Sep 13

Go where the bus can’t: 10 virtual field trip ideas

By:Matt Miller

cde“Field trips are complicated. Messy. Full of lots of work — and lots of paperwork.

Thankfully, these days, you don’t need a bus, a bunch of permission slips and an adequate number of chaperones to take students to a magical learning experience.

They’re out there for the taking, they’re free, and sometimes they’re instantly available — on demand.

Take your students on a virtual field trip instead. In many cases, you’ll still get the “oohs” and “ahhs” as well as the interaction and personalization. When I present to teachers and show them some of these ideas, the gasps of fascinations and murmured whispering is audible.

Get that reaction out of your students, too! Here are 10 ways to bring a virtual field trip experience to your classroom in several different forms.”

To read further please click here:

Sep 12

Using OneNote and Windows tablets in a classroom for students with autism

By:Alexis Parker

autism2“I am a special education teacher for kindergarten through 5th-grade students who are highly impacted with autism. While every person with autism has a variety of talents and challenges, many of the students in my classroom face similar challenges—specifically in the areas of behaviour, communication and fine motor skills. Six of my students exhibit behavioural challenges when presented with tasks they don’t want to do. Seven are either non-verbal or have limited verbal skills. A few of my students are beginning to use alternative communication devices. Two of my students are able to reproduce letters of the alphabet, two can copy letters given an example, and three can trace letters.

Behaviour, communication and fine motor deficits make it extremely difficult to evaluate what information a student has gained. In a typical classroom, you can assess a student’s understanding of the lesson by asking the student a question, and the student can verbally respond. Or given a worksheet and pencil, a student with typical fine motor skills can complete the worksheet to show understanding of the material. These approaches do not work with my students.” To read further please click here:

Sep 12

7 important YouTube Tips for Teachers

By: Med Kharbach

youtube2“YouTube is undoubtedly a great source of educational video content to use with students in class. whether you are looking for subject specific content or generic insights elated to professional development and teaching, YouTube’s video library has you covered. YouTube is also a versatile video editor where you can create and edit your own videos. It actually provides all the editing features you would normally find in a pro video editing software and all for free.

Given the growing educational potential of YouTube, we have created a section in this blog where we share a plethora of resources to help you make the best out of this platform in your own teaching. And in Today’s post  we are featuring more interesting tips to keep in mind when using YouTube :” To read further please click here:

Sep 12

The app that lets you create Khan Academy-style videos in 60 seconds

By: Peter West

engaging students“How flipped educators can create video tutorials a la Khan in no time flat

Blended learning and flipped learning just got a whole lot easier.

Anyone can now create learning resources for students in little more time that is required for a normal explanation of a topic.

  • Recording solutions to math problems — almost as quick as solving the problem on paper.
  • Highlighting important text, and explaining concepts along the way — a breeze.
  • Sketching, labelling and explaining diagrams with audio annotation — child’s play.
  • Providing personal feedback on a student’s work — super simple.
  • Taking a photograph of anything – an art work, an experiment, a building – and then drawing on it while explaining concepts — quick and easy.The recordings can then be played on virtually any device, and are easily placed in a LMS or OLE (Online Learning Environment)Thus, almost anything that I would normally write on paper to explain to a student I now do on my computer (a pen-based Windows tablet — in my case a Surface Pro 3). The time overhead is minimal, and students can replay the explanation whenever and wherever is needed, as many times as is needed.”To read further please click here:

Sep 11

Facebook enters classrooms, offers personalised training

facebook-icon-140x140“A small team of Facebook engineers has been working together with a group of local educators on a project that’s going to reshape learning through technology.

The Facebook team has chipped in to help create a classroom experience that is centered around students’ ambitions at Summit Public Schools, Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox wrote in a blog post recently.

These schools have taken a very different approach to learning. First, the classroom is not for lectures. Content and assessments are delivered online through teacher-created materials, and classroom time is reserved for teacher-led real-world projects and collaboration.

Second, the learning experience for students is completely personalized to them and they move along at their own pace.

