Useful links

What Makes a Good Teacher in 2016 Infographic – e-Learning Infographics “What Makes a Good Teacher in 2016 Infographic Posted on April 19, 2016 There’s more to being a great teacher than classroom skills. The successful qualities of education professionals are not easy to instil or duplicate – which makes greatness in teaching just as rare as greatness in medicine. There is much debate, both online and offline, regarding this hot topic. Therefore, ITN Mark Education has put together the What Makes a Good Teacher in 2016 Infographic. Heading include: Love of the subject; Stress management; Complete control; Highly organised;
Professional Behaviour; Praise is precious; Expert instructional methods.”

Clarifying Ideas with Sketchnoting “Play this if you are interested in improving your visual note-taking skills.  You can tune in to learn how to bring ideas to life with sketchnotes. ”

Learning Specialist and Teacher Materials – Good Sensory Learning: Multisensory Teaching Accommodates the 12 Ways of Learning An infographic that identifies the 12 ways of learning. Also provides some statistics on how learning improves when teachers implement multisensory instruction.”
#educoachOC – a monthly Twitter chat about coaching in education “Blog fot the The #educoachOCtwitter chat. The team is made up of Australian educators passionate about coaching in educational contexts.”
12 Awesome Edtech Apps | Edutopia “Every teacher should build an edtech teaching toolkit that works for you with reliable tools that suit your needs and circumstances. Learning should focus on content, not on figuring out how a tool works. In this post one Vicki Davis discusses 12 edtech tools in her toolkit,”
Ideas for Australia: Why is Australia falling behind in maths, science and literacy – and what can be done about it? “The Conversation has asked 20 academics to examine the big ideas facing Australia for the 2016 federal election and beyond. The 20-piece series will examine, among others, the state of democracy, health, education, environment, equality, freedom of speech, federation and economic reform.”
Future of Reading: Boys and Literacy – YouTube Visual reflecting what can be done to improve literacy levels in boys.
Take a Peek Inside The Mind of a Middle Schooler: Part 1 | The TpT Blog A post that looks at research into how the adolescent brain works and applies it to creating learning and teaching in classrooms to get the best learning outcomes from the students.
Classroom Furniture: Does it impede or improve learning? | A look at classroom furniture and the way it is arranged in a room and what message it sends to students about learning.
Reflecting on Digital Literacy | Educational Leadership in the 21st Century“In an effort to support my teachers in reflecting more deeply on their practice I’ve been using this teacher self-assessment tool”
Why women are better at coding than men | Alphr “Code written by women garners higher ratings on GitHub, so why is gender diversity still a big problem in 2016? Sammy Maine investigates”

A One-Stop Spot for Game-Based Learning | Global Educator Institute “Kids and games, two words that go hand in hand. Learning and games may not sound as synonymous. With the increased student engagement and complex thought processes that accompany game-based learning, they should be. Some questions, mentioned in this post, that you can ask to assist you in determining whether or not game-based learning is the right fit or you and your students.
Then links to sites that might be of interest:”

Building Research Skills for Finding Compelling Data” When students need to use their research skills for one assignment or another they can go onto the Internet. From this they may find all sorts of information is hurled. What they need to do is sift through tho find the best for their situation. This post offers some tips on how do we can assist students sift through so much information to get at the best and most reliable content”
12 Awesome Formative Assessment Examples “12 interesting formative assessment examples that are creative, low tech, fun and engaging for students, and easy for a teacher to implement right away”.
Worlds of Learning | What do Great Makerspaces Have in Common? “No two school makerspaces should ever be exactly alike, because no two school communities are ever exactly alike. What do the best ones have in common? This post tries to identify the main features “
Top 10 illustrated children’s novels that open the door for reluctant readers | Children’s books | The Guardian An annotated list chosen to intrigue the more reluctant reader and get them started on the reading road.
The 8 Best Chrome Extensions As Chosen By Teachers | These are chosen by teachers so there is some description with each about how they can be used in educational ways
Using Edtech to Improve Outcomes for Students with Autism | EdSurge News Discussing how to approach learning progams for students with autism. “Everyone has gifts and talents, even if they also have more weaknesses than those around them.” There are some links to programs that have been developed and offer practical approaches

Why Digital Literacy Is Critical In eLearning – eLearning Industry “Digital literacy has been dubbed as a fourth literacy. Whereas reading, writing, and mathematics are considered as the cornerstone of being literate, literacy in this day is not complete if a person is not capable of accessing and creating digital information. Therefore it is important to talk about digital literacy in education and eLearning.”

