Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 30 - Empower the Community!

Since beginning the ICATS 30 Day Challenge, we have brought to focus nearly 60 tools, websites, and applications for digital learning across the spectrum of subjects and grade levels.  We have had guest bloggers from our EVSC Community of Digital Educators (C.O.D.E.) share their personal classroom favorites.  Looking at the scope of the challenge we can see that as of the time this post was written there have been more than 2500 unique visitors to the blog in the last 2 months and additionally over 2000 comments to the challenges have been presented.  The comments to the blog have included new ideas and thoughts from educators around the country and globe as to how they could use the challenges to enhance learning for their students.  Additionally, many new web tools and applications have been shared and commented on by you, the digital community, in the process.

Today's Challenge is for you to empower each other!

The Challenge:

What challenge would you present that we have not been able to add to ours?   Please think of at least one digital tool, app, website, etc... that you could empower others with. Share your challenge in a comment to this post including a brief introduction to the challenge, helpful resources, and share how you have used it with your students.

As a reminder, if you have not already done so, those participating in the full challenge will need to fill out the eligibility form from the post "5 More Days"on 12/6 to be entered in the drawings.  However, we look forward to seeing what you have been working on with your learners regardless of whether you have been participating all along throughout the challenge!  We will have a wrap-up post on Tuesday December 18th.  Thanks for participating in the ICATS 30-Day Challenge!

44 comments:

  1. Before I post my website, I want to thank everyone involved in this challenge. I learned probably more than I can process at this time and look forward to further exploration of all the new things in this challenge.
    There are two sites I use daily: symbaloo.com and Edmodo.com

    Symbaloo.com is a site that lets you curate all your bookmarks. It is my homepage and the homepage of my students. Not only can you curate all of your bookmarks in one place, you can search by topic and get "webmixes" created by others which leads to more awesome websites. Doing research with a class and want to limit where students search? Create a web mix for project. Lots of uses here.

    Edmodo.com is a site for each class you teach. Create a class, post a survey, quiz, homework assignment, Anything! It looks like Facebook and students love it. They can do homework from site and submit it to you to be graded online. Students can send you messages just like Facebook. Another teacher was using it for her classes and when I first saw a student on the site I wanted to know how they got around our proxy to Facebook. They gave me an Edmodo tour of their class and I have been hooked ever since. Site even has apps you can embed in your site, groups of teachers who communicate about subject matter (another way to expand your PLN). Lots of stuff here!

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    1. Debra, Thanks for participating in the Challenge! I have enjoyed reading your comments each day. These are both great sites. We actually looked at using Edmodo for our LMS before choosing My Big Campus. A good learning management system, no matter which one is a great way to bring lots of technology together for our students!
      Symbaloo is also a great site, Nice example of the webmixes! See our 11/4/11 post for more info on Symbaloo!

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    2. Kris,

      Was there a tally spreadsheet this time? I missed it.

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    3. Katy,
      I did not publish it this time. I am still keeping one though. We have asked is several places now that anyone who feels they are eligible should fill out the form on the "5More Days!" post. Anyone who is close and may have accidentally missed one or two I will let know via email if there is an issue. Otherwise expect that if you have been fulfilling the challenge each day that you are good for the drawings. We will announce the winners next Tuesday 12/18/12.
      Thanks!

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  2. I am not really sure what to post here since we have covered so much. I am going to say that I would put up Google docs because a lot of people in the education world know about it, but don't know all it can do. The kids love the ability to all access a project and work on it at once. I personally have used it to create a form for my wife to use to keep track of evaluation notes for reviews of other workers in her job. It is really amazing what you can do with it in a simple amount of time.

    I would challenge you to make a quick informal form for the kids to fill out as a homework assignment or during class and watch the result come into the Google spreadsheet and show the kids the summary. (You could also make a form and share the link with the 30 day challenge group so they could see how it works instead of having them do it with their classes.) This could empower them to make questionnaires to hand out to their classmates to graph data etc... Who knows. Lots of possibilities.

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    1. Google documents are another good one. I use a google docs for everything I used to use Microsoft Office for. That includes the eligibility form in this post and the tally spreadsheet I am using to keep track of comments on the blog. Nice one!

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    2. Kris,

      Was there a tally sheet for this challenge? I remember it from last time. Thanks to everyone for the great ideas. Your hard work and diligence is much appreciated!