Students start by working with teachers to set long-term goals (e.g. “become an investigative journalist”, “go to a state school”, “learn to code”) then lay out a plan to achieve them over the course of many years.” To read further please click here:

Sep 11

Smartphones in the classroom: a teacher’s dream or nightmare?


mlearning“When students return to class this fall, a majority of them will be toting something that teachers themselves are still learning to deal with: a mobile device.

Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or laptop, survey after survey shows more and more — and younger and younger — schoolchildren have their own computing devices and are taking them to class.

A report last year found that just among Grade 4 students, 25 per cent had a cellphone; for high school students, close to 90 per cent have smartphones.

School districts once tried to fight the trend. The Toronto District School Board, Canada’s largest, banned cellphone use in class from 2007 to 2011. New York City had a cellphone-in-school ban for years.” To read further please click here:


Sep 10

Publish Student Work with Scribblitt: Online to Hardcover Books

By:Monica Burns

scribblit“Digital storytelling is a topic that I’m passionate about and there are fantastic tools to get students writing on mobile devices.  Scribblittprovides tools to young authors like Story Starters to get the creative juices flowing and a Planning Tool to help with the writing process.  Kids can access a unique Illustration Tool to create professional images, and have the ability to upload scanned images or photos to their writing.

Scribblitt lets kids publish their own 8″x 8″ hard cover, perfect bound book  from their online creation.  It takes about 2 weeks to receive their book and worldwide shipping is also available. Scribblitt donates a book to a child in need through The Molina Foundation for every book published through their site.” To read further please click here:

Sep 10

Digital vs Digitized Learning

By: Tim Clark

digital textbooks“As teachers begin to shift toward greater personalized learning experiences for students, their initial steps build upon what they already know from face-to-face instruction. Districts usually provide teachers with easy to use Learning Management Systems (LMS) that can facilitate new learning opportunities with technology. However, the greatest potential of learning with technology tools is that teachers and students can transform the traditional learning environment, processes, and products. Just providing teachers with an organizational tool, such as an LMS, will not lead to transformative practices. Teachers need on-going support if they are to truly transform their classrooms into ecosystems for digital age learning.” To read further please click here:

Sep 10

A Look at Blogging in the Classroom as we Start a new School Year

By:Mike Wallegher

blog“In 2013, reported that 74 percent of teachers agree that technology in the classroom helps motivate students to learn and allows teachers to reinforce learning concepts. Furthermore, 68 percent expressed an interest in having more technology in the classroom.So where have the last two years taken us? Classrooms are becoming more and more technology focused. Online class enrollment, for instance, increased by 4.68 percent from 2013 to 2014. Previous research projected that at least 25 million students would be taking an online course by 2015.With the rise of technology in the classroom, students are interacting with computers, tablets, and video chat software more than ever before, but there’s still one technology concept that is still working its way into the everyday classroom: Blogging. Read on to learn more about the state of blogging in the classroom in 2015.” To read further please click here:

Sep 09

How Virtual Reality Can Close Learning Gaps in Your Classroom

By:Casey Sapp

vrr“Virtual Reality (VR) may be the type of educational breakthrough that comes along once in a generation, heralding a tectonic shift toward immersive content for teaching and instruction.

By presenting a complete view of the world in which it is situated, VR  offers a new opportunity to close some of the pedagogical gaps that have appeared in 21st century classroom learning. These gaps stem from the fact that curriculum and content in education have not caught up with rapid technology advancements.

Below I introduce three of these gaps and how they might be addressed by virtual reality content soon to be produced and distributed commercially. Put aside, if you will, considerations of budget and adoption that accompany any new technology entering the education world. (That’sanother article.)” To read further please click here:

Sep 09

The Power of Keeping Your Cool

By: Rebecca Alber

teacher arguing“Many of us have done it. After losing patience, we’ve become a bit snappy with a room full of students or raised our voices a level or two higher than we should have. It happens. The longer you teach, the more probable an incidence (or two) becomes.