Discovering Literature Shakespeare – The British Library Discovering Literature: Shakespeare is a website created by the British Library which aims to bring the world of Shakespeare to life for a new generation of students and lovers of literature everywhere. Through 300 newly digitised collection items and over 80 essays written by scholars such as Elaine Showalter andEmma Smith, as well as actors Hugh Quarshie and Simon Callow, the site reveals the politics, society and culture which shaped his imagination and legacy.
Teaching Shakespeare and historical enquiry | TES “A selection a few of the top resources from the Teaching Shakespeare hub, which allow students to discover the historical context of Shakespeare’s life and works, and to develop their understanding of Elizabethan society.”
Teaching Shakespeare: Plays, themes and genre | TES “Collections of resources to teach Shakespeare organised by theme, genre and individual play”
Tech Literacy: Making It Relevant Through Content Learning | Edutopia “Teaching technology at Meyer Elementary School goes beyond showing kids how to use email and apps. It gives students a context for learning technology through subject areas, making all learning more relevant.”
Resources for Maker Education | Edutopia “Links to resources and tools to help bring elements of maker culture into schools and classrooms, and encourage students to explore STEAM subjects within the context of maker projects.”
Will the Monograph Experience a Transition to E-Only? Latest Findings. | The Scholarly Kitchen – Linkis.com Data from a survey about books and digital references indicates that both are important to researchers/students in 2015.
About CS First | Google CS First “Empowering all students to create with technology through free computer science clubs. CS First provides free, easy-to-use computer science (CS) enrichment materials that target and engage a diverse student population”
Let the Coding Games Begin! 5 Awesome Edtech Games that Teach Programming | Edtech FunctionThe educational games listed all teach programming by taking full advantage of game-based learning.
Working with Words: Garth Nix — The Wheeler Centre An interesting interview on writing from Australian author, Garth Nix about the process of writing.
Never Too Young To Code | School Library Journal Interesting discussion on when to start teaching coding. As with many aspects of technology use in early childhood, there are many discussions underway about the appropriate role coding has in young children’s classrooms – and in the library.
“Coding is sometimes referred to as the “new literacy” in schools and teaching coding means teaching children the language used to operate tablets, computers, and other devices they interact with every day. Experts say these beginning programming skills teach problem-solving and critical thinking and expose children to the world of computer science.”
Innovate My School – Using edtech to create digital citizens Some practical ways that we can approach digital citizenship. Important to note that the article promotes not reading or writing about Digital Citizenship but doing/living it each day both teachers and students.
How to write a comment Third grade students created this video, How to Write a Quality Comment, and it highlights the importance of embedding digital citizenship lessons into the youngest classrooms.
Working with parents to develop STEM learning | Teacher | ACER “STEM, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, parent participation, short articles “
Coding for Kids – Left Brain Craft Brain 25+ coding apps, games, activities and even screen-free options. This post is a good array of different ways to approach how kids can learn about coding. Many for younger children but also some ideas for secondary kids as well. Links to activities and other posts.

The Ultimate App Guide for Students – Infographic ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Good organisation is the key to good study. Developing a study plan that is formatted and structured to meet your study needs will assist your learning and you will also be more likely to be relaxed and feel more prepared for exams. The guide is this post is from Study Medicine Europe and gives a useful guide to apps that may enhance studying efforts. Some are free and some are paid versions and they are split up according to different goals.

Picasso Was Wrong: How coding is leading the future of arts related careers Article about the breadth of opportunities for those who can code. “There are countless jobs and industries that use coding and computer science, and these are all creative in different ways. Some are creative in the way art is, some are creative through their problem solving, and many are creative in other ways.”
Small Tech, Big Impact: Designing My Maker Space | School Library Journal “Ideas for maker spaces with a focus on small-scale tech with specific patron education goals in mind: photo creation and manipulation, video creation with a focus on stop-motion animation, small robotics, small-scale 3-D creation, and electronics.”
Top 5 “games” that help students learn – Mr Kemp ” Game-based learning is using games to achieve a defined set of learning outcomes. “
The 21st Century Book Report | Tech Learning “A post about how to take a student’s interests and passions in genres of movies, TV, music, etc. and use them to find the gateway book to foster an appreciation”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Black Dog Gang: a story of Sydney life in 1900’s. Book review

We are always looking for books to engage our boys. The Premiers’ Reading Challenge is being promoted to classes this week,. It has been a good time for revisiting some of the literature we have added to our collection and promote books that appeal to our boys. Robert Newton‘s books Runner and The Black Dog Gang are two great Australian stories.

If you are interested there is a review here and some teaching notes from Penguin here

The Black Dog GangThe Black Dog Gang by Robert Newton My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fast paced and gritty historical novel set in Sydney in 1900. It is also a story about friendship, loyalty and the bonds that can form in harsh conditions. The world the boys in the book inhabit is full of poverty, dirt and hard-work. Frankie Maguire relates the story of his gang. There are 5 boys from shabby inner city Sydney who form a friendship and bond together. They experience bullying and violence and name their gang after a pirate from the “Treasure Island” story.
At this time Sydney is panicked by an outbreak of Bubonic Plague and there is a bounty of 6 pence on rats. The boys set about making money by finding and catching rats. They come up with an interesting money-making scheme along the way. The era has been well-researched and the characters are believable and likeable. There are wonderful descriptions of school and family life and a rather gross description of the rats eating cats (our boys rather like that). The dialogue is also rich with colloquial language and terms of the time.
This is an interesting story about a time in Australian history that most us know little about today.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Althought looking after my niece and 2 little nephews for one week of my holidays, I have also enjoyed time to read. My neice also loves reading, especially mystery stories. I recently gave her 3 books in a series by Robin Stevens. (Murder Most Unladylike series aka Wells & Wong Mysteries). She has read all three and loved them. She gave them to me to read and I have recently finished the first one, Murder most unladylike,  and enjoyed it a lot. Below is my review for it

Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1)Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Murder Most Unladylike is a delightful read and it was very easy to suspend disbelief that school girls could investigate a murder, unfettered by any adult interventions in this very English boarding school crime setting.
The story is set in 1934 in a boarding school for girls called Deepdene. It combines the traditional detective novel, (think Sherlock Holmes) with a bit of the traditional girls-own boarding school drama. The story is narrated (Dr. Watson-style) by Hazel Wong, a student from Hong Kong, who, with best friend Daisy Wells (the self-cast Sherlock Holmes of the duo), make up a secret detective agency that in the past had only very mundane cases to investigate.
The adventure begins when Hazel finds the body of their Science Mistress, Miss Bell, in the gym. Hazel runs for help but when she returns with Daisy a few minutes later, the body has disappeared. The official from the School Headmistress is that Miss Bell is simply gone, resigned. The rumour is that it is due to a broken heart after a failed romance with the new music teacher, Mr Reid. Hazel and Daisy know better and set out to first prove that a murder actually happened and then find the culprit.
Whilst the skilfully plotted murder mystery in Murder Most Unladylike is the central thread there are also many other incidental elements that provide an interesting picture that encompasses not only the actual mystery but also the difficulties the two main characters have in maintainin their’ friendship as well as wider social mores of the time about gender, class and race.
Although she has been schooled by her father, who is clearly a fan of all things Anglophile, Hazel has had to learn to fit in and deal with the casual racism and small slights from her classmates. Also, given the historical context of the novel, the classes that are considered necessary, sort of good behaviour that is expected of the girls and how intelligent and smart they are allowed to be. Daisy and Hazel’s characters both play down their intelligence in class and deportment is a timetabled class.
This story has plenty of charm. It is funny and clever, and as with all good classic detective stories, the two heroines complement each other perfectly.
The author Robin Stevens has captured the feel of all of the classic mystery stories that I enjoyed when I was a child. It should have great appeal for many middle-school kids today. I spent 12 months in a boarding school and, although it was not English and 50 years later than the timeframe here, there is a ring of authenticity to the lives documented in the story. There is a language that goes with boarding schools and for this reason there is a glossary at the end that explains all the 1930s boarding school slang.

View all my reviews

Useful links

Educational Postcard: We need authentic by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Educational Postcard: We need authentic” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  Ken Whytock 

 

6 Reasons You Should Be Doing Digital Storytelling with Your Students | Getting Smart ” Digital storytelling is a blend of video, audio, images, and text to convey stories, information, and ideas. If you are not yet convinced of the benefits of digital storytelling, this post gives you the top six reasons why you should be doing digital storytelling activities with your students.”

Free Technology for Teachers: How to Set a Time Limit on Google Forms

“Post created after a question from a teacher who was looking for a way to impose a time limit on a quiz or test administered through Google Forms. My suggestion was to try using the Google Forms Add-on called Form Limiter. In the video embedded Richard Byrne demonstrate how to install and use Form Limiter.”

Free Technology for Teachers: Choosito – A Search Engine With Reading Level Index “Students who feel overwhelmed by unfiltered results on Google or Bing, could benefit from using Choosito to filter search results. Likewise, students who have trouble refining their search terms could benefit from Choosito’s “related searches” suggestions. Teachers who are looking for reading materials for their students, should appreciate the option to filter results to a reading level appropriate for their students”

The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels” | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… Having the “same” text written for different levels of English comprehension can be a life-saver for a multi-level class of English Language Learners or for a teacher with a mainstream class that includes some students that are facing other challenges. They can be an important tool for differentiation.
Listed here are a few sources where you can get these different versions other than creating them yourself.

10 Chrome Extensions Every Student Should Install | The Thinking Stick A useful annotated list with some good suggestions (for students and teachers).
3 Steps to Becoming a Coding Teacher | Edutopia The are some good ideas here as well as some questions you could ask before beginning coding in your classroom.
Unlocking the Code for Robotics in the Classroom | Edutopia The post discusses five reasons why teachers should consider purchasing robotics for the K-12 classroom.

Kiddle – visual search engine for kids This search engine is powered by editors and Google safe search. Kiddle blocks all explicit content by default so you, as the user, don’t need to change any settings. Creators state that it is not possible to turn off the safe search filter on this search engine. It also has filtering so that in the case of some inappropriate words are present in a search query, the “guard robot” will block the search.
Most search results are illustrated with large thumbnails, making it easier to scan the results, differentiate between the sites, and click the most appropriate results to the query. The thumbnails serve as visual clues and are especially beneficial to kids . The text for the search results is in large Arial font, for easy readability for students.

Trust, Authenticity, and Genuine Digital Leadership | Edutopia “We all have the capacity to influence our profession and the digital tools that we have access to provide us with a forum to reach an audience of educators who are willing to listen and be influenced. If our colleagues are listening to us, we better make sure that we’re genuine and authentic. Those of us who are in a position to lead (which is arguably all of us!) should work at earning the trust of the professionals we may have influence over and these four pointers provide some influence that I hope will be helpful.”

4 Great Google Drive Add-ons for Math Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  The Google drive add-ons/apps discussed here enable you to solve mathematical equations, create graphs, work on complex calculations, perform basic math/stat operations of cell values in a Google Docs table. They also foffer other options depending on how you want to use them.

