Friday, November 21, 2014

Gaming for Education! You Should Try It!

Abbreviated from: Mind/Shift Article, 
"5 Online Games that Teach Kids the Art of Persuasion" 
with opinions added by Amy Wichman (who eliminated two of the five)
“The five games model the work of argumentation. Best of all they approach the subject critically, showing the myriad of uses for persuasion and how it’s always political.”

Quandary for students ages 8 -14
Take time to watch the video at this homepage of the game.  The game forces students to separate facts from opinion.  A great “boost” when doing a lesson on argument and opinion.  Students play it online and try to make the best decision for the community even though there is no clear right or wrong answer.  It appears sophisticated and logical with a terrific teacher’s guide.

Citizen Science for 6th-8th grade students
Citizen Science is an online flash-based computer adventure game in which the player is a young adult who becomes concerned about the health of a local lake threatened by eutrophication. Based at Lake Mendota in Madison, WI, the player's goal is to restore the lake. By focusing on the ecological needs of Lake Mendota as well as the surrounding community, the game is able to bring together real-world issues and scientific practices.

The player has to “build sound arguments” after talking to characters in the game, using the words, “because and although” to make sound arguments.  The point is, some are arguments and others opinion.  It’s a little difficult to figure out at first, but certainly students immersed in the game will gain insight. 

Argument Wars for students in grades 7th-12th
This game is debate style, where the players become the lawyers in real court cases.  What really works is the engagement with the arguments and the player’s ability (or inability) to dig into real cases and arguments with the US Constitution.  Players do need an account, but even if students spent 15-30 minutes playing they the lesson is engaging, informative, and fun.   

This same company has LOTS of engaging games – including Branches of Power, Supreme Court, and Rights.  The website is DEFINITELY worth checking out for Social Studies education. 



Monday, November 3, 2014

Introducing Teachingbooks.net

The Tech Office would like to introduce you to a teacher resource site that AEA online has been providing for the past year, Teachingbooks.net. Some of you may already be using it.  This site allows teachers assess to text complexity for data driven decisions, the ability to easily integrate technology into ELA instruction, and ways to excite students about reading.  Through Teachingbooks.net teachers have the ability to connect with award-winning authors and illustrators using the different videos they have produced.  

The site will help you implement the Common Core and text complexity instructional shift.  Each grade level K-12 will find:
1. Exceptional informational and literary book choices
2. Book sets that build knowledge in core content areas
3. Lessons that require direct consideration of the text
4. Qualitative and quantitative text complexity measures
5. Interactive vocabulary lists that enrich close reading

Here are two short videos introducing the site.
If after watching these introductory videos you would like more information or assistance using Teachingbooks.net please contact Tammy.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Some Science Links

The Next Generation Science Standards have changed the game, forcing Web 2.0 tools to keep up in the area of Science.

Just a TON of stuff has come across my social media sites lately about science (assuming because of the science standards). Here are few GREAT links that provide lesson plans/activities you may enjoy for science!

http://www.scienceofeverydaylife.com/teachers/ = lesson plans/activities for all grade levels

https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/new = GREAT interactive science simulations for students of all ages!

http://www.youtube.com/user/BrainStuffShow?feature=watch = "How stuff works" You Tube Channel that has really neat, interesting videos on how stuff works . . . I was enthralled with some of them, and they are quick.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blog of a Blog

It does seem odd that we would post the link to another Blog within our Blog, but quite honestly, this is a good one. With that said, I like the idea of using others' intellect and reflections to support the work we continue to do in the Central Community School District.

So - enjoy this link, which is titled "Technology vs. Technology Integration."

http://teachbytes.com/2013/03/29/whats-the-difference-between-using-technology-and-technology-integration/

Monday, February 25, 2013

Google Drive


Google Drive to Backup your Files

 Thanks for all the comments and suggestions for our Technology Conference.  We began planning the conference in September, so we were glad to hear that for the most part it was well received. 
Kevin has been preaching the importance of backing up and many of us look at him, smile, nod our head and politely say, “good idea”.  Well, since the beginning of the school year at least 4 teachers have crashed their hard drives.  Maybe we shouldn’t be taking this so lightly.  Below are easy instructions explaining how to use Google Drive to backup your important files.

                  1.  Download and install the Google Drive application from the Drive in your email account. 
         2.  Open up the Google Drive in the application folder and sign in with email   
                information
         3.     Drag files that you want to back up into the Drive folder
         4.     Right Click on each file and make alias
         5.    Drag the alias onto the desktop or back to it’s original location.

You will now see your files in 3 different places, the original location, in the Google Drive application, and in the Drive located in our email program.  Every time you save the Google Drive will be updated. 
By logging into Gmail and Drive you now have the ability to see your documents on any computer you are using.  The only way to edit a document is to download it on to the desktop.  When you are done editing your document upload it back to your drive.  If you have any questions stop by the tech office.
Below is a video explaining this process also.








Tuesday, February 12, 2013



Wonder what goes on in the Tech Office?  
This diagram provides insight on the jobs of Tammy, Kevin, and Amy.
See them in the Tech Office if you have more questions! 





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another Way of Bookmarking- Try Diigo!


In an age where you might be using multiple browsers (like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer) and multiple devices, it becomes difficult to “bookmark” favorite sites within the browser for fear they will never be found again! Who knows which browser you were using and on which device you were when in when you saw the site you want to keep track of?  In addition, who has time to organize those bookmarks in a way that makes it easy to access them again? 

This is where Diigo can help!  http://www.diigo.com/

DEFINITION:
According to Wikipedia: "Diigo (/ˈdɡ/)[1] is a social bookmarking website which allows signed-up users to bookmark and tag web-pages. Additionally, it allows users to highlight any part of a webpage and attach sticky notes to specific highlights or to a whole page. These annotations can be kept private, shared with a group within Diigo or a special link forwarded to someone else."

First, you will need to go to Diigo and create an account: http://www.diigo.com/.  Sign up is easy, but make sure to pick a username that you will remember.

Diigo is a spot where you can benefit from multiple features to make your bookmarking of web sites easier and more accessible. Here’s why:

  1. LIBRARY- You can create your own library of bookmarks you want to use, save, and access at anytime from any device.  You simply do this by going to “Add” then “New Bookmark.”  Once doing that, you will be given the opportunity to change the site’s name, if there is something easier for you to remember it by.  Then click “Save.”  Now, anytime you want to access that page, you can go through your Diigo account, that nicely stores the bookmarks according to the date you saved them – another nice feature!
  2. TAGGING FEATURE – An awesome feature of using Diigo is the option to “tag” your bookmarks with whatever word is easiest to remember, For example, if I find a great web site for iPad usage, I would tag it “iPad.”  Then in the future when I’m looking for all the web sites I’ve bookmarked related to iPads, I search by the word iPad and all the sites that have been tagged this way will come up.  It’s like a sorting mechanism that makes it convenient to check the web pages I thought were important enough to bookmark.
  3. SHARED LIBRARY – You can actually “follow” people in you think may have good "Libraries", just like you do on Twitter.  Those people are called your “Network.”  And, if you follow others, you will have access to their library too, which is terrific source for teachers. Cool! 

Included here are only a few of the terrific features and benefits of using Diigo! There are MANY more you’ll certainly discover with frequent use and greater familiarity with the format. Make it a goal to create an account and give Diigo a try!

MORE INFORMATION:
For specific details on Diigo, read this PDF> http://www.rcgov.org/pdfs/Library/Diigo_Description.pdf.  It’s details that will give you specificity on Diigo use.  This blog was really about giving you an overview and getting you started.