Responsive, Not Reactive

Once a teacher loses it with a class or student, it takes some time to rebuild that feeling of safety and trust within those four walls, so it’s wise to avoid heading in that direction early. If you are a new teacher, it’s important to develop good habits around routinely using a calm and appropriate voice level with your students. (We’ve all heard the explosive teacher down the hall in another classroom. It’s not pretty — and far from conducive to learning.)

When you feel on edge, here are some ways to be responsive rather than reactive:

Sep 09

The Online Teachers’ Guide To Difficult Students

By: Liz Hardy

disruptive studentsAll online teachers will meet a difficult student now and then. We know this comes with the territory. But an unpleasant exchange can still be surprising – and even distressing.It often happens as you’re working through your emails, replying to students who are making good progress and who appreciate your guidance. Suddenly, you open an email that’s surprisingly brutal. In a matter of seconds, that one message blots out all the positive conversations you’ve just had. It’s like a black cloud over the sun.And it does more than ruin your mood. An email from a difficult student often takes a large chunk of time to address, and might even make you secretly doubt your competence.The damage needs to be contained before it affects your state of mind – or your productivity. Messages like these need to be dealt with quickly and professionally.

The 4 Common Behaviors Of Difficult Students

Online teachers will be familiar with many of these student behaviors. Here are some practical strategies for dealing with each of them:

  1. Lack Of Basic Manners.
    Depending on your student demographic, you may find that some students talk to you like they’re texting a teenage friend.” To read further please click here:
Sep 09

Hands-up just part of ways to get children to engage, teachers say

By: Javier Espinoza

handsup“Schools across the UK should bring back the practice of asking children to put their hands up to answer a question, the Government’s recently-appointed school behaviour tsar has said.But teachers have warned hands-up should be just one element of a wider strategy to get pupils to engage in the classroom.

Tom Bennett has suggested that teachers asking pupils to raise their hands if they want to answer a question should be back in fashion following thebanning of the practice in some schools altogether.

Mr Bennett told the Sunday Times that for the last decade “hands-up has been going out of fashion” because it is perceived as a way of encouraging “only certain children to answer questions in class”.

But he added: “Teachers can use their common sense. They are perfectly at liberty to ask a child who does not have their hand up to answer.

“Quite frankly, if you have a teacher asking the same one boy in the class to always answer questions, that is a bigger problem even than using lollipop sticks.”” To read further please click here:

Sep 09

Teacher’s Guide on How to Create Forms Using The New Google Forms

By: Med Kharbach

google forms“Google Forms is a powerful tool with huge educational potential for teachers and educators. Besides being free and easy to use, Forms works across different devices and is seamlessly integrated with other Drive services such as Docs and Spreadsheets. As a teacher, you can use Forms for a variety of purposes including: planning an event, making surveys and polls, creating quizzes, collecting feedback and other information from students and many more. We have already posted a step by step guide on how to create a form from scratch but since then Google Forms has witnessed some major updates with the addition of some amazing features most important of which is the last update a few days ago. Therefore, we deemed it important to revisit this guide and update you on the different features you can use to create a form in the Google Forms.

1- Create a new form
There are two ways to access Google Forms and start creating a new form:
A: Head over to and click on the plus button in the bottom right. A new form will automatically be opened.” To read further please click here:

Sep 09

The Problem with “Formative Assessment Tools”

By: Ross Cooper

assessment“It started with generally clunky and overpriced “student clickers” by such brands as SMART Technologies and Einstruction, and over the past few years it has transitioned into slick apps likeSocrative, Kahoot!, and Plickers. Time and time again we have seen these apps demoed during professional development sessions and written about on websites and blogs. Nevertheless, we need to be careful that we do not prioritize technology over pedagogy by referring to these apps as “formative assessment tools” when they are anything but.

When James Popham defines formative assessment, he states:Formative assessment is a planned process in which teachers or students use assessment-based evidence to adjust what they’re currently doing.