Seven Stages in Moving from Consuming to Creating | John Spencer “here are seven stages I see students go through as they shift from being consumers of media to creators of media:”
6 New EdTech Tools for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Some of the things you can do with these web tools include: creating different types of diagrams (e.g flowcharts and organizational charts), solve math problems using Symbolab calculator, design print-friendly Bingo cards to use in class, build and share word searches online, convert/compress and share video files”
SparkNotes: Today’s Most Popular Study Guides Spark Notes is a fantastic tool to help students through difficult assignments and essays in Literature and English classes. The notes shouldn’t be a replacement for reading. Rather, use them as an aid to help you understand the concepts. If you’re reading Shakespeare, for instance, Spark Notes will help you understand the language so you can better understand the story. Spark Notes can also offer study tips or break up the text into smaller pieces to help students manage their workload.
Teaching Students the Skills of Expert Readers | Edutopia “A summary of the seven strategies of highly skilled readers. A brief purpose for using each strategy is provided along with a corresponding protocol. The seven strategies can be used with a variety of texts depending on the discipline.”
4 Student-friendly Tools for Creating Educational Presentations ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “a collection of some very good  tools you can use in class with students to create beautiful presentations and slideshows. All of these tools are web-based and do not require any software download. They are also very simple and easy to use so students won’t have any major problems working on them.”
STUDYBLUE | Find and share online flashcards and notes from StudyBlue. Any subject, anywhere, anytime. Study Blue lets students across all ages and subjects create flashcards to help with the study process. The website will store your flashcards for later use, or for the use of others who might want a more cumulative set of study resources. Study Blue boasts the “largest and fastest growing library of online study materials,” including quizzes, review sheets, and the aforementioned flashcards.
Free Technology for Teachers: 4 Free Tools for Creating & Playing Interactive Quiz Games “This post looks at 4 interactive quiz game tools that Richard Byrne has used with great success in his classroom and or in his workshops.”
Crafting Connections: Four-Star Reading Responses “An anchor chart that shows the progression from a 1-star Post-it note to a 4-star Post-it note for upper elementary students based on the Say Something Post-it Note reading strategy.”
Wacky Books Will Hook Reluctant Readers “Some suggestions for when you have a child who doesn’t want to read, a reluctant reader. Get them engaged in a wacky book or silly story.”
Historical Inquiry: 20+ Creative Ways History Teachers Can use Primary Sources @coolcatteacher  “Historical inquiry helps make history class exciting. History teachers can use primary sources in creative, exciting ways to make history come alive. What is historical inquiry? How can it be used to teach history? How can you use technology, creativity, and exciting projects to teach history? The post explains how.”
How to Determine if Student Engagement is Leading to Learning | MindShift | KQED News  “With or without technology, there always seems to be a great deal of emphasis on student engagement, but the fact of the matter is that engagement does not necessarily equate to learning.”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindset | Edutopia “A growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your talents and abilities through hard work, good strategies, and help from others. It stands in opposition to a fixed mindset, which is the belief that talents and abilities are unalterable traits, ones that can never be improved. Research has shown (and continues to show) that a growth mindset can have a profound effect on students’ motivation, enabling them to focus on learning, persist more, learn more, and do better in school. Significantly, when students are taught a growth mindset, they begin to show more of these qualities. However, I slowly became aware that not all educators understood the concept fully. Identifying a False Growth Mindset: It all started when my Australian colleague Susan Mackie informed me that she was seeing more and more false growth mindset. This is when educators think and do all sorts of things that they simply call growth mindset.”

Aligning Assessments with Learning Objectives – TeachOnline “When you are creating a course, strive to design with the end in mind. After you have established a set of measurable learning objectives for your course, work to develop assessments that are aligned with your stated learning objectives. Think of the learning objectives as a set of skills, knowledge, or abilities that your students will be able to demonstrate a mastery of at the end of the course. Then consider the assessments as a way for the student to prove they are capable of that mastery.”

Innovation Is Not a One Time Event | Connected Principals “One of the things that have to really see is that innovation in school is not about a day, a week, or a class.  Although creating those experiences are great, if you look at these characteristics above, how can we promote them through what we do everyday in school?”

Five Ways to Build Your School’s Instructional Brand and Connect with Families | EdSurge News “Although the obvious result of the work discussed in the post is about creating high levels of transparency between the home and school, the byproduct is making your instructional brand clear to the entire community.”

What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship | Edutopia “Digital Citizenship or Just Citizens? There are those like expert Anne Collier who think we should drop the word “digital” because we’re really just teaching citizenship. These are the skills and knowledge that students need to navigate the world today. We must teach these skills and guide students to experience situations where they apply knowledge. Citizenship is what we do to fulfill our role as a citizen. That role starts as soon as we click on the internet. In the classroom, there are two essential approaches in the digital citizenship curriculum that Vicki Davis uses to teach: proactive knowledge and experiential knowledge.
“Proactive Knowledge: I want my students to know the “9 Key Ps” of digital citizenship. I teach them about these aspects and how to use them. While I go into these Ps in detail in my book Reinventing Writing, here are the basics”
“Experiential Knowledge: During the year, I’ll touch on each of these 9 Key Ps with lessons and class discussions, but just talking is not enough. Students need experience to become effective digital citizens. Here’s how I give them that:”

Learning with ‘e’s: Learning from each other  Corneli and Danoff’s approach – paragogy – anyone can teach anyone else, because everyone knows something, but no-one knows everything. Students can even teach their teachers, in an extreme form of flipped learning”

Critical Thinking: A Necessary Skill in the Age of Spin | Edutopia “Fortunately, when students are educated about information-gathering techniques and critical thinking, they have the tools necessary to see through spin and make decisions based on fact, rather than myth or propaganda. Regardless of your subject, critical thinking is one of the most important skills you can teach.”

Tools and Materials – Maker Ed’s Resource Library ““Tools and Materials” contains lists and examples of useful tools and resources in making activities and makerspaces, including suggestions for consumables, hardware, machines, open source software, and other technologies. This category also includes guidance or tutorials on specific tools or skills. The resources in the post are listed in alphabetical order, as a default. They are also organized into subcategories, accessible by the tabs at the top of the grid. When hovering over each box, keywords provide a simple description and glimpse into the content of the resource, which is accessible by clicking on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner.”

