Technology Education Know-How

Helping Teachers Teach with Technology
March 30th, 2012

Free Stock Footage for Your School’s Video Projects

This week I was in the need for some stock video footage for our school’s morning news broadcast when I ran across http://www.stockfootageforfree.com.  Stock Footage for Free has some phenomenal FREE stock footage that you can use for any purpose.  You will have to create an account, but that is free also.

The footage that they offer free is quality footage from several categories such as Animals, Looping Backgrounds, Sports, Holidays, and lots more.  They also offer some footage on DVD right now for shipping cost only.  It’s worth checking out.

Keep in mind that their goal is that you will like what you see and use for free and later return to buy some of their paid footage.  I for one think that is fair.  And knowing me, I probably will.  I like to support that kind of service.

Enjoy your videoing!  Leave a comment if you know of other places to get free stock video footage.

January 18th, 2012

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google

Here is an awesome collection of pictures from Time Life. http://images.google.com/hosted/life
These pictures capture some of the forgotten moments in our History. There are millions of images dating as far back as 1750 that you and your students have access to. These are images that LIFE took but never published, yet they capture such rich snippets of history.

As an automobile enthusiast this picture of the first Rolls Royce car from 1903 sure captured my eye.

The first Rolls Royce from 1903

The First Rolls Royce in 1903

I sure could have used this when I was a student and writing those papers about cars. What about that student that you have that just lives for sports? Here is a picture of Muhammad Ali raising his gloves victoriously after knocking out Oscar Bonavena in 1971.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali in 1971

This resource can be used for many lessons in history, writing, math and even science as you look at how technology has changed over time. Technology should not just be about computers but all innovations.

You can use these images as writing prompts as they compare and contrast the there and then to the here and now or they can write about what it must have been like during those days working on the big oil derricks and no A/C to come home to.

Oil in 1943

Oil in 1943

Often our students hear about walking to school in the snow, uphill and barefooted. Now they can see the picture.

Snow at School

Snow at School

OK, so they were not barefooted but most people that tell that story never went barefooted either. ;-)

The ways you can use photography, images and historical photos is endless. The good part is that they can be used in every subject area. Leave a comment letting me and others know how you used the LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.

November 28th, 2011

Geocaching for the Classroom

Over the past few weeks I’ve become acquainted and interested in Geocaching.  As always, I’m looking for ways to use Technology, Life Experience and Fun in the classroom.  The more I get involved with Geocaching I see tons of ways it can be used in Math, LA/Writing, Social Studies, Science. This weekend for me was one of PE (Physical Education).  WOW, my legs hurt from the climbing!  I would like us to take a look a few of the ways that Geocaching can be used in each of these subject areas.

Math – With Geocaching students will be using GPS waypoints to find locations. Students can solve a math problem to get the waypoints. Then plug the waypoints into the GPS and find the cache.

Math – Students can use their GPS to calculate speed, distance and plot on a graph. They can answer questions about time, distance, area and speed.  They can then use their information to solve other scenarios without even leaving the classroom.

LA – I’m sure you’ve heard of picture prompts.  What about location prompts!?  Enough said…

LA – Students could create progressive stories.  If you have 4 or 5 groups with a GPS, each group could Geocache to different locations with each group crossing to each Geocache.  Each group will write a new paragraph to the progressive story at each Geocache.  At the end every story should be complete with a beginning,middle, and end.  Each group has written all 3 parts but in different stories.

SS – As a 4th grade teacher I’m a little partial to studying the Indians so my example will for that but can be used for other areas.   You can create waypoints of study.  In studying the Native Americans we would study their shelter, food, tools and regions.  I would create a Geocashe for each one of those topics.  At each stop the students would have to study, read or observe information about those topics and answer questions about each.  I would include pictures, essays, etc so the students could get a good idea of the concepts.  After completing the Shelter Geocashe they would move to the Food cash learning more information.

