Internet4Classrooms: An Excellent Resource for K-6 Math Teachers

Posted on Wed, Jun 04, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

Internet 4 Classrooms is the brainchild of veteran educators Susan Brooks and Bill Byles. For almost 15 years, this ambitious duo has been gathering free, high-quality math resources and posting them to their website. Below, you’ll find links to each section of their resource library:

  • Common Core State Standards
    Drill down to the individual standard elements to find thousands of online activities mapped to standard elements
  • Links for PreK-12
    Several large collections of links for PreK-12 teachers, students and parents
  • Technology Skills
    Step-by-step technology tutorials for learning applications commonly used in K-12 classrooms
  • Assessment & Testing
    Help your students prepare for annual assessments, standardized tests, and end of course exams

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Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, Best Apps for Educators, apps for teachers, math teachers, STEM

Mysteries of Vernacular: An Excellent Site for English and Social Studies Teachers

Posted on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

history teachersBack in 2012, I came across a website called Mysteries of Vernacular. At the time, the project was still developing, but after revisiting the site this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it has been completed.

So what is Mysteries of Vernacular? It’s a site where you’ll find 26 animated videos, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each video tackles the etymology of one word in less than three minutes.

That may not sound impressive, but once you see the videos, you’ll understand how much time and research goes into each segment.

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Topics: apps for teachers, history teachers, apps for translators, language arts teacher, history teacher

ZipGrade: A Cool New Test Grading App for Teachers

Posted on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

test grading applicationWe love teaching, but grading tests…not so much. One of our colleagues just turned us on to a new app called ZipGrade that takes most, if not all, of the sting out of test grading.

Here’s how it works:

  • Students turn in their completed answer-sheets—they can fill these out with pen or pencil, by the way!
  • You open up the ZipGrade app on your iPhone or iPad
  • Now hold the phone over the answer sheet as though you’re going to take a picture of it
  • Your phone will vibrate once ZipGrade has successfully read the answer sheet and identified the student ID number
  • Within minutes you’ll be through that big stack of tests. Not only that, you’ll have nearly-instant data about student comprehension

If you want to try before you buy, ZipGrade allows users to download the app for free and use it 100 times. Thereafter, you’ll have to pay a small subscription fee ($1.99 for two months or $6.99 for the year).

ZipGrade has one final noteworthy feature: It uses free answer sheets that come in either 20 or 50 question format. If you need fewer or more questions, you can customize your own sheets, too!




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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, apps for teachers, test grading app

Convert PDF Files to Word Documents With These 2 Free Apps

Posted on Wed, Dec 04, 2013 @ 18:12 PM

Over the weekend, a former student asked me to write letters of recommendation for three separate university applications. Two of the recommendation forms were editable PDF files, meaning all I had to do was click on each field and type in the requested information. The third form was also a PDF, but it was not set up so that I could fill it out electronically. After several botched attempts at copying, pasting and reformatting in Microsoft Word, I gave up, printed out the form and handwrote my responses.

If you knew what my handwriting looks like, you’d understand why I couldn’t bring myself to submit such an important document covered in my chicken scratch. So I started looking for free PDF converters.

PDF converterWhile there are plenty of file converters out there, most charge a monthly fee. One exception is called, of all things, PDF Converter. This allowed me to upload the PDF form and convert it to a downloadable Word document for free.

There are two caveats: One, you can only convert two pages for free. Two, as far as I can tell, you can only convert one file every 24 hours. It’s not a cure-all solution, but it certainly came in handy when I was in a pinch.

If you need tPDF converter 2o convert more than two pages, or have several PDFs to convert, head over to Nitro Cloud. Like the PDF converter above, Nitro Cloud will convert your document for free, but you are limited to five conversions a month—or you can pay five dollars a month for unlimited conversions.

I can think of several instances where both of these applications would have come in handy. Often I would find articles online or a colleague would share a lesson plan or assignment sheet that was only available in PDF format. If I didn’t want to use the entire article, or if I needed to make changes to the lesson plans, I’d have to copy and paste the text into a word document and spend time reformatting all of the unnecessary spaces and strange formatting issues. As you probably know, this can be irritating and time consuming!

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Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, apps for educators, apps for teachers, teach typing

5 resources to help you commemorate the September 11 anniversary

Posted on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 10:09 AM

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. You and your students may have your own way of commemorating the 9/11 attacks, but if you’re stuck, check out the following resources we’ve used throughout the years.

September 11 anniversaryUnderstanding 9/11
This is one of the most comprehensive collections of 9/11 news footage out there. Video segments are all arranged on a timeline, making it simple to select videos by date, time and country of origin. The database contains over 3,000 hours of international TV News from 20 channels over 7 days, and all of it has been hand selected by scholars.

September 11 anniversary 29/11 Attacks - 102 Minutes That Changed America
102 Minutes That Changed America is an interactive video experience that incorporates video footage from 10 different locations around Manhattan. Users are not only able to see videos, but they can also read each filmmaker’s story and access interview footage with him/her.

