Tag Archives: edtech

Leela Kids

The “Wow in the World” podcast from NPR is just one of the many kid-friendly podcasts that can be curated by the Leela Kids app, which is available on iOS or Android. Download the app to your mobile device (search for it under “iPhone Only” in the iTunes store – even though it works fine on iPads), and open it up to see a simple menu that allows you to choose an age bracket (3-5, 5-8, 8-12, 12-15*) and a category (Stories, Music, Animals, Ocean, Space, and Curious).  Once you’ve made your selections, you can then see either a list of specific episodes or the list of shows that provide those episodes.  The duration of each podcast episode is listed under the title.  Some are a minute long, while others can be almost a half hour.

How could you use this?  Well, as a parent and/or a teacher you may know how difficult it is to search for appropriate podcasts.  Now you have a treasury your children can listen to during long car trips or in classroom centers with a set of headphones.  The great thing about this is that podcasts have frequent updates so there is a slight chance that you will never run out of episodes!

If you are using this in the classroom, you can gather student reflections using a response sheet like this one from Chase March.  Students searching for topics for Genius Hour projects may find something that they may want to research further. Another idea is to use the app to find relevant podcast links for class, and embed those links in a Hyperdoc.

As you can see, there are many ways to use podcasts in class, and the Leela Kids app just made it even easier.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 8.12.55 PM.png
Leela Kids App

*If you teach secondary students, here is an article on “Likewise,” a more robust collection of podcasts that can be used in the classroom.

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What You Might Have Missed This Summer

Summer break is over – at least for many of the public school teachers in Texas who return to work today.  Of course, many of us never really stopped working over the last couple of months, fitting in workshops and lesson planning in between trips to the beach and afternoon naps.

I’ve been saving educational articles of interest to Pocket all summer, and I thought I would share some of the news that I curated that might have some impact on your planning for the new school year.  I would love for you to share any other summer education news that I’ve missed in the comments below!

What You Missed

  • Osmo put out two new games this summer, Coding (near the beginning of the summer) and most recently Monster (described as “The Creative Set”).  My summer camp students loved the Coding game, and I’ve just ordered Monster.
  • Speaking of tangible coding, Google has announced “Project Bloks,” which looks pretty intriguing.  The Bloks aren’t available to the public yet, but you can sign up on their interest page to get updates on the program.
  • In other Google news, the Expeditions VR app is now available on Android with expectations to release it on other platforms later this year.  Also, there is a free Cast for Education app that I am really interested in that supposedly allows students to project their work without the need for other hardware/software like Chromecast, Apple TV, or Reflector.  Richard Byrne has a blog post on a new add-on for Google Docs called The Lesson Plan Tool.  By the way, if you want to keep updated on new Google Classroom features, here is a good page to bookmark.
  • When it comes to lesson planning, Amazon Inspire might be your go-to site as soon as it becomes available, with free access to educational resources.  Sign up for early access now.
  • Think about allowing your students to show off what they’ve learned during those great lessons with Class Dojo’s new feature: Student Stories.
  • You may have somehow escaped the Pokemon Go craze, but your students probably haven’t.  Here are some ways to use it educationally.
  • Words with Friends now has an Edu version that is free and can be played on the web or on mobile devices.  I haven’t tried it, but it looks like it even has materials aligned to Common Core.
  • Breakout Edu has Back to School games.
  • Canva now has an iPhone app.
  • YouCubed released Week of Inspirational Math 2 last week.  This is a great way to start your students off with a growth mindset in math.

Do you have some education news that we might have missed this summer?  Be sure to add it in the comments below!

 

Zoom

During the past couple of classes, my 5th graders have been teleconferencing with a drone “handler,” Mr. Moore, we are working with for an upcoming field trip.  Last week, the students got to talk to Mr. Moore and one of our Mitchell Lake guides to finalize some of the details for the trip.  For both conferences, we used Zoom, a free teleconferencing product that works on pretty much any device.

We have previously used Skype and Google Hangouts for teleconferencing in our class.  There are advantages to all three, but I have to say that Zoom has seemed the easiest to get up and running.  This could be because I’ve already used the other two, so I’m getting used to way teleconferencing works.  It could also be because Mr. Moore set up both conferences with Zoom, so all I had to do was click on a link and launch the application 🙂

Multiple people can be on screen during a Zoom teleconference. You can also share your computer screen with the participants, which was a nice feature as Mr. Moore jumped back and forth between the drone software and showing us the actual drone and its batteries. There is a whiteboard where participants can collaborate, and you are able to record your conference.  Unable to get to a computer for our second conference, Mr. Moore was able to join us using his smart phone.

