Friday, October 28, 2011

Technology Integration - How we can serve as "teacher leaders" in our professional setting?

Any teacher who is effectively trying to integrate technology in their classroom knows how importance technology can be in the learning process of 21st Century Learners.  But what about some of our colleagues who have no interest in technology integration?  How can we serve as teacher leaders in technology integration in our schools?  There are two areas that I fell are paramount to serving as teacher leaders in integration.  These areas are sharing and leading by examples.  Nobody wants to be forced to do something they dont feel comfortable doing.  Technology integration can work as the same ways.  We need to invite our colleagues to join us or browse our Personal Learning Networks or PLNs.  We can show them what is working in our classroom through social bookmarking sites we invite them to join, through out blogs we ask them to browse, in our examples and lesson plans we share on our school websites.  When I find a resource that would be a great tool to integrate in the classroom, I try to email it to teaches I find would benefit from the resource. 

I also attempt to reach out and share the awesome projects we complete in class.  It is always nice to show off the finished projects your students are completing, but also the steps, strategies, and resources used to get there.  Allowing your students to share their impressions on a classroom forum is a great tool to show colleagues the level of engagement your students are experiencing in an effectively integrated lesson plan. 

I will never force technology integration on my fellow teachers, but I will always be open to share ideas and strategies with any teachers that want to use me as a resource.  This is the most productive first step I feel I can take to standing as a teacher leader in technology integration. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hector's World - Interactive Internet Safety Videos & Activities for Elementary Aged Students

Hector's World is a site out of New Zealand with 7 animated video episodes to teach students (Target Ages 2-9 Years Old) about Internet Safety.  It is obviously never too young to discuss basic concepts of Internet Safety and Digital Etiquette so Hector's World is a fantastic resource for Elementary Aged Students.  

Hector's World has 7 animated episodes students can watch, as well as, worksheets/guides students can fill in or read along the way.  The episodes star Hector, a talking dolphin, and his undersea friends as they share basic concepts and strategies for staying safe online.  These episodes are short but full of information and a great discussion starter or extension to your Internet Safety Discussions.   These animated episodes cover topics such as Protecting Personal Information, Cyberbullying, and Computer Security.

One of the areas I really like on Hector's World is the MP3 Download Section where you can download music and Lyrics to several Internet Safety Based songs and have students perform them in class or record them using a free resource such as Audacity. 

You can even download instrumentals and song lyrics.
The website has lesson plans for each animated episode broken down into different age groups so the information is age appropriate. 

The site can be difficult to navigate since you have to use bubble shaped arrows to move forward and backward within the site instead of browser window controls.  If you press back on your browser, it will start you all over at the beginning of the site.  So there is a learning curve to navigating the website, however, there is a website "tour" you can follow that shows you all of the features.  These tours are broken up for students, parents and teachers as seen in the image. 

Lesson Plans Are Broken Down by Grade Level!
Hector's World does have a site map to help you navigate between the different parts of the site.  This is helpful for both students and teachers, looking for a specific lesson or activity. 

Check out what all you can do with your students at Hector's World at:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Internet Technologies & Concerns

As we strive to incorporate as many Internet Technologies and Resources into our daily curriculum to reach 21st Century learners, there are some concerns that can arise.
  • Are we choosing the best resources that help our students have authentic and effective learning experiences or are we simply trying to incorporate the latest technology trends just to say we did or because others are doing it to?  
  •  Are we relying too much on technology in our daily curriculum so when technology lets us down, we do not give ourselves an opportunity for a back up plan or on the fly replacement activity that is just as effective?  
We can alleviate these concerns by continuing to network with other instructors via blogs and other social networking sites to see what is working in their classrooms.  We can discuss if the latest and greatest resources are truly assisting in effective lesson planning or providing a distraction from the learning process for our students.   Sometimes I know that I get excited when some of my colleagues or online friends get excited about a new resource.  I feel like I just have to find a way to integrate that technology or resource into my curriculum.

As long as we all stay connected, share our experiences, and truly try to integrate technology to provide a better learning experience for our students, then when we fail, that doesn't mean we didn't necessarily succeed in some ways.  It is the experience and the journey to get there that will mostly make us all better teachers and provide teaching & learning experiences that stick with our students.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Symphony of Science - Scientific Knowledge and Philosophy through Music! This site is simply AWESOME!

