Category Archives: Technology

Technology in the Classroom: Let’s be smart about this

"Technology has exceeded our humanity"

I love technology and have welcomed it into the classroom. No doubt it will have a profound impact in the classroom in the months and years ahead, but my own concern is that we not embrace it simply for the sake of technology, but to use it as a tool to help us achieve what we could not without it.

I have seen kindergarten children cry and fight over the opportunity to play games on the computer. Are they learning something? Perhaps, but I wonder if what they are learning is something that will one day be marketable, or will make them better human beings. I have also seen middle school students in very expensive reading labs with highly sophisticated software, use those tools primarily to play games and stay entertained. Hardly a good use of the tools.

In the past American children have been at the head of the pact, working with better ideas to make them more innovative as we provided the world with a plethora of great inventions, hugely successful technologies and a very long list of noble laureates. However, the game is quickly changing.

I was in Vietnam a few years ago and the sense of excitement there was palpable. After more than a thousand years of war, they are finally at peace and they realize they can have what the people in the West have… if they just work at it hard enough. Their pace is astonishing. Everywhere you look you see people working, building, learning and growing. There is little doubt that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future, and the same can be said, of course, for China and India, where the same motivation exists on a much larger scale.

It took us 97 years to progress from the first telephone to the first cell phone. The explosion of of cell phones since their invention in 1973 has been remarkable and service providers have been only too eager to make the investment in infrastructure the world over to be able to provide cell service from the skyscrapers of New York City to the most remote goatherd on the backside of the Sahara.

My point here is that technology works in an odd way compared to other ways of learning. Even the most backward of countries will not have to go through a hundred years of telephone development to catch up. The learning curve can be measured in weeks rather than years, and our advantage is gone shortly after the provider agreements are signed.

How much longer can we lead the world in these technology development especially when our competition is so powerfully motivated? That is hard to predict, but what we must recognize is that we desperately need to be the very best at using technology to its fullest potential. What excites me is technologies potential to engage students and capture not only their imagination, but also their inner desire to learn and grow. If we can tie into those innate desires and match them to a curriculum that allows students to work at their own pace and we could be onto something truly significant.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Technology


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The Amazing Power of Discovery

I love this TED Talk! Sugata Mitra talks about some low level experiments he conducted in India. That may not sound like much the results he got, and the implications they offer are truly astonishing. Check it out; it’s well worth the effort!

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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Technology


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More technology for your classroom

(Reblogged from 21st Centurry Fluency Project)

“You want some great ed tech tools to use in your classroom? You got em’—50, to be exact! This article from Edudemic features an extensive list of some of the most awesome technological tools you can find for teaching and learning. There’s lots to explore here, so have fun!”


via Edudemic

Technology and education are pretty intertwined these days and nearly every teacher has a few favorite tech tools that make doing his or her job and connecting with students a little bit easier and more fun for all involved.

Yet as with anything related to technology, new tools are hitting the market constantly and older ones rising to prominence, broadening their scope, or just adding new features that make them better matches for education, which can make it hard to keep up with the newest and most useful tools even for the most tech-savvy teachers.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the tech tools, including some that are becoming increasingly popular and widely used, that should be part of any teacher’s tech tool arsenal this year, whether for their own personal use or as educational aids in the classroom.

Social Learning

These tools use the power of social media to help students learn and teachers connect.

  1. EdmodoTeachers and students can take advantage of this great tech tool, as it offers a Facebook-like environment where classes can connect online.
  2. GrockitGet your students connected with each other in study sessions that take place on this great social site.
  3. EduBlogsEduBlogs offers a safe and secure place to set up blogs for yourself or your classroom.
  4. SkypeSkype can be a great tool for keeping in touch with other educators or even attending meetings online. Even cooler, it can help teachers to connect with other classrooms, even those in other countries.
  5. WikispacesShare lessons, media, and other materials online with your students, or let them collaborate to build their own educational wiki on Wikispaces.
  6. PinterestYou can pin just about any image you find interesting on this site, but many teachers are using it as a place to collect great lesson plans, projects, and inspirational materials.
  7. SchoologyThrough this social site, teachers can manage lessons, engage students, share content, and connect with other educators.
  8. QuoraWhile Quora is used for a wide range of purposes, it can be a great tool for educators. It can be used to connect with other professionals or to engage students in discussion after class.
  9. NingNing allows anyone to create a personalized social network, which can be great for both teachers and students alike.
  10. OpenStudy:Encourage your students to work together to learn class material by using a social study site like OpenStudy.
  11. ePalsOne of the coolest benefits of the Web is being able to connect with anyone, anywhere. ePals does just that, but focuses on students, helping them to learn languages and understand cultures different from their own.