September 11 anniversary39/11: The Reckoning  
To commemorate 9/11, The New York Times asked readers the following question: “Where were you on September 11, 2001?” The result of this question is The Reckoning, an interactive map that contains over 38,000 comments from readers all over the world. Users can browse comments by category or location and see the number of times words and phrases appear.

September 11 anniversary4September 11 Attack Timeline
This interactive timeline begins at 5:45 am—the time that the hijackers passed through security at the Portland International Jetport in Maine—and ends when President Bush addressed the nation at 8:30 pm on September 11.

September 11 anniversary5From Plaza to Bedrock
The From Plaza to Bedrock infographic allows users to interact with interesting facts and figures about the 9/11 Memorial and explore details about the vast artifact collection of the Museum.

If you’re looking for more resources to help you commemorate 9/11, stop by Scholastic where you’ll find a variety of articles, videos and interactive maps for teachers.


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Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, apps for educators, apps for teachers, teach typing, september 11 anniversary

3 Apps to Help You Teach Typing

Posted on Tue, Sep 03, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

teach typingGrowing up, my parents had a WWII-era typewriter that I’d peck out two-finger stories on; then in middle school there was the sweat-inducing typing tests we were issued on the Apple IIe. There was no typing software, only a teacher armed with a yard stick. On one end of the ruler, she’d attach a sheet of black construction paper. Then she’d stand back with a stop watch, cover our hands with her crude contraption and command us to type out Dick-and-Jane-style passages from the sheet she rigged to the side of the monitor. I’m probably making it sound more traumatic than it really was, but needless to say, I would have taken any of the following three typing apps over the yardstick any day!

3 Apps to Help You Teach Typing

teach typing 2TypingWeb
In no specific order, here’s everything you need to know about Typing Web:

  • It’s free
  • It aligns with Common Core Standards Preparation
  • There’s no limit to how many students can use it
  • Teachers can create, track, group, and manage their students’ progress from the web
  • You can monitor your students in real time
  • You can access and export detailed reporting data
  • Students learn to type by playing fun and interactive typing games and daily news headlines exercises
  • When students complete a lesson, they earn a trophy for their personal trophy case
  • Free (and unlimited) certificates are available for both General typists and 10 key certifications.
  • As each student progresses, TypingWeb learns which keys cause them the most difficulty and creates custom lessons focusing on their top five most troublesome letters
  • Students can repeat the typing test to track their progress over time

teach typing 3Dance Mat Typing

Although Dance Mat won’t keep a detailed record of your students’ typing progress, it’s a worthy mention for the simple fact that it takes a potentially tedious activity and transforms it into a game.

The game itself doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’m a 32-year-old man and I’m amused by it. So why wouldn’t your elementary students be? It’s the typist’s mission to help baby chicks hatch; whenever you successfully complete a typing sequence, a chick is liberated from an egg. Don’t mistype though, or you’ll be scolded by your coach, a Southern-drawlin’ Rooster.

teach typing 4Nitro Type
We saved the best for last. Students can improve their typing skills while competing in fast-paced races with typists from around the world. The more races you win, the more digital cash you receive. Spend your rewards at the dealership where you can purchase new cars and nitros so you can skip words while racing.


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Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, apps for educators, apps for teachers, teach typing

3 Places to Connect Technology Projects to the Common Core

Posted on Tue, Aug 06, 2013 @ 13:08 PM

We love technology as much as the next guy; our insatiable quest for cool new apps that we can bring into the classroom is proof of that. But we also know that technology is not a panacea: More technology does not necessarily mean more learning. While there’s no doubt that it can enhance our curriculum, technology—like any tool—must be harnessed by a teacher that is armed with clearly-defined learning objectives.

So instead of sharing more technology with you, we’d like to direct teachers to a few of our favorite websites that offer teachers real-world technology projects tied to core subjects and standards.

3 Places to Connect Technology Projects to the Common Core

common coreThe Technology Integration Matrix
’s (TIM) interactive chart makes it simple to align each of the five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments to the level most appropriate for your students. Each learning objective has a clickable subject icon—math, science, social studies, or language arts—that will take you to a video that clearly explains the objectives, procedures and materials needed for the activity.  

common coreMicrosoft Partners in Learning (MPL)
MPL is not only a resource library, but a great place for educators to post to discussion boards and connect with other educators around the world. Since the site is hosted by Microsoft, it’s no surprise that they only offer tutorials and lesson plan ideas for Microsoft products. Browse their resource library, click on an application, and watch the video tutorial to learn how real teachers are using the application to enhance their own curriculum.

common coreIf you use Adobe products, the Adobe Education Exchange is another great place to find the instructional resources, professional development, and peer-to-peer collaboration you’re looking for. Resources cover a wide variety of subjects from digital media, arts, business and English to mathematics, science and social science.

If you’re looking for more ways to connect your classroom technology to the Common Core, we highly recommend this Slideshare presentation by one of our favorite bloggers, Richard Byrn.


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Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, apps for educators, apps for teachers, common core standards

Wideo makes creating animated videos as simple as drag & drop

Posted on Tue, Jul 09, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

creating animated videosWe can’t speak for you, but we’ve long since reached our creative threshold with Power Point. There’s no shortage of alternatives to this trusty piece of Microsoft software, but we can say without hesitation that Wideo is our new favorite.

Wideo makes creating animated videos as simple as drag & drop

This free and intuitive app allows you to create sleek presentations and animation videos—you can even upload audio files (voiceover, sound effects, or music) to enhance your animations.

Everything with Wideo is as simple as dragging and dropping. Browse different pieces of animation—thought bubbles, arrows, text, characters, etc.—or upload your own photos onto a customizable canvas. Now you’re free to rotate, resize, move and dictate where you want your images and how you want them to appear.

Wideo is a nice blend of traditional presentation software and video creation software. The movement and segues of your icons, texts and pictures are shown on the timeline below the canvas (as you’ll see in the tutorial video below), but then each individual action is split up for the user into key frames, not slides.

The most obvious use for Wideo is to create animations that accompany your classroom lectures, but we’ve also had our students use it as an alternative to book reports. You can even use it to introduce yourself to your students on the first day of school!



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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, classroom technology, apps for educators, apps for teachers, digital storytelling, power point alternatives, creating animated videos

5 of the Best Digital Storytelling Applications

Posted on Wed, Jul 03, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

In our experience, one of the best ways to reach our reluctant readers is with digital storytelling applications. Sure, digital storytelling still involves writing, but what makes it more engaging—and often less intimidating—than traditional writing is that it uses technology like audio, video and digital imagery. We’ve talked about Storybird and digital comic book generators before, but we want to share a few more of our favorite digital storytelling applications with you.

5 of the Best Digital Storytelling Applications

digital storytellingPeanut Gallery is a free web application that allows users to add inter-titles to silent films like Phantom of the Opera, Voyage to the Moon, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome and seven other films. What’s unique about this application is that the inter-titles are created by speaking into a computer microphone. Now for the bad news: Peanut Gallery can only be run in Google Chrome because it requires the Web Speech API to turn your audio into text.

digital storytellingBombay TV is one of the quirkiest digital storytelling sites we’ve come across. Select clips from old Bollywood movies and write or record your own subtitles. Once you’re done, enter an email address and send it off.

Pic Lits. We’vdigital storytellinge written about Flash Fiction before, but if you need a refresher, it’s basically prose of extreme brevity. Writers like H.P. Lovecraft, O. Henry and Kurt Vonnegut were fans of it, but we became acquainted with it after reading Earnest Hemingway’s six-word story.

Pic Lits is the perfect place to put the Flash Fiction into practice. Here you’ll find a gallery of photos and a collection of nouns, adjectives, adverbs and universals that you can drag and drop onto the photo. If you prefer not to limit your word choices, you can always freestyle and add your own. When you are done, you can either save, share, or email your work.

digital storytellingUsing Comic Master’s sleek and intuitive interface, users can design their own graphic novel. Browse characters, add backgrounds, props, dialogue, captions, special effects and simply drag and drop. When you’re happy with your graphic novel either save it to your hard drive or email it.

digital storytellingDigital Films gives users the ability to choose and customize background scenes, characters, animated actions, dialog as well as intro and ending credits to their digital movie. Registered users will be able to access more advanced features and save/edit the movies that they create.


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Topics: Technology in the Classroom, apps for educators, apps for teachers, reluctant writers, digital storytelling, reluctant readers

Newsela puts the common core into current events

Posted on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 @ 10:06 AM

Years later, I still look back fondly on Friday afternoons in my seventh grade U.S History class. Not only was it the last class of the day, it was what our teacher called “Current-Events Friday.” This meant that each student was responsible for selecting three articles from the newspaper, summarizing them and then sharing one article with the class. This event was certainly a nice break from the usual routine, but also we learned a lot about what was going on in the world. “Current-Events Friday” also forced us to get comfortable with the art of summarizing and speaking in front of the class. 

Newsela puts the common core into current events

common coreIf you’re looking for a new way to approach current events in the classroom and you want to be sure that you’re sticking to the Common Core, stop by Newsela and sign up for a free educator account.

Once you add your students to the roster, you can directly assign news pieces. Here’s the cool part: There are four unique versions of each article and they all vary in difficulty. Should a student find that the reading level is too easy or difficult, a different version of the same news piece is only a click away.  

As an example, below you’ll find four different versions of the opening paragraph in the article, “Marking U.S. Army means ready to eat, and not ready to throw away.”

1220L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop and stay fresh for up to three years — only to go straight into the trash can if it doesn’t appeal to a soldier’s taste.”

1050L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop and stay fresh for up to three years. But if a soldier doesn't like the taste, it's going to go straight into the trash.”

910L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop and stay fresh for up to three years. But if it doesn't taste good to a soldier, it's going straight to the trash.”

810L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can stay fresh for up to three years. It can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop. But if a soldier doesn't like the taste, it's going get dropped straight into the trash.”

Another convenient feature of Newsela is that each article has a reading comprehension quiz; the results will show up in your digital “binder,” which you can then download to your computer as an Excel file.


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Topics: apps for educators, apps for teachers, common core standards

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