2016 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers | Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) “The Quick Picks list, presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting suggests books that teens, ages 12-18, will pick up on their own and read for pleasure; it is geared to the teenager who, for whatever reason, does not like to read. The 2016 list features 67 titles and 2 series, drawn from 181 nominations.”

16 Things Teachers Should Try in 2016 [infographic] | Shake Up Learning “This is a list of 16 Things for Teachers to Try in 2016 to help inspire educators to try something new this year. Not expensive and adaptable.”

Culture of Creativity or Constraints? – Curiosity, Exploration, Wonder “There are a few possibilities discussed here that help to create that culture of free creativity and innovation. Educators need to build this culture at a young age and when challenges arise students will have what it takes to innovate. How will we bring about opportunities for students to explore their creativity and innovate?”

Top 5 Emerging EdTech Trends you Must Know in 2016 “The post looks at the top 5 big trends in e-learning and education technology that could change the teaching-learning in 2016 and beyond. There are some key ideas here for online educators as well as for teach-preneurs in E-learning and educational technology.”

The Teacher’s Guide for Using Social Media [Infographic] “Online Colleges created this simple teacher’s guide for using social media below. It provides some specific strategies for applying tools like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to any classroom. It has tips for communicating and curating, and celebrating student work. ”

7 innovative Australian startups bringing education into the 21st century | Ideas Hoist “This post looks at seven startups which look to either fill in some gaps, or improve on old habits across the whole spectrum of education”

10 Epic Tools Busy Teachers Need to Be Aware of A useful annotated list of tools.

What is a Makerspace? | Create, Collaborate, Innovate “Making looks different at different types of makerspaces. However, schools, public libraries, and even artist collaboratives have some universal themes that tie us all together (and owning a 3D printer isn’t one of them.)”

Learn2Earn | Whooos Reading This online, gamified reading log rewards kids for reading and motivates them to read more. After logging their most recent reading, they answer a CCSS-aligned comprehension question. They earn Wisdom Coins for logging their reading and answering the questions, which can be spent in the Owl Store where they buy virtual accessories for their Owlvatar. The reward system motivates kids to read more every day and gives teachers a chance to monitor what students are reading outside of the classroom Different priciing options

Studio Pango | Funny apps for smart kids Young reader are in control with this reading app. It allows them to be directly involved in the story. They are encouraged to explore what’s going on, find hidden objects, move characters from one place to another, and more. The reading levels progress as the student improves so the app allows kids to move onto more complex texts when they are ready.

PlayTales Kids apps | iPhone, iPad, Android Interactive books for kids | Apps for children. This app, available on IOS and Android, gives students unlimited access to classic, new, and educational stories (for a low monthly fee). Because it’s interactive, students are encouraged to dive deeper into the text, whether they’re simultaneously drawing or watching the words come to life with animation.

What Should I Read Next? Book recommendations from readers like you This simple website does one thing: tells you what books to read based on the book you input in the search field. Students can get frustrated when selecting their own reading material, making reading more stressful than it needs to be. Give your students access to this website when choosing a new book; they’ll be excited to see what comes up and feel more confident with their choices.

A Beginner’s Guide To Personalized Learning – “There is a difference between personalized learning and differentiation. Differentiation is a kind of personalized instruction, where teachers adjust process, & product, according to a student’s readiness, interest, & learning style. Planning of the learning starts with the content, and the content remains the same for all students. This is a school and curriculum-centered approach that attempts to amend the delivery of the content to match the student’s needs, strengths, and general readiness.
Personalized learning starts with the learner and asks the question, “What does this student need to understand, and how best can that happen?” This is a student-centered approach, and is built around the idea of recognizing the vast differences in students–not just in terms of literacy or schema, but an authentic need to know.”

35 Digital Tools To Create Simple Quizzes And Collect Feedback From Students “The sites, tools, and apps mentioned here can save teachers time by allowing them to create simple quizzes that can be taken asynchronously, and make polls and forms to collect feedback from students (content-based or otherwise).”

6 Strategies for Differentiated Instruction in Project-Based Learning | Edutopia “Project-based learning (PBL) naturally lends itself to differentiated instruction. By design, it is student-centered, student-driven, and gives space for teachers to meet the needs of students in a variety of ways. PBL can allow for effective differentiation in assessment as well as daily management and instruction.  We all need to try out specific ideas and strategies to get our brains working in a different context. Here are some specific differentiation strategies to use during a PBL project.”

How You Can Become a Champion of Digital Citizenship in Your Classroom | EdSurge News“Why Digital Citizenship is No Longer Just an “Elective” As teachers, it is now part of our responsibility to lead by example when it comes to sound digital citizenship practices. As soon as children have devices in their hands, they should be educated about digital citizenship and their digital footprint. Think about this: even before babies are born, they have a digital shadow, because pictures and other media are shared about them via various social media outlets.”

25 Critical Thinking Apps For Extended Student Learning – “There are many apps that do promote critical thinking–and often extended critical thinking and learning at that. These aren’t clinical “critical thinking building” programs either, but rather often enjoyable exercises in strategy, tactics, and problem-solving thought. In this post there is a collection of 25 of these critical thinking apps. Most are for grades 8-12, but several are for students as young as kindergarten.”

