My EduBlogs Nomination & Thank Yous

I am very honored to be nominated for EdTech Blog of 2012

My blog is an essential part of my workflow and it is my most important tool.  I would like to thank some amazing people who have kept me blogging.

Janet Barnstable
Thank you for encouraging me to blog and getting me started with my favorite and most useful tool. You always point me in the right direction and I am so thankful for you, your guidance and our friendship.


Dr. Kevin Anderson
Thank you for leading the way and encouraging me to create and teach others.


Sarah Chilton Rose
Thank you for publishing the first comment on my blog. This has kept my focus on publishing a simple blog for busy teachers and I  do try to keep it short and sweet. 

Sarah Chilton said…
“So glad you did this. I think it is fun that there is a blog out there where you don’t have to sift threw all the important information to get to the FUN STUFF!”
April 6, 2009 4:24 PM 

D97 Digital Leaders
Thank you for getting me excited about blogging, creating your own blogs, and giving me a reason to blog in the early days. I had the time of my life teaching and learning with you.

Naomi Harm 
Thank you for finding my blog and sharing the collaborative wiki projects in the sidebar on Twitter. Your tweet sent me so many visitors that I started tweeting myself, which opened the door to a whole new way of collaborating, connecting and learning. 


GettingSmart.com 
Thank you for letting me be a regular guest blogger so I can write a little more sometimes.


My Readers
Thank you for reading my blog, sharing it, trying some of the ideas and making personal connections with me. I really love that part.


How to Vote:
Here are the official directions from EduBlogs

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  • The system will accept your vote more than once, but only one will be counted!
  • Voting is open until 11:59pm EST on Sunday December 9th.


Edmodo & ThingLink: Extend the Walls of Your Classroom

Edmodo is a free and secure social learning platform for teachers and students to collaborate and connect in the  24/7 classroom. The design and functionality of Edmodo is similar to Facebook, but the focus is on teaching and learning within a protected environment. Students don’t even need an email account to sign up.

Teachers and students can extend the learning by posting messages, holding online discussions, picking up work and turning it in.  Edmodo supports a variety of multimedia to provide students with flexible learning paths  including links, images, video and interactive graphics created with ThingLink.





Perhaps an engaging assignment for students would be to publish an interactive graphic to be explored prior to class. This type of assignment can provide students with background knowledge, front load the learning and  level the playing field to prepare students for success in class


The folks at ThingLink have made it very easy to use ThingLink with Edmodo and they’ve even created some video tutorials to help you learn how.

For more tutorials, Common Core Aligned Lesson Samples and tons of resources for using ThingLink in the classroom, please visit the ThingLink Teacher Toolkit.

Tag Galaxy

Tag Galaxy is a Cool Tool to visually explore word relationships. Just type in a term and watch a 3D orbiting galaxy of words and their associations evolve  Click on any word to move it to the center of the galaxy, then click on it again and watch the globe populate with tagged images from Flickr.

 Watch Demo

Uses in the Classroom:

  • Project Tag Galaxy on a wall to help students visualize vocabulary words, ideas and concepts.
  • Display Tag Galaxy on an interactive white board and let students touch the globe and explore. 
  •  Use the photos to prompt creative writing.
  •  Engage students in a guided visual search.
  • Start a discussion about word relationships


Present.Me

Present.Me is a free tool that allows you to use the webcam and microphone on your computer to record yourself giving a PowerPoint presentation. Just create and upload your presentation, then use your computer’s webcam to talk about it as you progress through the slides. The end result is a side-by-side view of the presentation along with the presenter. The entire creation is stored online and easily accessed through a link.

Uses in Education:

  1. My first thought is this would be a great way for teachers to try The Flipped Classroom approach to teaching by publishing a Present.Me and asking students to view and interact with the content for homework in preparation for the next class. After all, many teachers are already familiar with PowerPoint and recording yourself with this tool is quite easy.
  2. Another good use of this tool might be to have students use it as a substitute for the traditional whole-class project presentation.  Instead of asking the student audience to sit through hours of student-led presentations, assign them a task related to viewing the presentations and let them interact with them at their own pace.
  3. Teachers can use this tool to create and publish presentations online for parents unable to attend Open House/Curriculum Night that generally happens at the start of the year.
  4. Schools and districts might consider using this tool to make good use of limited staff development time by creating and publishing an ongoing list of resources. Provide teachers with time to view and interact with presentations during staff meeting time, and also give them the opportunity to continue the learning at home.
  5. And of course, this tool could be really useful for virtual conferences of all kinds.

