Friday, April 29, 2016

Educaplay Learning Resources tool

Not long ago, a tweet passed through my feed from SimpleK12, and as you probably have seen,  I am a big fan of SimpleK12.  They offer so many wonderful things to educators.  The feed was a blog post with 50+ free tech tools for your classroom.  I was hooked.  I started checking them out and decided I am going to do several posts about some of them.   We are starting today with a post about EDUCAPLAY which is a multimedia resource tool.

Educaplay is a site that allows users to create multimedia games and tools to use as a review tool.  You can create a free account to use and also search a directory of other people's files.  This site reminded me a little of Quia, which I used to use when I was teaching as a review tool.  As my followers know, I am too cheap to buy tools, and this one is a freebie.

Creating an account was easy, so was making an activity. I noticed you can select your country and then see specific grade levels and specific content to cover in the activity.  There are also tutorial videos available for each activity you use.  When you make the activities, you can alternate the method of presenting the materials-  visual, text or audio.  (Awesome tool for a foreign language teacher!)

I think this is a pretty good tool for the classroom teacher of all levels.  Because there are many methods of presenting information, it will benefit many.  I think, too, it could be embedded into some LMS as well.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A New form of book reports: Trailers

With students today being so much more tech savvy than they were ten, or even five years ago, the need to change out methods of instruction is vastly growing. But, what about our way of collecting information and assessing students?

This semester I was given two sections of a course called Library Media.  In Indiana, this is a course that is designed to focus on research as well as the ongoings of a school library.   Students are to focus on digital citizenship, reading and recommendations.   One of the assignments I decided to do was to replace the traditional book report with a book trailer.  I felt letting kids do a more technology based presentation/ recommendation would be more exciting and let them use a little more creativity than simply writing a report.

The students used one of two online platform called Powtoon or Animoto.   Both of them allow users to create fast presentations that come out as a video.   Many of the kids chose Powtoon because it let them modify the fonts and change the size of text.  They are also able to do transitions, which they liked.

The outcome was really a great one.  I was pleased with the results and it made the assignment so much more fun.

Anyone who requires students to read a novel or even a book excerpt can require students to do a book trailer in place of the traditional report.