Friday, January 30, 2015

Brain Pop Pilot #edtechbridge

BrainPOP is an animated education site for kids that provides fun and interactive lessons on curriculum-based content. BrainPOP offers videos, experiments, timelines, activity pages, and educational games that cover hundreds of topics within Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, and Health. They also have activities and quizzes that help support content covered in the video.  

With the help of a 3rd grade teacher, we arranged a time for his students to test out a new game about nouns the people at Brain Pop were working on.  The Brain Pop representatives gave a brief introduction and let the students begin.  As students guided themselves through the game, BrainPop observed their reactions.

At the end, students were able to share their opinions about things they liked, things that were difficult, and things they thought should be added or changed.  "I know about nouns and the different types, but if someone was playing this game and didn't, they might need a hint.  I think you should add hints," one student responded.  It was a great opportunity for students to use critical thinking to evaluate the effectiveness of the game, and also build empathy as they thought of how others might feel playing the game.   Overall, it was an excellent experience for all involved and was a great chance for kids to see the software design process in action.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Digital Citizenship in Schools: Nine Elements all Students Should Know



Teachers are continuing to have a difficult time adjusting to the world that their students are growing up in.  In some classrooms, there is still a disconnect between teachers and students.  Discussions about the digital world are avoided for many reasons.  Teachers may have a hard time understanding what digital citizenship really means and feel ill-prepared to lead discussions.   Educators may have a lack of resources from which to create lessons.  Many teachers feel as if they don't have time for it, treating it as a different subject rather than integrated into all subjects.

I just purchased Digital Citizenships in Schools, by Mike Ribble to help support teachers as they think about digital citizenship in their classroom.  Ribble defines digital citizenship as "norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use."

In the book, he provides educators 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship that allow teachers to understand the complex layers of digital citizenship.

  1. Digital Access- can all users participate if they want?
  2. Digital Commerce- are users protected when buying and selling in a digital world?
  3. Digital Communication-do users understand various digital communication methods and how to use them appropriately?
  4. Digital Literacy-the process of learning new technologies and sharing with others
  5. Digital Ettiquette- do users consider others when using digital technologies?
  6. Digital Law-are users aware of the laws they must abide by online?
  7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities-do users protect the rights of others and defend their own?
  8. Digital Health and Wellness- understanding the physical and psychological risks when using technology
  9. Digital Security- do users protect their own information and the information of others?
This book does a fantastic job of breaking down the somewhat overwhelming term digital citizenship into 9 distinct areas.  Technology Leaders, Adminstrators, and Educators can all benefit from reading this book to understand the complexity of teaching digital citizenship.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Best Part of Me


Running with this idea from Pinterest, I started planning my own Kindergarten friendly version. The lesson is based on the book, "The Best Part of Me."  The book is a collection of photographs by photographer Wendy Ewald.  Each close-up picture of a student's "best part" is paired with a child-written
paragraph or poem explaining why that part is so special to them.       After reading a few of the examples in the book, I had students pick their own "best part."  I modeled by saying,  "The best part about me is my feet.  They help me walk to explore new places.  I also use them to run to keep my body healthy."
This lesson gave us the opportunity to let our young photogs put the iPads to good use.  I put the kids in pairs and let them each take a turn photographing their friend's "best part."  (Watching this was my absolute favorite part. Some of them were moving all around the room to pick the best background for their friend's picture.)
Once the group was done, I took the IPad, and sent them off to write about why they chose that part. From the IPad,  I was quickly able to email the images (our IPads are not hooked up to printers) and print them.  Once they printed, the students cut them out and added them to their writing.    
This lesson is great for students of all ages.  Because my Kindergarteners have been writing everyday since the very first day of school, I knew my students were up to the challenge.  They did a fantastic job.

This post was originally posted in March of 2012, my last year in the classroom.

++++Update: now I'd probably have them do this whole activity on the iPad using Educreations, Skitch, Book Creator, etc.

Fostering Innovation Classroom Poster


Free download! A great poster to hang in your room to remind you and your students about the type of culture you hope to inspire in your classroom.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Technology in Education Pinterest Board

Check out this fantastic shared board for Technology in Education.  It is moderated by Laura Candler and has over 47,000 followers.  I'm happy to be one of the contributors!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ELMO Document Cameras

Our school recently purchased ELMO Mo-1 document cameras for our classrooms. The price is more reasonable through Amazon than through ELMO themselves. If you don't mind a bit of color, the pink model is even less expensive. We also have some TT-12 ELMO's on campus. In comparison, they have a much stronger magnification zoom, but they also have a larger footprint. Also, the price is a bit higher. We find that the larger model works really well for teachers of Science, and the smaller one suits the needs for all other teachers. I'm appy to answer any other questions you may have.
Click the links below to find the 2 models on Amazon.

MO-1 Visual Presenter
Product Details

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Interested in Educational Consulting?

Living in NYC allows me to connect with some of the most passionate and innovative people in the world. Specifically, the EdTech world here in NYC is filled with creative eduprenuers and entreprenuers looking to develop solutions for today's classrooms.  The field is expanding so quickly and people are looking for experts and partners to help them develop all sorts of different tools.  I'd like to help connect more educators and developers by building a database of people who are interested in working with some of these start-ups.
courtesy Dell's Flickr Page

If you have wanted an opportunity to work as an educational consultant and to help develop innovative EdTech tools, this could be a good place to start. 

Click the link below to add your information.

http://goo.gl/forms/zQNx3Zu0Rz

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shadow Puppet Edu Follow up

In my recent post, I wrote about a wonderful presentation tool for the iPad, Shadow Puppet EDU.  I came across this helpful getting started guide from Shadow Puppet on TechChef4U's blog and thought I would share.

Courtesy Shadow Puppet EDU



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Circuitry in STEAM Lab With Conductive Paint #makered #STEAM

4th and 5th grade students in our STEAM lab worked with conductive paint to create simple circuits using LED's and batteries.  We've been studying circuitry and using kits like Snap Circuits, JR to introduce students to the idea.
Before working with the paints, we watched the TED talk from one of the creators of Bare Conductive Paint.
After that, I let the students explore creating their own circuits with the paint.  I challenged them to do one task: Light up their LED.  Easier said than done.  :)

As students explored here were a few of their discoveries.
-The paint takes a while to dry.  As the paint dries, the light bulb grows brighter
-Many of the circuits they created didn't work.  (Our next step will be looking at the ones that didn't work and try to figure out why)
-The batteries AND the LED's had positive and negative feeds.  These had to match up correctly.



Teacher Example
A couple of the things I learned along the way.
-Prepare kids for the time it may take them to figure it out. Support them as they struggle with the  ambiguity and the challenge.
-Let kids share out troubleshooting strategies they discover
-Let kids know that it does take a bit for the paint to dry and start conducting.

Here are the specific supplies we used:

3V batteries with PC pins
Bare Conductive Paint pens
White cardstock
5 mm LED's 

In the next few weeks, we'll apply what we've learned so far and apply switches, create greeting cards, more develop more sophisticated electric artwork.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Shadow Puppet Edu

Shadow Puppet allows students of all ages to create custom videos, slideshows or presentations.  This app is similar to apps like Educreations and Explain Everything.  Apps like these are very versatile and can be used in all subjects.  The app is very teacher friendly and student friendly.  No student account is required.  The finished projects can be exported to the camera roll so you are able to share it in many different ways.



  • Take pictures on a field trip and tell the story of your visit
  • Capture images of a Science Experiment and explain the process and results
  • Have students create a "Day in the Life" video of what they do each day to share with families
  • Take pictures of student storyboard drawings and have students tell the story orally 

See more lesson ideas here...
Download from iTunes

Digital Photo Ettiquete

Digital Photo Ettiquette

Children are entering the world of Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat much earlier than we imagine.  It's important for us to talk about the impact of posting on these platforms.  Start a conversation with your class today using this helpful infographic!