SS – Students are required to study maps in Social Studies so this is a great way to tie in maps.  They are learning Latitude & Longitude, Coordinates, Cardinal directions.

Science – Each Geocache can contain instructions on completing a Science activity such a building a lever, surveying what object has the most buoyancy, categorizing and then they can create a podcast explaining their findings, experience and results.

Science – You can also have learning stations setup at different Caching locations where the students participate in a learning activity. I remember at certain times of the year we would have our students rotate classes going to each teacher’s room where they would teach a specific related concept like Crust, Core, Mantel, Volcanoes, Landforms, Platelets, etc.   (plants, oxygen, photosynthesis, light, etc.) At the end of the Geocaching experience every student has rotated through each concept either learning new information or review former knowledge.

The ideas of how to use Geocaching are endless.  If your school campus is not big enough to Geocache then a nearby park would be a good location for these experiences.  If you have one of the new cell phones with GPS such as the Palm Pre, Blackberry or iPhone give this a try yourself.  After you’ve done it 2 or 3 times you will find all kinds of ways to use this with your students.  If you would like a listing of the Geocachings around your local area go to http://www.geocaching.com/ put in your zip code and you’ll find lots of them around you.  Each one will have a GPS co-ordinance for you to plug in and then you track it down.  We visited Inks Lake in Central Texas this weekend and did some Geocaching and my 3rd grader and Kindergartner loved it.  Not only that. I was able to give them a real world experience that they can use for prior knowledge in their Writing, Science, Social Studies and Math.

Please leave a comment telling all the ways you have used or are thinking of using Geocaching with your students.

March 9th, 2010

137 Years of Popular Science Magazine is Archived with Google

Popular Science Magazine has partnered with Google to host 137 years of POPSCI archives.   http://www.popsci.com/archives Popular Science magazine could be and is a great resource for research projects in education.

As a student in the late ‘70s and throughout the ‘80s education wasn’t very individualized. I was often forced to read and study the same exact thing as everyone else.  Well… this just didn’t work for me.  I had no interest in whether or not PUG could run, jump or chase Jane or Ted.  But yes, at an early age I had an interest in technology, science, but mostly how those things worked.  Oh yea, I also had a love for cars!  The funny thing is, all of my teachers knew it but never tapped into this love or interest.  If they had I believe my success in education could have been much different.

Many of my teachers thought I needed to be self medicated, but in when it all came down I just needed to be self educated!  I needed my teachers to tap into my interest.  I would sit in class all day thinking about school ending so I could go work in my dad’s shop. I wanted to get my hands dirty, figure out how things worked, fix stuff, install radios, change oil, build model cars, work on my go cart, etc.  But never, not one time did any of my teachers bring in a set of gears to teach me how my bike worked, never brought in a magazine or book that talked about how leavers worked in a braking system on a car. Now THAT would have changed my outlook on education.

To this day I could tell you that I probably haven’t completed 10 fiction books over my entire life.  I can actually remember 3.  C.L.U.T.Z , Runaway Ralph ,  The Mouse and the Motorcycle .  I even knew when I went to the Book Mobile (You young wiper snappers can find out what that is here.) that I wanted books about my interests Robots and motorcycles.  Why my teachers couldn’t figure it out I’ll never know.

These magazine archives could very well offer some of your students an opportunity to read, study and learn from their interest.  Popular Science Magazine covers a vast variety of topics.  So, I encourage you to tap into your students interests and allow them to flourish.  Remember, their education isn’t about you, it’s about them!

I hope that you find this resource helpful.  Please leave comments of how you intend on using it with your students.

February 7th, 2010

Plagiarism Checker

This week I was scouring my Diigo Online Bookmarking for things that I may have missed from my network due to my being so busy this month. I ran across this online “Plagiarism Checker” app. http://www.dustball.com/cs/plagiarism.checker/ You can copy/past or type in the text of your students report or essay. It scours the web while checking the paper. It compares the text and lets you know where there may be plagiarism. It gives you a link to click to check the resource that may be the text’s plagiarism source. You can then confirm or establish that it is or is not plagiarism.
I tested it out and it seems to be very effective. I hope you enjoy and find it helpful. I’ll be posting more tools in the near future. Sorry for the cutback on posts. It has been busy this school year.

