Thinglink

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 12.37.53 PMAs I start writing this post I realize how long it has been since I have added any new items and for that I am sorry.  However; there are lots of great new tools out there to write about and the first one is Thinglink.  Thinglink actually is not that new, it has been around for a few years now, but has become very popular with teachers.  This incredible little website and iPad app allows you to upload images and “tag” certain portions of that image.  This means that if students are learning about the water cycle you can create a Thinglink they can interact with in order to learn about each portion of the cycle.  You can add text, audio, video and can embed the image on  your own blog or webpage.  There are tons of great ways to use Thinglink with students.  Below you will find a video showing how to use Thinglink as well as links to other blogs showcasing how other teachers are using this nifty tool in the classroom.  As always, I love to read your comments and please let me know how you use ThingLink with your students.

Free Technology For Teachers-65 Ways to use Thinglink in the Classroom

Getting Smart-10 Ways to Use Thinglink with Students

Smore, make your newsletters engaging

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 3.46.03 PMEvery week in my sixth grade class, I would pry open the lid of my MacBook and open the text editor Pages.  This weekly ritual of writing my classroom newsletter was cumbersome and frankly seemed antiquated. I would type endless paragraphs about our school lunch schedule and what labs we took part in for the week. Sure my newsletter was colorful, but it wasn’t as engaging as it could have been.  There were times when I wished there was something I could send to parents, something with audio files of their students debating current events or videos of science lab that went awry.  If only there was a way for events to be added, an interactive poll would be nice….if only. Finally the biggest question of all “Did anyone actually read this incredibly crafted piece of literature,” I could never know for sure.

Well Dorthy, there is no need to click those ruby red slippers together and wish anymore. I would like to introduce you to Smore.  Smore lets you create  online newsletters that you can share with parents and students alike.  This tools not only allows you to embed videos and audio files, but gives you the option to allow for comments, add Wufoo forms for surveys, calendar events, and much more.  The best part is that they have templates created for  you,  just add your content and bam, Done! With the free edition (Educator Edition $59.00/year) after 30 visits you open analytics option, this gives you information about where your readers are located and how long they are spending on your newsletters.   I love this little tool and wish I had it for use in my classroom, I think it would have really added life to that newsletter that was always stuck at the bottom of student’s backpacks.  As always, I would love to hear what you think or how you are using this tool in your classroom.

Smore Tutorial from stacey schuh on Vimeo.

Vimeo

If you have created your own video tutorials or have created videos for your flipped classroom you may need a spot to keep all of these great resources.  Vimeo allows you to upload your content and share it with others either by sharing a link, posting to social media such as Twitter or Pinterest or even embedding videos on your blog or learning management systems.  Vimeo is easy to use and free, although you can upgrade for instant uploads and more options.  Check out the tutorial below to learn more about Vimeo.  I would love to hear about how you use Vimeo and any feedback on this or other Knack topics.

Vimeo Tutorial from stacey schuh on Vimeo.

Read a test to students using an iPad

This week I had an opportunity to talk with a teacher about supporting her classroom instruction through technology.  One of her biggest complaints was that she didn’t have time to read tests to students in her classroom.  She wanted to help all of her students, but was being pulled in multiple directions and wanted to find a solution.  This particular teacher has an iPad in her classroom and in talking with her we found a way that would allow students to have tests read aloud to them.

Now this teacher does not have a classroom set of iPads or banks of computers, but by using this one technique she was able to save herself time and help her students.  Below is a video outlining how we  used the iPad to fit her classroom instructional needs.

Read Text to Students from stacey schuh on Vimeo.

Notability

Some time ago I was searching for an app that would allow me to import a PDF and annotate it on the iPad.  A friend of mine recommended an app called Notability, ever since I have found this to be one of my most useful apps.  Not only does Notability allow you to annotate a PDF, it also allows you to create notes that include audio.  Now this may not sound like a big deal, but this is a great way to grade student work with audio attached, how wonderful would it be to give feedback on a writing piece showing exactly what things students did well or could improve upon.  Below are some links to Notability tutorials, as always, I would love your feedback.

Notability-Adding Category and Subject from stacey schuh on Vimeo.

View all Notability videos here.

Flipping your Classroom

picture 2013-02-22 at 2.34.21 PM

Fire up conference from sschuh26

Flipping your classroom is more than just making students watch a video. Here are some resources that will help you learn more about the Flipped Classroom and web tools to help you make the most of your time.

picture 2013-02-22 at 2.39.50 PM
Flipped Learning Network-Lots of ideas and wonderful resources.

Go Animate

Want to create your own cartoon?  With Go Animate you can easily and quickly create cartoons for students on a variety of different topics. You can also have students create their own videos to share ideas or give life to writing pieces.  To show you how easy it is, I have enlisted the help of my three year old son. Below is a video we created in our dining room in about two minutes.  Please excuse the under developed plot:

Check out our Go Animate here

Go Animate Tutorial from stacey schuh on Vimeo.

Nearpod

“Can you see the board?”

As a teacher I asked this several times a day.  Then one day Nearpod was invented and this question was no longer relevant.  Nearpod is an app for your Smartphone or iPad that allows you to share presentations with your students on their own devices.  This means if you are in a classroom with students who have iPads, iPod Touches, or iPhones they can now see the content you are presenting right on their device and you control what they can see.

Nearpod is a great app not only for presenting to students, but also assessing students. You can add polls, activities, and even share videos with Nearpod. Below is a video tutorial and link for handouts.  I would love to hear how you are using Nearpod with your students, feel free to leave a comment.

Nearpod from stacey schuh on Vimeo.

Nearpod Handout

Booksource Library Organizer

I’ll be the first to admit it, I am not the most organized person. In my classroom I had a large library where students could borrow books.  The problem with my classroom library was keeping it organized. I could never keep track of the books and worse I wasn’t able to recommend books for different student reading levels.  I tried many systems that were time consuming and difficult to manage, I lost books constantly and students couldn’t identify books that were best for them.

Recently, I stumbled upon a site from Booksource that helps with organizing your classroom library. As I looked over the site and features I knew it would be a hit. The Library Organizer allows teachers to use their smart devices to scan ISBN codes from the back of books or type in ISBN codes.  The Book Organizer keeps track of books using this scanning system, but it also provides information on reading levels and possible AR points, page counts, and more.  Students or teachers can return books online or by scanning the ISBN.  This tool is amazing and a huge time saver with many features and best of all it is free.

Below, you will find an introduction video along with a video from the company, I would love to hear how each of you is using this resource in your classroom or any issues you may have with this resource.

BookSource’s Book Organizer from stacey schuh on Vimeo.

QR Code Generator

Over the past few weeks I have been working extensively with iPads. A lot of times I will be conducting a workshop and will put up a QR (quick response) Code for participants to scan. These QR codes may contain my contact information, links to websites, or allow participants to take a poll. There are tons of different ways to use QR Codes in the classroom. Here is a link to just a few of the ideas of how to use QR Codes in your classroom.

During my presentations, a number of participants ask me how I created my codes. Finding a code creator site is pretty easy, but there are a few that I use  regularly.

Google Shortner is a great tool for shortening long website urls and it produces a QR Code for those shortened links. Along with providing shortened urls and QR Codes, Google Shortner can give you information on the number of visitors you have had to your links and will keep a record of all your shortened codes.

The other code creator I use is called QR Stuff.  This creator allows me to not only create a QR Code for a website, but gives me many different options such as vcards for creating contact information and allows users to create calendar events.  I also love that this site allows you to create a QR Code in color.

I would love to hear how you are using QR Codes in your classroom.  Please feel free to add a comment in the comment section.