Students attempting to text in class might be the bane of teachers everywhere, but even the most jaded luddite would have to admit: Tablets and smartphones in the classroom bring a number of advantages too. From greater student engagement to an expansion of the learning environment beyond normal school hours, gadgets can open new educational doors. But hardware is only part of the puzzle. You also need the right software to spool up those eager young minds.

That’s where these come in. From creating lesson plans and keeping attendance, to behavior records and communicating with students outside the classroom, these apps let teachers harness tech instead of fighting it. Knowing, it turns out, really is half the battle.

Dropbox (free)

Dropbox App FinalChances are you’re already familiar with Dropbox. The service and accompanying application are terrific when it comes time to upload and store presentation photos, assignments, videos, and anything else you might need to access while at home or in the classroom. The dedicated app also lets you create and edit Microsoft Office files on your mobile device, and moreover, share file links with your students so you don’t have to clutter their inbox with a cacophony of enormous files.

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Pocket (free)

Pocket App PhotoEducation takes place inside and out of the classroom. That said, Pocket gives you a way to quickly save articles, videos, and other Web content that might seem pertinent to your current or future class lectures. The app also lets you view anything you save offline, while presenting your articles with an easy-to-view layout that typically enhances the reading experience, regardless of your device. Sharing that enlightening article on the Roanoke colonists with your students couldn’t be easier.

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ClassDojo (free)

ClassDojoClassDojo isn’t your typical classroom-management platform. Whereas others concern themselves with gold stars and charts, this app lets teachers emphasize positive feedback, allowing you to elaborate on the behavior of your students with comments such as “working hard” or “participating.” You can even send parents public and private messages regarding their child’s progress, and if they desire to do so, they can view their child’s feedback in real-time. No school newsletter required.

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eBackpack (free)

eBackpackLackluster name and interface aside, eBackpack excels where other collaboration tools do not. The app allows you to share information and course assignments with a class or individual group, while subsequently providing you the tools to annotate and grade said assignments before digitally returning them. Additionally, you can upload items from you camera roll and provide audio and video feedback wherever you see fit. Classroom discussions and chat functionality are just a bonus.

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Creative Writing Prompts ($3)

Creative App PhotoWriting can be a difficult task, particularly when you’re just beginning to learn the ropes. Creative Writing Prompts aides both teachers and students alike, though, offering more than 1,000 starting lines and unique prompts designed to improve one’s writing process. The app also lets you save and share your work via a host of social media avenues, and while it might be more suitable for free writing than anything else, the daily writing reminders help keep you motivated regardless of the circumstance.

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Edmodo (free)

Edmondo 1

Edmodo allows the discussion to continue even after that school bell rings. Teachers and students can share content and use the app as a conduit for new information or notifications, submitting assignments and receiving grades in the process. The ability for teachers to post assignments, messages, polls and quizzes, while providing access to relevant resources and calendars, is simply invaluable.

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Teacher’s Assistant Pro: Classroom Management Notes ($6)

Teacher's Assistant Pro App

Organization is key in the classroom, but it’s not always easy. Teacher’s Assistant Pro allows you to keep a set of behavior records for each student in your care, offering a quick method for looking up and noting bad behavior, and letting you email specific incidents from directly within the app’s main interface.

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Teacher Aide Pro 2 ($15)

Teacher Aide App

Teacher Aide 2 is the Android counterpart to Teacher’s Assistant Pro, allowing you to easily record attendance and student information. Clicking a student’s name reveals their contact information and that of their parents, providing options for calling and emailing on the spot. The app even houses a gradebook function for assigning different weights to assignments.

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ScreenChomp (free)

Screenchomp 3

As a clever alternative to standard presentations, ScreenChomp allows you to record your own narrations as you sketch out and explain an idea on your iPad. Whether you sketch on a plain background or choose a specific image from your camera roll, you can explain as you go after sharing the video with students or other educators via a unique URL or downloadable MP4.

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Educreations (free)

Educreations App

Simply put, Educreations is an interactive whiteboard app that allows you to create easy to follow tutorials for students. You can record audio to narrate your actions as well, allowing you to create diagrams, commentary, simple animations, or instructions with coupled audio covering any topic. Plus, you can share video via email, Facebook, or Twitter in addition to the classroom.

