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tip of the week

Ed Tech Tip of the Week: PlayPosit

EdTech
Check out PlayPosit and this week's EdTech Tip of the Week!

Hey, y’all! I’m back for the fourth installment of “EdTech Tip of the Week” and this week I’m featuring PlayPosit! You can find all of the other EdTech Tip of the Week posts here.

What It Is

PlayPosit is a website that allows you to add interactivity to streaming video content—yes, like YouTube! You can literally have a streaming video stop, and you can add questions to a sidebar for students to respond to 🙂

Cool Features

  • Engaging: You can add videos, interactive questions and other media into a “bulb” (which is what they call their lessons or activities). With a free account, you can add multiple choice questions, free response questions, and reflective pauses. With a paid account, you can add all of those plus polls, fill in the blanks, check all that apply questions, “skip segment” and “take to website”.
  • Easy: You can add videos from anywhere on the web, or find already made interactive videos that are banked on the site. The site also has a bank of videos (with and without questions) that you can choose from from popular sources, like Ted Ed, Disney, etc.
  • Integration: Playposit bulbs can be used with any learning management system you already use! All you have to do is share the bulbs to your system (Edmodo, Google Classroom, Schoology, Blackboard, etc.)
  • Monitor: Playposit has a “monitor” feature where you can view your students’ progress in regards to their videos. Teachers can add their classes, or import from sites like Google Classroom, and get a break-down of student performance question by question
  • Premium Features: The basic functionality of Playposit is free. If you’d like to upgrade to a premium account however, they offer: worksheet printout of your bulb, access to the full Playposit database (over 400k lessons), advanced cropping to skip irrelevant content, ability to export lesson grades for import into gradebooks, and different question types to embed into bulbs (like fill in the blanks, check all that apply, etc. as mentioned above)

How You Can Use It in Your Classroom

Playposit can be used in a variety of ways to engage students in your classroom:

  • PlayPosit can provide a “flipped” experience, if students are watching videos and completing some assignments before class
  • PlayPosit can provide a blended classroom experience
  • PlayPosit bulbs/assignments can be differentiated for students to review basic skills or for others to expand on their learning
  • Students can create Playposit bulbs to demonstrate their learning
  • Students can practice “close hearing” instead of watching videos passively

Because videos can be used from such a variety of sources like YouTube, LearnZillion, etc., this tool can be used in many ways across all content areas.

Resources

What did I miss? Have you used PlayPosit in your classroom before? I can’t wait to use it this year! What is your favorite EdTech tool to use in your classroom to aid student learning? Let me know in the comments, or by Tweeting me!

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EdTech Tip of the Week: Deck.Toys

EdTech
Deck.Toys is an platform that adds interactivity for lessons! Read this week's EdTech Tip of the Week for more details!

 

You. Guys. I’m back this week for the latest EdTech Tip of the Week” featuring Deck.Toys and I am so excited about it! My friend Sarah (you should go follow her on Twitter, for real) heard about Deck.Toys from her Teacher of the Year friends and when I looked it up, I was blown away at how cool it is. I have not yet used this in my classroom, because I just heard about it, but I will DEFINITELY be using it this coming school year!

What It Is

Deck.Toys is a classroom engagement platform best described as a sort of digital “Breakout Games”! According to their website,  “the lesson can now be transformed into an immersive, engaging experience for every student in the classroom”. Their focus on making this happen is on:

  1. Simple lesson creation
  2. Engaging real-time interactivity
  3. Instantaneous tracking

Um, yes, that does say INSTANTANEOUS TRACKING! Time-saver 🙂

Cool Features

  • Game-Look: For students of all ages, the look of a “deck” is really engaging. When you create a lesson, you can create a rigid “path” that students must follow, by adding “locks” for them to have to break through by doing an activity or you can create a more choice-oriented deck where students can explore different activities (or you can make a combination of these!). You can also edit the deck background to make the deck look however you want! You  can add colors, shapes, custom pictures, icons, text, etc. Here are a few example decks  that are in the “Gallery” to demonstrate how different they can look:

What You Start With When You Begin Making a Deck

Example Deck: Mars Colonization

Example Deck: Mountain Top

  • Interactive Slides: For each “slide” that you create in a lesson, you can add interactivity. You can add a slide with questions, a signpost, or a study set. Within each “slide with questions”, you can add an image, embed a video, add Google Slides, PPT, PDF or a website. You also have “apps” you can add on each slide like a buzzer, randomizer, timer, or lock. The students can have the option of responding with text, a drawing, by answering a poll. etc.
  • Study Sets: These are exactly what they sound like…a set of terms, or concepts, that you set up to be studied! You can list a term, definition and picture to describe the term. The study sets can then be used multiple times and inserted into lessons. Here is an example from the Deck.Toys website:

  • Teacher Sync/ Free Mode: Teacher Sync mode means every student’s deck is synced to the teacher’s screen. Free mode means that student’s can explore the lessons at their own speed.During free mode, teachers can also monitor a student’s progress in real-time!Having both modes means that Deck.Toys would be appropriate to use during many different types of lessons/stages of a lesson.
  • Assessment with Class-Wide apps: At any time a teacher can run an “app” as a class activity. This allows the teacher to be able to formatively assess students in real-time to check for understanding/gauge progress on a topic. As students are finished with the assessment or question, they can continue on from where they were before the class activity was started.
  • Reports: This could be my favorite part…REPORTS! Deck.Toys allows teachers to get a summary of not only students’ progress on specific activities, but also specific answers submitted by students. This makes it much easier to track information in a single view for however the data may be needed (to form small group instruction, for a whole class mini-lesson, etc.).

How It Can Be Used In Your Class

Deck.Toys can be used in any class at many different stages of a lesson and/or unit. Since it is compatible with Google Slides, PPT, etc. and students can respond and participate in different ways, any class can use this platform whether is is ELA, music, or math!

Deck.Toys can be used:

  • To engage the entire class during a mini-lesson using a class-wide app and teacher sync
  • To engage a small group in a rotation/station setting
  • To remediate students/give extra practice with basic skills before they can move on to another activity
  • To provide extra enrichment activities and choice to students who finish early or master content more quickly than the whole group
  • To create competition/urgency/focus on a specific activity if used as a digital breakout game with timers and all (so fun!)

Resources

Have you heard of Deck.Toys or played around with it yet? Let me know in the comments, or Tweet me! Also, my friend Shana over at Hello, Teacher Lady, has started a Facebook group for edtech enthusiasts called The Ed Tech Collective. Interested in joining? Click here!

Have you read about Nearpod and Padlet yet?

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EdTech Tip of the Week: Padlet

EdTech
Read this week's Ed Tech Tip of the Week on how Padlet can be used in your classroom!

Hey, y’all! I’m back at the blog to bring you the next EdTech Tip of the Week! This week I’m featuring Padlet. If you missed last week’s post about Nearpod, you can read it here.

What It Is

Padlet is a free app (iOS, Android and Kindle) and web-based program that is essentially an online bulletin board! Teachers and students can create, collaborate and curate content to their heart’s desire and it will be displayed in a simple, easy to read way without so many options that make useability confusing.  Padlet is easy to use, intuitive, flexible (any type of file can be added!), and can be private and secure (which is sometimes a concern when students are using technology).

Cool Features

Padlet has a lot of great features that make this tool easy to use in the classroom no matter if you’re an elementary, middle or high school teacher. You, or students, can add posts with a click, by copying-pasting info, or dragging and dropping the content into the Padlet.

You also share Padlets very easily, just by sharing a link, for collaborative projects. Those who has the link, will also not be required to go through a sign-up process, making collaborating even more seemless.

Something else that is handy, that actually came to mind as my first question when I saw that Padlet was free, is that there can be unlimited contributors to one Padlet. No need to sign up for a premium account, just to have your class of 30 work on something together.

Also, perhaps my favorite of all, is that Padlet supports just about any type of file. I love this because all students think differently! Maybe a student wants to contribute a YouTube video to the Padlet while another wants to add a web link and another a Powerpoint to demonstrate their understanding or showcase their thoughts. No matter the file type, each will have a small preview added when it is included on the Padlet.

Finally, I love how Padlet is so intuitive, as I mentioned above. Whether you aren’t really sure what you want the Padlet to look like when you get started, or you’re just design-challenged, when you create a new Padlet, you are taken to a screen where you can pick how you want to start. Maybe you want to have a stream of content, similar to a blog or list. Maybe you want rows of boxes for your particular project (grid), or you want it to take a more free form shape (canvas), by selecting what you’re trying to create, Padlet gets you set up and ready to go with a click of a button.

Want to read about more features straight from Padlet? Check out their website here.

How It Can Be Used In Your Class

Padlet can be used in so.many.ways. across all subject areas that it is hard to even make a list! Here is a list to get started:

  • Book Reviews: create a class Padlet where students add their book reviews for others to read! Or, students could create their own Padlet that has their review and other documents/multimedia added to review or display their understanding of the plot’s events and complicated nature of their book’s protagonist…the possibilities for this are endless!
  • Timeline: want to display information in a timeline to aide your history lesson? Or to show how events in a plot transpired? Use Padlet’s canvas feature to add information wherever you’d like on a page, or the stream feature for an easy top to bottom display of resources.
  • Resource Hub: Working on something in your classroom where you want to curate resources for students to view/use? This could be for station work, or a guided activity. Use Padlet’s shelf or grid design to dump the resources all in one place for easy perusing.
  • KWL Chart: Want students to collaborate on a K-W-L chart? Divide the background up into 3 columns and have students add their thinking onto the canvas design! Awesome example of this here.
  • Presentation/Portfolio: want to have examples of student work all in one place? Create a class Padlet for exemplars of particular assignments or of snapshots of particular student’s work. Did the student create a video, powerpoint, podcast or other multimedia product? Even better!
  • Thank You Board: create a Thank You board that students can contribute to when you have a particular staff person go out of the way for your class, or if you have an awesome class visitor or parent volunteer. No need for the recipient to keep the handwritten cards, they can have their Thank You’s all connected to one link!
  • Questions Board: Want to keep a digital “parking lot” of questions? Students can add questions 24/7 to the Padlet that the class can view and answer, or that you can see to address misunderstandings.
  • Playlist/Flashcards: want to create a video playlist of your students’ favorite songs to play during work time? Want to create a video resource hub within Padlet so students don’t have to click back out to YouTube? Maybe you want to have flashcards be able to roll across the screen as videos would? Create a playlist of resources!

Want to see different examples? View the Padlet Gallery! Click into one and see how it’s set up.

Resources

What is your favorite EdTech program/app to use in your classroom? Have you used Padlet before? What is your favorite part about it? Let me know in the comments, or Tweet me! Also, my friend Shana has started a Facebook group for ed tech enthusiasts…want to join? Click here! 

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EdTech Tip of the Week: Nearpod

EdTech

Hey, y’all!

I hope by now most of you are on summer break and are enjoying a little time away from the normal duties of teaching (let’s be real, most of you are still working and are at conferences, cleaning up your classrooms, etc. so you’re not on “break” quite yet)! I wanted to write today to start a new series this summer where I will bring you an “EdTech Tip of the Week”. In these posts I will feature an app/web program or other EdTech tip to spread the word about it’s awesomeness and how it can potentially be used in your classroom! These posts are in no way sponsored, I just enjoy trying out new things and sharing helpful tips along the way!

This week, for the first “EdTech Tip of the Week”,  I’m featuring Nearpod!

What It Is

Nearpod is an app and web-based program that can help you “bring the classroom to life with interactive mobile presentations that teachers create and customize themselves”, per their website. Teachers can add in web content* and “activities” like open-ended questions, polls, quizzes, drawing, collaborate (like a digital bulletin board), fill in the blanks* and memory tests* in between traditional slides! (*for premium accounts)

Cool Features

  • Student Paced vs Live Mode: One cool thing about Nearpod is that you can either have it be in “Student Paced” or “Live Mode”. Student Paced mode is exactly what it sounds like…you can send the presentation to students and they can work their way through it at their own pace. When you’re in “Live Mode” whatever is on your screen, is on the students’ screen. So, if you’re on slide 5, the students will also be on slide 5 and they can’t go back or forward until you change the slide.
  • Notification When Student Logs Off: Something I hear a lot of from teachers about why they don’t embrace technology in the classroom, is that they feel like it’s hard to monitor. Well, Nearpod has a feature to show you if a student “logs off” during a “Live Mode” presentation. The teacher’s screen will show how many students are logged in, and the number will turn red if/when a student drops off the presentation to, say, go look at images of the newest Jordans to come out.
  • Assessment Reports:  One of my favorite things about Nearpod are the assessment reports that it produces! At the end of your presentation, you can export a PDF report to be emailed directly to you. The report tells you every students’ answer to each question that you asked, whether it be multiple choice, short answer, or a drawing! You can then review the reports to check for understanding for specific students. I show the students the report that I receive, so they are aware that they are accountable to be giving their best answers and thoughtful responses.
  • Assessibility/Integration: When making a Nearpod, you can either add content directly into the program and create from scratch, or you can upload already existing files! This was super exciting for me, as I was already some Google Slides made for a unit I was going to do when I first began tinkering with Nearpod. I just uploaded the slides, and then added the interactivity where I saw fit.
  • Lesson Market: Nearpod offers a “Market” that has free and paid Common Core aligned lessons that are ready to launch! The market has lessons for all grades and all subjects. They offer

How It Can Be Used in Your Class

Nearpod has features that can be used across all subject levels (yes, even math!) which allows it to be a great tool, no matter what subject or grade you teach! I suggest that no matter your topic, start small in using Nearpod, like as exit tickets, or warm-ups, and you will find that your students will LOVE it and you will discover even more ways to utilize this multi-faceted platform in your class.

I started to make a list of ways to use Nearpod in the different subjects, and found that Nearpod had already done that on their blog! I’ve linked them below:

Resources

Want to get started with Nearpod? I’ve linked the videos that I watched when I got started with Nearpod in my classroom! Nearpod’s YouTube channel has 23 instructional videos and countless others featuring it’s awesomeness!

What is your favorite EdTech program/app to use in your classroom? Have you used Nearpod before? What is your favorite part about it? Let me know in the comments! Also, my friend Shana over at Hello, Teacher Lady has started a Facebook group for ed tech enthusiasts…want to join? Click here!

Until next week,