How do you find all this stuff?

At JedCamp South Florida last weekend someone asked me how I learned about all these tech tools I was sharing in my session. It is a question I hear often. The answer is fairly simple…I read and watch and listen. I read edtech articles, I follow edtech chats on twitter, I attend conferences (like FETC, ISTE, and others), and I attend webinars.

One of the best sources for webinars that I have found is www.Edweb.net.  This is a free professional learning community that invites experts in the field to share their ideas with others. While the live webinar may not work time-wise for everyone, you can always watch the recorded version. If you need professional development credit hours, you can get certificates through the webinars, as well.

Webinars are offered most days, for example here is this week’s schedule
Events on December 15, 2014

Top 5 Digital Tools of 2014

Events on December 16, 2014

Journeys in Blended Learning: Key Landmarks for Your School’s Progress

Character Education in a Digital World

Encouraging Student Collaboration Using TodaysMeet and Lino

Events on December 17, 2014

Going Digital: Do’s, Don’ts and Pro-Tips

Hands on Learning: The Power of Interactive Learning in the Library

Events on December 18, 2014

Bringing the Classroom to Life with Green Screen Technology

 Here it a snippet from edweb

edWeb.net is a highly-acclaimed professional social and learning network that has become a vibrant online community for exceptional educators, decision-makers, and influencers who are on the leading edge of innovation in education.

edWeb members are teachers, faculty, administrators, and librarians at K12 and post-secondary institutions. edWeb is a place where educators who are looking for ways to improve teaching and learning can gather and share information and ideas with peers and thought leaders in the industry.

Any educator can use edWeb for free to create a personal learning network or professional learning community to make it easier to collaborate, share ideas, and move forward faster with new ideas and initiatives, particularly those than leverage technology to accelerate improvement.

Schools, districts, associations, non-profits, and education companies are using edWeb for online collaboration, and spreading the word about our easy yet robust platform. edWeb has 75,000 members who have created over 800 online communities.

edWeb.net hosts professional learning communities (PLCs) that offer free webinars and CE certificates. Join one of our online communities to get advice from experts, exchange ideas and resources with peers, ask questions/get answers, and discover ways to improve teaching and learning.

Adaptive Math Learning

Amazing Resources for Educators

Arts & Music in Early Learning

Assessment for Learning

Blended Learning

Connected Teaching and Learning

Digital Citizenship

Digital Classroom: Teaching with Tech

The Digital Educator: Skills for Success

Early Childhood Learning Solutions

edGlobal: Sharing Education Ideas Around the World

EdTech Innovators

Emerging Tech for School Librarians

Game-Based Learning

GetEdFunding

Growing School Gardens

How Video Empowers Education

Ignite Digital Learning

Implementing Common Core Standards in Math

Implementing the Common Core State Standards

Leadership 3.0: Essential Skills for Innovative Leaders

Lessons of Personal Bravery and Self-Sacrifice

LMC @ The Forefront

Mobile Learning Explorations

New Teacher Help

Open Educational Resources (OER) in the K-12 Classroom

Parent Involvement & Community Engagement in K-12

PreK-3 Digital Learning

Real World Literacy and the Common Core

ReEnergize Today’s Connected Classroom

Stop Bullying

Teaching Kids to Code

Teaching Students with Autism

TechTools for the Classroom

Using Technology for Language Instruction

Your Online Guide to E-rate Funding

 

Another popular online learning community is http://www.simplek12.com/.

The Teacher Learning Community is a membership available for teachers just like you who know integrating the latest educational tips and techniques in the classroom will engage their students and increase academic achievement. When you join, you’ll get immediate access to a global network of educators with whom you can share and collaborate, live and recorded webinars with education leaders, a resource center for sharing classroom documents, as well as a collection of over 500 hours of classroom technology how-to videos available anytime anywhere. It’s all the help and support you’ll ever need from your very own personal learning network (PLN)!                ~ From the SimpleK12 website

SimpleK12 has a ton of webinars and classes to offer, but unlike edweb.net, Simplek12 is a paid community. There are a few things for free on the site that you may find useful, so please check it out! I got a free membership as a prize last year and I did a few things on the site, but while the info was great I did not use the site much.

Education Week offers webinars on occasion as well. Find out their schedule by clicking here.

ISTE is another source for information on technology integration. I took one of their courses last year and learned a great deal about theories and beliefs concerning technology. Their members can access webinars and publications geared toward educators.  I attended their conference in the summer of 2014 and came away with a brain full of amazing ideas.

FETC is my favorite tech conference. It occurs every January in Orlando and gives me a boost at the midyear mark to reignite my excitement and passion for educating students and teachers. FETC has a hashtag on Twitter you can follow all year long to learn and connect (#fetc). I invented a new hashtag #learneditatfect for the cool things I am using that I attribute to my time at the conference. They also do a virtual conference once a year to share ideas.

Edmodo has a summer virtual academy that I attend each year. Teachers from around the world share their best practices with Edmodo. This year 3 teachers in my school “attended” and came away with great ideas!

 The information is out there ready for you to take it, will you? I abhor when students sit passively and except me to spoon feed them…so why as educators do we do the same. Seek out a professional learning community on Twitter, locate webinars on your area of interest, attend conferences, join professional organizations…

GO FORTH AND LEARN!

