Aug 31

Need Help Picking the Right Learning Game? Some Things to Consider

By:Jordan Shapiro

gamess“To make sense of the broad and complex world of games and learning, we’re inclined to create neatly organized lists and categories. The truth is that there are so many different kinds of learning games, it’s difficult to break them down into clear-cut categories. Especially in an atmosphere of ed-tech entrepreneurship that aims to disrupt our habitual way of thinking about education, familiar classification structures can sometimes hold us back more than they move us forward.

It feels contradictory to divide up the learning games landscape after arguing, earlier in this series, that games can help address the educational need to break down the boundaries between traditional academic content areas. Taxonomy is always tricky and useful only to the degree in which it simultaneously acknowledges ambiguity and fuzziness. But to make it easier to digest, let’s explore some classifications.

What criteria matter when considering learning games? First, ask the broad questions: How and when a game can be used? Then, be more specific: What kind of game is best suited to particular learning objectives?” To read further please click here:

Aug 31

Create Contact Groups to Share Google Docs With

By:Alice Keeler

google drive“f you are using Google Drive you may have had reason to want to share a document with a group of people. I suggest creating a folder and sharing the folder with the group of people, but there are reasons you would just like to have a contact group.
Go to to see your contact list. It will show you your circles as well.New Group.On the left hand side towards the bottom is the option to create a “New Group…” Click on this option.” To read further please click here:

Aug 31

The Power of Edmodo and Small Groups

By: Bobby Brian Lewis
edmodo_logo-13tlarn“Just one student can change your life. One visually-impaired student and Edmodo changed my teaching. I have been using Edmodo for several years, but not until this year did I realize its power. Why did I choose Edmodo for my class and Armondo? It’s a safe learning platform, allows for the integration of  multimedia tools, is great for differentiated instruction, and acts as a one stop shop for my classes.

Armondo is a visually-impaired student that is very independent. I gave Armondo the Group Code for my Group (6th grade computers) on Edmodo. He logged on with the help of his aid. I soon realized that I would have to change the way that I was teaching. Armondo was logged in, but I realized that most of the assignments I posted on Edmodo were visual lessons with visual clues. Edmodo would be the glue that would link us together.” To read further please click here:

Aug 31

Announcing Stamps: Get Instant Feedback from Your Class!

By:Josh Wiseman

reminds“Today we are excited to announce Stamps, a new way for students and parents to provide instant feedback on your Remind messages! With Stamps, you can easily ask questions and get quick answers from your class in real-time. For example, you can find out who is going on a field trip, who is confused about a new topic you introduced, or even, who likes the messages you’re sending.

It’s simple. You send a message to your class, just as you’ve always done with Remind. Students and parents receive the message on the Remind app and can choose one of four stamps to give feedback ★ ✓ ✘  ?. You’ll get timely updates when class members stamp your messages, so you can check the stamps later or watch as they arrive in real-time while in class.” To read further please click here:

Aug 30

5 Robots Booking It to a Classroom Near You

By: Yohana Desta

Robot-Classroom“The technological creations are taking on serious roles in the classroom. With the accelerating rate of robotic technology, school administrators all over the world are plotting how to implement them in education, from elementary through high school.

In South Korea, robots are replacing English teachers entirely, entrusted with leading and teaching entire classrooms. In Alaska, some robots are replacing the need for teachers to physically be present at all.

Rbotics 101 is now in session. Here are five ways robots are being introduced into schools. “To read further please click here:

Aug 30

Making classroom magic with Mystery Skype

By:Tim Bush

skype“The magic of Mystery Skype can be discovered in a myriad of ways.  Sometimes you don’t even see the trick; it just manifests itself right before your eyes.Allow me to share an example from my 5th grade classroom. Before Mystery Skype my students never considered themselves or their lives to be of much interest to anyone.  They didn’t believe they had anything unique or special to offer.  Just small town kids in a small rural school district in Mondamin, Iowa.  However, through the power of Mystery Skype my kids soon realized the reasons they perceived themselves to be ordinary were in fact the things that made them unique. As we took part in Mystery Skype lessons, sharing our information and our personal experiences with many others, my students began to view themselves and their community from a new perspective.  They carried themselves differently, spoke more confidently, and held their heads up just a little higher.  It was a magical transformation which was completely unforeseen and unexpected.” To read further please click here:

Aug 30

A Great New iPad App for Digital Portfolios and More

By: Richard Byrne

digitalportfoliosWeLearnedIt is the latest offering from Adam Bellow and eduClipper. WeLearnedIt offers many of the great features of eduClipper that you currently enjoy along with additional digital portfolio elements. Through the WeLearnedIt iPad app you and your students can create digital portfolios that contain files from Google Drive, Dropbox, links from the web, images and videos captured with your iPad, and whiteboard videos created within the WeLearnedIt app.”To read further please click here:


Aug 30

Keeping The Heart Of An Educator

By: William Parker

bologic remember a story a good friend told me about her first year as an assistant principal.

She worked with a teacher who frequently referred the same boy to the office for misbehavior.Although the boy (I’ll call him Billy) deserved the consequences he received, the teacher was convinced he was impossible to help and really wanted him out of her class.

One day when the teacher had endured an especially rough time with Billy, my assistant principal friend asked if she could take her for a drive during her plan period.

The teacher agreed and before long, they had driven a short way from the school and parked in front of a home that was so neglected, it could have been condemned.

“Why are we here?” the teacher asked.

“Because this is where Billy lives,” said the assistant principal.

They sat in silence for a minute. My friend just let it sink in.

Suddenly, the teacher burst into tears. “I had no idea,” she cried.” To read further please click here:

Aug 30

Most Anticipated Back-to-School Technology (2014)

By:Audrey Watters

back to schools“For the fifth year in a row, I’ve asked educators to tell me what technology they’re most looking forward to bringing into the classroom with them this school year. I don’t ask that the technology itself be new. I’m interested, rather, in what’s new in educators’ teaching practices.

Caveat: unscientific. Caveat: survey just goes out to my Twitter followers and blog readers and is completed by those who can be bothered to fill out a short form. Caveat: small sample. Caveat: I calculate and interpret the results.

Back-to-school 2014 has elicited responses that are much more fragmented than I’ve seen in previous years. Even though I’ve always received a wide variety of responses (a reflection of the increasing number of options for educational hardware and software), I have in the past been able to identify a “Top 3.”  But this year, there’s no consensus, no runaway “three most popular” tools.

With two exceptions:” To read further please click here:

Aug 28

Developing intellectual and practical skills in a digital age

By:  Tony Bates

Skills-2“Chapter 5 of my open textbook, ‘Teaching in a Digital Age’ is about the design of teaching and learning, which I am currently writing and publishing as I go. I started Chapter 5 by suggesting that instructors should think about design through the lens of constructing a comprehensive learning environment in which teaching and learning will take place. I have started to work through the various components of a learning environment, focusing particularly on how the digital age affects the way we need to look at some of these components. I started by looking at how the characteristics of our learners are changing, and followed that by examining how our perspectives on content are being influenced by the digital age. In this post, I look at how both intellectual and practical skills can be developed to meet the needs of a digital age. The following posts will do the same for learner support, resources and assessment respectively. ” To read further please click here:

Aug 28

Using flipped learning to boost engagement

By:Laura Devaney

flipping“I believe we need to move from the teacher-centered classroom and move to classrooms that are project-based and inquiry-driven,” Bergmann said.Educators can think of flipped learning as a reevaluation of Bloom’s Taxonomy in which the focus lies more on creating, evaluating, and analyzing.“You, as a teacher, get the attention away from yourself and away from content delivery—you leverage technology of a teacher-created video to deliver content,” Sams said.Top educator concerns about moving to flipped learning are so common that Bergmann and Sams created the Four Ts to help educators realize that a flipped classroom can become a reality.

Thinking: Flip teachers’ thinking and help them re-imagine what the classroom looks like, Bergmann said. It’s not about content dissemination—it’s about deeper thinking.” To read further please click here:

Aug 28

Advanced Level Projects with Scratch: Fun with Fractals


“In his book Program or Be Programmed, author Douglas Rushkoff describescomputer programming as an essential literacy for the 21st century. It makes sense, as we recognize the importance of teaching students to communicate by listening and speaking, and we go to great lengths to teach reading and writing. Now, in an increasingly digital world, we should ensure that our students have experience using and making programs.

In our previous tutorials about elementary and intermediate level Scratch, we practiced programming by using code to draw 2D geometric shapes commonly covered in elementary mathematics curriculums. Now we’ll address middle and high school level material with a new problem-solving strategy called recursion, a central idea of computer science.

