Friday, April 28, 2017

Nerdy Gifts for the Techie Teacher

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week! We celebrate and appreciate teachers every day of the year but next week is a special time to do a little something extra. We have a few suggestions for your favorite teacher ranging in price from free to $8.

Free
Create a free account at Canva and design a cool e-card for your favorite teachers! (If you're under the age of 13, please create an account with your parents/guardians.) There are free layouts, free images, nice fonts, and an easy-to-use format. All your designs can be downloaded as a .png, .jpg, or .pdf and you can tweet them, email them, print them, or find any way to deliver your kind message to the teacher. You can check out Canva for some free tutorials, too!

$2.99 
For about 3 dollars, you can get one of these handy tablet/phone stands at Ikea. It comes in two colors and holds a phone or tablet in portrait or landscape mode. One end of the stand holds the device upright while the other end holds it at a slight tilt. A perfect gift for a techie teacher!
Photo credit: Ikea

$6.99
For a techie teacher who regularly needs to recharge a device, a portable charger is a great idea. The chargers are slim and portable and will keep those devices fully charged all day. Portable chargers range in price and some are as low as $6.99. They can be found in pharmacies, department stores, and even grocery stores. Just make sure you read the label and buy the right kind of charger for your teacher's device.
Photo credit: Best Buy

$7.99
Working on a laptop or computer with good lighting is important and this cute USB Astronaut is an affordable way to keep things bright. It has a handy clamp so moving it around is easy. It plugs into a device via USB so there are no batteries or need to be near an electrical outlet. Also, the LED light is long-lasting and did we say it's cute?!
Photo credit: Amazon

Apps!
Yes, there are many wonderful apps that are free, but there are some paid apps well worth their price. Here are a couple of apps that techie teachers would love! Of course, that means you'd have to get a Google Play and/or Apple Store gift card but you could recommend these:

DoInk $4.99
This is a green screen app and is Apple only. No green screen? No problem! A piece of green butcher paper does the trick and your teacher can make green screen magic happen!

Explain Everything $7.99
This is an app for Android or Apple devices as well as Chrome or Windows. It is an interactive board that can have videos, images, and other content in various formats. Users have the ability to write on the content on the screen and build slide shows. It's available in multiple languages and has multiple rave reviews.

Now get out there and celebrate the amazing things teachers do every day for the students they love. But maybe celebrate in a geeky way! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quizlet in the Foreign Language Classroom and More!

This week's guest blog post is by Lorena Meneses, Spanish Teacher at Clark HS.


Give your students the opportunity to engage in a classroom and have fun with this interactive and efficient tool! 

 

You can create a free account which includes the basics of the service and you’ll still be able to incorporate it the lessons in a way that is meaningful and fun.

 

It is especially useful if you are teaching a class that requires memorization and connecting ideas with concepts. For example, I teach Spanish, and because we merge the “Natural Approach” in our lessons, new vocabulary is taught in context within the curriculum. Quizlet has shown to be very effective in helping students analyze the content and retain the information.

 

Your free Quizlet account will allow you to search, save, and create as many study sets as you want and match them with the lessons you are presenting in the classroom.


Once you have the study set, you will have several options to engage students in their learning (flash cards, matching, tests) but certainly one of our favorites is Quizlet Live which is a very fun interactive game.



The site also offer ongoing support and new ideas periodically. Have fun!



Sunday, April 9, 2017

EquatIO - Making Math Digital

Sometimes it feels like the educational technology revolution has left out a subject that needs the most engaging tech tools possible...MATH! Almost every time a great new tool has been developed to engage students and encourage higher order thinking or computational skills, it's nearly impossible to easily write mathematical expressions or equations. How crazy is that?

(g)Math is a Google add on that was developed to help teachers and students write equations and insert into Docs, Sheets, and Forms. When I first used this tool, I was ecstatic over how easy it was to create step-by-step tutorials for my students and for them to show their work digitally and hand it back into me. Before you go running out to use this tool, I will tell you that the company who bought the rights to (g)Math will be retiring that program and have introduced an even better replacement called EquatIO.  Here is a quick video introduction:



Let's discuss radical equations for a little bit. How can students quickly write a radical equation in a Google Doc, show how to solve step-by-step, and then turn it into the teacher? Use EquatIO!  Here is a video I made showing how quick and easy it is to write radical equations in a Google Doc:


EquatIO is a Chrome extension that you can install for free from the Chrome Web Store. Keep in mind that you will have access to the premium features for 30 days and then you will always be able to keep the free features. Here is a chart explaining free vs. premium:


The free version contains the speech input as well as the ability to resize images and that's really all you need to create mathematical equations. 

If you choose to use this tool, please let us know you and your students' experience.  We want feedback and welcome partnering with you on effective ways to integrate technology in your classroom.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Summer PD Now in MyLearningPlan

Big news! PISD Tech's summer learning opportunities are in MyLearningPlan NOW!

To sign up, visit MyLearningPlan (this works at home or at school) and sign in with your PISD credentials.

Use any of these keywords to search the MLP catalog:
  • Google Bootcamp
  • From Consumer to Creator
  • Tech Timid
There are several class options under each of those 3 topics so be sure to look around. Classes are being offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during summer 2017.

For a description of all our classes, please view our new PISD Tech Summer Catalog. We look forward to learning with you this summer! 

via GIPHY