If you are already happy with your teleconference product, and it has all of the above, then you probably don’t need to change. However, Zoom might be a nice option for beginners or people who are having problems with some of the other choices they are using.

zoom

Rock the Lab

Laura Moore of “Learn Moore Stuff” has been working hard on a new site to help the teachers in our district integrate technology. The site is called, “Rock the Lab,” and it contains many fabulous lessons that integrate technology with standards for the grade levels.  You may not find some of it applicable to you if you are outside of our district, but I have a feeling many of the resources would be useful to elementary educators around the world.  You should definitely take a good look at what the site has to offer – especially if you are a Star Wars fan 😉

image from Laura Moore's "Rock the Lab"
image from Laura Moore’s “Rock the Lab

#NationOfMakers

According to the White House, the United States is celebrating a “National Week of Making” from 6/12-6/18 this year.  A National Maker Faire was held in Washington, D.C., on the 12th and 13th, and people all of the country are sharing ideas with the #nationofmakers hashtag.  You can go to this link to get ideas on ways to engage in making.

As many of you know, I am a huge proponent of the “maker movement” – especially within our schools.  It’s good to see it getting this kind of attention for the 2nd year in a row.

For a list of makers who participated in the National Maker Faire, check out this page.  You will see new ideas and new people that you might want to reach out to for “maker” advice.

If you would like some more resources, I have a Pinterest Board full of ideas and links to great websites for Makers!

image from
image from Go Make video on A Nation of Makers

Quiver 3D Coloring App

Before you download this app (available in Google Play or iTunes), please note that it is not “Quiver – The Matchmaking Game.”  Trust me, you don’t want that on your elementary classroom iPads 😉

Quiver-3D Coloring App is the new face of ColAR, an augmented reality app that brought colored pages to life.  In fact, when you go to the Quiver website, you will probably recognize some of the same coloring pages that were offered by ColAR.  One of my favorite free pages, the one they offer for Dot Day, is thankfully still there – although it now has “Quiver” across the top.

Quiver offers a few new free pages of particular interest to educators.  I think the Animal Cell one was part of the ColAR inventory, but I hadn’t seen the Planet Earth or Volcano ones before. I played with the Planet Earth one last night, and wish I had seen it before my last class with my 1st graders.  They were learning about the continents, and would have flipped over the augmented reality – especially the different viewing options of the earth, being able to manipulate it, and the ability to take pictures and video.

Planet Earth Page: You can choose different modes - including one that shows your own coloring and designs
Planet Earth Page: You can choose different modes – including one that shows your own coloring and designs

I decided to check out “Magic Letter” (also free).  I have absolutely no idea what the characters are saying or what the writing is, but the video that shows up when you scan it is very cute.  As you can see, it looks a bit like an award certificate, so I put my name on it to see what it would do.  At the end of the video, the characters hold up the “letter” with your writing and confetti flies.

Magic LetterLike Zookazam, there are free features and paid features in Quiver. Really, though, the free ones are only limited by your students’ creativity.

For more augmented reality fun, check out my resource page here. There are lessons, activities, and app suggestions. For these last few days of school, augmented reality might be just the thing to  engage your students.

 

Tech Stuff I Love

First of all, a big shout out to the awesome ladies I met at TCEA from Lamar Consolidated School District yesterday – @spletkalcisd, @KBoneGT, @imrielee and @StacieQuarles!  Meeting them absolutely made my day!

Based on yesterday’s poll, here are the things I hope to share at TCEA on Thursday morning:

made with Canva
made with Canva

Canva

An awesome free web tool (and iOS app) for creating graphic designs in many different formats.  Disclaimer: I recently wrote lesson plans for Canva’s Teaching Materials section in their Design School.   

Augmented Reality

Click on the link above to go to my Augmented Reality Resource page, which is full of ideas for lessons, activities, web tools, and apps. It also includes links to tutorials for Aurasma and Daqri, two of the best tools for creating auras.  Here are a few of my own lessons:

Cubelets

If you have a Maker Space or any room for creativity in your time with students at all, I highly recommend these robots from Modular Robotics.  You can click on the header link to learn more.  Put this at the top of your list for any grant application.  They are pricey, but well worth it.  I have seen so many creative combinations from the students as they put different cubes together to make robots that move based on temperature, distance, and light.  They’ve made drawing robots and spent twenty minutes figuring out how to combine every Cubelet we have to make the robot in the video below.  There are Lego Adapters to add, and really there is no limit to the imagination with these fun cubes that connect magnetically. There is even a Bluetooth one so you can control your robot with a mobile device.  Don’t forget to check out the Lesson Plans! (Ironically, this is the one product that I’m hawking that will cost you money – yet I have no stake in it at all!)

By the way, this may be a spoiler if you read it before our 10:30 session – but don’t skip!  There are several other people presenting, and they will have more awesome things to share!  Plus, I’m bringing some of the toys to play with in case you want to try them out before or after the session 🙂