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    3. Katy,
      See my reply above.
      Thanks!

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  3. Blabberize.com is a great site that lets a picture come to life and speak for itself!

    Google Reader--the BEST place to get ideas from the blogs you follow!

    Learnist.com-like pinterest, but a great place to get ideas from other educators

    SnackTools.com--a resource that will allow students to take a basic presentation and make it something incredible!

    This blog has been great!! Thanks for all the ideas and information!!!

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  4. I could not run my classes without my Weebly websites. My partner and I run the entire Shepard Academy junior block through our Weebly site, posting all content, files, instructions - anything related to the courses we teach. I also have a Weebly site for my AP Lit/Comp class, and while its content is different - the course has a textbook - I still post all introductory material, assignment information, document files, flipcharts, and powerpoints there. Weebly sites are easy to create and edit and are visually appealing. Visit our cites to see for yourself.

    Shepard Academy - http://shepardacademyjuniorblock.weebly.com/
    AP Lit/Comp - http://mrscoyapenglish.weebly.com/

    If you don't want to use the site for your classroom, it's a great tool for student projects. My students have presented multigenre research papers using a Weebly site. Here are some examples:

    http://grimmbrothers.weebly.com/index.html

    http://motownempire.weebly.com/index.html

    Currently, some students have chosen to use Weebly as the format for their electronic portfolio of speeches from this semester's Advanced Speech class. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

    Visit www.weebly.com to get started.

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    1. Weebly is a great web creation site. I really liked seeing examples from your students websites! Both examples were interesting, I especially enjoyed reading about the comparisons and history behind Disney's Grimm Brothers tales.

      For more information on Weebly sites, check out our post from 10/26/11.

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  5. I think I mentioned this app in an earlier post, but it has been an invaluable part of my small group instruction. It is the ABC Magnetic Alphabet app from iTunes. I work with elementary students, teaching small group guided reading lessons for the majority of the day. This app prevents me from lugging around plastic letters, and it also engages the kids, because everyone likes to use the iPad! I do making words activities, but I also have my older kids explore prefixes, suffixes, and roots. The app also has pictures, symbols, and numbers, so it could be used for math activities as well.

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    1. Love it! I have pre-schooler at home that would enjoy using this one. For more ideas on apps to use check out this google doc on must have iPad apps. goo.gl/eXQ64

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  6. I heard about Mangahigh (http://www.mangahigh.com) from our middle school math teachers during a vertical alignment meeting. It is a math games website that a teacher can use to provide remediation or extra practice on a HUGE variety of math topics. It is free, and the teacher sets up the accounts for the students. It didn't take too long for me to set them up. I printed out their user and password and I keep the slips on my desk, handing them out when needed. The first time I tried it, I could have heard a pin drop! EVERY student was playing the games, answering math questions, and competing with each other for the highest score. There are different "medals" that students can earn and I incorporated that into my classroom tickets that I give out. I had one low ability student so into this site that she would keep replaying the same game (same standards) to try and get a higher score. I had a few games set up for them and she didn't want to get off the one she had started. When the class ended, she was so surprised that the time had flown by so quickly. It was great to see. The site also gives the teacher a decent chart about student progress.

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    1. OK,... I watched the demo video but didn't want to sign up for an account. So I tried one of the sample games on angles.... I started working through the levels myself and was sad when the demo levels ended.... Needless to say I will be making an account. This will be a great math engagement tool for younger and older math learners alike!

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    2. One of my go-to sites for vocabulary building is Quizlet.com. Quizlet is free and fantastic for creating vocabulary lists for students. You can create classes for students to join. You can also check to see which students have been studying the lists and which have not, though it is a bit of a tedious process to check individually.

      The best feature of Quizlet, or at least it's the best to me, is that it has a game students can play a game called scatter. It takes random words from the list and their corresponding definitions and puts them all over the screen. Students must click and drag the word or definition to its match to clear the screen. The game is timed and it records every time so that students can compete against each other for the fastest time.

      Of course, Quizlet has other features. It creates flashcards for the terms. It has study modes: speller, learn, and test. It also has another game called space race.

      I use Quizlet in all my Latin classes and my Etymology class. In fact, before each vocabulary quiz for Etymology I would reward the top five times with a piece of candy as an extra incentive to get students studying. I see a lot of students use quizlet during the study time I give before a vocabulary test. You could use it across the curriculum because all classes have terms and definitions that students need to know.

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    3. Quizlet is great. I like that when I am creating the flash cards, I can choose from definitions that others have already created. It really saves time in the creation end of the site.

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  7. Where to start...
    I use pinterest daily for home and school. I follow so many cool teachers that have great ideas! So if not on pinterst (men join too); start pinning!
    Sqworl wasn't listed in this 30 day challenge (was it last year?); a place to store most used websites; similar to symballo but looks more formal.
    Also sites like goo.gl and bit.ly to make long url's shorter for kids.
    Edutopia for ideas...
    i learn technology page (blocked at school...)
    And more !!
    Great 30 days!!

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    1. Leah, Thanks for contributing! Sqworl was not presented last fall either, Although we did do one on Symbaloo. URL shorteners are great as well, I just used Goo.gl in a comment earlier this morning. I would like to selfishly add MBCurl.me to the list of url shorteners. It is the My Big Campus version of url shortener that also creates a filter for that url.

      Thanks Again!

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  8. chemthink.com is a fun tool for chemistry. I use chemthink.com as a way to make direct instruction more interactive for my students.

    We've already talked about twitter, but I would challenge teachers to take part in a education- or technology- related chat on twitter for PD. Using a hashtag with your posts, you can join in a variety of chats. A list of some common education related chats and what day/time they take place are found here: http://t.co/VNIuO1D0 . You never know what you may learn from them.

    Another interesting tool, is "showme.com" You can see videos other teachers have created and can create your own. You could have students make tutorials, use it as a tool to flip your classroom, or use it to differentiate to different groups of kids.

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    1. I just thought of another tech tool that's been helpful this year. Using icloud to create calendars to share with students has been a big help in keeping our Link Crew kids on the same page. It only works with those who have iphones, but that happens to be a large percentage of my students. I can also share a link to the calendar with the others. I like it because when an event pops up, I can just add to the calendar and everyone's calendar is automatically updated. I also created a finals calendar to share with my students so they know when the review and finals day are scheduled. One student likes them so much she requested that I share my 'christmas tv specials' calendar with her, too.

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    2. Thank you Michelle! I have never used Chemthink.com, but it looks like it would fit right in with the interactive simulations bucket. Good share, Thanks!

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  9. One of my favorite tools continues to be YouTube. I can post videos of my students for both students and parents and I can find the best players for my students to model. I can also link the videos through My Big Campus and or Facebook.
    A second favorite tool is Dropbox. In our district, the different music directors have a shared dropbox folder that we post videos in for feedback from each other. It is a great way to collaborate with one another.

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    1. All good resources, Thanks for taking the Challenge Aaron!

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  10. This has already be shared, but my favorite tools involve cloud storage. I have nearly all of my files in a cloud of some sort and am trying to get my students to understand the importance of using their Google Drive. These tools make it so easy to share files with others and collaborate with students and colleagues. Apps for each program make it easy to sync my files on all of my devices.

    My favorite "cloud" is dropbox. I've found it to be more user friendly than Google Drive or box.com.

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    1. Tim Wilhelmus created a livebinder on how to backup you files using both flashdrives and multiple cloud storage options (Dropbox, GoogleDrive, and My Big Campus "Your Stuff"). Here is the link to the livebinder. http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=638835

      There is also a post on Dropbox from this blog on 11/1/11 that will help you get started with an account. Just announced this week on Dropbox, you can now also share your dropbox folders with people that do not have a dropbox account!

      Thanks for your participation and your guest blog post on 11/20/12 over PhotoStory 3!

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    2. FYI- don't rely completely on MBC as cloud stoarge.

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  11. Again, thank you for all the great sites that have been shared during this 30 day challenge. Some of the sites that I use a lot, for myself and the students are Pinterest, choosemyplate.gov and bls.gov/oco. Pinterest is full of both lesson plans and recipes, bulletin board ideas, project ideas - I LOVE IT. Choosemyplate is a nutrition based website that contains info. on the USDA myplate, as well as other nutrition related topics. We use the food tracker in class so that students can see both what they are eating, and what they need to eat more of. There are also games and video clips on this site. Bls.gov is a site that we use in class when studying careers to find out what various careers are about, the job outlook, as well as salaries. Our 8th graders do job shadowing, and we find out more about the business they are visiting by looking here. These sites could be used in a variety of ways though. There are so many others, but these are the first three that came to mind!

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    1. Love the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Although I think it is "bls.gov/ooh". I used to use this site with my 8th graders as well for a weekly activity where they would research careers. So glad they started putting the info on a website. The alternative of passing around the 3 inch thick hardcopy was not cool!

      Thanks for sharing on the Blog!

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  12. I also thought about all the map/webcam apps I use in class. I have several apps on my iPad that I can show on my Promethean Board. I don't have one in particular I use more than others, but it is convenient to have an atlas at my fingertips when I need to reference a place quickly. There are also several game apps involving map practice, such as stack the states or stack the countries.

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  13. Thanks again to all the ICATS, CODE, and teachers for putting this on again this year and for posting such wonderful, great, awesome, and FREE ideas! I can't believe this is already over. I have once again found many great ideas to use, investigate, and try. One idea that I found, through my masters class, is a site called www.projectfoundry.org. Project Foundry is an online learning management and student portfolio system that allows students to design projects, keep track of deadlines and communicate their needs to their teachers. I have not used it yet as I just found out about it last week. You can take a tour on line. The students set their goals for project deadlines and it helps them see where they are at on their goals. I can see this being very beneficial especially for our flipped classroom teachers. I hope everyone enjoys all the sites and activities presented during this 30 day challenge and that it will be presented again next year. Thanks again!

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  14. Wow! What a great way to share new programs on the web. I am overwhelmed, but truly excited. I have started quite a few new programs from the 30 Day Challenge. Thanks everyone!

    Also, one program that wasn't mentioned that I use with my class is MOBY MATH. This program initially tests the kids. After the testing, it gives them personal math problems based on the testing. It has great reports for teachers to follow up. Check it out!

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  15. I love using Pinterest! It is highly geared toward elementary, but there are so many creative ideas that can be deepened or "upgraded" to a higher level of thinking (not the right word, but I can't think of the one I want at the moment). It is also a nice visual and a great way to maintain work in one place. I also find the interface easier than Livebinders, but I wish that a picture wasn't necessary all the time, because I've found some great things I can't put on Pinterest because there is no image!

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    1. Karla, Thank you for your comment here and also for the time you put into guest blogging here on the 30 Day Challenge! Your posts on Scootpad, NoRedInk, and Learnzillion were great!

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  16. I saw someone else already post this, but I am loving Google Docs this year. Having access to documents anywhere, is wonderful. It has been especially helpful for thos students who have netbooks being repaired. They can work on their documents from any computer they have access to. I have also really liked them being able to collaborate on projects without excuses. No more, "My work is on my partner's computer, and they're absent."


    In addition, I found another site called teacher's toolbox. It has links to many useful classroom tools such as clocks, timers, spinners, counter, forms, templates, etc. http://community.eflclassroom.com/page/teachers-toolbox

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  17. Kathy,
    Glad to see that you have embraced Google docs! Thanks for the new site!

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  18. One program that I love is MyInstantClassroom.com. It is very easy to sign-up/use. You can save your seating charts & groups in PDF format for use later. It is very easy to use and I can copy and paste in a class list in a minute and have groups ready to go. Thanks for all the great challenges this year! See ya next year!

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  19. So, I've really enjoyed this challenge. It's my first year for it! I will say I'm a bit overwhelmed, but I'm looking forward reviewing posts in the future and taking more action!

    This year I've discovered sheppardsoftware.com and love it. It is filled with learning games for elementary aged students (although there may be some middle school appropriate topics). It tests so many specific topics, and the kids really enjoy them. The best part it is totally free!

    I use this on my math workshop days. It is one of my stations. It doesn't seem to matter what math topic I'm on, they have a game for it! Check it out!

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  20. Thank you for this amazing 30 days! I have learned so much and have plugged into so many new tools!

    The few web tools that I couldn't live without are Weebly and Wallwisher. I post almost everything to my Weebly, and my families appreciate seeing what's going on in our class each day. Wallwisher lets me see the students' learning in a quick and easy way.

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  21. A tool called Voki has made a world of difference for my students who are desparately shy of presenting. www.voki.com. You type in text, design an avatar, choose a voice, and the avatar read the text in funny accents. It's a lifesaver for those kids who would otherwise take an F rather than get up in front of the class. The only drawback is that the length of the text is limited. I am planning at some point to sign up for the educator version to see if there are additional tools involved.

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