Try Present.Me for yourself

Simplify and Summarize Digital Text

In nearly every classroom there are a number of students who do not have the reading level needed to comprehend written content-based material. One of the biggest challenges teachers face is providing text for struggling readers. Technology is a tool that can help. Here are some tools for providing students with the support they need to succeed. Many thanks to Sheri Lenzo, assistive technology expert, for teaching me all of this and much more.

 Natural Reader
This free software needs to be installed on your PC. After that, just  highlight the text you want read aloud and click on Control + F9. Voila!

demo
readability

Readability Bookmarklet
Install a handy bookmarklet and watch this tool scrub web pages of distractions by removing the ads and
creating a more readable body of text.

demo
text compactor

Text Compactor
A free online tool that is extremely user-friendly. Just copy and paste some digital text into the box, use the slider to determine the percentage of text you want to end up with, and view the summary

demo
text to speech

Text to Speech for Mac
Macintosh computers have the text to speech feature built in, but it needs to be activated in System Preferences. Watch the tutorial on this wiki.

demo
twurdy

Twurdy
A search engine that yields color-coded results by readability in order to provide users with text written at appropriate levels. View more simple search engine tools on my wiki.

demo
wikipedia simple english

Wikipedia Simple English
One of the languages
supported by Wikipedia is “Simple English”. Choose it to find information written using simpler words and simple sentences, which lowers the readability level.

demo
jogtheweb

Hands-On Overview on JogTheWeb
Try my Jog: Tools for Summarizing and Simplifying Text

demo

Cool Tools for Teaching Vocabulary


I spent the first part of my summer working with teachers to help them learn to use technology as a tool for differentiating reading instruction to help all learners succeed. During that time we experimented with many different tools for teaching vocabulary. Here is a glance at the list of tools the course participants found to be user-friendly and useful for students and teachers.

Lexipedia
A very nice multi-lingual visual dictionary that creates a word web and defines words based on parts of speech. Use the toolbar bookmarklet for convenience.

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Lingro
An amazing tool that turns all the words in any website or digital text into a clickable dictionary and translates text into 12 different languages.

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Shahi
A visual dictionary that combines Wiktionary content with Flickr images, and more.

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Snappy Words
An online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that helps you find the meanings of words and draw connections to associated words. 

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Visuwords
Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts.

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The Visual Dictionary
This tool uses photographs of words in the real world to visually explore them.

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Vocabulary.co
A very popular site for vocabulary games.

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VocabGrabber
Copy and paste text into the box and this tool generates a word cloud to identify the key vocabulary. Sort words by content area.

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Wordsift
Place text into a box and then press sift to create a word cloud in which most frequently used words appear larger in size.

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Wordia
A tool that uses video to make personal connections for users. The school account keeps it safe for students and allows students to create their own video definitions and schools to build their own  dictionaries.

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Wordle
Use this word cloud generator to identify key vocabulary in digital text. Try copying and pasting more than one related article into Wordle to get the big picture.

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WordStash
Teachers can sign up for a free account and create word lists to support written text. With a click of a button, students can access dictionary information and create flash cards for review.

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info_onweb.jpgTag Galaxy
This tool creates a 3D orbiting galaxy of words and their associations  Click on any word to move it to the center of the galaxy, then click again and watch the globe populate with images from Flicker. This is a must see.




Lingro – Turn digital text into a clickable dictionary

Lingro is an amazing online tool that turns any website or digital text file into an interactive dictionary where users can click on a word to view it’s definition and hear it’s pronunciation. Support by 12 languages, Lingro is also a very useful tool for translating text.

Lingro is easy to use. Just copy and paste any web address into Lingro’s web browser and click on a word, or use the file viewer to upload a document and translate it in the same way. One of the most impressive features of Lingro is that it stores and remembers all the words you click on and allows you to easily create and store words lists. Then, with the click of a button, Lingro turns your word lists into an online flash card game.

This tool does not require a login to use the most basic features so it can be a handy tool for students without an email address, but teachers should create a free account to take advantage of additional features, such as storage, history and word lists.

.Try Lingro for yourself