Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘technology integration’

5 Chrome browser extensions that you probably haven’t heard about but need to be using

It’s not a secret. I say it a couple times a week:

“If Google was a person, I’d marry it.”

And not just for it’s money. (Though that would be nice.) I love how the Google universe has something for everyone. Elementary. Middle and high school. Different content areas. A variety of tools for consuming and creating. VR. Digital literacy.

You don’t have to look very hard before you find something you can use.

But one of the easiest things you can use is the Google Chrome browser and what Google calls Chrome extensions.

A Chrome extension is basically a small piece of software that you download from the Chrome Web Store and add to your Chrome browser. These little pieces of software extend the capabilities of the browser across multiple web sites and do something that the browser itself can’t do. Most extensions add a button to your browser’s taskbar to provide a clickable shortcut for doing, well . . . something. This might be a tool that helps you annotate text or provides text to speech capabilities or helps you edit screenshots.

There are thousands of these little pieces of code. Many designed to help you do your job better.

And I’ve got my favorites. Here are five that that many teachers I work with haven’t heard of but should be using: Read more

Wakelet. Cause Mary is a genius.

I’ve always known that Mary F. is smart. She’s been a K-12 teacher, a technology coach, and a college instructor. She’s leading the way with our year-long tech integration study group. And I’m pretty sure she had a side gig consulting with Google as they’re struggled with the new Gmail rollout.

And last Friday . . . smartness confirmed. She shared a new tool that I had never heard of before.

Wakelet.

And it’s very cool. Turns out a ton of people are using Wakelet to deal with the imminent death of Storify. But as Mary and I started chatting, we began to realize that there is a lot of power in Wakelet beyond just Read more

Flipgrid is not a misfit toy: 10 ways that it can engage kids and improve historical thinking

A few weeks ago, I got hooked back into Flipgrid. I joined several years ago and messed with it a bit. Talked with others about it. Used it a few times. And then, like a lot of the new tools I get the chance to play with, I threw it on the pile with the rest of the Island of Misfit Toys.

Not that it was broken. Some other shiny thing caught my attention and I moved on.

Then last month I needed something quick, easy, and fun to use with a group of elementary teachers for a reflection activity. So . . .Flipgrid. And it was awesome. So I’m back.

Not sure what Flipgrid is? Read more

The 10 best social studies sites of all time

Last week at the Kansas state social studies conference, I got into the kind of conversation that really doesn’t have an end. You know the kind. Think best flavor of Thanksgiving pie. The discussion can go on forever.

And last week’s question? What are the best online sites and tools for social studies teachers?

Yup. No problem.

We obviously didn’t finish the conversation. But it was great hearing what others use and see as valuable. So today . . . I’m opening up the discussion to you. Here’s a list of my new top ten best social studies sites of all time, in no particular order. (And of all time, I mean the list as of today. I’m headed to the NCSS conference tomorrow. Trust me. The list will look different next week.)

What would you add or subtract? Read more

Old school virtual reality. What could your students do with this?

Most of you know that I’m a sucker for anything VR. I love Google Cardboard and Expeditions. The NYTVR app is an incredible tool for creating emotion and empathy with our kids. And who doesn’t enjoy Youtube channels like Virtually There?

So it shouldn’t be a big surprise that I also can’t get enough of the old timey stereographs and stereoscopes. You know . . . old school VR. Virtual reality before the Googles.

Before Cardboard, there were ViewMasters. And before ViewMasters, there were stereoviews and stereoscopes. The process was basically the same – two photographs of the same scene were taken from two slightly different perspectives and then mounted side by side on a card. The photos would appear three-dimensional when used with the stereoscope viewing device.

And the effect on people was the same then as it is today when your kids are using Google Street View to hike around the Pyramids.

In 1859, Oliver Wendell Holmes described the impact: Read more

Tip of the Week: Edji and 5+ ways emjois can improve historical thinking skills

No, I didn’t see it.

So I can’t say with 100% certainty that The Emjoi Movie was as terrible as the critics say it was. But apparently  . . . it really was terrible. Not even Patrick Stewart and Sofía Vergara could save it.

But . . . wait for it.

Using emojis as part of your instructional design can help improve student thinking and literacy skills.

I know. I know. You’re thinking that using little graphic images instead of text is no way to teach historical thinking and literacy. And you’d be right. But what if we used little graphic images, great guiding questions, proven historical thinking strategies together with reading and writing activities?

Now I think we’ve got something.

You can get an idea of the potential by taking a look at how Omaha middle school teacher Lance Mosier used emojis to help kids understand what life was like for soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Read more