reboot the Universal Symbol for Library? - Buffy Hamilton, a high school librarian known as The Unquiet Librarian, is internationally known and shares her tremendous wealth of knowledge as a modern school librarian.  Check out her recent presentation, Taking Embedded Librarianships to the Next Level: Action Steps and Practices. Follow the Unquiet Librarian @buffyjhamilton.

Librarian Serves up”Appy Hour”The Digital Shift highlighted, media specialist Kathy Kaldenberg’s Appy Hour and how she reached out to her community of learners. Kaldenberg’s purpose was to increase that exposure with apps for note taking, formatting citations and streaming news. Kaldenberg share her favorites and hopes to ensure that all learners have access.

Twenty Ways Libraries are using Pinterest Right Now – Edudemic provides a great list how Pinterest offers creative and cutting-edge ways to engage all communities of learners. Librarians-media specialists are helping spread the word about these great innovative social media forums and guiding learners on social etiquette.

Research in the Elementary Classroom – It’s Not About Finding Information Anymore – Mary Beth Hertz knows that it is not about the regurgitation of facts but deeper understandings for even the youngest of learner. She states, “It is about teaching them how to develop their path to research to find meaning in the information and use it in ways that require critical thinking and creative applications.”  We need media specialists to support teachers in building these research skills and support the community of all learners.

Photo Courtesy – irewired