Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why spend money when you can get it for FREE?

Teachers and administrators are so quick sometimes to spend money on a resource or product. In several cases, they could get the same thing for FREE if they just did a little research online.  Below are just a few of the resources I have found that are FREE and a great addition to classrooms.

Instructional Videos
Khan Academy is a large catalog of instructional videos on topics related to math, science, and the humanities. These videos can be viewed on the computer or iPad via their free app. These videos provide another way of viewing a topic or subject.  You don't have to create an account. Simple go to the website and look for a video that matches what you are teaching.  This would be a great resource for your advanced students to move ahead in math or your science fans to learn more about a topic or concept.

~ Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr @
Yes, Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr are both subscription accounts, but they do offer free videos.  These instructional videos can be integrated into your lessons and activities.  Both sites also have an iPad app that shows a featured movie everyday.

Interactive WhiteBoard Resources
~ Promethean Planet @
If you have a Promethean Board or ENO Board in your classroom, you will want to create a FREE account on Promethean Planet.  This website provides FREE flipcharts created by teachers like yourself that can be downloaded and edited to fit your classroom's needs.  Promethean Planet also offers ActivTip videos, which are quick PD videos on the various ways you can use the software in your classroom.

~ Mimio Connect @
If you have a Mimio in your classroom, you will want to create a FREE account on Mimio Connect. this website provides FREE inkfiles created by teachers like yourself that can be downloaded and edited to fit your classroom's needs.  Mimio Connect also offers PD webinars on various ways you can use the software in your classroom.

~ your co-workers
Ask your fellow grade level co-workers what they have found or created for IWB use!

Book Resources
~ CK-12 Foundation via iBooks on the iPad and @
If you do a search within the iBooks store, you will find free textbooks created by the CK-12 Foundation.  These textbooks include upper level science and math resources. These resources can also be found at CK-12 Foundation's website. You will find both CK-12 content and user created content, which includes books, videos, practice problems, and real world application.

Do you use any free resources for your classroom?  Share them with us so that we can all save a little money!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#edtechchat with Arne Duncan - my thoughts

On October 28th, 1401 people from around the world got together to talk about being a connected educator.

On October 28th, 1401 people from around the world got together to to share ideas and resources on being a connected educators.

On October 28th, 1401 people from around the world got together and gave educators a voice!

I am a big fan of weekly Twitter chats. I participate in three chats a week - #edtechchat on Monday, #patue, on Tuesday, and #MSedchat on Thursday. I am able to connect with other educators from all over the US and collaborate on ideas and resources that will benefit the educators and students in my school district. I am able to connect with people who are smarter than me and grow professionally!

Last night's #edtechchat Twitter chat was amazing. My Twitter feed was moving so far that I could hardly keep up. What was even more amazing was the chat itself. For one hour, 1401 people came together to talk about being a connected educator. They came together to share their ideas and learn from each other. Yes, there were some negative tweets, but we did not let those tweets take away from the purpose of the Twitter chat.

Last night's Twitter chat reminded me of a really good PLC meeting. A group of educators coming together and talking about what is best for students. The negative comments don't take over the meeting, because all of the participates are there for one purpose - do what is best for students.

I encourage you to check out last night's #edtechchat Twitter chat archive. Be warned though, its over 100 pages long!  It should be though with over 8500 tweets!

I also encourage you to reflect on the questions that were asked and discussed last night.  Reflect on these questions personally and use these questions at your next meeting.

What does it mean to be a connected educator?
Why do you think it's important for educators to become connected?
What barriers exist that prevent you or your colleagues from becoming connected?
How has being connected helped you become a more effective educator?
Fill in the blank: Being a connected educator means _________.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is it an idea or just a thought?

I saw this Tweet today from FETC and immediately had to retweet it. This was such a quick reaction, that I didn't really think about the short, but powerful Tweet until later.

How many times do we get an idea, but we don't act on them?  I know I do! Take today for example. After working with a teacher on getting her Mimio up and running, I wondered how many other teachers in the district had the same issue. How many teachers in the district had an interactive device, but didn't have it setup yet? What more can I do to help? This self questioning led to my idea of offering 30-45 hands-on sessions after school hours for teachers who want to learn more. Even though this idea isn't something foreign to most people in my position, it had the potential to become a passing thought. It won't though, because of this one powerful Tweet.

Educators need to share their ideas, their talents, their expertise with others.  We need to stop closing the door and keeping to ourselves. We need to open the door and share our ideas as well as take the ideas of others.  Easier said than done!  Educators for so long have kept their trade secrets to themselves in order to have the best test scores.


By sharing my knowledge of Mimio with other educators, I can help change one assignment from paper/pencil to interactive.

Although the Tweet from the FETC is short, it is powerful and should be shared!

So.. what idea will you share today?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Always learning new things .. YAY!

I love learning new techie things that I can use in my job as well as share with my teachers!  Today I decided to dive into Smore after reading Lisa Johnson's blog post "What's Your Flavor of PD".

I find myself sending out resources and ideas through email to teachers all the time, but the idea of using a colorful flyer sounded interesting! I also like the fact that I can quickly share it on Twitter and Pinterest.

Click here to see my first attempt at using Smore.  I think this may become one of my favorites!