These educational tools can help you to make lessons fun, interesting, and more effective.

  1. Khan AcademyMany teachers use this excellent collection of math, science, and finance lectures and quizzes to supplement their classroom materials.
  2. MangaHighMangaHigh offers teachers a wealth of resources for game-based learning in mathematics.
  3. FunBrainIf you’re looking for a great collection of educational games, look no further than FunBrain. On it, teachers can take advantage of fun tools for math and reading.
  4. EducreationsEducreations is an amazing online tool for the iPad that lets teachers (or students) create videos that teach a given topic. Perfect for studying or getting students to show off their knowledge.
  5. AnimotoAnimoto makes it simple to create video-based lessons or presentations for the classroom and to share them with students or anyone else.
  6. SocrativeAvailable for computers, mobile devices, and tablets, this student response system engages students through games and exercises on any device they have on hand. Even better, teachers can easily assess student progress and track grades.
  7. KnewtonAdaptive learning has been a hot topic in recent months, and with Knewton it’s something that any teacher can access and use. The site personalizes online learning content for each student according to his or her needs.
  8. KerpoofOn Kerpoof, students can get creative with their learning with games, interactive activities, drawing tools, and more that are both fun and educational.
  9. StudySyncWith a digital library, weekly writing practice, online writing and peer reviews, Common Core assignments, and multimedia lessons available, this site is a fully-featured tool for teaching and learning that can be a big help in the classroom.
  10. CarrotSticksOn this site, teachers can take advantage of a wide range of math learning games, giving students practice while they have fun.

Lesson Planning and Tools

Use these tech tools to pull together great lessons and design amazing and memorable student projects.

  1. Teachers Pay TeachersHave great lessons to share? Looking for something to add to your classes? On this site you can do both, selling your own class materials and buying high-quality resources from other teachers.
  2. PlanboardMake sure your lessons are organized and that your day runs smoothly with the help of this amazing online tool designed just for teachers.
  3. TimetoastTimetoast is a pretty cool for student projects, allowing them to build sleek, interactive timelines in minutes.
  4. CapzlesThere are so many different ways that Capzles can be used in the classroom, there’s bound to be an application that fits your needs. What does it do? Capzles makes it simple to gather media like photos, videos, documents, and even blog posts into one place, making it perfect for teaching, learning, or online projects.
  5. PreziWant to build presentations that will wow your students? Make use of this online tool that makes it simple to do all kinds of cool things with your lessons, even allowing collaboration between teachers.
  6. WordleCreate stunning word clouds using Wordle, a great complement to language lessons of any kind.
  7. QR CodesQR codes (or quick response codes) are showing up with greater frequency in education. If you’d like to get in on the trend, you’ll need a tool to create and manage the codes like Delivr and one to read codes, like any of those listed on this site.
  8. QuizletQuizlet makes it easy for teachers to create study tools for students, especially flashcards that can make memorizing important information a snap.
  9. MasteryConnectHow are your students performing with regard to state and common core standards? MasterConnect makes it simple to track and analyze both, as well as other elements of student performance.
  10. Google DocsThrough Google Docs, teachers can create and share documents, presentations, or spreadsheets with students and colleagues as well as give feedback on student-created projects.
  11. YouTubeNot all schools allow YouTube, but they are missing out as the site contains a wealth of great learning materials for the classroom. There’s even a special education-focused channel just for teachers and students.
  12. TED-EdTED isn’t just a great place to find inspiration anymore, the site also contains numerous videos that are organized by subject and can help you to teach everything from how pain relievers work to Shakespearean insults.
  13. Glogster:Glogster is a social site that lets users mash up music, photos, videos, and pretty much anything else you’d like. It’s a great way to create learning materials and a handy tool for creative student projects.
  14. CreazaWant to bring your student projects into the 21st century? Creaza can make that possible, offering tools to brainstorm, create cartoons, and edit audio and video.
  15. Mentor MobOn Mentor Mob, you or your students can create a learning playlist, which is essentially a collection of high-quality materials that can be used to study a specific concept.

Useful Tools

These tools can help you to stay connected, organized, and increase the ease of building multimedia lessons and learning tools.