Teens can’t tell the difference between Google ads and search results | The Verge “The familiar narrative of teens and technology is one of natural proficiency — that young people just get technology in a way that older generations don’t. But research suggests that just because children feel at home using smartphones, it doesn’t mean they’re more aware of the nuances of how the web works. In a new report published by the UK’s telecoms watchdog Ofcom, researchers found that only a third of young people aged 12 to 15 knew which search results on Google were adverts, while this figure was even lower — less than one in five — for children aged 8 to 11”

Open Educational Resources (OER): Resource Roundup | Edutopia “Explore this educator’s guide to open educational resources for information about online repositories, curriculum-sharing websites, sources for lesson plans and activities, and open alternatives to textbooks.”

Free Technology for Teachers: How to Get Free eBooks on Your Mobile Device “With the rise and prominence of eBooks have come a number of resources for educators and students to access free content on virtually any device. Using e-readers, tablets, or computers; in conjunction with apps such as Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Google Play Books, and OverDrive; you can access libraries of books for free on virtually any device. By downloading these free apps, you make your device a digital reading device that is not dependent on a specific vendor. ”

Digital Citizenship Resources for the Home | Common Sense Media “You don’t have to be an expert on texting, Instagram, Minecraft — or whatever else your kids are into — to have The Talk. Start by reading up on what’s going on in your kids’ world (for younger kids and older kids). Ask them to show you what they like online, and why. Make sure to listen:) Then, express a few basic expectations, with the understanding that this isn’t a one-and-done kind of chat.

Writing commons – Home “A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.”
“Writing Commons is a viable alternative to expensive writing textbooks. Faculty may assign Writing Commons for their composition, business, STEM/Technical Writing, and creative writing courses. Writing Commons houses seven main sections: Information Literacy | Research Methods & Methodologies | Writing Processes | Collaboration | Genres | New Media | Style ”

7 Fun (And Effective!) Reading Websites That Engage Students “A collection of a number of websites that teachers, parents and students can use to help guide student reading selections. The aim : to assist students to find books to that they really like, then they’ll be more inclined to make time in their busy schedules for reading.”

A Collection of Project Based Learning End Products — Learning in Hand “Post discusses products created by students through project based learning experiences, with an emphasis on what students create to express their answer to a driving question than just read a summary of the project.
Gathered here are some samples can be used as inspiration for your class projects. And, critiquing these samples can help students think of ways to make their own productions better.”

Worlds of Learning | Top Ten Makerspace Favorites of 2015 “The most successful makerspaces include tools, materials and resources that inspire and allow for an environment rich with possibilities, allowing all students the opportunity for open-ended exploration.  In addition to tried-and-true favorites such as Spheros, Makey-Makey kits, littleBits, and Legos, there is now such a vast array of makerspace-related products available. As this year draws to a close, we can’t help but reflect upon some of our favorite makerspace things. “

Free Technology for Teachers: Digital Note-Taking with OneNote “Two features distinguish OneNote from other note-taking apps like Evernote. First, notes can be shared and collaboratively edited in real time – much like Google Docs. This includes collaborative handwriting when on tablets. Next, OneNote notes can be opened and edited in multiple locations at the same time. Consider a student taking notes in OneNote on a laptop or Chromebook while inserting photos from their phone”

Resources and Downloads to Facilitate Inquiry-Based Learning | Edutopia “Find information, strategies, protocols, and tools — including resources and downloads from teachers and schools – to promote curiosity and engage students in asking questions, thinking critically, and solving problems.”

10 ways for teachers, students to share links in class | Ditch That Textbook “In a class with technology, links are like digital currency. If you have the right ones to the right places, you can quickly open up doors to great learning opportunities. The key is having them at the right time and being able to deliver them to students.”

Libraries Lend Record Numbers of Ebooks and Audiobooks in 2015 | Digital Book World “2015 was a big year for libraries’ digital efforts, with a record number of readers borrowing ebooks and digital audiobooks. Overdrive, the leading supplier of digital content to libraries and schools, reported Tuesday that, in 2015, readers borrowed more than 169 million ebooks. This marked a 24-percent increase over 2014. There was also a notable spike in audiobook usage, which saw a faster growth rate than ebook library borrowing”

What’s most pressing for K-12 tech leaders in 2016? | Education Dive “Two tech leaders for their thoughts on the biggest ed tech issues, developments, and trends administrators will have to face this year (US). Aso links to further insight in the Education Dive’s recent survey on the state of K-12 ed tech.”

A vision of educational technology | Teaching using Web Tools for Educators The author concentrates on what she thinks is the most important point that should be made concerning the use of technology in class.”If your technology use in your classroom is for Powerpoint presentations and taking notes, you haven’t really understood the potential. If you as a teacher think you need to know it all before letting your students loose, you need to reconsider.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful Links

 

Innovations in Education » Developing Future Workskills Through Content Curation “The skills a student employs  to successfully curate information include curiosity, media literacy, ability to make connections across disciplines, information literacy, the ability to evaluate and understand perspective, synthesize and evaluate information, and a good dose of self-direction.  Here is how they line up with the 10 skills identified in this study.”

EducationHQ Australia – Maker movement gathers steam “In an educational setting, ‘making’ is a technology driven response to the widespread absence of ‘doing’ in many classrooms. In essence, it’s what psychologist Jean Piaget and other ‘constructionists’ see as experiential learning. American educator Gary Stager, author of Invent to Learn, reminds us that we are fortunate that: “this maker movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing”. Make sure you access Stager’s website inventtolearn.com for more information on this.”

