Backwards EdTech Flow Chart

I’m a very visual person, so naturally I’m drawn to charts, diagrams and anything that I can look at and understand.  I’ve made a couple other charts to help people pick technology tools based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and web tools by category.  I’m particularly proud of this new chart that I’ve been working on for quite some time!

Backwards EdTech Flow Chart

Click this image for the full version!

I truly believe technology enhances the classroom, but I never think it should be used just for the sake of using it.  This is another visual I created to help teachers select the right technology tool for the job. I hope it helps you think backwards (or rather the “right” way) to think about selecting a technology tool to use in your class.

It starts by asking what you want students to do, and then you pick a goal, such as explain a concept.  Follow the diagram until you either reach a list of tech tools to help you or your students complete this task or you reach a prompting question, such as “do you need them to do this verbally?” Based on your yes or no answer, you’ll finally come to a list of edtech tools.  All the tools found on the web are hyperlinked.

If you’re not a visual person like myself, scroll to the second page that is just a list of the goals  and all the corresponding links (no prompting questions).

For this, the Bloom’s and the web 2.0 by category chart, visit my website!

What tools or goals would you add to the chart?

Tech To You Later!
Katie

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Untangling the Web: Perfect Summer Read

At the beginning of the week I purchased Steve Dembo and Adam Bellow’s Untangling the Web: 20 Tools to Power Up Your Teaching. I was so impressed by Bellow’s ISTE 2013 Keynote that I had to read his book, and I’m glad I did!

Untangling the Web: 20 Tools to Power Up Your TeachingDembo and Bellow give a detailed description of 20 web tools that any teacher could use in his or her classroom. I was already familiar with a handful of the tools mentioned in the book, but I still learned a great deal about each one of them. This is an excellent resource for any educator, whether they are new to technology in the classroom or an experienced edtech user! Best of all, you get a great sense of what each tool can do without feeling like you’re reading the entire Twilight series; the book is a very quick read!

My favorite aspect of this book is the versatility of each of these tools.  Scrolling through my Twitter feed and some of my favorite edtech online resources, I often feel like so much stuff is aimed at elementary and middle school students or iPad, Android, and mobile users.  Students at my school (grades 9-12) use Tablet PC’s (basically a laptop that you can write on the screen), so I can count any tools that stop at a tablet or mobile app out of our repertoire.  Every single web tool mentioned in the book can be used at any grade level and is intended for a computer, with many of them being mobile/app compatible!

This is the perfect book to read while you soak up the last of the summer sun before returning to school this fall.  It will leave you with tons of ideas to immediately incorporate into your teaching next year.  I’d love to hear what you thought of the book and how you plan to use some of the tools they featured.

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

8 Awesome Free Tech Tools to Create Images, Audio and Video

I’m sure by the time I publish this post, there will be eight more awesome tools to create images, audio and video on the web. In the mean time, I wanted to write about some very cool free tools I’ve come across that students and teachers could use for class projects.  Whether you like it or not, Common Core requires students to create; these eight tools are great aides to student creation.

Images

  1. Fotobabble– This is a great tool for visual and auditory learners.  It’s great when learning vocabulary words, studying foreign languages and more.  You upload a still image and then record yourself for audio in the background of the image.  There are tons of platforms you can share the Fotobabble to, like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr and many more.  You are also given a link directly to your Fotobabble that you can share, and (my personal favorite) you can embed the Fotobabble in a webpage or anything with HTML capability.
  2. Photo Peach– I recently wrote about learning about Photo Peach at ISTE 2013.  Photo Peach lets you instantly create pictures slideshows.  You can add music to the background, titles, text to each of the slides, and more.  The best thing about Photo Peach is it automatically creates transitions and cool effects for you, so even the most novice technology user can have a great looking slideshow.

    Audio

  3. VoiceThread– This is by far one of my favorite web 2.0 tools out there to date.  VoiceThread is like taking a normal online text discussion board and breathing life into it!  The best way to describe VoiceThread is to actually see one.  You only need to watch the first slide to get the idea.  If you decide to use the free version VoiceThread with your students, you can still take advantage of some of the cool features- you’re just limited on the number of VoiceThreads you can create/participate in at one time (when I wrote this the limit was 5) and don’t have access to as many features.
  4. Audacity-Audacity is by no means the most intuitive audio recording tool out there, but it sure beats paying for a service! It’s a great tool for making a voice recording.  Students can summarize a unit, explain a concept, interpret a conversation, etc. In order to convert your recording to an MP3, you will need to make sure you have downloaded the lame file. If you are using Macs, I would recommend Garage Band over Audacity to make an audio voice recording.
  5. UJam– I must be up front about this tool… I have not used it very much yet.  From what I have seen and heard, it sounds like a great tool for many teachers (especially choral and band teachers) to keep in their back pockets.  UJam allows users to easily create songs, even with no music experience.  What a great tool for concept “raps” many students create to show their teachers they understand the content while adding their own creative flare!  More advanced tools are available for people who understand how to create and mix music too. Be careful, or you’ll get caught jam-a-gramming for hours.

    Video

    Go!Animate for Education

    Go!Animate for Education

  6. Stupeflix– I love the videos this tool produces!  It’s very easy to use and creates awesome videos.  The down side- you can only publish one video per email address with the free version.  Stupeflix provides a handful of awesome looking templates that you drag and drop videos and images.  You can add audio or a voice a recording and text to the videos.  The final product is extremely impressive for minimal amount of work and “technical expertise”!  If you plan to make many videos, I’d recommend paying for the service; they offer 95% off for education pricing.
  7. Go!Animate– Easily create animated videos with this tool.  Sometimes the camera man, setting, and actors just aren’t cutting it for what students need.  Allow them to use a tool like Go!Animate to create an animated video.  You’ll never have to deal with camera shy avatars!
  8. Pixton– Along the same lines as Go!Animate, Pixton allows students to create animated comic strips.  Students can easily apply learned concepts to an animated video/comic strip. The free version, For Fun, provides plenty of features.  There are a number of different templates, characters, scenes and much more to chose from to customize your comic strip.  Once your comic is complete, you can email it, share a link, embed the comic and more.

What great image, audio and video web tools do you use?