Useful links

The EdTech Eleven: This Month’s Must-Know Tools | Common Sense Education ” From coomonSenseEducaion – for teachers who find it difficult to keep up with the chnges in Ed Tech. They created the EdTech Eleven: a monthly list of noteworthy tools generating buzz in the edtech world. While these aren’t recommendations or ratings (you have to check out our Top Picks for that), what you’ll find on the EdTech Eleven is a quick and current list of trending tools you might want to check out.”
The Trends and Challenges Shaping Technology Adoption In Schools | MindShift | KQED News “Trends affecting the adoption of technology in schools. (NMC/CoSN Horizons Report: K-12 Edition)”
Does Minecraft Help Students Become Better Readers? – Wise Guys “As student engage in various literacy activities centered around Minecraft, there is no doubt that increased fluency and comprehension will occur. As long as the game stays popular with kids, it will also be a popular way for teachers and parents to promote the enrichment of reading skills too.”
Coding: Developing Rigorous Thinkers An interesting article about why one teacher believes that it is important to teach coding in schools. “Coding challenges teachers and students to think abstractly. There is plenty of research suggesting a strong spatial sense yields future success in mathematics. Being able to write simple coding instructions and accounting for different variables is like playing chess and visualizing different scenarios. Playing hockey is no different. Goaltenders are constantly assessing the play, changing variables and predicting different outcomes in order to make saves. Computer Science is about moving towards real world applications like design thinking that tie in other subject areas. This form of self expression becomes a medium for storytelling and creativity and less about a math exercise.”
Why the 21st century teacher needs to understand research Tom Bennet’s short presentation for researchED Scotland on the importance of being research literate.
The Power Of I Don’t Know Questioning is an important tool. It is the catalyst for inquiry and useful for an assessment strategy. The best questions drive units of instruction when they become the essential question. Questions transcend content, the bridge between students and their context. I don’t know isn’t just a starting point for finding an answer, or a ready-made template for some academic essential question. Rather, it returns the learning to the student, and restores the scale of understanding to a universe of knowledge.”
104 Photo Editing Tools You Should Know About A long list of briefly described tools that are grouped under the following headings: Photo enhancers (1-3); Online editors (4-21); Free desktop editors (22-26); Paid desktop editors (27-40); HDR photo editors (41-53); Cross-platform image editors (54-57); Photo filters (58-66); Photo editing mobile apps (67-85); RAW processors (86-96); Photo viewers and managers (97-99); Other (100-104)

Why Technology in Classrooms Doesn’t Always Boost Scores An interesting look at how technology should be used in the classroon for it to be effective. “HAVING technology means nothing. You have to: 1. Have technology in the classroom, 2. Students must have access, and 3. Teachers must know how to teach with tech. A number of different ideas for “using Technology in Ways that Improve Classroom Learning” are then explained

Free Technology for Teachers: Streamline Your Feedback Process in Google Docs “JoeZoo Express doesn’t limit you to using just feedback phrases that they have listed. You can create your own feedback phrases and explanations. Teachers who want to use rubrics to give feedback and grades can do so within JoeZoo Express. JoeZoo offers a free rubric builder tool. You can customize the rubric to meet your specific needs. The rubrics that you create can be saved and inserted into students’ documents when you are grading their work.”

The 5Ds framework for integrating technology in the classroom – Book Creator app 5 Ds Framework for a meaningful and purposeful integration of technology in the classroom
Free Technology for Teachers: Try My Simpleshow for Creating Explanatory Videos A tutorial by Richard Byrne about how to best use this free tool. “Students have to write a script on My Simpleshow before they can begin to use the video editing tools. This tool enables you to create Common Craft style explanatory videos. The best aspect of My Simpleshow is the emphasis that the developers have placed on storyline planing and development.”

GoConqr – Create Flashcards With Images on Your Android Device | Android 4 Schools This is a service that offers tools for creating flashcards and mind maps. The GoConqr Flashcard app for Android allows students to develop sets of flashcards on their mobile devices. Students can create flashcards that are solely text-based or they can choose to incorporate pictures into their flashcards. Within the app students can create as many sets of flashcards as they like. The app does not require students to be connected to the Internet in order to review their flashcards.

Great way for students to reflect on their learning and create revision tools whilst building up a set of their own revision cards.
Buncee | Create, Present and Share Engaging Multimedia Lessons Buncee is a good tool for creating visual stories. You need to sign up but it is free for an individual to use. Schools can buy a licence for their staff and students. It is easy to use and products look good.
mysimpleshow – create your own explainer video in minutesThis is a free tool for creating simple explanatory videos (in the style of Common Craft videos). In My Simpleshow the emphasisis on storyline planning and development. This would make students focus on their message not the “bells and Whistles”. If the video developers work on that aspect the rest falls into place.

Useful links

Inspirational Quote by rhondda.p, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  rhondda.p 
 Moving Students From Digital Citizenship To Digital Leadership “The idea behind the shift? A kind of empathy–moving beyond see one’s self, and moving towards seeing one’s self in the physical and digital company of others. As digital technology and social media become more deeply embedded in our lives, and more nuanced in their function, this is a shift whose time has come.”
Starting a makerspace with (virtually) no budget | AHS Makerspace A lot of great links o all things Makerspace
10 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know Google Could Do – Techews.com An interesting list of some leeser known aspects of Google
Teach Writing Skills: Powerful Prompts for Student Writing“You can teach writing skills with powerful multimedia based prompts and ideas, a global audience, and easy to use tools. John Spencer has the data to show that kids write more using this method.”
Using Games for Learning: Practical Steps to Get Started | The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning | MindShift | KQED News Game-based learing is becoming more normalised in schools. Games can be a useful tool for teachers for teachers to use in a variety of ways. “Games provide a different approach to developing metacognitive skills through persistent self-reflection and iteration of particular skill sets. Games offer experiential contextualized learning through virtual simulation. Games can also offer an especially engaging interdisciplinary learning space.”
Scenarios – DigitalCitizenship A great range of scenarios to use with students
Oversharing – Digital Citizenship – YouTube A short video that address the issue of your onine persona “Published on 7 Aug 2014. Think before you post! This unit teaches students about digital citizenship. We offer the top ten to think about before you post to social media platforms. See the full lyrics and lesson plan at http://www.flocabulary.com/oversharing/”
Flocab’s Best of 2015 – YouTube A short video that address the issue of your online persona “Published on 7 Aug 2014. Think before you post! This unit teaches students about digital citizenship. We offer the top ten to think about before you post to social media platforms. See the full lyrics and lesson plan at http://www.flocabulary.com/oversharing/”
Teachers’ Resources The National Archives Lesson Plans section contains incorporates U.S. primary documents and its excellent teaching activities correlate to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. Lessons are organized by chronological era, from 1754 to the present
Activities | DocsTeach National Archives US Great archival site offering access to primary documents and its excellent teaching activities correlate to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government.
Education – The National Archives Offers access to a large array of resources in a variety of formats
22 Things About Computer Security Everyone Needs to Know From Vicki Davis – “a quick video with the 22 most common mistakes I’ve seen since beginning my work with computers in 1993. This is a beginning video that I also share with my students and their parents.”
5 Games That Teach You How to Code “These Web games are a fun and engaging introduction to the world of programming.”
10 Ways to Win with Windows 10 in the Classroom – Microsoft in Education Blog – Site Home – TechNet Blogs “Some simple tips and tricks on how the new features in Windows 10 save time for teachers and make learning more fun for students. There are links to more extensive training on using Windows 10 in the classroom in the Quick Tip videos”
Ignore the headlines – computers in classrooms are a good idea, and here’s why | Nesta Good discussion piece. ““Many other potential benefits fall outside of what PISA can measure through the performance of 15 year old students. The fact that this report does not document them does not imply that they do not exist.””
Are School Internet Filters the Forgotten Equity Battleground? | MindShift | KQED News Based on US situation but still applicable to Australian situation. “Despite the increasing emphasis on technology as a learning tool in the classroom, many school districts still aggressively filter the Internet that teachers and students can access. While the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires that schools filter for pornographic images, many districts are over-filtering, blocking sites that can be used positively for education. There are a lot of myths about how tight these required filters must be.”
Education World: Printables, Templates and Worksheets for Teachers Education World’s page shares some other sources for templates. It has a large collection of free templates for forms, documents, letters, and classroom visual aids on their Tools & Templates page. Most are available as word processing documents. You can modify and individualize those before saving or printing them. Some templates (mostly created in PDF format) are designed to be printed and used “as is.” You can make modifications, such as adding a specific name or date, after printing the product.
The Secret to Finding the Best Games for Education – K-12 Tech Decisions “How do these teachers find and then evaluate the games that they use?  The most common way of learning about any educational tools is from peers. While face to face networks are limited by the number of interactions with people in one’s grade, school, or conferences, online professional learning networks have become invaluable.”

For the Hesitant Teacher: Leveraging the Power of Minecraft | MindShift | KQED News “Getting started with MinecraftEDU can be intimidating for teachers who don’t consider themselves “gamers” and aren’t sure how to harness the engagement and excitement of Minecraft. Luckily, there’s a robust and global Minecraft teacher community to supply tips, support and even lesson plans.

Teachers who already use Minecraft in the classroom love it because of the flexibility it offers – almost any subject can be taught with a little creativity. And like other powerful learning games, well-structured Minecraft lessons give students opportunities to fail and try again, improve their skills, and participate in an immersive environment that aids retention because students can attach the academic concepts to their personal experiences within the game.”
Inquiry-Based Learning: Developing Student-Driven Questions | Edutopia “Putting Students In Charge of Their Learning. Through inquiry, Wildwood works to ignite passion, inspire relevance, and develop ownership in their students. Using student inquiries and questions as guidance, teachers develop lessons that engage and excite, teaching their students to be active thinkers rather than passive learners.”
Social Media in Education: Resource Toolkit | Edutopia “This collection of blogs, articles, and videos aims to help educators deploy social-media tools to develop professionally, connect with parents and communities, and engage students in 21st-century learning. By Ashley Cronin, Edutopia. originally published Feb 12, 2013. Updated: Feb 19, 2015”
iPad Classroom Visit Look-Fors | Edutopia Good points about how to gauge classroom usage of technologies. Ideas transferable to notebooks in general.
Relief Teaching IdeasJigsaw Pairs – Relief Teaching Ideas “There are so many things you could do with these! Here’s a few ideas: – lower case/upper case letter matching. – sight words – antonyms – synonyms – math sums – shape names & pictures – analogue/digital time – subject area questions & answers. Blank sheets can be handed out to older kids to make up their own revision questions before a test. After writing the questions & answers on the pairs they cut them out, put the pieces into an envelope & swapped with another student to complete.”
Situating Makerspaces in Schools – Hybrid Pedagogy Good article about Makerspaces (& STEM /STEAM) and schools. The discussion puts perspective into the equation. The authors talk about three values of student learning and empowerment: agency, authenticity, and audience and these are used as a basis for decisions about what happens in classrooms. I like the last few sentences. “Defining making in education in terms of tools, spaces, or disciplines is insufficient. Learning through making is a philosophical approach that can affect classes across the curriculum and schools across the globe. It’s time to change the paradigm.”
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If we teach today, as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow

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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 

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  • MinecraftEdu Takes Hold in Schools | School Library Journal “With Minecraft, learners of all ages work together to ultimately create a product that has value to them. “The simple interface provides students in the classroom with endless possibilities to demonstrate creativity, think critically, communicate, collaborate, and solve problems.” A Swedish student research study also showed that collaboration in Minecraft provided a more immersive problem-solving experience than group LEGO building.One great benefit of a framework like MinecraftEdu is the community surrounding it. MinecraftEdu offers discounted licenses to schools to get them started, along with a huge community of fellow educators who can help teachers and librarians sustain their programs. Educators from around the world post lesson plans, activities, tutorials, and worksheets for others who want to use their game worlds. They provide step-by-step instructions for teachers who are new to the game.”

  • “Ingrid Sundberg, a writer and children’s book illustrator, created a very useful infographic chart for anyone struggling with color names. The writer says that she loves to collect words that can help give her stories variety and depth.”

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Quote - mind is like an umbrella;

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