Monday, June 23, 2014

Tip of the Week: GameUp with BrainPop: June 23, 2014

Sudbury has a districtwide subscription to the online video resource called BrainPop and BrainPop Jr.. (directions for accessing BrainPop can be found HERE).  BrainPop consists of a huge library of videos, lessons, quizzes and more to support teaching and learning in all content areas.  These short, 'teachable moment' videos have been a favorite of many teachers for years. 

But did you know BrainPop also includes an entire lineup of curriculum connected games called Game Up?  These free games are aligned to standards and are also great for "introducing “gaming” as a serious tool and has versatile uses in traditional, flipped, or tech driven classrooms."

These games are designed to:
  • Motivate and provide goals
  • Encourage participation
  • Foster creative, interactive problem-solving
  • Strengthen critical and systems thinking
  • Pose adaptive challenges
  • Spark inquiry
  • Require very little prep by busy teachers
Watch this very informative screencast on GameUp!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tip of the Week: QR Codes in the Classroom: May 6th, 2014

QR (Quick Response) Codes

... in the classroom allow you to make teaching and learning more 'clickable'!  Check out the resources below to see how this simple tool can help you have more independent learners, more engaged learners, and differentiate instruction in your classroom!

Several teachers throughout Sudbury are using QR codes in a variety of ways! Check out my site with more resources.. QR Codes in the Classroom!  

And check out this link to a couple of ways to use QR Codes: Download a QR Code Reader on your smartphone or iPad, or laptop! I like QuickMark or I-nigma but there are tons out there!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tip of the Week: Technology Integration Matrix - Amazing Resource! - April 3, 2014

I found a wonderful resource for teachers and administrators that "illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students.  The TIM (Technology Integration Matrix) incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal directed (i.e.. reflective) authentic, and collaborative... The TIM associates five levels of technology integration (entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation) with each of the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments. Together, the five levels of technology integration and the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments create a matrix as illustrated" HERE.
  • Provides a framework for defining and evaluating technology integration
  • Sets a clear vision for effective teaching with technology
  • Gives teachers and administrators a common language for setting goals
  • Helps target professional development resources effectively
You'll find stages that are in your own comfort zone, yet you'll also see how you can grow and move toward a deeper and richer level of integration.  Videos are linked so that you can actually see projects that correspond to the items on the matrix.  

You'll find a Matrix by Grade Level HERE.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tip of the Week: Blogs in Elementary and Middle School: January 8, 2014

In a prior post I wrote about a wiki/blog tool that many teachers have used in Sudbury called PBWorks. Another great tool is KidBlog. Remember ... the 4 C's of 21st Century Learning as well as the Common Core Digital Writing skills require students to publish and communicate using digital technologies, in all content areas.  Blogs can be used to:
  • create classroom discussions
  • learn digital citizenship
  • practicing writing skills
  • get students to write for multiple purposes
  • reflect on learning
  • formatively assess writing

There are certainly other blog tools out there, including Blogger, Edmodo, Gaggle and more, but I think you'll find KidBlog particularly easy and comprehensive. 

"Our mission is to empower teachers to embrace the benefits of the coming digital revolution in education. As students become creators - not just consumers - of information, we recognize the crucial role of teachers as discussion moderators and content curators in the classroom. With Kidblog, teachers monitor and control all activity within their classroom blogging community." (


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tip of the Week: SPS Resources!: October 29, 2013

This post is a reminder to you about some of the amazing web 2.0 resources to which our district subscribes or that teachers are using in their classrooms.  I am linking you back to previous SPS Technology in the Classroom blog posts and/or our 'subscription' page about these tools...

Glogster EDU: Virtual 'posters', or web pages, to deliver content or for students to demonstrate understanding

DEStreaming: Educational videos, video clips, lesson plans, interactives, audio files, images, and so much more.. and HERE

Bitstrips for Schools:  Digital Comics in the Classroom

Espresso Education (PreK-5 only): web based cross curricular environment - videos, lessons, activities, interactives... 

Powtoon: an online comic/presentation tool

PBWorks: wiki/blog for classroom collaboration

Class DoJo: awesome classroom management/behavior tool

Backchanneling in the Classroom: Group chat while a video or lesson is happening

InkleWriter:  Create your own "choose your own ending or branching stories"

Storybird: Create 'art-inspired' stories 

BrainPop and BrainPop Jr: Videos and quizzes on all curriculum topics, done by cartoon characters

Socrative:  Free online quizzing/polling tool

ThingLink:  Create interactive hot spots on any image

Wallwisher/Padlet: create a virtual wall onto which anyone can post ideas, links, videos

Teaching Channel: Videos created BY teachers, FOR teachers on a variety of topics: tips, trick teaching methods..

Maps 101: Interactive database on all things "maps"

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tip of the Week: Tinker, Tinker!: September 30, 2013

Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher and winner of the 2013 TED Prize, is someone I have followed over the years because I am intrigued with his discoveries. I encourage you to listen to (at least) two of his TED Talks. One is titled "The Hole in the Wall" project, or "Kids Can Teach Themselves." Mitra's experiment involved placing a high-speed, internet-connected computer within a hole that was dug into a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, India. With no teacher physically available, children played and tinkered with the computer. By collaborating and troubleshooting with each other, both in person and online, these kids figured out how to use this PC on their own and then taught other kids. This project demonstrates that, "even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge." He asks, "What else can children teach themselves?" 

The second TED Talk I recommend by Sugata is: "His wish: Build a School in the Cloud."  Mitra's wish is to build a place where children can explore and learn on their own - and teach one another - using resources from the worldwide cloud.  Check it out.. 

Why am I such a fan of Sugata's theories and vision? In my personal opinion, I believe that the current structure of education must change (drastically) in order to adequately prepare our youth for THEIR future. Even today, our workforce no longer functions the way our educational system is preparing our students for. The message of 'tinkering, playing, collaborating, failing, and trying again', as shown by Mitra's research, is critically important. Please know that I do NOT advocate that teachers are unnecessary, but in fact, just the opposite. What IS needed to support our children along their educational journeys are more teachers/mentors/facilitators/guides that understand and embrace the idea of 'tinkering' to find solutions to problems and to value the deep learning that takes place while doing so. We adults must learn to think like students.. to ask others, to seek out information from anyone, including their students, to 'tinker, play, fail, succeed' just like children do. Children will seek out information when they are curious about or find value in something.  They will search the Internet, check out YouTube tutorials, chat with their friends, build social networks, and they will try, try, try, try, and try again until they reach their goal(s).  Now isn't that what we all want our kids to do?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tip of the Week: Google Voice Search!: May 28, 2013

Google and Chrome are working together to enhance features for all learners. While using the Chrome web browser, and then going to Google to search the web, you will notice a microphone icon to the right of the search window. You can click the microphone and speak your search terms! I was amazed at how accurately it picked up my voice! 

Watch this video then follow the directions below:

Simply use Chrome for your browser, then go to! Click the microphone icon and start speaking...

If you get a message about recognizing the microphone on your machine, simply go to your System Preferences, choose Sound, Input, and make sure 'Internal Microphone' is selected.  You could attach external microphones too, but make sure those are the ones selected in System Preferences should you decide to use those instead.