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!

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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. https://itun.es/us/ecXzdb.l

 

Website Wednesday: Wizer.me

wizerby Khristina Hunt, Downingtown West High School Instructional Coach

Many of you have inquired about new ed tech resources to utilize in your classrooms. So I thought I’d share a really neat one called Wizer.me. Wizer.me is a site to build beautiful engaging online worksheets. But don’t be fooled – these are worksheets in name only. They truly are awesome! I’ve outlined a few key details below:

  • You can add video, audio, images and a variety of question types to the sheet
  • 1-click will let you share with students and/or upload to a Schoology assignment.
  • You’ll save time with automatic checking and grading or you can review one-by-one to give more personal feedback.
  • It’s easy to share your Wizer collection with other teachers.
  • Browse the Wizer collection of FREE digital learning resources.  Just pick one you like, customize and share out with the class
  • Students can access the worksheets with any device.

If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructional coaches!

 

Food for Thought Friday: How Artists See Their Dyslexia

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Degas

When we do not have a particular disability, it is sometimes difficult to imagine what it must feel like for a person who does. For example, one of my sisters has dyslexia. Although it hasn’t stopped her from earning her PhD in Nursing and becoming a professor, I know that it has been a constant struggle. She tries to explain what it’s like, but I have a hard time imagining.

That is why I’ve been fascinated by this article from NPR called “Finding Words in Paint: How Artists See Dyslexia.”  To see how these artists express their own struggles with Dyslexia through their art is eye-opening. It’s worth checking out this weekend and maybe even sharing with someone you know.

Website Wednesday: VideoNot.es

logoby Kristie Burk, Coordinator of Blended and Cyber Learning

VideoNot.es is a great website that addresses the increased use of videos to deliver instruction. Students use VideoNot.es to watch videos and take notes simultaneously.

Students can login to the site using their DASD Google accounts.  (This will allow their notes to save automatically to their Google Drive.)

Half of the screen contains the video that the students are watching. The other half of the screen is a blank area where students can take notes while the video plays.  What is unique about this method of note taking is that the students’ notes are synchronized with the video. If they see something that they’d like to write down at 1:40 in the video, the note will be tied to 1:40.  If the student clicks on that note later, the video will auto-magically jump to that spot.

Because the video notes are saved to a student’s Google Drive, it will be easy for him or her to share the video with you or with other students later.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Common Apps and Websites for New Uses

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Blended and Cyber Learning

Last week I attended the Future of Education Technology Conference.  I learned so much from this conference that it will take me weeks just to go through all my notes!

One of the things I quickly noticed at the conference was how educators are using common technology tools in new and innovative ways. For example, I met Mike Meechin at the conference, principal of Poinciana High School in Kissimmee, FL.  In his school of 1200+ students, 71% are eligible for free and reduced lunch and he has struggled with a high absentee rate.

Meechin decided to use the Remind app in a new and innovative way.  Any student with significant absences was enrolled in a special Remind account.  Starting at 5:30 am, the students would start receiving Remind text messages to get them out of bed.  (Meechin says that he usually sneaks in an inspirational message in the wake-up texts as well.) He says they would usually send 2-3 message for the next 90 minutes.

Amazingly, this innovative use of Remind increased the attendance of these students by 60%!

Do you have an innovative use of an app or website? Let us know at dtowntechchat.wordpress.com!