Have other ways to learn about tech tools? Share it in the comments below!

Coding for Kids

This week is dedicated to getting kids in to coding- computer programming! A great organization, www.code.org,  has started to build momentum for coding and gotten many stars of the sports, entertainment, and political realm to join them in getting kids excited about learning computer languages. They have produced amazing videos to pull in students and they also have great lesson plans for teachers. Their coding games are interesting and get kids very excited. They have a new game this year based on Disney’s movie Frozen. Students follow directions from the movie characters to create code that makes … well I want you to find out, so click here and play away!

Frozen-cover-image-620x325

There are also many APPs and other web-based programs that you can use for coding.

APPs
Hopscotch: With this APP you can make several different products. You can make a dancing turkey, a food fight, a fire monster, and a paddleball game. Kids and adults can follow the creation steps fairly easily to make their own coding project with drag and drop blocks.
hopscotch

Daisy the Dinosaur: This is another kid friendly APP with drag and drop blocks that gets kids attention. There is a free play mode and a challenge mode. In free play, you choose what you want to do with Daisy. I made her dance! In challenge, you are given tasks to accomplish. You have to figure out how to make Daisy get from point A to point B. It starts easy and moves to harder levels.
daisy

Scratch is a fabulous program that is web and APP based to teach all levels how to code. You have your cat (Scratch) or other characters and create a scene. I have downloaded Scratch, Jr for my school iPads. It is a similar premise as the web-based Scratch but looks a little more kid like. You drag and drop the motions and movements to create your scene. There are no overt directions, so you have to be intuitive and play with it to learn. I would probably create a how to guide for kids to start with. I liked that I can change the cat’s color and make it my own!
scratchScratch.com

scratchjr

Scratch Jr APP

The Foos: This APP is a game-based program that teaches kids to program. Kids pass levels that progressively get harder. It is easy and a great introduction to coding.

foos

Web-based programs that allow you to work on coding are listed here…I haven’t play them yet.

http://www.tynker.com/

A higher level coding, not with drag and drop http://www.crunchzilla.com/code-monster

Great article with coding programs!

Do you have any coding suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!

Weebly

When I came to my current school 5 years ago I needed to build a website for a class project in my EdD program. I mentioned to my students I had to do this and 3 of my boys said, “Oh we have a website for Miami sports teams, we can show you!” And from there my love of weebly has grown~

Weebly is a cool, free, easy website builder that is user friendly and easy to learn. I have my professional presentations on  my weebly www.nancypenchev.com.  I also placed our Poetry Field Day materials on a weebly website to make it easy for teachers to access materials (www.poetryfieldday.weebly.com). You will notice a difference in the URLs for the webistes. My professional site doesn’t have a weebly domain. I paid for this extra, free site contain the weebly.com domain.

So what can you do with weebly in the classroom? As we have heard many times, when student write for you, they make it good enough. When students publish to the world, they make it shine.  So have kids publish work online! Have them develop an e-portfolio where their best work is stored.  Make a blog page where they record thoughts and learnings in Science. Create a website for their favorite author or sports person. Make a timeline of historical events for the era in history they are studying. Make a state website where they post places in their state to visit, historical facts, fun information, and contact info for the public. Really the possibilities are endless.

But what about internet safety? This is the perfect time to talk about personal information, what is shareable and what is private. With my students we do no publish websites until we are finished with the unit of study and parents give permission. At that point it is no longer a class project and parents accept responsibility.

How to Weebly.com

Go to www.weebly.com

sign up

 Create your free account. Weebly has a video of how to that loads with the option to watch it now or later.

From now on when you visit weebly, you will LOG IN, not sign up. Click log in on the top right side.

naming

You will need to categorize your site, give it a name, and set up your domain name. The URL/domain name can be changed later. 

You will also select your theme for the pages (can be changed later.)

themes

Click Edit beside My Site to open your webpage.

.edit

Now is the fun part…adding your content.

building

 

On the side, click and drag the tools to the work page to build your pages.  You can add titles, text, pictures, links, maps, and more!

To add a page, click the pages button at the top. Then, click ADD +. Choose the type of page and then it will add that page for you. In the free version you can only have 5 pages. I suggest deleting the about and contact page and use those for content, as well.

When you are ready, click the publish button at the top of the page. This will make you website available on the internet.

 

 

This is an assignment page I gave students to practice building pages.

 

Adding pages

Use the internet browser of your choice to go to www.weebly.com

Click log in. Put in your username/email and password

At the top, click pages

Add a page- Standard page

Page name- My school stuff 5th grade, Click Save and Edit

Click My School Stuff on the top bar

Click T for Title and drag it to the page. Make the title “My Fifth Grade Year”

Click Text and drag it over to the page. Type “On this page you will find my projects for this year.”

As the year goes, post your documents , powerpoints, and other school projects here.

At the top, click pages

Add a page- Standard page

Page name- My favorite things, Click Save and Edit

Click  My Favorite Things at the top of the page

Touch Text and drag it over

Type in your favorite things

  1. Food
  2. Book
  3. Clothing
  4. Color
  5. Singer
  6. Sport
  7. Team
  8. Drink
  9. Website
  10. Other stuff

To exit- touch the three lines, exit editor, log out. Show Mrs. P the log out screen to leave