“Declutter” webpages for cheaper, cleaner printing

Posted on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 @ 15:06 PM

How much paper and ink do you think you and your students waste every day printing out needless advertisements and sidebar images instead of the web copy you actually intended to print? A couple of wasted pages might not seem like a big deal, but when you factor in the number of print jobs happening at your school on a given day, it’s going to add up.  

Print What You Like is a nifty little web application that helps you print clean pages without all the pictures and sidebar clutter that eats up paper and ink.  

Instead of looking like this:

apps for teachers

...Print What You Like will make your webpage look like this:

apps for teachers 2

A Teacher's Guide to Summer Travel

Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, Educational Leadership Master'snew teacher

Provide Instant & More Effective Feedback With Classkick

Posted on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 @ 15:06 PM

effective feedbackOne of the biggest challenges teachers face is reaching a wide range of ability levels in the classroom, while ensuring all students are challenged and mastering required content. The task of differentiating to meet the needs of multiple intelligences can be overwhelming, but I recently came across a new application designed specifically with these challenges in mind.

Classkick is a free new iPad application that eliminates paper and pencils and essentially transforms students’ iPads into an electronic whiteboards. That in itself is cool, but even more impressive is the fact that Classkick gives teachers real-time access to screenshots of each student’s workspace. Want to give private feedback to a student or offer a helpful “hint” to the entire class? Classkick gives you these options.




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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, effective feedback, apps for educators, history teachers, math teachers, STEM

Track Government Officials Using These 2 Websites

Posted on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

Like most everyone in America, the government relies more and more on the Internet to communicate. Thanks to Legistalker and Govtrack, listening in on what your elected officials say and finding out how they’ve been voting has never been easier.

legistalkerLegistalker is an ever-growing database that combs social media, government websites, and thousands of Internet news sources for updates.

New information is available every 20 minutes, so keeping an eye on the officials you voted for is only a click away. 

If you're tracking multiple people, say all the Senators and Representatives from your state, you can add them to your Watch List; from there you'll be able to monitor updates from all the people on your Watch List in one location.

government trackGovTrack
 gives users access to the status of U.S. federal legislation, voting records, and congressional district maps. Most of the information is assembled in an automated way by scanning federal government websites. Unlike Legistalker, GovTrack gives you the option of receiving updated via email and RSS feeds.



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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, social studies teachers, history teachers, government teachers

Enhance Your Classroom Discussions With Power League

Posted on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 06:05 AM

classroom discussion 01I’m always looking for new ways to enhance classroom discussions and this morning I came across a cool web application called Power League. Here’s how it works:

Power League allows students to cast individual votes in which they choose between two competing people, ideas or things. In a discussion on technology, for example, they could vote for which piece of technology— mobile phones or MP3 players—they thought was more useful. In a discussion on leadership, they could vote for whom ought to lead the world: Mahatma Gandhi or Bono. Each student chooses one out of a series of random pairs.

classroom discussion 02

By casting votes, students create a “league,” ranked in order of the most powerful, important or influential—and the results of the vote is often surprising, which makes an excellent point for discussion.

Although Power League was originally designed as a playful way to explore the nature of power, the creators have adapted the application so that students can vote on any subject: which is the bigger cause of global warming, for example; or which is the more important invention?


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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, classroom technology, apps for educators, classroom discussion

5 More Free Image Sites for Students and Teachers

Posted on Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 14:05 PM

Thanks to the Internet, everything is “free”—at least that’s what lots of people think. Whether we intend to or not, most of us have taken some piece of digital property without paying for it. Photos are one of the most tempting pieces of digital property to take. Why? First, because downloading them legally through iStock or Shutterstock is inconvenient and expensive; second, because downloading them illegally is so easy.  

There’s really no excuse for stealing images, especially when quality, copyright-free images are only a few clicks away. In addition to the websites we’ve mentioned before, here are five more places where we regularly find free images.

free imagesFree Images is home to over 350,000 quality stock photos by more than 30,000 photographers!

free imagesEvery photo you’ll find on Upsplash is not only free, but comes in high resolution. The curator for the site adds 10 new photos every 10 days. While photos on Upsplash aren’t categorized, you can browse thumbnails of their entire library by clicking here.

free imagesEvery Stock Photo
houses thousands of free photos. Before using an image, be sure to check out the images licensure policy. These come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo's license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos.

free imagesUsing the “advanced image search” feature on Google images is something Richard Byrne taught us a while ago and we’ve been using it ever since.

Head to Google Images and click on the usage rights filter option. No select "advanced image search" on the main Google Images page. Once in the "advanced image search" page, you will find the usage rights options at the bottom of the page. In the usage rights menu you can select one of four options:

  • "labeled for reuse"
  • "labeled for commercial reuse"
  • "labeled for reuse with modification"
  • "labeled for commercial reuse with modification"

free imagesWorld Images Kiosk is an image database curated by the California State University IMAGE Project. Here you’ll find over 100,000 images that are in the public domain. 

Photo credit: dsevilla / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, classroom technology, apps for educators, creative commons images, free images

Learn About Your Community with the Help of ZIPskinny

Posted on Mon, May 19, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

social studies teacherZipskinny is my new favorite reference tool for finding U.S. census data based on zip codes. Simply type in a zip code and you’ll find detailed information on anything from population, educational achievement and income levels to occupation, age, and race statistics for that particular zip code.

