Month: March 2017

Website Wednesday: Breaking News Generator

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

downloadThank you to Ellen Resnek, Downingtown East High School social studies teacher, for suggesting today’s website called “Breaking News Generator.” It is a great tool to use as an exit ticket while making social studies more engaging. Students upload an image and give the news slide a headline and description. Students can also brainstorm creative names of news agencies!

This tool could be used outside of a social studies curriculum; teachers could ask students to summarize key details from a text or to support vocabulary instruction. Students can also create their own image to use.

Do you have a tech tool that you want other teachers to know about? Email us at or post here.


Tech Tip Tuesday: Breakout EDU

by Sara Brosious, Downingtown East High School Instructional Coach

Guess what happens when you tell students to put everything away except their device and then give them a box with 4 padlocks on?  Complete student engagement.

On Friday, February 17 Downingtown East High School’s Spanish Teacher Michelle Podolak piloted Breakout EDU with a STEM twist.  Breakout EDU is the education world’s version of an escape room experience.  Michelle provided students curricular puzzle clues that unlocked the various padlocks to ultimately break into the locked box.

Mrs. Podolak’s Spanish IV and Honors classes were first presented with a learning scenario and with the assistance of their mobile or 1:1 laptop devices collaborated in small groups to solve the clues.  Once the teams broke into the boxes, they were then presented with the task of building a trap with makerspace type items such as legos, magformers, and tinker toys.

The students then collaborated to produce a one minute video in Spanish describing their traps, and upload it to Schoology.  There was also a discussion board conversation commenting on the other team’s cupid traps.  Additionally, Mrs. Podolak required her students to reflect on the experience via a Schoology quiz.

If you’re interested in creating a breakout experience for your students, reach out to your instructional coach!


Website Wednesday: The Ultimate Google Cardboard and Expeditions Resource Guide

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

Shake Up Learning is an educational blog written by Kasey Bell.  Bell recently posted “The Google Cardboard and Expeditions Resource Guide.” The guide contains the steps to get started, resources for buying devices and headsets, YouTube tutorials, blog posts, lesson plans, apps and more!

Google Cardboard and Google Expeditions can truly enhance students’ learning experiences. Judy Deppen, French teacher at Marsh Creek, used Google Expeditions so that her students could take a virtual tour of the Palace of Versailles

Michele Boreman, social studies teacher at Lionville Middle School, used Google Cardboard with her students to take a virtual tour of Ford’s theater and the house where Lincoln died. They could move around to explore the different rooms, floors, etc. Even cooler? The class tweeted about it; Ford Theater responded to the Tweets and a conversation ensued.

Website Wednesday: Virtual Nerd

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

By now, most of us have heard of Khan Academy, the free online video site that offers hundreds of tutorials on a variety of topics.  However, not everyone loves the faceless videos.

If you’re one of those people, you may want to check out Virtual Nerd.  Virtual Nerd is a free website with math videos from grade 6 math through geometry and algebra.  It also includes tutorials for SAT and ACT math. The videos are organized around questions, so it’s easy to search for the one that you need. You may find that you and your students like these videos better, so check them out!


Tech Tip Tuesday: Google Keep Now Integrates with Google Docs

G-Suite-For-Education.pngby Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

One of my favorite apps on my phone is Google Keep. I use it to keep to-do lists, notes for work, links to articles I want to read and even birthday gift ideas for my children. Now, Google Keep will become even more useful because it’s integrated with the G Suite for Education (formerly Google Apps for Education).You’ll be able to pull notes from Keep into a Google Doc, for example, or add new Notes while working in a Doc.

You can read more details here.

Website Wednesday: Primary Sources with a Twist  

By Lois Grasso, Instructional Coach, Marsh Creek 6GC

Primary sources provide a window into the past— documents, photographs, songs produced by people who lived during a previous time.   While primary sources are not new to teaching, how these resources can be integrated into instruction certainly is changing.  That is what I saw demonstrated at a recent instructional technology conference (PETE&C 2017).  

Specifically, try using primary sources in conjunction with digital storytelling tools including Stop Motion, iMovie, Comic Life or Book Creator to encourage students to interpret what it was like to be alive during a past era.

The BEST High-Quality Primary Source Web Sites*

  • Smithsonian Source – provides Document-Based Questions and Primary Source Videos, aggregated by era.
  • Smithsonian Learning Lab – more than a million resources made available online by the Smithsonian Institute.
  • Library of Congress – search through millions of primary sources, from recordings, books, photographs, maps, and manuscripts.  
  • 100 Milestone Documents – United States history from 1776 to 1965, these documents are some of the most vital documents in our nation’s story.

So the next time your students are researching primary sources, don’t hand them a worksheet with questions to answer.  Instead, ask them to use the primary source to tell a story using apps like StopMotion, iMovie, ComicLife, or Book Creator to answer a guiding question such as “How did the settlers of Jamestown struggle to survive?”

*More information and examples available in the free iBook entitled “Interpreting Primary Sources with Stop Motion.” Joseph Welch, iBooks. 2016.