Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Online Bookmarking

Instead of saving all of your favorites/bookmarks to just your personal computer and limiting the access, you may consider moving your bookmarks to a place that can be accessed from any computer. Saving your favorites/bookmarks in the cloud offers more flexibility and many online bookmarking tools provide ways to share and collaborate your collection of resources with others. Several to consider:

Symbaloo
Help Page
Intro Video

Google Bookmarks
About Google Bookmarks
Google Bookmarklet for Bookmarks Bar

Diigo
Homepage and Intro Video
Other Video Tutorials
Help Page
iPad Diigo App

Pinterest
What is Pinterest?
Help Page
Pinterest iPhone App

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

YPrintit

Free app for creating business cards with QR codes (with added educational uses)
Many templates to choose from

Student Uses:
Inventors
Composers
Historical figures
Market Street job descriptions
Facts - example: give information from the volcano's point of view
Vocabulary words

Card Setup:
Attach links
Give locations (current location, birth place, etc.)
Attach Google Map link
Choose a template that reflects the person or idea on the card

Requires an account attached to an email address. The teacher can set it up with the iPad email address.
Share business cards with other iPads. Store the cards of others in your Rolodex.
To share, open your business card, choose the QR code and have the other person snap the code with the photo option located within the app.
The link becomes active at that point and allows the other user to explore the site associated with that card.
If the card is updated by the creator, it automatically updates in all Rolodex locations where it has been added.

Website: http://www.yprintit.com/
Templates: http://www.yprintit.com/templates/browse/
There are 4 or 5 templates that are not appropriate for student use. They're not so bad as to avoid the app, but they will evoke giggles from young users.
Video Tutorials: http://www.yprintit.com/index/browse/to/Videos

Create a card for George Washington or Wolfgang Mozart or create the card as if you were the volcano that erupted in Pompeii. Give your location, a simple fact, Google Map link or a link to additional information. If you insert a full address in the address section, it will take you there when you click the Location link. This same idea can be used with vocabulary words. Simply add the vocabulary word to the “Full Name” section then add a link to the definition or give a short definition in the "Other" field. Students could also list an address for the origin of the word.

WiFi Photo Transfer App

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wifi-photo-transfer/id380326191?mt=8

Description

Easily access your photo libraries via wifi from any computer with a web browser!

Just start the app and enter the displayed address into the address bar of your browser. Works with any computer that has a modern browser (like desktop or portable computers, iPads or even another iPhone) and is on the same wifi network as your phone, iPod or iPad.

- You can select and transfer multiple photos at once
- EXIF metadata is retained in mass-download mode (not in one-by-one mode)
- Optional password protection for the web interface
- Can also be used to download short videos
- Transfer in full resolution or scaled down
- No extra software required

It's simple yet useful. And it's free.

TCEA Highlight: Publishing Student Books for Free


Looking for a place for your students to publish interactive books online, for free?  Take a look at ePub Bud.  ePub Bud allows students to create their own original eBooks that can then be read online or downloaded to a variety of e-readers.

ePub Bud has a growing library of books written by students on a variety of subjects.  ePub Bud encourages students to rate and share links to books they are reading.  When students are ready to being the process of writing their own book, students use the simple word processing like tools for formatting and editing their story.  ePub Bud also accepts just about any file type so students can also upload original artwork or sound files to read along and personalize their writing.  The possibilities are endless! 

Completed books can then be converted to the standard .epub file format.   Books can then be opened on an iPad, iPhone, iPod, Nook, Kindle Fire, Kobo, or Andriod.  

Visit ePub Bud and start publishing!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Google Advanced Search

Did you know there's WAY more to Google than just typing a word or phrase into the little search box?     


