Monday, September 22, 2014

Digital Toolkit That Ignites Student learning #BYOT

Are you ready to fire-up student engagement in your classroom? Want to launch your BYOT program into orbit? 5...4...3...2..1...Blastoff! Fasten your seat belt and join me as I review some of my favorite digital tools that might just help you ignite your #BYOT curriculum.

Organize your life! Does it get better than that? I can't tell you how much I love this APP. Every meeting, presentation or classroom project for me starts with this APP. It is just amazing what you can do with it. You can take notes, record voices, video, pictures and so much more. I only wish that I had a tool this powerful when I was in school. 

Rover App
See flash on your iPad. Pretty sure that about says it all. If you are an iPad user you will know how frustrating it is not to be able to see Flash files. This APP saves the day. 

Google Slides
This simple slide show maker is one of my favorites and it auto saves in your Google Drive. When I need to create a fast and simple presentation this is my go to APP. When I need students to concentrate on a topic or I need them to learn the material better we also use Google Slides. It makes learning fun and it is super easy. No bells and whistle just a simple here it is presentation tool.

PixnTell is an iPad app for quickly creating simple narrated photo stories. This app is very user friendly.  This is a cute example from a third grader, "Elephants are really big!" 

Stop Motion or Fun Motion (Android)
This APP makes it super easy to create stop motion movies. I use stop motion to help students understand difficult concepts. They use paper, scissors and drawings to animate simulations of just about anything. Use of stop motion animation in education is imaginative, innovative and creative way for kids to learn about a subject matter. Plus, it is adaptive to more than one style of learning.

This LMS system is one of the most popular ones. The best part is that it is free and their APP makes it possible to grade or assign projects for students anytime and anywhere. They can also turn in all their assignments digitally.

Remind 101
During our school year I am constantly in need of messaging my students, swim team, Interact club, boy scout groups, etc. The best tool to keep them updated is Remind 101. It allows me to message everyone without having to give out my cell number. A much safer approach to letting everyone know of changes or reminders of happenings in our classroom, teams or clubs.

This APP's claim to fame is study everywhere. They also state that over a million students, from every country on earth, use Quizlet daily. I am here to tell you that it is probably true. My students and I agree that you can find flashcards on just about any subject they need
 on quizlet. Go ahead try it. You'll be pleasantly suprised how much you will find. 

Show Me
This very cool app creates beautiful tutorials with the tap of your finger. When I go over a hard topic I upload these for my students to use as study guides or for explanations. My programming class especially loves to use it to study for test.

Dropbox and Google Drive
These two cloud computing saving areas are great. They both offer plenty of free storage room and can help you back up your files. They also easily install on your computer which makes using them as simple as saving to a folder locally. My favorite part about both of these is that no matter where I am I can access my files. Plus, they both offer an automatic upload picture feature. Google even puts my pictures in cool photo books by date and theme. So fun and keeps my pictures very organized.

The site you are on was created in Blogger. It is quick and easy way to get a blog up. I use blogs as a classroom newsletter or as a research/reflection area for my students. Blogger blogs can be made private or shared only by a group of individuals.

This little APP creates time-laps video. 

This simple little APP inspired by sticky notes is great for taking notes or asking students to do a little research.

Pintrest -- this is my account
Creating Pintrest Boards on classroom topics is a bit of an obsession for me. Now picture students developing an obsession for pinning topics we are studying in class. Can you picture a parent complaining about their child spending to much time pinning about the Civil War? 

The key is to find simple APPS you can use in your classroom that enhance your curriculum. I encourage you to try some of these and see how much more students learn by creating. You'll be pleasantly surprised how much fun you and your students will have discovering and learning with BYOT in the classroom.

One more note...
If BYOT is not an option in your classroom because your students don't own phones. Try buying or getting some cheap or recycled Android phones donated to your classroom. You don't need a phone service provider to use a smart phone since they work on WiFi. Click here to see an example of the letter Chattahoochee Elementary uses to get phones donated to their school.