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SkyBlue App Final

Flashcards are a time-tested method of study, but they can be easy to loose track of given their size and durability. With Studyblue, teachers can create digital sets of flashcards, study guides, and quizzes, each complete with optional audio and video. Moreover, students can create and share their own sets of flashcards and study tools, giving them a convenient place to start studying outside of simple lectures and text books. For $8 a month per semester, students have access to more study materials with StudyBlue PRO.

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Splashtop Whiteboard ($35)

Splashtop App

The whiteboard as you knew it is dead. Splashtop Whiteboard lets you turn your tablet into an interactive whiteboard controllable via Wi-Fi. Once connected to a computer, the app also allows you to watch Flash media with fully synchronized video and audio, control PC and Mac applications, annotate existing content, and even create instructional tutorials that easily integrate with existing whiteboard technology.

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TED (free)

TED App Final

You can’t go wrong with TED. The organization’s official app houses hundreds of inspiring and intriguing TED Talks, featuring fascinating lectures from industry and subject matter experts spanning a wide swath of categorical topics (neuroscience, traditional folk music, human evolution, etc.). Some of them are perfectly suited for sparking classroom discussions and online debates, while others can serve as inspiration for educators creating new lesson plans or lectures.

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Zite (free)

Zite App 3

The innovative, magazine-like Zite culls content such as relevant blog posts, news articles, and videos from an exhaustive bank of more than 40,000 chosen topics. The app learns your preferences over time, customizing displayed content using a robust algorithm, rendering it ideal for teachers who want to stay on top of the latest subject matter and find the latest news to share with students without having to spend hours scouring the Web every afternoon.

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Blackboard Mobile Learn (free)

Blackboard Mobile Learn App

Transparency and collaboration are pivotal with students. With Blackboard Mobile Learn, you can send push notifications regarding course activity and start discussion boards among your students, and even post blogs, grades, and announcements in addition to mobile-friendly exams and other content items. Though some schools offer the app for free, a life-long personal license only costs a mere $6.

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Class Messenger (free)

Class Messenger 1

Class Messenger is a way for teachers to keep parents privately aware of what is going on in their child’s classroom. Teachers can send messages individual parents or those of the entire class, reminding them of upcoming school trips, prompting them to volunteer, or surveying them regarding certain material. Messages and push notifications also sync across both mobile and desktop platforms, ensuring up-to-date content.

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Classroom Organizer (free)

Classroom Organizer 1

Though kids are held responsible when checking out books from the library, keeping track of books within the classroom is a different story. With Classroom Organizer, you can scan a book’s respective bar code whenever a child checks it out, pairing the kid’s name with the book and keeping a visible record of who possesses what without having to manually enter ISBN numbers for each individual book or purchase a traditional and unnecessary USB scanner.

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Remind101 (free)

Remind App 1

As the apt name might imply, Remind101 allows teachers to safely send reminder texts to students. Communication only goes one way, meaning you can easily send encouraging messages or reminders about upcoming assignments or quizzes without being bombarded with questions. Students can sign up by texting a specific number, or simply receive reminders via email if they prefer, and the app never discloses the number or email of either party involved. Parents can even sign up to stay in the loop.

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Subtext (free)

Subtext App 1

Subtext is the ultimate way to keep kids in track with assigned readings. You can easily embed discussion topics directly into the reading, while additionally allowing students to view added information and make comments regarding certain highlighted passages. Students can also double-tap any word to access the app’s built-in dictionary, or simply mark key sentences and paragraphs. A $30 subscription even lets you track student progress.

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Trello (free)

Trello App 1

Group projects can be difficult when everyone is operating on a different schedule and page. Fortunately, Trello lets students stay organized, providing handy tools designed to keep them on task. The app allows them to create checklists, upload images, and assign tasks to other users among other actions, while conveniently syncing content across devices via the cloud. Content is displayed within a card-peppered interface, with options to easily delete tasks once completed.

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Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/best-apps-for-teachers-education/#ixzz3jjn0Lf00
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Today’s Education Should Be About Giving Learners Voice and Choice

Δημοσιεύθηκε αρχικά στο User Generated Education:

Some of the recurring themes of my conference presentations and blog posts include:

The underlying theme of all of my ideas, of all of my blog posts is about setting up the conditions where learners’ choice and voice flourish.  I have come to believe that the only real education is one that fully embraces learner choice and voice. All instructional practices in this era of learning should revolve around learner choice and voice:

Education works when people have opportunities to find and develop unaccessed or unknown voices and skills. Audre Lorde poignantly describes this «transformation of silence into language and action [as] an act of self-revelation.» Opportunities for flexibility and choice assist learners in finding passion, voice, and

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Project-Based Learning Through a Maker’s Lens | Edutopia

Patrick Waters

Professional Educator, The Monarch School, TX with a STEM & Maker Focus

The rise of the Maker has been one of the most exciting educational trends of the past few years. A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her. A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner. A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product. In the classroom, the act of Making is an avenue for a teacher to unlock the learning potential of her or his students in a way that represents many of the best practices of educational pedagogy. A Makerspace classroom has the potential to create life-long learners through exciting, real-world projects.

Making holds a number of opportunities and challenges for a teacher. Making, especially to educators and administrators unfamiliar with it, can seem to lack the academic rigor needed for a full-fledged place in an educational ecosystem. However, project-based learning has already created a framework for Making in the classroom. Let’s see how Making could work when placed inside a PBL curriculum unit.

What Do You Want to Do?

The first step in designing a PBL unit for a Maker educator is connecting specific content standards to the project. The development and adoption of new content standards in math, ELA, and science has placed increased importance on the process and construction of a student’s learning. Making loves the process and allows the teacher to move fluidly between levels and subjects. When I designed a middle school level Forces and Motion unit,NGSS MS-PS2 dovetails nicely with CCSS Mathmatical Practice. My students would have to interpret and communicate their results through mathematics. Once I chose the appropriate standard for my students, I could begin brainstorming projects.

Choosing, thinking, reflecting, and sorting possible projects should be a career-long process. Good projects don’t fade with time — they get richer and more exciting for both teacher and student. Great projects, on the other hand, are opportunities for learners and teachers to collaborate with those around them. As such, my students and I might spend weeks asking ourselves inquiry-driven questions and checking out online resources (such as those listed below) as brain fodder. Collaboratively, we narrow down our choices. I use my voice in the process as sparingly as possible, but I do guide my learners to projects which reflect our subject area, my own expertise, and my strengths as an educator to projects which can be completed in the time allotted. Lastly, we determine if we have the right resources and tools. It’s a messy process, but the results can be incredible.

Essential Questions

With an appropriate project chosen, an educator can begin framing the learner’s journey. Essential questions are best tool available for Maker educators to frame this journey. Essential questions are open-ended prompts which initiate, engage, and guide the student into the learning process. With practice, the students can frame the questions themselves. Collaborate with your students by having them list their queries and send them off to find answers from a myriad of sources. Keep the ones they can’t answer yet. In a strong inquiry process, the students reveal their previous knowledge and their needs, allowing the teacher to craft respectful, differentiated learning goals that match. Once completed, the project becomes less of a daily race to fulfill lesson plans and more of a quest to document your students’ growing capabilities. In my classroom, our Forces and Motion unit began with «How do we make a derby car travel faster?» Then it changed into «Does mass increase the car’s velocity?» — and a whole host of other questions. Making is a process, and strong essential questions allow the educator to frame the journey while allowing the learner to make inquiry-driven discoveries.

Making requires partners. Find a colleague in your school to support delivering cross-curriculum instruction. Chase down community partners, such as local Makerspaces and scientific organizations, who may lend expertise and resources. I’ve found Twitter indispensable for connecting with other educators with similar passions. Bring these resources into your classroom.

Finally, an educator can start thinking about individual lessons. The teacher can break down large units into smaller essential questions («How does the arm length effect the distance of a catapult shot?»), and use these smaller questions to build to a monster prompt («Can I make a catapult which shoots a marshmallow over 30 feet using these materials?»). With careful planning, these small labs take very little build time, often reuse materials, and allow for a gradual building and exploration of knowledge. Good preview and reflection cycles allow me space to introduce and reinforce the standards, and allow the students time to process and apply their knowledge. I often use blogging as an online showcase of my students’ mastery.

Failure Is a Preferable Option

Good projects require failure. Great projects can teach a student grit, but you have to model it yourself first. Processing failure with your students turns a moment of fear into an opportunity for learning in a safe place. Strong PBL units increase student engagement while empowering students, therefore minimizing maladaptive behaviors.

Teachers new to PBL and Making often make similar mistakes:

  • Choosing projects too large for their comfort level and resources
  • Focusing on the outcome, not the process of Making
  • Thinking the educator must have the answer

Making is a discovery process for both educator and learner. Making allows the teacher to move from author of knowledge to master fabricator or builder. Making allows the educator to model the learner that he or she wants students to become.

Making requires support from all the stakeholders in the classroom: students, parents, colleagues, and administration. In order to build that support, an educator has to communicate by:

  • Giving voice to the students’ desire to learn
  • Inviting parents to witness their students’ learning and creations
  • Collaborating with other teachers to share and grow professionally
  • Building administration support by inviting them to see the growth of your classroom

Blogging in any form is the most effective tool available to the educator, a platform for all these levels of sharing.

If you’re looking for more about Making, check out these resources:

And if you have experiences with approaching a PBL unit as a Maker, please share in the comments section below.

Project-Based Learning Through a Maker’s Lens | Edutopia.

Guide: Using the SAMR Model to Guide Learning

Δημοσιεύθηκε αρχικά στο That #EdTech Guy's Blog:

Technology is an immense tool that can transform the way students learn. One of my favourite quotes which demonstrates this comes from Steve Jobs:

«What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.«

To me, this quote best illustrates the potential impact technology can have on learning. However for this impact to be felt, technology needs to be used effectively. To help with that, there are various models available, one of which is the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model (SAMR for short):
(Image Credit: Jonathan Brubaker (@mrjbrubaker))

The SAMR Model (above) was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. It enables educators to analyse how effective their use of technology is on teaching and learning. The model ranges from Substitution to Redefinition and the…

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3,5 δεκαετίες εξέλιξης: Από τους «μικρόκοσμους» του 1980 στα εκπαιδευτικά «apps» του 2015…

Δημοσιεύθηκε αρχικά στο Ψηφιακές*Δημιουργίες:

Οι μικρόκοσμοιμπορούν να θεωρηθούν ως συγκεκριμένες μορφές εξωτερικών αναπαραστάσεων που έχουν τη δυνατότητα να χρησιμοποιηθούν στη διδασκαλία, την εκμάθηση διαφόρων εννοιών, την επίλυση προβλημάτων, τον πειραματισμό κλπ. Πρόκειται για υποσύνολα της πραγματικότητας ή κατασκευασμένες πραγματικότητες, η δομή των οποίων ταιριάζει σε κάποιον δοσμένο γνωστικό μηχανισμό. Η έννοια του εκπαιδευτικού μικρόκοσμου πρωτοεμφανίζεται στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 70, στο AI Lab του MIT, από τον «πατέρα» της εκπαιδευτικής τεχνολογίας Seymour Papert.

«Οι μικρόκοσμοι έχουν σκοπό να μετατρέψουν παλιές ή να εφεύρουν νέες αναπαραστάσεις στη φυσική, τα μαθηματικά και σε οποιαδήποτε άλλα γνωστικά αντικείμενα, που αιτιολογούν την ισχυρή λογική δομή του αντικειμένου αλλά ταυτόχρονα, συνδέονται κατάλληλα με την ανθρώπινη γνωστική πραγματικότητα» (diSessa 1979).

Ουσιαστικά, λοιπόν, 35 χρόνια μετά, τα «apps» (είτε ως application software, είτε ως web app, είτε ως mobile app) που μπορούν να αξιοποιηθούν στην εκπαίδευση, συνιστούν κατά μία…

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