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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Free Webinar - Five Fun Uses of Comics In the Classroom

Back in January and February I conducted a couple of free webinars about digital storytelling with comics. Storyboard That has offered to sponsor a new webinar. In this next webinar hosted by StoryboardThat.com and FreeTech4Teachers.com we'll take a look at five engaging ways to teach with comics. The webinar will be held at 7pm Eastern Time on April 30th. Click here to register.

1. Create digital citizenship lessons.
2. Create alternative book reports.
3. Teach literary terms.
4. Tell personal stories with anonymous characters.
5. Create classroom procedure stories.

Even if you cannot attend the live session, register anyway so that you can receive the recording of the webinar. Click here to register.

Monday, April 21, 2014

EverySlide - Share Your Slides and Run Polls At the Same Time

EverySlide is a free (for educators and students) service that allows you to share your slides directly to the iPads, laptops, Chromebooks, and Android devices used by members of your audience. As you move through your shared slides you can pop-up a poll to gather feedback from your audience.

EverySlide supports PowerPoint and Keynote slides. To get started just upload your slides to EverySlide (you can re-use uploaded slides for multiple groups). When you're ready to present give your audience the access code for your slides. At the end of your presentation you can grab a spreadsheet of the responses to your poll questions. Watch the video below for an overview of EverySlide.


Everyslide - your old slides made interactive from KPicture Inc. on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
In a 1:1 classroom EverySlide could be an excellent tool for gathering feedback from students while conducting a lesson. When your students are presenting to the class they can use EverySlide to share their slides with you.

The Dirt on Dirt - An Earth Day Lesson for Pre-K through First Grade Students

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Last week I shared 14 Earth Day-related resources. That list is comprised of resources for middle school and high school setting. If you want resources for elementary school students, take a look at the offerings from PBS Learning Media.

One of PBS Learning Media's featured Earth Day lessons for elementary school students is The Dirt on Dirt. The Dirt on Dirt features Sid the Science Kid teaching children what dirt is made of, what lives in dirt, and why clean dirt is important to the Earth.

Applications for Education
The fourth video in the Dirt on Dirt series features students collecting dirt and recording their observations about their samples. You could do this at school or you might consider adding it to your classroom website or newsletter as an activity suggestion to parents who want to continue in-class lessons at home with their children.

Teach Students About Architecture and Building With This Free Guide from the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has some neat resources for teachers and students. One of the resources that I've recently downloaded is the Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide.

The Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide provides the history of six types of buildings and architectural features. At the conclusion of each section there is a hands-on activity for students to try in your classroom. For example at the end of the section on timber framing you will find directions for an activity in which students attempt to create a model building with straws or pipe cleaners. At the end of the section on stained glass students can try to create their own "stained glass" panels with tissue papers, ribbons, and glue.

Applications for Education
Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide provides a nice history of building styles and architectural features that students may see on a regular basis. To extend the activities have your students look in their communities for examples of the buildings and architectural features that they read about in the guide. The text of the guide and the activities are appropriate for elementary school (grades 3-5) students. At that level you may consider incorporating some basic geometry principles at are present in the buildings and architectural features highlighted in the activity guide.

OpenStudy Launches a Mobile App for Making Studying Social

OpenStudy is a free service that allows students to create online study groups. Students can create groups to share notes and ask each other questions. OpenStudy currently claims more than one million users. MIT OpenCourseWare has named OpenStudy its official study help partner. Last week OpenStudy released an iOS app for students to use to participate in study groups on the go.


At its most basic Open Study is a message board for students in search of help answering difficult questions. Students could use it just for that purpose, but Open Study provides more than that. Open Study offers students the option to create or join online study groups, subscribe to other students' updates, and provides students with a place to record their notes online. Students can register for Open Study using their email addresses or connect to Open Study with their Facebook accounts.

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