20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking This is from the TeachThought blog. “This is part 1 in our #iteachthought campaign. This is our equivalent to “back to school,” and is intended to help you focus in the 2015-2016 school year on taking a thoughtful approach to your craft as a teacher. Among these shifts we’ll talk about is turning our focus from content and teaching to thinkers and thinking. This is a student-centered approach to pedagogy (and heautagogy), and will consist of three parts:
Part 1: Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking
Part 2: Learning Profiles: What Great Teachers Know About Their Students
Part 3: 50 Questions To Ask Your Students On The First Day Of Schoo”

5 Creative Strategies to Facilitate Student-driven Learning | Imagine Easy Solutions “21st century learners who are digitally literate and determined to take charge of their learning. Consequently, teachers need to adjust their strategies and give students more voice and ownership.
When the classroom moves from teacher-centered to student-centered, more learning takes place and students tend to be more engaged in the lesson. The student-centered classroom allows for more differentiation and personalized learning.
Making the transition into a student-centered classroom can be a challenge. This post looks at some strategies for getting started with creating a successful learning environment”

Key Conditions for Suspense: Part 14 – Put Your Plot Together with the Story Cycle – SFWA “It’s good to know you need to make the problem hard to solve, but how do you use all the obstacles to develop the plot? How do you layer them in? How do you start and move forward?
You follow the story cycle, which is simply a model of how we humans go about solving problems, and apply the techniques we’ve been talking about in ways that make sense to you and spark your interest. You can move forwards or backwards around the cycle, whatever is most productive to you at the time.”

10 Collaborative Mobile Apps For A Creative Classroom “Trainer, Naomi Harm shares 10 free mobile apps that will allow students to engage in rich content activities and digital projects in his training video Mobile Apps For The Classroom.”

Digital Citizenship Scope & Sequence | Common Sense Media From Common Sense Media. ” Scope & Sequence tool to find age-appropriate lessons that address digital literacy and citizenship topics for your classroom. You can browse by grade band or click a category to highlight the lessons that address that topic. From professional development materials, to student interactives, to lessons and assessments, and family outreach materials, our comprehensive curriculum is turnkey to implement.”

Why Should We Teach Storytelling? 5 Reasons to Start Today | Getting Smart “five reasons why we should be creating storytelling opportunities for students today.”

ICT is failing in schools – here’s why “National data released this week confirms an ongoing trend that now sees nearly half of Australian secondary school students failing to meet minimum digital literacy standards. Current data underpinning decision-making and the new digital technologies curriculum isn’t working for ICT in schools for these four reasons:”

Storyboard Maker – Outline a Story With Visuals | Android 4 Schools “Storyboard Maker is a free Android app.It lets you to set out your story. In the app you can outline story scenes by sketching frames then writing text to outline action and dialogue in each scene. ”

Draw Notes on Your Android Device With Google Keep | Android 4 Schools “this is an Android appthat allows you to write short notes and set reminders. It can also used be used as a mindmapping tool of sorts through the use of sticky note sorting. Google Keep for Android also allows you to draw notes in the app.”

Some Very Good Tools and Apps for Creating Educational Comics to Use in Class ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Using comics in your instruction can be a great way to engage students in learning activities and boost their motivation. There is a wide variety of web-based tools and mobiles apps that make comics creation a simple and easy drag and drop process. Students can use them to unleash their imaginative potential and experiment with a number of various multimodal creative activities. In this post there are some examples of web tools and apps teachers can use with students in class to create great educational comics.”

How to Storyboard in Scrivener “Storyboarding as it pertains to novels and short stories is the process of mapping out your story, often using index cards, in a high-level way that allows you to see your story visually and rearrange it. Scrivener’s corkboard view provides the perfect interface to storyboard your novel digitally”

Ninja Guide to Content Creation: Top 10 Writing Tools A piece that brings together, in an annotated list, a number of useful tools for writing purposes. There are also a number of other mentioned in the comments that follow the post.

Research revolution in schools | District Administration Magazine An interesting article about the skills today’s students need. “teaching students to find reliable sources, synthesize research findings and communicate results is more urgent than ever in a world where every blogger with a keyboard can pose as an expert.”

How to Build a Growth Mindset into School Culture | Getting Smart “For all of us as educators, a growth mindset must be a prerequisite belief and an easy one to champion. However, where Dweck’s idea presents us with a narrow gap in comprehension, the divide between comprehension and practice can be quite wide. As school leaders, how can we bring awareness to this gap and implement practices to cultivate a growth mindset within our schools?”

24 Ways for Students to Showcase Their Best Work (With Tech) – InformED : There has been a lot of research that supports student learning being enhanced by using online presentation methods. This post offers an annotated list of 24 favourites.

What is Collaboration for Professional Learning? | My Island View “The time investment to accomplish this can be as little as twenty minutes a day. The warning here however is that often times a learner may actually get caught up in the learning and spend more time than planned on a given topic. Social media opens educators to the pedagogy, and methodology of others. It offers transparency to policies. It questions the status Quo. It forces reflective thinking. It acts as a megaphone for new ideas. It gives educators a voice in the discussion of their own profession. None of this will happen however unless an educator comes to the table with a collaborative mindset and a willingness to spend time collaborating. Educators should never expect less from themselves than they expect of their students. A good teacher is also a good learner, and a good learner can always become a great teacher”

Empathy and libraries – Home – Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog “Building cultural understandings by building empathy is now more urgent than ever in our classrooms and libraries if we wish to create a more empathic community. I am re-posting a column about building empathy through reading below.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Educational Postcard: ”Collaboration is by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  Ken Whytock 
South Orange Middle School Library – Twitter Style Book Review How to create Twitter style book reviews. This activity can be easily adapted and students of all abilities can have fun trying to create a good tweet about their book.
Transforming assessment and feedback with technology | Jisc “JISC page that provides ideas and resources to help colleges and universities enhance the entire assessment and feedback lifecycle.” There are many transferable ideas for secondary school teachers.