In other words, if teachers or students are not leveraging results/data (from Socrative, Kahoot!, Plickers, etc.) to then differentiate instruction or learning, the app inspired dog and pony show does not qualify as a formative assessment.” To read further please click here:

Sep 08

5 Easy Ways to Make Awesome Videos and Images Quickly

By: Justin Pot

videoss“Stop making memes: they haven’t been funny for years, and using them makes you seem out of touch at this point. Besides, there are way more creative tools out there for creating pure doses of Internet-related delight.

Today Cool Web Apps and Sites brings you five simple tools that let you quickly create something awesome to share with friends, loved ones, and even mortal enemies. Let’s get started.
Crumbles (Web, iPhone): Random Movie Characters Read Any Sentence
We begin with perhaps the easiest way to make a video that I’ve ever seen – all you need to do is type a sentence.” To read further please click here:

Sep 08

School websites failing to reach parents


edtech (1)“Research shows schools failing to grasp lessons of the digital revolution which offers them powerful tools for reaching and engaging parents.Schools invest in building and maintaining websites as well as online portals to engage parents yet as far as parents are concerned they are not fit for purpose. And, given the virtually universal use of social media by parents, very few schools exploit these free tools effectively to engage parents.The research report “Structure and function of school websites: The key to driving parental engagement in the digital age” is free to download and includes valuable recommendations and advice to address each of the findings. ” To read further please click here:

Sep 08

Musings on the First Year in a 1:1 iPad Classroom

By:Kirsten B Kenny
digital space“Over two years ago, the faculty at my school were all given iPads. We had several professional development sessions to help integrate technology into our repertoire. But that was only the “amuse-bouche.” For educational technology enthusiasts such as myself, I was anxious to see how a 1:1 program would push my instruction.

I also knew there would be a learning curve. Looking back on the first year, I put together my thoughts on what worked and what didn’t. So here are my thoughts on last year – my first full year with 1:1 iPads.

I teach ninth graders. They often have one foot in middle school, and one foot in high school. The students they are in September are vastly different than the students they are by the following June. Some of them are extremely tech savvy, and blow me away with their ability to administrate their high school courses electronically. Others struggle with the distraction the iPads present.

Although distractions are inevitable, the past year taught me how to manage and minimize them.The following are my reflections on the learning curve for the past school year:” To read further please click here:

Sep 06

Check out the cool font that changes online text for students with dyslexia

By:Laura Devanney

dys“Dyslexie font is designed to help students with dyslexia better comprehend online text

A font that is intended to help people with dyslexia better distinguish between each letter by making each letter’s form unique is making its way into solutions used in U.S. schools.

The Dyslexie font is designed in a way that helps people with dyslexia cut down on reversing, flipping, and swapping letters. It does this, creator Christian Boer told eSchool News, by making each letter distinct and unique, and by adding extra space between letters.

Individual users and educators can install it for free. Once installed, the font displays on computers and the internet. Explore the different ways in which the Dyslexie font aims to make reading easier for those with dyslexia hereand see a sample of the font below.” To read further please click here:

Sep 06

Bringing Python into the classroom

By:Michael Taggart

codesss“Teachers across the globe have answered the call to code. “Yes,” they say, “we will teach our kids to program, even if we don’t know how ourselves.” They’ve delivered lessons on Scratch; they’ve celebrated the Hour of Code. Perhaps they’ve even dabbled in Codecademy’s offerings to familiarize themselves with this newly popular, suddenly ubiquitous competency called “coding.”

Where should students and teachers venture from there? Many—likely most—of these new explorers of computer programming are wholly unfamiliar with the language jungle that career developers and technologists swing through. This creates a stumbling point for students and teachers exploring computer science. Making the leap from visually assembling blocks of plain-language instructions as in Scratch to boldly typing bizarre syntax into a blank text editor is daunting to say the least. Tools like Codecademy can ease the transition, but even there the options can be overwhelming. After years of teaching students to program and think computationally, I’m convinced that Python is the best path after the usual learn-to-code activities. Here we’ll explore how to get going in Python for authentic computer science discovery.” To read further please click here:

Sep 06

Google Docs and Classroom: your school year sidekicks

By: Ritcha Ranjan

google docs“School’s in! As you settle into your classes and start to juggle soccer practice, club meetings and homework, we’re here to help. We’ve been spending the summer “break” creating new tools to help you save time, collaborate with classmates and create your best work—all for free.