I think this might be an invaluable resource for history and social studies teachers.

I live in Royal Oak, Michigan, just a few minutes outside of Detroit. Here’s what I found out about my community.

social studies teacher

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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, social studies teachers, history teachers, virtual field trip

12 Activities to Help Teachers Wind Down the Academic Year

Posted on Fri, May 16, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

  • academic yearMystery Skype is an educational game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions. Mystery Skype is suitable for all age groups and can be used to teach subjects like geography, history, languages, mathematics and science.

  • Hand out postcards (stamped and addressed) so that your students can tell you about their summer.

  • Find a picture book without words and write your own story. Not sure where to start? Try The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang. It’s a classic.

  • Create travel journals. Even if your students don’t end up traveling, they can still use pictures, drawings, articles, receipts, and brief journal entries to document the things they did and saw when they weren’t in school. Kim Rankin’s blog Catching Foxes offers an excellent travel-journal tutorial.

  • Here’s one we borrowed from Kim Haynes over at Teacher Hub: Split the class into groups and assign each a specific topic you studied this year. Give them time to go over their topic and invent a goodend of year activities review activity, which they have to grade. You assess them on whether they get their facts straight and how effective their review activity is.

  • Read Last Day Blues with your students. You’ll love the ending.

  • Before your outgoing students leave for the summer, have each student write a letter to your incoming students. This will give your current students the opportunity to reflect on their experience in your class and share their best pieces of advice for your new students. 
  • Most of us have fun units that we always wanted to teach, but never had time to get to. Now is the time.

  • end of yearHere’s an idea we grabbed from the Farnsworth Family Blog: Have one person sit in front of a white board while the others write a positive phrase about them. Take a picture to give it to the student (one student a day for the last month of school).

  • Create a summer bucket list.
  • Invite your students’ new teacher to visit your room so that s/he can interact with the students.

  • Or try this: Meet the new teacher’s current class. One way to ease your students’ fears about their transition is by having them each interview one studentin their new teacher’s current class. They might ask questions like:
    • What’s it like having Mr. X for a teacher?
    • Did Mrs. M assign a lot of homework?
    • What was your favorite memory this year in Mr. X’s class?
    • What should I know before starting the new school year?



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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, classroom technology, apps for educators, classroom management, end of the year activities

Create Blackout Art with the New York Times Web App

Posted on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 @ 09:04 AM


We’ve written about blackout art before, but if you’re new to this activity, here’s how it works: All you need is a newspaper article (or any form of print media) and a Sharpie. The idea is to blackout all of the words you don’t need and use the remaining words to create a short poem or sentence. This is an excellent activity for National Poetry Month.

If you’d like to give blackout art a shot, but prefer using digital media, The New York Times just released a new blackout art web application!

Simply select the article, hover over and click the words you’d like to keep. The application will then black-out the rest of the page.

blackout poetry

If you’re interested in a few more creative writing strategies, check out three of our blogs:

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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators

What Would $50 Buy You in 1947? Today’s Dollars Will Tell You

Posted on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 10:04 AM

apps for teachersOver the weekend, I revisited Jack Kerouac’s novel, On the Road. I’ve read the book several times, but something nagged at me this time.

In several passages, the author mentions money—a pack of cigarettes costs X amount; a cup of coffee and a slice of apple pie cost X amount; Sal earns X amount for picking 50 pounds of cotton and so on.

As a contemporary reader, I had had no good way of knowing what this money amounted to in 1947, the year in which much of the novel takes place.

If you’ve ever wanted to convert “old” money into contemporary figures, stop by Today’s Dollars. Just type in the amount of money you want to convert, the year, and out pops the amount in “today’s dollars.”

The results are all based on the Consumer Price Index average for each year compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today’s Dollars is useful for book nerds, but it might also come in handy for history and social studies teachers.

todays dollars

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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, social studies teachers, history teachers

Two Apps to Help Teachers Manage Noisy Classrooms

Posted on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 11:04 AM

Keeping the classroom volume at a reasonable level can be tricky, especially when our classroom sizes continue to increase! Sometimes, the collective classroom volume rises so incrementally that we don't even realize it until we’re shouting to be heard. To help you better manage your classroom volume, we’d like to share two new apps with you.

As Richard Byrne points out in one of his recent posts, both apps are similar to another “decibel manager” called Too Noisy. Unlike Too Noisy, though, both of these apps are completely free!

Bouncy Balls behaves like a popcorn machine that runs on noise. The louder your students are, the higher and more frequently the balls bounce. All you need is a microphone so that the app can register the volume and react appropriately.

We also want to mention that you can choose from four different types of “bouncy balls”: eyeballs, plastic balls, bubbles or emotocons.

apps for teachers
Calmness Counter is a lot like Bouncy Balls with two exceptions: 1) Users can adjust the microphone input sensitivity directly on the computer screen; 2) Rather than bouncing balls, Calmness Counter uses a meter to track volume.

apps for teachers

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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, classroom technology, apps for educators, classroom management

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