June 10th, 2009

Taking the Summer off from Blogging

This summer I’m going to concentrate on family, so I’ll be taking the summer off from blogging. I’ll pick it back up when school starts in Aug. I hope to see you back here then! In the meantime feel free to check out the past posts. I’m sure you’ll find some helpful ideas. Check ya later gaiter!

May 8th, 2009

Tying in Current Events, Week of 5/7/09

The Swine Flu or N1H1 virus has been the biggest news outside of our Presidential Election. There is no doubt that our students have heard about it from the news, friends, parents, or even their teachers.
Every kid gets excited about the idea of getting out of school, but do they know the ramifications behind it? – make up days, learning, food purchased for lunches, economy This is the perfect way to tie in Calendar, money and other math concepts depending on your grade level.

This is obviously a prime opportunity to tie in health content as well. 4th and 5th grade need good hygiene lessons this time of the year anyway, so why not use this as the tie in. lol My wife tells me of her elementary years in New Zealand and how they had time in the schedule to brush their teeth after their lunch meals. Her teeth are a lot better than mine now. I wonder if we took the time to take health issues more serious if we’d be a healthier America now. What are your student’s thoughts about this?

Another way to tie this into your curriculum is by writing about it. Over the last few weeks I’ve heard a lot of opinions about how to solve the problem or what should be done. What are your student’s opinions? Have them take the time to research the issue, think out a resolve, and have them write about how they would solve the issue if they were in charge. Other students have fears about it because it has become such a big deal. If we give our students the opportunity to write about that we may be surprised at their concerns.

As a 4th grade teacher I once gave an assignment similar to this and it changed my perspective forever. Without any details, I gave one student a voice to be able to get some things out that she had obviously been dying to tell someone. She always had a smile so before that essay I had no idea that she had been going through such sad things. It totally changed the way I was able to teach my students.

Anyway, back on track. Maps, you can teach maps, geography, continents, etc. by plotting the course of the N1H1 Virus. Using Google Maps or other tools you can plot the growth and spread of the virus. Students can really start to realize we live in a small world after all. ;-)

Again, reach into your bank of ideas and see where you can use this current event and leave a post telling us about it. Economics teachers, Journalism teachers and Science teachers should have a hay day with this current event.

May 7th, 2009

Online Tools for Poetry in the Classroom

A few weeks back I twittered out to my PLN to get ideas for online resources that 4th grade could use in their poetry lessons. I wanted to share some of those ideas I got back with you.

1. http://www.Piclits.com
I tested this site out and had lots of fun with it. You can pick a background that goes with your poem and thin type your poem out on it. Or, you can accept the challenge to select a background and use a limited word bank to write a creative poem. I did both and it was a challenge but a good experience. I signed up for an account so I could embed the picture and poem into my wiki page or blog. That’s probably the coolest part about it. It generates the code for me to embed it. This is a cool way to share your poetry with the world, family or just your classroom.

2. http://www.voicethread.com
I played around with Voice Thread a year or so ago and introduced it to a lot of people but I never thought of using it as a tool for poetry. Good Idea! Students can create their poem on a Voice Thread and other students in the class can leave “constructive” comments on it. The final product can then be imbedded into a class wiki or blog. Voice Thread provides all the necessary code for it. This is an awesome idea! If you pay for the upgrade version you can even do more cool stuff, but I like free! (This is also a good way to teach your students about appropriate responses and constructive input.)

3. http://www.voki.com
I thought this was a good way to make every student want to do poetry. You can have all of your students create a personalized Voki Avatar that recites their poem. What kid wouldn’t want to create one of these? (This is also a good way to help your students with public speaking ability along with proper word annunciation.)