Schoolwork, minus the work 

Writing papers is now a lot easier with the Research tool in Docs for Android. You can search Google without leaving Docs, and once you find the quotes, facts or images you’re looking for, you can add them to your document with just a couple taps. That means less time switching between apps, and more time perfecting your thesis statement.” To read further please click here:

Sep 05

Quickly Create Audio Slideshows on Your iPad

By: Richard Byrne

sharalikeSharalike is a free iPad app that makes it easy to create audio slideshow videos. To create an audio slideshow video with Sharalike simply open the app, select pictures from your camera roll, drag and drop them into any sequence you like, then choose some music to accompany your images. Sharalike handles all of the work of adding transitions, pan and zoom effects, and lighting. You can choose from seven slideshow themes each uses slightly different transitions and frames around your images. Sharalike offers a small selection of free instrumental music that you can use in your slideshow or you can upload your own music.To publish your Sharalike production you do need to register for a free account. You can register by using your email address or your Facebook credentials.” To read further please click here:

Sep 05

Facebook’s newest product helps educators track students’ progress

By:Abhimanyu Ghoshal

facebook-icon-140x140“The social network says its dedicated team partnered with Summit Public Schools — a nonprofit organization whose schools rank among the best in California — to rebuild their Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) software for monitoring students’ efforts towards attaining their short-term and long-term goals.

PLP gives teachers and parents a closer look at their wards’ progress towards short-term and long-term goals

Summit customizes coursework to each student based on their goals and paces it according to their capabilities. The approach seems to be working — almost all Summit graduates are accepted to at least one four-year college or university.

It also informs teachers’ daily feedback for each student and allows parents to track their children’s progress at any time. Surprisingly, Facebook accounts aren’t required to use the app.”To read further please click here:

Sep 04

Put Down the Textbook: How VR is Reimagining Classroom Education

By:Alison Berman

vr“You’re a ninth grade student enrolled in a mandatory biology course, and science is not your forte. Every time you sit down in class and watch the daily PowerPoint lecture, you struggle to follow the teacher and walk out realizing you captured pages of notes, but no real understanding of the subject matter.

It’s frustrating.

One day, you find a VR headset sitting at each table, and your teacher explains that today you’ll learn about the inner workings of the human bloodstream. You put on the headset, and the next thing you know, you’re flying through the bloodstream. You see cells passing by, and there’s even a little guy guiding you through the session, explaining each variable you’re interacting with as it passes.

It turns out this scenario is already happening.

“There’s actually one child from the children’s hospital who tried it, and he was dyslexic, so reading from pages was hard for him in the first place,” Cano said. “But being able to go into the body and learning that way, he was able to understand how the body works more than from just reading it. And that’s something that we think could really help a lot of people.”To read further please click here:


Sep 04

6 Things to Check Before Starting a Technology Based Lesson

By: Kelly Walsh

technoll“As we enter a new school year, those who are still pretty new to teaching with tech will  welcome a few tips …

As it advances, technology is becoming an integral part of our children’s classrooms. It is common for learning to take place on iPad apps, in digital presentations, and via laptops.While most students seem to be comfortable with the technology, having been around it their entire lives, teachers are often a little less at ease. Although traditional methods are time honored and effective, technology offers teachers exciting new ways to enhance their student’s education. It can even help reach students who meet with limited success using traditional teaching methods.Here are a few tips to help inspire teachers and give them things to look for as they introduce technology based lessons into their classrooms.

1. Begin with what you know

The variety of technological possibilities available can be overwhelming to someone with limited or no exposure. No one is familiar with every type of tech, but chances are you’ve had the opportunity to use a few tools. These can give you a great place to start. As you gain more experience, you will feel more comfortable to try new type of technology in your classroom.”To read further please click here:

Sep 03

A Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Online, Part 1

By: Jaime Miller

on line“I’ve been teaching private online lessons for TOEFL iBT since 2010. By 2012, I had left local schools and was earning 100% of my income from teaching online lessons. There are a lot of questions about which of the many platforms – Skype, Google Hangout, Wiz IQ, Join.Me, Go to Meeting – is best for teaching online.