There is an interesting example of recursion found in nature called a fractal. Fractals are repeating patterns that look similar at every scale of magnification. We’ll teach our computers to draw a famous fractal — the Sierpiński Triangle. If you prefer video guides you can watch the tutorialinstead.” To read further please click here:

Aug 28

Parent Communication Toolbox

By:Gwen Pescatore

parents teachers“Home-to-school communications – what’s in your toolbox? What are you missing? Who are you missing? What could you add to improve your home-to-school communications and, in turn, strengthen relations and increase support?

Each school community is unique, with unique resources and needs. Not only is each school unique, but often, so is each year. With needs and available resources constantly changing, so must we. It’s important that we reevaluate our needs and goals each year.

There are many options out there. The best tool is face-to-face. This is not about replacing that time-tested communication model. Unfortunately, for many reasons, face-to-face is not always possible, so we need to supplement and offer alternatives. What can you offer to maintain open lines of communication with everyone, regardless of their ability to speak in person?” To read further please click here:

Aug 27

Best educational apps for middle schoolers

By: Kelly Hodgkins

starwalk2-mainIt’s that time of the year again when parents, teachers and students start thinking about heading back to school. If you have an iOS device, you can supplement your child’s education and stimulate them to get involved with quality educational iOS apps. Here are some of the best titles for children in the middle school-aged group: To read further please click here:  


Aug 27

Google Classroom: First Impressions

By:Konrad M. Lawson

google classrooms“The new learning management system (LMS) offered to Google Apps for Education users has recently become fully available: Google Classroom. In its current early incarnation, the option may be attractive for instructors who are not currently using an LMS and want to give one a try, but only if they are already using the Google Apps for Education or have a registered domain that they can configure for its use.

Once Google Classroom app has been added to your account and a class has been setup, the interface is a familiar clean Google environment allowing the posting of updates and files into a class stream, the invitation of students directly or via a class code, and the creation of class assignments with deadlines, attachments, and an interface for monitoring student progress and posting grades. Stream updates, assignments, and student submissions can all have comments added to them. Feedback on “returned” and graded assignments can be provided in an added note, but I did not see any option to return an attached document (an annotated PDF of the submitted file, for example).”

Aug 27

Are You Ready to Join the Slow Education Movement?

By: Shelley Wright

slow education“Slow. I love this word, and yet it tends to have many negative connotations in education. Which is too bad because it’s the very philosophy we need to save our education system, and give kids the time and space necessary to grow into the thoughtful, articulate citizens we desperately need them to become.

The 20th Century was known for many things. Mass destruction, of course. Statistics show we managed to destroy each other and plunder the planet at a rate unequalled by any other century in history. The 20th Century was also a time of great exploration, innovation and technological advance. The exploration of space. The eradication of disabling and fatal diseases. Increased global awareness. A measure of equality for at least some groups who have been historically disenfranchised.” To read further please click here:

Aug 27

Download Youtube Clips Easily

By:Ozge Karaoglu

youtubeclipseEver thought that you’ve found the best video and only to remember that Youtube is blocked at your school or you do not have internet connection or the connection is too slow? Here is a great tool that will help you to download Yotube videos on your computer in a very simple way. It is ClipConverter!” To read further please click here:


Aug 27

Questions for a Joyful, Kind and Reflective Classroom

By:Franki and Mary Lea

class read“Over the summer I read a post by a teacher who asked her students in the morning class meeting what he/she was most looking forward to that day. I loved that question and the stage it set for each day in a classroom. I decided we’d use that in our morning meetings this school year.  As I continued to plan over the summer, I started to think about how all of our workshops have share times that could connect in some way. I wondered if we could connect learning across content with reflective questions that set the stage for joyful learning as well as reflection. With the help of Gretchen, our new literacy coach, I came up with a list of 10 questions to focus our conversations.  ” To read further please click here:

Aug 26

How to teach … the transition

New school year“Making sure that any period of change for your students goes smoothly can make a huge difference to their progress. So this week, at the start of a new school year, we have a range of resources to help you tackle the challenges.

For pupils moving from pre-school to primary, it’s important to ensure that the more “formal” curriculum and teaching style isn’t detrimental to their enjoyment of learning. Circle Time is great for creating a supportive environment. This activity, which sets out instructions on how to set up a circle, is a really nice way for pupils to introduce themselves to one another.” To read further please click here:

Aug 26

New Teachers: Creating a Shiny, Happy Classroom

By:Cheryl Mizerny

Illustration of Teens Faces of Different Race“One of my favorite bands is R.E.M. They wrote this fluffy little song called “Shiny, Happy People”  and hearing it always makes me smile. I want my students to have this same experience when they think of my classroom. I want thoughts of life in Room 132 to bring a smile. These are some of the steps I take to try to make that happen.

As teachers begin this school year, their thoughts undoubtedly turn to the classroom climate they want to establish and maintain. One question that I am often asked (especially by newer teachers) is what kind of classroom management program I use. My answer is that I don’t.

What I prefer instead is to develop a classroom that does not require a system to handle misbehavior because it so rarely occurs.”

Aug 26

How Computer Technology Will Transform Schools Of The Future

By:Andre Infante

classroom video“In the 1800′s, students sat in a classroom, listened to a teacher and took tests. In 2014, students do exactly the same thing, with maybe the addition of a pocket calculator and some slides.

Nearly every other industry has been changed beyond recognition by the invention of computers.  Why not education, arguably one of the industries with the most to gain?

The answer is probably some combination of rank incompetence, institutional conservatism, and perverse incentives.  It’s a mess, but the good news is that it’s going to change — a lot — soon.  The situation as it stands is fundamentally unsustainable, and new titans are emerging from the startup world, ready to wipe the floor with traditional academic practices.  Today, we’re going to be talking about the five biggest ideas that are going to change education more than you’d believe.” To read further please click here:

Aug 26

Integrating game-based learning into the new school year

By: Michelle L. Huppert

Game1-620x413“Research is verifying what many teachers know: Well-designed digital games in the classroom increase student engagement, learning and retention. They improve students’ on-task time and even their social and emotional well-being. The benefits are especially significant when high-quality games are integrated into a curriculum over multiple lessons. So how can we put this knowledge to use as our new school year begins?

As a science teacher of students in grades seven to 12, I look for well-designed games to teach common core and the Next Generation Science Standards. Being well-designed means that the games are fun to play, teach important content through engaging game mechanics and are based on learning theory. The player should feel challenged to solve interesting and relevant problems with newly-gained understanding. There should be multiple ways to progress through the game and win. Frequent experimentation and failure — yes, failure! — in the game should be encouraged and result in a pleasant frustration that drives the player to try new strategies until challenges are mastered. If it’s a really high-quality game students will keep playing it on their own, and keep learning, even after they leave my classroom.” To read further please click here:

Aug 25

Top 22 Ways To Use Technology in the Classroom

By: Jacqui Murray

techoo“If students haven’t used online tools or software for classwork, this can be a daunting task. Having computer devices as optional education tools is much different from requiring students to use those devices for graded assessments. This can be intimidating for both students and teachers.

The good news: It doesn’t take as much time and practice as you might think to prepare for these tests by utilizing technology in the classroom. What it does require is a techie mindset: An acceptance that technology is part of the daily academic landscape, that it be integrated into assignments, practice, modeling, homework, assessments, projects,portfoliosgrading rubrics, expectations.” To read further please click here:

Aug 25

3 Different Things You Can Do With Google Classroom

By: Nikolaos Chatzopoulos

google educationGoogle’s advance in the education field has brought to schools around the globe affordable devices and effortless access to educational content. Google’s latest solution for learning is called Google Classroom. Although Google Classroom will be available at the beginning of the school year to all schools that have adopted Google Apps for Education, the Mountain View based company granted access to Google Classroom to a select few individuals in July. I was fortunate enough to be one of these early adopters/testers of Google Classroom, and I can honestly say that I am impressed by its simplicity, and its ability to seamlessly integrate Google Docs, Sheets,Drive, Gmail, and more in order to provide a wonderful and highly productive user experience.”To read further please click here:


Aug 25

How To Get Parents On Your Side

By:Michael Linsin

parents on side“If dissatisfied, parents can be a source of great stress.

They can question your methods.

They can challenge your decisions.

They can complain, make demands, and waste your precious time.

Which is why it’s critical that you get them on your side, critical that they like you and trust you and support your program.

There are many strategies you can use to encourage their loyalty—including having a fair and consistent approach to classroom management, a professional but friendly personal style, and a clear, non-judgmental way of communicating.” to read further please click here:

Aug 25

Teach Like You’re Conducting a Symphony: 8 Student Engagement Tips

By:Ryan Thomas

conductors“Although many of us don’t realize it until we step foot into our own classrooms, we quickly learn that facilitating a lively, but controlled classroom environment is truly an art form.We would even go so far as to liken masterful teaching to conducting a symphony. Like a conductor, master teachers know how to orchestrate tension and create anticipation; they understand rhythm and pace, and they know when to drop out and reenter the composition. Below we’ve pulled a few key elements that we believe should be part of every teacher’s conducting repertoire.

  • Create anticipation: If you need a quick lesson in creating anticipation, tune into your local evening news. You’re sure to hear newscasters throw out a teaser like, say, “Up next, we’ll be talking about a popular household cleaning item…what’s in it and why it might kill you.”
    Teasers like this pique our curiosity. So how do you put the anticipation strategy into play? First, make sure that your teaser is related to the subject. Second, always deliver on your teaser. In other words, you can’t say, “Today we’re going to talk about why Lady Gaga is only half as controversial as the 15th Century poet John Wilmot” and never actually talk about it.
Aug 24

How to minimize digital classroom distractions

By:  Kyle Albert

what happens when teacher turns back“Here are some proven techniques for keeping students from using digital devices inappropriately in your classroom

Classroom technologies such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and wireless internet access offer exciting opportunities to enhance and deepen the learning process. However, using technology in the classroom can also bring multiple distractions to students. Without your proactive supervision, students might access games, web pages, and social networking sites as you deliver instruction.

As an educator, how can you confront this dilemma? Read on to learn the various ways on how you can minimize the digital distraction in your classroom.” To read further please click here:

Aug 24

8 Practical Strategies to Ge to Know Your Students

By:  Med Kharbach

welcome back“As a teacher, the first week of the new school year is always an exciting time for me as I get to deal with new classes and new students.There is always that deep-seated drive to know your students and learn about their learning styles, their previous academic background and what they expect from your  class. Each teacher has her/his own strategy to get to know their students but now with the widespread of technology, a number of digital activities can be used to enable students to express themselves freely and articulate what they want others to know about them. Creating autobiographical trailers, audio clips, blog postings..etc are some examples of how students can use technology to introduce themselves to their peers and to their learning community.” To read further please click here:

Aug 24

I Know Great Teaching When I See It: A Book Excerpt

By: David Greene

teacher“Who remembers their favorite test from school? You know, the one that inspired you to become who you are now, or saved you from the wrong part of yourself? Who remembers the test that made you want to come out of your shell? Which test gave you the courage to try new things and challenge yourself? For me, it was the 1966 Regents Comprehensive Examination in Social Studies.

Ok, only kidding. We all know that it is teachers who inspire and challenge us to be our best. It isn’t testing, or much of what is now being called teaching. We also know which teachers did that. We might remember some incidents in their classes, or things they said or wrote to us. Do we remember the everyday things? The attitude they brought to the room? Their techniques?

When I see former students (from the Bronx to Scarsdale), they don’t tell me about the Goals or Aim or Motivation from October 23rd, 2002. They will tell me about my energy, my excitement, my caring, and my prodding them to do their best, not to settle for mediocrity. They tell me about a particular project that inspired or challenged them to think critically, or do things they never thought they could. They even remember what they learned while doing those things. What they don’t know is how all of that was planned.” To read further please click here:

Aug 24

Back to School Part 4: Planning

By:David Didau

learning blog“So far in this back to school series we’ve covered establishing clear routines, building relationships and an awareness of the need to make language and literacy explicit in lessons. This next post concerns itself with the time consuming business of planning.

As a new teacher, lesson planning seemed to suck up almost all of my available time and energy. Looking back over those frenetic early years it’s become increasingly clear that I wasted an awful lot of effort designing activities rather than considering what my students needed to learn.  That is to say, I put most of my effort into things that had only a marginal impact on students’ learning.

Teachers’ time is precious and time spent cutting out card sorts is time you can’t spend doing something more productive. If you want to spend hours producing beautifully crafted resources that’s fine; your personal life is your own. But before you do consider these points: