Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Digital Citizenship Guide from Edmodo and Common Sense Media

Edmodo and Common Sense Media have partnered to create a digital citizenship starter kit. This seven page PDF contains a three part lesson on digital citizenship. At the completion of the lesson you can have your students take and sign the digital citizenship. The pledge highlights some of the key parts of being a responsible digital citizen. You can see the pledge sheet below.

Applications for Education
You can download the digital citizenship starter kit from this Edmodo page without registering or signing into Edmodo. Even though the kit clearly has a secondary purpose of getting teachers and students to sign-up for Edmodo, it is still a nice little resource for an introductory lesson on digital citizenship.

Tag My Doc - Adds Dropbox and Box Integration

Tag My Doc is a neat service that allows you to put QR codes on any of your documents. I initially tried it out and reviewed it here last fall. Today, the Tag My Doc team sent me an email announcing some new features which include integration with the cloud storage services Dropbox and Box.

You can now connect your Tag My Doc account to your Dropbox or Box account. By connecting your account any document that you use on Tag My Doc can be saved in your Dropbox or Box account. And documents that you have in either of those two storage services can be pulled into Tag My Doc to have QR codes applied to them.

Watch the video below for a fun introduction to Tag My Doc.

Tag My Doc's other new feature is a set of Microsoft Office add-ins. These add-ins allow you to tag, store, and share documents directly within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Applications for Education
Use Tag My Doc to put QR codes on the paper documents you distribute in your classroom. Then students can scan them to save them to their phones and tablets thereby eliminating the need for you to give out extra copies when if your students lose the paper documents you gave them.

Wikispaces Introduces a Nice New Website Style

One of the questions that I am often asked is, "should I create a wiki or a website?" For a while my answer has often been to use Google Sites which can be used for both purposes. Today, Wikispaces introduced a new template that offers the flexibility to use Wikispaces as a website and as a tool for collaboration.

The new Wikispaces Editable Website Wiki Type allows you to Wikispaces to create webpages that don't show all of the navigation, editing, and discussion links that you typically see when viewing a Wikispaces page. The new Editable Website Wiki Type retains all of the editing and collaboration options that you have when using a standard Wikispaces page type.

There are two ways to activate the new Wikispaces Editable Website Wiki Type. If you're creating a new wiki select Editable Website Wiki Type during the set-up process. If you have existing wikis that you would like to convert to the new Editable Website Wiki Type sign into your wiki then open the "manage wiki" menu and then the "wiki info" menu to change the wiki type.

Applications for Education
The new Editable Website Wiki Type bridges the gap between websites and wikis. The new style could be perfect for having students create digital portfolios of work they have done in your courses. For more ideas on using wikis in education please see 5 Ways You Can Use Wikis.

Problem Attic - Quickly Create Practice Assessments

Problem Attic is a free service that allows you to quickly create practice tests and flashcards for social studies, language arts, mathematics, and science. Problem Attic has a collection of more than 45,000 questions from past New York Regents exams. To create your practice tests on Problem Attic you simply create a new document then browse through questions and pin them to your document. After you have pinned all of the questions that you want in your document you can arrange the order in which they appear in your document. Finally, before printing your document you choose and set the page formatting.

Applications for Education
Even though I live and work in Maine, one of my former department chairpersons was a big fan of using old New York Regents exam questions as essay prompts and review activities with his students. In my travels and work with teachers in other parts of the U.S. I've talked with other teachers who also like to use old exams for the same purpose. If you like to use old exam questions as review materials, Problem Attic is a service that you should try.

Historical Thinking Matters - Multimedia Investigations in U.S. History

Historical Thinking Matters features four fantastic historical thinking investigation activities for students. Through the investigations students learn about the Spanish-American War, the Scopes Trial, Rosa Parks, and Social Security.

Each of the investigations provides students with background information in the forms of video, images, audio, and text (both primary and secondary sources). As students progress through the investigations they can use the Historical Thinking Matters student notebook to answer guiding questions and take notes. At the end of the investigation students are asked to write short essays. After completing their essays students can email their work including the notes from their notebooks directly to their teachers.
Applications for Education
Historical Thinking Matters is site that every teacher of U.S. History should bookmark. Through the investigations students not only learn about the four events in the series, they also develop skills in analyzing primary sources. And ff you want to create your own historical thinking investigations, Historical Thinking Matters provides a good model to follow.