Tech News!

Looking for the latest classroom technology news and resources?  Look no further!  The ERC posts brief articles here which spotlight cool tools that can help make teaching more fun and learning more active.  Be sure to bookmark this page and come back often.

  • Views: 149 Tech News! Khan Academy iPad App

    Available for free in the iTunes App Store, this official Khan Academy app (unlike the third party apps previously developed) features over 2,700 educational videos for use in K-12 classrooms.  For teachers who are already utilizing the online Khan Academy resources (www.khanacademy.org), you can log in to your Khan Academy account to obtain  credit for watching videos as well as track goals and achievements from within the app.  Users are able to browse by subtitle and download videos and playlists for offline viewing.  While the practice exercises found within the online version are not currently available via the app, reports indicate that these are "coming soon".  If you are an iPad user, be sure to check out this incredible resource!  

  • Views: 225 Tech News! iPads, Google and Bloom's Taxonomy

    The name Kathy Schrock has been synonymous with technology integration for two decades and her educational following continues to grow.  Kathy Schrock has continued as a technology pace-setter with her interactive image maps of Bloom’s Taxonomy.   These image maps identify specific Google Tools and iPad apps that correlate to the various levels of Bloom.  Incorporated into ERC Google and iPad classes, these thinking skills maps have been found by our teachers to be a highly valuable resource! 

  • Views: 244 Kleinspiration: A Must Use Tech & Teaching Resource

    A Pearl among the Many Oysters!  Chances are all educators have found a few blogs to follow for teaching ideas, technology integration, or personal reflection. Every now and then there is an exceptional site that must be shared with educators--in this particular case, the elementary teacher.   In this beautiful, attention-getting website, Erin Klein, has quickly developed an award-winning site, Kleinspiration.  In less than a year, Mrs. Klein’s site has received one of the Top 50 Elementary Teacher Blogs by Teacher Certification Degrees awards.  Sharing ideas, lessons, and tech integration activities from her classroom, there’s more to this site than pedagogy.  There are cool tool links to products like a USB Beverage Cooler and a staple-less stapler.  Coupon links, web tools and software recommendations round out the endless supply of teacher aides to assist curriculum and tech-minded elementary teachers.  

  • Views: 114 Tech News! Geocaching and Your Cell Phone

    While spring is just around the corner, now is the time to plan your first geocaching event or field trip.  There is no better example of integrating technology in the classroom than by geocaching.  One activity in geocaching immerses students in geography, science, and mathematics, while developing critical thinking skills, team building, and collaboration.  By definition geocaching is a treasure hunt to discover an item or location by using a global position system (GPS).  Previously, in classrooms, teachers used handheld GPS devices for their projects, often costing the district $100 per unit.   However, today, a GPS application is readily available on most cell phones, FREE or for a nominal charge.  Latitude 47 is one of many teachers’ blogs sharing geocaching activities.  Richard Byrne,  in his Free Technology for Teachers blog, provides an overview of geocaching and the intrinsic benefits for students beyond the academic value.  Teachers have the option of participating in geocaches in the surrounding area or to create their own.  Here’s a quick link to The Official Global GPS Geocaching  website  and to an article  Getting Started.  Consider a practice geocaching event in the school or on the school campus, after the holidays, to jump-start students in their studies and practice the geocaching skills for the spring treasure hunt adventure. 

  • Views: 202 Tech News! StudyLadder

    A scaffolded learning program for English literacy and mathematics in the elementary and junior high classrooms, StudyLadder may be just the answer for reinforcement of content, intervention, or the resource classroom that educators seek.  The curriculum is engaging with videos, interactive activities, worksheets and assessments for each learner. Developed by teachers to aide the classroom teacher and parents, the program is aligned to various national curriculum requirements.  Available for schools, parents, and home schoolers, a free, limited version of the program is available for exploration and evaluation.  The free version for teachers, permits student enrollment of 30+ students and 24-hour access to the content.  While Studyladder promotes English literacy and mathematics, units on science, music, health and safety, art, and interactive whiteboard activities are also available.  Share this resource with your colleagues and  explore the benefits of Studyladder for your classroom, department, and school needs.  