Symphony of Science could be one of the coolest sites I have found in a while.  The site was created by John Boswell, who was heavily influenced by the Internet Legends The Greggory Brothers (Double Rainbow All The Way Across the Sky Music Video) and DJ Steve Porter (who created the awesome Rap Chop Music Video).   Symphony of Science features 11 full length music videos heavily influenced by the classic PBS Series Cosmos with Carl Sagan.  Many of the videos and the words to the songs are remixed episodes from Cosmos, Ted Talks and more.  To quote Mr. Boswell on the site: 

"The goal of the project is to bring scientific knowledge and philosophy to the public, in a novel way, through the medium of music. Science and music are two passions of mine that I aim to combine, in a way that is intended to bring a meaningful message to listeners, while simultaneously providing an enjoyable musical experience."

Did I mention this site is AWESOME?  The Music Videos are so well done and really engaging.  I shared them with an 8th Grade Science teacher of mine yesterday who was actually talking about Quantum Theory.  He immediately included the video from Symphony of Science called "Quantum World"  about Quantum Theory in his presentation for discussion today. 

Here is the Quantum Theory Video from Symphony of Science.

You can visit Symphony of Science at:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Anatomy Arcade - Interactive Games and Resources About the Human Body!

Anatomy Arcade is a really neat site that has online games and interactive resources to help students learn about the anatomy of the human body.   The games themselves are divided up by body systems.  For example, you can click on games, then choose games about the skeletal system, articular system, muscle system, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, digestive, endocrine, and general. 

The games are pretty simply, including matching, jigsaws, word searches, crosswords, etc. Anatomy Arcade would be a great resource for Elementary Students just starting to learn about the Human Body Systems, or for students needing an extension to your current class curriculum. 

You can check out Anatomy Arcade at:

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Top 3 Most Used Classroom Resources, Goals, & More!

Today, I wanted to look at my top most used classroom resources.  Currently, there are no other resources I currently use more than:

Google Docs -Google Docs is online, browser based, and free. My students can create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets without needing Microsoft Office installed at home.  They can work on any of these at the same time as a partner or small group.  GoogleDocs even autosaves regularly for students that have a hard time remembering to save their work or save it in the right place. 

GlogsterEDU - Allows students to create interactive "glogs" or posters.  Think of it as digital scrapbooking with a collage of media including music, text, videos, hyperlinks and more.  For more about GlogsterEDU or to see my example, CLICK HERE to read my previous blog post. 

Fakebook - Fakebook is resources created by that allows students to create fake Facebook pages for anyone they wish.  We use Fakebook to create pages for our Historical Figure Presentations and we create them as part of our Novel Project (they create pages about characters from a book the whole 6th Grade Reads).  Students do not need to even have an email to save their Fakebook Page.

As this school year advances, I hope to improve my skills teaching and integrating GoogleDocs in my class curriculum.  I use GoogleDocs quite a bit, but there are still so many other skills I need to learn. I just recently taught myself how to create self graded quizzes using Google Forms in GoogleDocs.  I also want to improve my Internet Safety Curriculum.  Internet Safety is a huge passion of mine and I have never rested on my current curriculum and lesson plans.  The site KidSmart I blogged about this week is a new resource I will be using in my class. 

To reach my goals, I will continue to look for resources and training materials online to help me teach myself.  I will extend my curriculum to include more extensions using GoogleDocs to increase my students familiarity with it.  I will continue to browse the near 100 blogs I frequent to find more quality Internet Safety Resources.  I will also increase the number of activities we complete in class pertaining to Internet Safety.  The more access my students have to quality Internet Safety Information and hands on activities, the more aware they will be in their daily journeys online.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kidsmart - Internet Safety & Awareness Resources, Games, Videos, Class Activities, and MORE!!

KidSmart is a site from the United Kingdom that offers a large assortment of resources and activities focused on specific topics of Internet Safety & Awareness & Digital Citzenship.  KidSmart offers resources and information covering :

  • File Sharing
  • Mobile Communication
  • Music
  • Gaming
  • Social Networking
  • Digital Footprints
  • Chatting
  • Safe Searching & MORE
Once you click on a specific topic, KidSmart's site offers videos, tips, information, resources,  links and more.  This is another site with very kid friendly information and resources covering various topics pertaining to Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship.  

Check out KidSmart at:

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