20 Ways to Engage Students “A research study was carried out at PROCAT to investigate students’ expectations and experiences when using technology at college. You can read the research report here. The E-Zine below is a further resource, which follows on from the research report. It provides 20 key messages for Instructors, which summarises feedback direct from PROCAT Students on how to engage learners. The magazine provides a useful checklist for teaching staff and is a resource they can keep referring to for ideas and to check they are on track. You will need flash to be installed to view the e-zine.”

Developing students’ digital literacy | Jisc A quick guide to a very good and comprehensive report on Improving the student digital experience
Growth mindset for teachers | Education Evangelist Offers a nice graphic to encourage a “Growth Mindset for teachers using technology”
‘Which Book Reader Species Are You?’: INFOGRAPHIC | GalleyCat “In this post, we’re describing and classifying close to 50 reader species-from the folks who see books as precious display objects to those who sort of hate reading.”

Kelly Fitzgerald ~ EdTech Nut: Using Collections in TweetDeck to Save Tweets I use TweetDeck. It is a useful tool for following along during a Twitter chat as it allows you to build columns that help to keep track of the many different feeds, notifications, mentions, etc. It can be difficult to check out the resources shared and keep up with it all. There are many methods for ‘saving’ the resources shared. Kelly Fitzgerald @LISDTechie uses the collections feature in TweetDeck to gather those resources to review at a later time. Here she offers advice about how to add a collection and start saving those wonderful resources people are sharing.

The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You Can Use Now) | Edutopia Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) has shared the apps or app categories that she recommends for other teachers in their schools. “There are lots of apps, and these are just my opinion based on what I’ve used with my students or successfully tested.”

15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer) | Edutopia Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) put forward the following resources that you can use to teach programming with every student and every age

Professional Conversations | Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership “The formal and informal dialogue that occurs between education professionals including teachers, mentors, coaches and school leaders, which is focused on educational matters.What do teachers talk about professionally? Where do these conversations happen, when do they happen, and what are the conditions that are needed to make them more effective? Most importantly, what is the impact that they can have on developing teacher expertise and improving student outcomes?
he Professional Conversations Project sought to answer our questions about professional conversations by exploring the literature and asking teachers in schools across Australia about their experiences with professional conversations”

Digital Citizenship: Resource Roundup | Edutopia This id a great list that iffers many ideas babout how to approach the topic.  “Edutopia’s collection of articles, videos, and other resources on internet safety, cyberbullying, digital responsibility, and media and digital literacy.”
Designing Learning That Matters | Edutopia Deep learning often happens when learners encounter experiences that challenge them to figure something out, explore new information, and create a product.
Challenge yourself with Reading Bingo 2014 (pictures) Printable Reading Bingo containing 24 reading challenges that will help you read more and have more fun with it.
Short Stories with a Twist Ending  “A list of some short stories with surprising endings that could be used for learning or teaching careful reading. Sometimes the author tries to give the reader a fair chance to figure out what’s going to happen. Even though a twist ending is supposed to give the reader a jolt, in hindsight it should seem perfectly reasonable. The best ones seem inevitable and seamless.”
Books for Kids Who Don’t Like to Read | eBay Useful list of titles (and series).
8 Excellent Google Sheets Add-ons to Create Smarter Spdreasheets ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning“A post that looks at a collection of important add-ons to use on your Google Sheets to create smarter spreadsheets with beautiful designs and more sophisticated functionalities. Using these extensions will enable you to add different styles and fonts to your spreadsheets; remove duplicate values between two tables or in one sheet; find and clean up data; split names to several columns, search in values, formulas, notes and hyperlinks in all sheets at once; easily generate Gantter schedules from your sheets; add reminders to your sheets; smart autofilling of data into other columns based on the values of the other columns, and many more.”
Five Research-Driven Education Trends At Work in Classrooms | MindShift | KQED News Increasingly, educators are looking to research about how kids learn to influence teaching practices and tools. What seemed like on-the-fringe experiments, like game-based learning, have turned into real trends, and have gradually made their way into many (though certainly not most) classrooms.
10 Tech-Savvy Web Teaching Apps Students (& Other Teachers) Will Love — Emerging Education Technologies Ten great apps are listed and their use demonstrated with 3 Minute Tutorials for each. These videos show you how to get started and the rest is up to you

3 Ways Mobile Technology Boosts Instruction | The Edvocate The piece offers a discussion around the benefits for teachers as well as students. Three ways that teachers can benefit from mobile technologies are discussed.

” Administrative plans must go beyond simply purchasing mobile devices, or implementing bring-your-device policies that include teacher empowerment of the technology. Mobile technology has potential to change the student-teacher dynamic for the better but only if implemented correctly”
How Games Lead Kids to the Good Stuff: Understanding Context | The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning | MindShift | KQED News A good discussion about the benefits of using games to assist learning in the classroom. “Game-based learning is an instructional method that allows students to experience, understand, and solve problems in the world of a particular subject, or system, from the inside. Imagine a game that works like an instrument, but teaches mathematics. That’s how “
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
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