4. http://www.writerhymes.com/
Poetry often includes rhyming words and this tool can help them when they are stuck. You simply type in the word you want to rhyme hold down the Ctrl key and click it. It then gives you a nice list of words to pick from. They simply pick the word they need and continue writing. It’s kinda like the happy place between a Dictionary and a Thesaurus.

5. http://www.poetrycollaboration.wikispaces.com
This page has several good examples of poetry, ways to teach it and even a sample of a Voice Thread being used in a poetry lesson. It’s full of resources so check it out. It will take you to other great tools that can be used. It’s well worth a look.

Thanks to all who gave input via Twitter, helping to provide these awesome ideas! If you have other ideas, tools or links please leave a comment. Your ideas help others,thanks!

April 1st, 2009

Tying in Current Events, week of 3/29/09

Growing up, my generation wasn’t very exposed to the world around us. I do remember when one of our classrooms got a TV with cable so we could watch a space shuttle mission launch. Today our students have access to current events like never before due to things like twitter, facebook, mobile tv, personal home pages similar to Yahoo, RSS readers and TV in general. Yes, most of the current events that they adhere to are entertainment related, but none the less, they are involved.

We as teachers should take the current events of our time and build meaningful lessons out of them, but being careful to not push our own political views or ideals from the headlines but true meaningful lessons. Of course my goal is that you incorporate technology into that lesson.

So, in order to help, I’m going to start posting a “Tying in Technology to Current Events” posts every so often. This week I want to take a look at the new “White House Garden News” .

What lessons can be done from this? Just off the top of my head I think of:
1. Health – A study on the importance of Fruits and Vegetables.
2. Math – Students can do calculations for savings. Take a news paper add and determine what it would cost at the store to feed your family and then how much they saved by growing it themselves.
3. History – Have them research how gardens have helped in recessions of the past.
4. LA – Write a persuasive paper on why more people should grow home gardens.
5. Politics – Have students talk and write about what this does for the Obam’s politically.
6. Science – Turn this idea into a Science project for your school and grow a school garden.

The lessons are endless. These are not the only lessons in each of these areas that can be used. I can think of several more Math lessons as well as LA lessons. The important part is that you tie in current events with the student’s learning.

How do these lessons tying in technology? Each student should present his/her findings in some form of digital media, and the teacher should provide several digital medias for the student to resource for their projects. News articles, TV News Clips, etc.

Please, take the time to leave a comment about other ways you see that this “Current Event” can be used in education.

March 26th, 2009

Free Software from Microsoft (for students and teachers)

Yes, that’s right. Microsoft is giving away free software to students and teachers. Microsoft wants to encourage students to learn new skills in Web Design, Engineering, Math and Science using their developer tools. Some of the software they are giving away is Visual Studio Pro, Expression Studio(including expression web, expression design, expression blend, expression media), Visual Web Developer, Game Studio 3.0 and much more. They even have software for Robotics!

With the software that Microsoft is giving away, your students can learn to design web pages, build video games for the PC, XBOX, and Mobile Windows as well as write programs to kick off their futures. What student wouldn’t want to learn that?! Who knows, maybe they’ll end up on Dancing With the Stars tv show like Steve Wozniak the co founder of Apple Computers. (The man is genius but he sure can’t dance. lol)

Stop by www.DreamSpark.com to check out the details. Students and Teachers will need to provide proof of academic status before you are allowed to download. If your district or school is not listed you will need to have an account with www.JourneyEd.com. It may take a few days to get your confirmation back from them once you provide your academic status proof, but it is well worth it to get several hundreds of dollars in free software. That’s less time than it would take if you ordered it and paid for it. It only took a picture of my school ID and two days to get my approval.

Here is an article and video by Chris Pirillo with more details. http://chris.pirillo.com/how-to-get-free-microsoft-software/

What are you waiting for get on over to www.dreamspark.com and read the details to get started with your free software. Your students will love you for giving them something for free!