  1. EvernoteCapture great ideas, photos, recordings, or just about anything else on your Evernote account, access it anywhere, and keep it organized. A must-have tool for lesson planning.
  2. TwitterThere are so many ways Twitter can be used in education. Teachers can connect with other educators, take part in chats, share their ideas, or even use it in the classroom to reach out to students.
  3. Google EducationGoogle offers a number of great edtech resources for teachers, including email and collaborative apps, videos, lesson plan search, professional development, and even educational grants.
  4. DropboxEasily store, share, and access any kind of data from anywhere with the easy-to-use and free Dropbox service.
  5. DiigoDiigo lets you treat the web like paper-based reading material, making it simple to highlight, bookmark, take notes, or even add sticky notes.
  6. Apple iPadOne of the most widely used, though expensive, tech tools being used in today’s classroom is the Apple iPad. With a host of educational apps being developed for the device, it’s become a favorite of teachers and students alike across the nation.
  7. AviaryAviary is a suite of tools that make it easy to edit images, effects, swatches, music, and audio or to create and modify screen captures.
  8. JingIf you’re teaching kids about tech or just about anything else, a great screenshot program is essential. Jing is one great option that allows teachers to take screenshots as images, record up to five minutes or videos then edit and share the results.
  9. PoppletYou and your students can use Popplet to brainstorm ideas, create mindmaps, share, and collaborate.
  10. Google EarthFrom geography projects to learning about geological processes, Google Earth can be an amazing and fast way to show students anywhere in the world.
  11. DonorsChooseNeed funding for a classroom project? You can get it through this site that hooks up needy teachers with willing donors.
  12. SlideShareWith SlideShare, you can upload your presentations, documents, and videos and share them with students and colleagues. Even better, you can take advantage of materials that other have uploaded as well.
  13. LiveBindersLike a real-life three ring binder, this tech tool allows you to collect and organize resources. Much better than a binder, however, the site also comes with tools to connect and collaborate and a virtual whiteboard.
  14. AudioBooThrough this tool, you can record and share audio for your students or anyone else.

Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Technology


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How to capitalize on classroom technology

(Re-blogged from Phoenix Forward magazine)

There are numerous ways to revolutionize your classroom with technology. And while the latest digital toys can be expensive, innovative teachers are finding ways to bring the information age into schools without breaking the piggy bank, says R. Lewis Cordell, an education program instructor at the University of Phoenix San Diego Campus  and a middle school teacher.

“I try to find technologies that I think accurately reflect today’s working world and will also engage my students,” Cordell says.

Here are five suggestions to leverage technology to engage students in your classroom:

Point 2 View projector

Point 2 View™ projector

This digital USB camera hooks up to a laptop or desktop computer and can project any image, like a piece of paper you’re writing on or a page in a book, onto a wall.

This is a much cheaper option than the popular Elmo® projectors, which many schools can’t afford, Cordell says. He uses his Point 2 View camera whenever he wants all of his students to look at the same worksheet without having to make copies, or when he’s writing a concept on a piece of paper that he wants to share.

Cost: $69

Google Docs program

Google Docs™ program

For schools that have access to computers, this no-cost word processing application allows students to create documents that are automatically saved “in the cloud,” so nothing is lost. Students can conveniently access their documents at home or from public computers in libraries, since their files are saved online.

“What’s amazing about Google Docs,” Cordell says, “is that the documents are shared online instantaneously. So while students are in the middle of working, I can go in and see exactly what a student is doing and whether they’re following instructions.”

Cost: $0

Celly social network

Celly® social network

Teachers can implement this mobile social media tool with kids using cellphones. “With Celly, you create a ‘closed network group’ for the whole class, so cellphone numbers remain private and anonymous,” Cordell says.

There are two ways Cordell likes to use the platform: “I can schedule automatic texts reminding students about homework, which works great,” he says, or he can use the network during class.

“By plugging my iPad® [tablet] into an LCD projector, I can have students pose questions to me via their cellphones that get projected onto the wall — like a Twitter® feed.”

Cost: $0

Acer Chromebook notebook

Acer Chromebook™ notebook

Less expensive than most regular computers, Chromebook devices allow students to access the Internet and create documents that are stored online.

Although Cordell only has one of these computers in his classroom right now, he looks forward to the day when he can have a complete set for his entire class. “I think something similar to Chromebooks is going to replace textbooks in the future,” he says.

Cost: $199

Classroom technology grants

Classroom technology grants

For teachers struggling with the cost of getting technology into schools, applying for a National Education Association (NEA) grant could be the answer, Cordell suggests. He plans to apply for an NEA grant this year so that he can provide more frequent Internet access to students.

The NEA has given $8.5 million to nearly 4,000 teachers who demonstrated how the money would positively impact learning, Cordell says. Educators can also check out eSchool News or Smart, which highlight other avenues for raising IT education dollars.

Cost: $0

Point 2 View is a trademark of IPEVO Inc.
Elmo is a registered trademark of Elmo Co.
Google Docs and Chromebook are trademarks of Google Inc.
Celly is a registered trademark of Celly Inc.
iPad is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.

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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Technology


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