Try out these cool Google searches: 
• Calculator‐ just type your equation into the search box 
• Conversion tool‐ 1 mile in feet, etc. (type into search box) 
• Dictionary‐ “define:” and then the word you want 
• Weather‐ “weather” and then the City 
• Flight‐ Enter the airline and flight number 
• Movies‐ “movie:” and your zip code 


 Want to learn more? Go to http://www.google.com/help/features.html 


Have you ever clicked the "Advanced Search" link at the bottom of the search results page? There you'll find a variety of useful searches.  
https://www.google.com/advanced_search


 "Find pages with..."-  These options will narrow your search by including or excluding specific words or phrases.


"Then narrow your results by..."- Check out these great options for narrowing results by language, last update, specific site, reading level, file type (.docx, .pptx, .pdf, etc.) or usage rights (copyright free).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TCEA Highlight: iPads in Business Education

Charlotte Haley is a business & technology teacher from Gold-Burg ISD. She presented 65-70 Apps, concentrating primarily on apps and lesson ideas for the business classroom. All listed Apps are free unless the price is noted.

Financial Football
Test your money management skills by answering financial questions. Correct answers will allow you to move down the field and score touchdowns.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/financial-football-hd/id387095643?mt=8

Wage Calc
This is a Wage/Salary Calculator that calculates your pay per hour and pay per year.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wagecalc/id415111967?mt=8

College Savings
The College Savings App visually shows the projected cost of college in the future using the current lump sum and monthly savings plan. The App will show if potential future savings fall short of covering the total cost of college. It also illustrates any surplus amount remaining after covering the future cost of college.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/college-savings/id390736637?mt=8

Savings & Interest Calculator 
This App helps you make smarter savings decisions and figure out what it will take to reach your savings goals. Explore “what-if” scenarios for your savings.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/savings-interest-calculator/id384997468?mt=8

DebtCalc ($.99)
This App provides a breakdown of costs and scenarios to better understand the true cost of debt.
http://itunes.apple.com/ke/app/debtcalc/id486611165?mt=8

Bloomberg for iPad
Bloomberg offers news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders/laggers, price charts, market trends analysis, and more. You are also able to create a customized list of stocks that you want to follow from markets around the world.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bloomberg-for-ipad/id364304764?mt=8

Mortgage Payment Calculator
Allows you to determine your monthly payment or run through different loan scenarios. Monthly expenses like HOA and Property Tax are also taken into account.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mortgage-payment-calculator/id374214585?mt=8

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teach with your iPad

One of the afternoon sessions at the Digital Classroom Training on February 16 was a TCEA sharing session.  As one of the high school technologists was going through several great websites to use with students, I stumbled across this one, http://teachwithyouripad.wikispaces.com/iPad+Apps.  This site, created by Nathan Stevens, is an awesome resource for finding educational apps to use with your students.  Categories include searching by subject, type, grade level or even activity!  The site also includes reviews of apps he has personally used.


Backing up one level, I also discovered an iPad Activities page on his wiki: http://teachwithyouripad.wikispaces.com/IPAD+Activities+Examples.  Even if his activities don't fit your grade level or subject, it is an excellent place to start researching.


Check out this great resource!  If you find an app you like, please come back and comment here.  If you come across one that is not free, contact your technologist to find out how to purchase the app for your set.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

QR Code Auto Generator- Great for Open House Projects!



Want to make QR codes to your students' online projects but the thought of doing them one by one is scaring you away?  Have no fear!  The amazing Tammy Worcester has designed a Google Spreadsheet template that will automatically create QR codes for you!  Just paste in the desired URLs and let the spreadsheet do the work. 


To access the template, go to https://docs.google.com and login with your Google account (you can create one for free if you don't already have one.)  Click CREATE and FROM TEMPLATE.  Search the templates for QR and choose "QR Code Auto Generator Template".




Then just follow the directions on the spreadsheet to create and print your codes!


UPDATE:  If you have a problem printing your codes, try going to FILE and DOWNLOAD AS HTML.  Then you should be able to print from the HTML.


For more information and specific instructions, go to Tammy's blog.
http://www.tammyworcester.com/TipOfWeek/TammyWTechTipOfWeek/Entries/2012/1/24_Tip_110_-_Auto_Generate_QR_Codes_in_Google_Spreadsheet%21.html



Monday, February 13, 2012

TCEA Highlight: Shoeboxes, Wikis and Blogs... Oh my!

This TCEA presentation from Keller ISD showcased using a wiki approach to frame the research process. Students use their own wiki page to brainstorm and narrow topics, collect resources, take notes and reflect on their learning process. 


The iSearch method guides the students through the process of identifying and researching topics that interest them using the following questions:
1.  What do I want to know?
2.  Where can I find my answers?
3.  How will I keep a record of the answers that I find?
4.  How will I share what I learned?
5.  How will I know I did a good job?

This is a great printable resource for students to track all the phases of the research process. Use it as a written journal or convert to a wiki page so students can work on their project from anywhere that has Internet access. 


Sample class wiki with sample student pages:  http://isearchpatterson.wikispaces.com/home


To learn more about the iSearch method, go to http://www.isearchusearch.com


Ready to get started using wikis in your classroom?  Check out the GCISD online course "Classroom 2.0: Wikis" in Eduphoria Workshop. It's available 24/7!


How have you used wikis in your classroom?  Leave us a comment to share your ideas.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

TCEA Highlight: Technology & Project Based Learning

The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is the largest state organization devoted to technology in education. We have just returned from their annual conference and over the next couple of weeks will be sharing resources we gathered.


The presentation by Karen Horn of Verizon Thinkfinity reminded me of a great web site that allows teachers to enhance learning with free lesson plans and educational resources, many of which are interactive. If you have never searched Thinkfinity for your content area and grade level you should definitely check it out: http://www.thinkfinity.org/ 


The focus of this presentation was on using technology and project based learning to think about/solve social problems. The presenter referenced the Buck Institute for Education's web site several times showing sample project videos. According to BIE, in project based learning, students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.


Examples shown:


Middle school students create menus, grant letters, commercials, and multimedia presentations for a healthy restaurant. Listen to their vocabulary!
http://www.bie.org/videos/video/my_restaurant_project


ScienceToyMaker is a non-commercial, teacher-created site for people who like to roll up their sleeves and make science toys and projects. 
http://www.sciencetoymaker.org/


In this ScienceNetLinks lesson, students discover the properties of light (radiant) energy from the sun by experimenting with solar collectors, cookers, and calculators.
http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/harnessing-solar-energy/



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

QR Codes


QR codes. They're everywhere... in magazines and newspapers, stores and restaurants.   So what are they and how can you use them in your classroom?


What are they?
A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional barcode that is most commonly encoded with text or a web URL.  The code usually consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.   


For more information about QR codes, check out the Common Craft video here:  http://www.commoncraft.com/video/qr-codes

How it Works:
Step 1- Create the Code:
  1. Go to http://goqr.me/  (Other options are http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ or http://www.qrstuff.com/ )
  2. To create a code to text, click the TEXT tab and type or paste in your text.
  3. To create a code to a website, click the URL tab and type or paste in the website URL.
  4. The code will automatically be created on the right.  Click the OPEN button. 
  5. Your QR code will open in a separate window.  You have 2 options:
    • To print the QR code:  Click FILE and PRINT.
    • To save the QR code as a picture file to add to worksheets, blogs, wikis, web pages, etc.:  Right click the code and choose SAVE PICTURE AS.
Step 2- Use the Code:
The end-user scans the code with a device (smart phone, iTouch, iPad, laptop with web cam, etc.) that has camera capabilities and a QR reader app.  Some recommended apps are:


Cool Lesson Ideas:
Art, Writing and Technology- audio based QR codes
http://langwitches.org/blog/2011/11/22/transliteracy-qr-codes-and-art/


Animal Habitats- text based QR codes
http://techie-bytes.blogspot.com/2011/11/animal-habitat-qr-codes-in-classroom.html


Other Ideas:
https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1KscGBstkGFJkkoahgkMqiHsKeQSm1Rh6uuKDfg3ZPxs




How have you used QR codes in your classroom?  Leave us a comment to share your ideas!

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