  • Views: 112 Tech News! Practice for Test Taking

    Switch  to Shmoop for Student Help with High-Stake Writing Tests

    If there was only one website available for English and Humanities teachers, shmoop might be that one site.  A favorite with teachers AND their students, the pun-ish, fresh, and trendy writing style is sure to attract your students for help in their course studies.  And now, preparing for OGT and writing tests becomes a little easier for teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors.  All that is needed is a quick registration for a user name and password, and students are guided through a specific writing prompt and instruction.  Follow the step-by-step directions (and help) and students are on the road to a successful essay.  Teachers who have not visited shmoop before are encouraged to spend some time viewing the curriculum areas.  New categories for Mythology and Biology have been added, yet a favorite for students is the category Bestsellers.  Round out your visit to shmoop by scouting the teacher resources and the subscription services for ACT, PSAT, SAT, and AP tests that can be shared with parents.  

  • Views: 165 Tech News! Creative and Inspiring Alternatives to Book Reports

    Just about everyone has experienced an exciting movie trailer at the theater, leading him or her back to the movie-plex to see that advertised comedy, sci-fi, or thriller.  Book publishers started a similar trend a few years ago by producing “book trailers” to promote soon-to-be-released fiction and non-fiction titles.  A Year of Goodbyes by Debbie Levy or the award-winning novel Shipbreaker by Paola Bacigalupi are two examples of professionally produced book trailers.  Now, teachers are grabbing the idea of book trailers, book commercials, and book talks to replace traditional book reports.  Taking advantage of student camera/video phones, Web 2.0 tools, and computer software, students are integrating 21st Century Skills with curriculum requirements.   Check out these student book trailers by Ms. Amanda’s 6th grade class of their favorite novels.  Using tools such as Windows Movie Maker, Animoto, or PhotoStory, students have discovered new enthusiasm for traditional book reports.  Librarians might consider the same technology for highlighting new books in the media center.  The Hub is just one example of librarians going digital with book announcements.  For more information about creating a book trailer, book talk, or book commercial, eHow’s link, How to Make a Book Trailer will be helpful.

  • Views: 119 Tech News! - LiveBinders

    Create, Share, or Retrieve Educational Content with LiveBinders

    Advertised as “the knowledge sharing place,” LiveBinders is a free online service to collect, organize, and present resources for personal reference or to share with colleagues or the student community.  It is the sharing feature that is most attractive to educators who are seeking activities and web resources to integrate into their classroom activities.  Perhaps teachers need animal web cams for a science unit, or a counselor requires college resources for counselees.  Some educators may be exploring ways to use Twitter in the classroom, or need to share supplemental study resources with students/parents.  Enterprising teachers, wanting a web repository for classroom activities and resources, can quickly and efficiently create “binders” for easy access for students/parents.  LiveBinders may just have the answer and the resources 21st Century teachers require.  

    The American Association of School Librarians recognized LiveBinders as one of the top web sites for 2011.  To see a sampling of some of the best “binders,” take a look at the Top Ten of 2011.  The service is free, however, subscription services are available for those needing more storage space.  Additionally, LiveBinders allows students over 13 years of age to use the site to create their own resource binders for research management or project presentations. 

  • Views: 137 Tech News! - PDFescape

    A Lifesaver for Completing PDF Forms Electronically

    Perhaps your school district has an online repository of pdfs for lesson plans, travel reports, supply requests, or personal leave forms.  Typically, educators must print those, painstakingly complete them by hand and then mail the completed form using the interoffice mail system.  In this push to a paperless society, perhaps PDFescape will be the answer.  With this free online tool, educators upload their pdf document, and simply complete the form online by creating a text box, or deleting text placeholders with the application’s editing tools.  Once the pdf form has been completed, save the pdf  to your desktop and print; or enjoy a paperless approach by saving the document and attaching it in an email to the appropriate department. 

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