Text 2 Mind Map is a free, online-based outline tool great for concept mapping and pre-writing. It is easy to use, as it organizes hierarchies using tabs/indents in a list, and automatically generating a colorful (and editable graphic). I's even free to grab your final product (into a PDF or JPEG). Some editing features include colors, fonts and "locking" of branches.
As if the David Rumsey Map Collection (http://www.davidrumsey.com/) wasn't cool enough, I am just now discovering the super-neat MapRank feature. This built-in app allows the user to zoom in any region in the world (for example, Baltimore, MD), and view all the maps available in this archive for that region in an easily browse-able column to the right of the search field. Thumbnail previews of the maps, along with dates and other crucial info can also be seen in the list before viewing a full-size map. The list can then be narrowed to a time frame (from 1690 to present) or sorted by a key word/person.
A worthwhile peek for aspiring historians and of course, social studies teachers!
Timetoast.com, a great little 2.0 tool that was launched in April of 2008, eliminates the old-school method of posters and glue! Whether your social studies class is discussing the major events of the US Civil War or your business students are mapping the life of Apple founder, Steve Jobs, this 2.0 tool is sure to please.
Still offered as a free tool (with limited options), TimeToast.com allows users to add an unlimited number of events to their timelines. Each event is abbreviated with a title, picture and date - but when clicked, the event expands to include text and hyperlinks to outside websites!
My only "thumbs down" is to the non-collaborative nature of this tool. The Basic ($5.99/mo) and Pro ($8.99/mo) do offer collaboration, but even this is limited to a set number of users.
I recently discovered EDPuzzle from my Twitter PLN and thought - "wow, this makes me want to be back in the classroom"!
This tool (located at http://edpuzzle.com/) allows you to take educational videos, such as those found within Khan Academy, YouTube, National Geographic, TED (and many more) and alter them to make them your own. In what ways?
What else is great?
This tool is free and allows you to sign-in (required to save) with your Google ID.
With all the recent snow storms and closings here in New Jersey, my mind has been thinking of ways to keep connected to students to avoid fragmented lessons. These EDPuzzle videos are perfect for self-paced learners, replicating a teacher (in case of an absence by the teacher OR the student) and even to "catch up" a single class that was missed due to an assembly or early closing.
What a great tool!
S'more - a website for creating beautiful, media-rich flyers, is revolutionizing the way people "spread the word" about events, sales, and information! This easy-to-use, free platform features drag-and-drop media integration and viewer analysis [number of visitors, tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest]. While the free version of the site offers sufficient capabilities and features for most, businesses and corporations can choose to upgrade to a paid plan for increased month email maximums, personalized URL addresses for flyers, elimination of S'more branding, email tracking, and more! Visit www.smore.com to see examples of trending flyers and for a free registration!
In a recent discussion with a colleague (Thank you, Mark Pisco) over some of the best #educationapps out there, Quick key came up. #QuickKey is an application for iPhones to "scan" student response keys, very similar to the infamous Scantron forms and machine. However, the potential of this app goes far beyond the ancient clicking/red-inking temperamental device we have all seen in faculty rooms. Besides analyzing the quiz/assignment/test question by questions for improved instructional use, this app offers export features into electronic grade books and import features of student rosters.
This app, developed by teachers, is still free and in Beta as of right now, and the founding educators promise even more improvement and features to come. Follow the progress and news about this app by following the founders/developers @4_teachers, visit the website (www.quickkeyapp.com) or download the free app in your app store from you Apple device.
The scramble to gather the proper equipment, tap the necessary networking infrastructure and hammer out a testing schedule has already started in New Jersey to prepare for the shift to the PARCC. However, the most integral piece of this puzzle is how NJ students will handle putting down their No. 2 in place of a mouse.
Testing students on the common core subjects has always traditionally been a paper exam. While content remains the same, the type of questions and skills needed are shifting. While multiple choice questions will be remaining on this digital standardized test, new question types will require student to utilize fine motor skills with their mouse such as "drag and drop". Below of some example questions taken directly from the PARCC website.
As you can see, the correct responses to these questions require more than just content knowledge. It is the responsibility of NJ educators to prepare their students for this shift. As a district Tech Coach, professional development and research are a part of my position. One of the tools I recommend, however, is a "no-brainer": Study Island. This online software is already widely-used by our 3-8 teachers. Study island offers Common Core "practice" quizzes with various question types, with significant overlap in the skills required by the PARCC exam. study Island question types are highlighted in their most recent guide:
Students practicing using digital manipulatives must be an essential portion of preparing for the PARCC exam to ensure the highest levels of achievement. This initiative, along with adjusting to electronic testing in general must come from school educational leaders and sufficient professional development should be provided.
This weekend's #EdCampNJ was truly a meeting of the minds. Educators and tech enthusiasts were summoned from as far as Wisconsin in North Brunswick, NJ on Saturday, 11/23. This notoriously different "unconference" was a first for me.
From the moment you walked into Linwood Middle School, the unprecedented energy levels were complimented by organized chaos. Teachers, administrators, and specialists were buzzing over the "live" session sign-ups. A Google doc was launched the smartphone of all attendees and the fun began. Sessions were conducted and facilitated by the attendees. The dynamic schedule included everything from "LMS for Young Learners" to my personal favorite, "Appy Hour" (Thanks, Dana! @Sirotiak02).
Contributions, best practices and ideas flowed through each session freely.
Hope to make this an annual event with Janet @jantechnj and Matt @sheatech.
Next year's EdCamp: Saturday, 11/22/2014
Supervisor of Instructional Technology, Park Ridge High School