Let me tell you what you need, and what I use.

What do you Need out of an Online Platform?

This is the first question to answer, since you only need to cover these basics, and any other features are just additional bells and whistles. At its core, there are really only four basic things that an educational learning platform needs to do:

  1. Teachers need to see their students and be seen by them.
  2. Teachers need to hear and be heard.
  3. Teachers need to show their notes for presentations and explanations and watch their students produce English.
  4. Teachers need to share materials and collect homework assignments as easily and quickly as possible.” To read further please click here:
Sep 03

5 Strategies For Supporting Students With Autism

By:Laura Devaney

autism“Transitioning to a new school year often is challenging for students with autism, but technology can help support those students as they become more independent in their learning.

During an edWeb webinar, visual strategist and speech language pathologist Linda Hodgdon shared five tips to help students with autism begin the school year successfully. Lauren Stafford, vice president of Research and Instructional Design at Monarch Teaching Technologies (MTT), offered technology tips to support each of the five strategies.

The most important thing to understand, Hodgdon said, is the communication strengths and challenges of children with autism. Most people misunderstand how autism can impact a student’s communication abilities.:The majority of them understand what they see better than what they hear,” she said. The same is true for other special-needs students and students in general–they tend to be visual learners.” To read further please click here:

Sep 03

Seesaw: The ultimate ePortfolio for every classroom

internetWhat it is: Seesaw is the first truly student centered/driven digital portfolio tool that I’ve seen. What makes Seesaw such an awesome option as a digital portfolio is the way that it empowers kids to build and keep a digital portfolio totally independently with features like QR code login for young students. Students can log their learning using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. Seesaw also has direct import features from lots of popular apps. From the teacher perspective, Seesaw makes it simple to access student work immediately from their own device. Content is easily searchable by student and makes it simple to review student progress over time and keep track of growth. In addition to browsing by student, teachers can use folders to organize work by subject area or project. There is also an awesome flag feature that makes it easy to highlight work that you want to go back to for conferences or follow-up with the student. The built in audio recording and drawing tools mean that students can reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they reached an answer. Parents are also able to login to see work and give feedback on it (you as the teacher can control who sees what and what feedback can be given. Teachers can approve peer feedback before it is seen by students or parents.”To read further please click here:

Sep 01

5 things you should know about Periscope for education

By: Dennice Pierce

“Pros and cons for educators considering Twitter’s new live video streaming service

periscope-classroomEver since Twitter introduced its live streaming service, Periscope, earlier this year, educators have become enamored. It’s not hard to understand why. The video app is integrated right into your Twitter account and boasts an impressive number of education applications, from broadcasting a riveting unconference discussion for a global audience to impromptu blended learning for students. But while opportunities abound, so do privacy and other concerns.

Here are five things you should know about this new technology and its implications for schools.

It’s easy to use.

On the home screen, you can see video streams from the people you follow on Periscope—and if someone is streaming live, that video feed will appear at the top. You can watch Periscoped videos live or replay them, but the video replays are only available for 24 hours before they disappear.” To read further please click here:

Sep 01

5 Reasons Students Want Technology in the Classroom

By: Jessica Sanders

skype4“Conversations about technology in education always seem to be focused on the reasons why students need this or that technology. It’s rare when anyone considers the other—and perhaps more important—angle: Students want to learn with technology.By empowering student learning with more opportunities for them to communicate with classmates, you’ll soon realize how important technology is in the classroom. These five reasons why students want to learn with technology can help you and your teacher-friends determine the right technology to implement.
They want to learn at a comfortable speed.
While students should be pushed to step out of their comfort zones and try new things, they should also be free to learn at a pace that is comfortable for them. Students will be turned off from reading or math if they’re constantly required to tackle content or lessons that are too difficult for them to understand.” To read further please click here: