Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Keeping Up with Technology Trends over Summer Break

After a long year of teaching, it's great to have summers off to refocus your energy. But while you're taking that much-needed time to relax, technology trends in education are still going full steam ahead. In order to keep up with new tech tools and trends over the summer, you have to strike the right balance between relaxation and information overload. Here are some suggestions on how to keep up on the latest technology trends.

Read Educational Blogs

The internet is an invaluable tool with an enormous amount of information. With that said, it's become increasingly hard to keep up with all of the educational technology trends because it seems like they change daily. Luckily, teachers, administrators, and technology enthusiasts share their knowledge and expertise through educational blogs. A go-to spots for gaining information are The Ed Tech Round UpFree Technology for Teachers, and The Innovative Educator

Subscribe to an E-Newsletter or RSS Feed

If you want to stay on top of technology trends in education, all you have to do is subscribe to an e-newsletter or an RSS feed. Instead of spending your summer days scouring the Internet, the relevant information is delivered right to your computer or smartphone. Try out the RSS feed of I Learn Technology, which gives you the latest information on how to integrate technology into your classroom. As far as e-newsletters go, try EdTech: Focus on K-12

Read Relevant Social Media Pages

In today's mobile-centric world, many of us get our news from social media feeds—I know this is one of my favorite ways to gain knowledge! It's easy to just pick up your smartphone and scroll through your newsfeed to learn the latest trends in education. Just about every one of your favorite ed tech blogs or websites will have a Twitter or Facebook page, so follow them to ensure that relevant ed tech news will make it to your feed.

Access an Ed Tech Podcast

Podcasts are the latest way to stay up-to-date with current technology trends. Check out the Ed Tech Weekly podcast to hear about the latest ed tech blogs to follow or the future of ed tech. It's a fun and simple way to learn.

Explore Professional Development Options

By taking a few short courses over the summer months or attending a seminar that touches on ed tech and other trends in education, you can increase your knowledge and readiness so that by the fall you're able to integrate new methods into your curriculum. Your motivation to stay ahead of ed tech trends will help you be as effective an educator as possible.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Teacher Grants

James Patterson Grant
Deadline: July 31, 2018 
All you need to do is write no more than 50 words on how you would use $500 and 500 Scholastic Book Club Bonus Point for your classroom library.  
4,000 winners will be picked randomly. 
*(Our district had two winners this past year)

Deadline: April 2, 2018 (nominations)
The Grow Rural Education Program provides opportunities for farmers to nominate a rural public school district in their community to compete for a grant to enhance STEM education.
Prize: Up to $2.3 million will be awarded in amounts of $10,000 or $25,000.
Interactive Polling Software and Hardware Grant
Deadline: March 23, 2018
Turning Technologies is offering grant packages to help teachers incorporate polling technology into their classrooms. The grant includes a mobile interactive whiteboard, 32 student mini-keyboards for entering in responses, and a full suite of software for creating and grading interactive polls.
Prize: 10 interactive polling packages are being offered, each valued at $3,000.
Grants to Rebuild School Libraries Affected by 2017 Natural Disasters
Deadline: Rolling
The Laura Bush Foundation is offering grants to rebuild school libraries affected by major natural disasters in 2017, which include Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the California wildfires.
Prize: Varies depending on needs; amounts generally range from $10,000 to $75,000.
Community Impact Grants from The Home Depot
Deadline: Rolling
Home Depot gift cards are being offered to schools that are using the power of volunteers to improve the community. Funds may be used for school renovations, additions, and other improvement projects and can cover the cost of tools, materials, or services.
Prize: A $5,000 gift card to Home Depot.
Formlabs 3D Printing Grants
Deadline: Rolling; one grant per quarter
The Formlabs Education Grant is an opportunity for schools and research labs to receive a Form 2 3D printer by sharing a research-oriented project that will benefit from the use of a 3D printer.
Prize: Form 2 Complete 3D Printer Package.
Deadline: Rolling; 15th of every month
Have an innovative technology-based lesson plan you want to share? Submit your lesson plans to Digital Wish for a chance at receiving one of 50+ classroom technology grants. All of your uploaded lesson plans can then be shared with colleagues and educators across the country.
Prize: Up to 50 technology grants will be available in the U.S.
Toshiba 6-12 EdTech Grants
Deadline: Rolling
Do you have a plan to make science and math learning for engaging for students? Toshiba America Foundation provides grants to educators to support tech-enhanced STEM learning for students. Grants enable educators to roll out match and science project-based learning, and can be used to purchase supplies and materials.
Prize: Grants requests of less than $5,000 are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year; grants proposals for more than $5,000 are due November 1. 
DiscoverE Collaboration Grants Overview
Deadline: Ongoing
Need funding for an engineering outreach program? DiscoverE Collaboration Grants provide funding to support programs that engage youth in the engineering community with hands-on learning. Eligible programs will be led by a group of at least three partnering organizations. See a list of the past winning projects online.
Prize: Five $1000 grants are available.
Pets in the Classroom Grants
Deadline: Rolling
Looking for financial support for a classroom pet? The Pets in the Classroom grants program provides financial support for educators to purchase and maintain small classroom pets. Established by the Pet Care Trust, the grants are designed to students the chance to interact with pets. Educators in grades pre-K through ninth are eligible to apply. Applications for the 2017-18 school year open in August.
Prize: A variety of small grants are available, including store, rebate, and maintenance funding.
Field Trip Grants from the Civil War Trust
Deadline: Rolling
Want to get outdoors for a history lesson? The Civil War Trust's field trip grants allow K-12 educators to take students on learning trips at natural historic sites. In particular, The Trust provides grants to help educators plan field trips to Civil War, War of 1812, and Revolutionary War battlefields, as well as related historic sites.
Prize: Grants are available up to $1,500.
MORE: Get information on how to find grants.

Contests and Awards

Penguin Teacher Awards for Literacy
Deadline: June 1, 2018
The Penguin Random House Foundation is offering awards of $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500 to support teachers who inspire a love of reading in students through programs and curricula that are innovative, original, and have measurable success. Winners are awarded grants to help further their reading programs and to help disseminate them to other teachers around the country.
Paradigm Challenge Student Contest
Deadline: May 1, 2018
In collaboration with the Red Cross, the Paradigm Challenge is an annual competition that invites students aged 4 to 18 around the world to use kindness, creativity, and collaboration to help solve a real-life problem and make a difference in the world. $100,000 will be awarded as a grand prize, with smaller prizes ranging from $200 to $10,000. Educator grants are also offered in amounts up to $5,000.
Siemens STEM Day Sweepstakes
Deadline: April 27, 2018
The 2018 Possibility Grant Sweepstakes from Siemens offers a $10,000 grant for a school’s science lab makeover and/or STEM-related equipment, supplies, or technology. Entries are allowed daily, with one prize awarded in May.
Library Innovation Awards from Penguin Random House
Deadline: April 15, 2018
Libraries—whether school-based or public—that make strong connections with their local communities can be recognized with the Library Innovation Award. One winner will earn $10,000 and four runner-ups will receive $1,000 to further develop innovative community-based programs.
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching
Deadline: April 1, 2018
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) recognizes teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science) who serve as models for their colleagues, inspire their communities, and are leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.
National History Teacher of the Year Award
Deadline: March 31, 2017
This award, from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, recognizes K-12 history teachers in the U.S. Know a history teacher who would be great for the award? Nominate him or her today. A national winner receives a $10,000 prize; individual state winners receive $1,000.
2017 Rosenthal Prize for Innovation and Inspiration in Math Teaching
Deadline: Opens in January
The Rosenthal Prize, from the National Museum of Mathematics, recognizes "hands-on math teaching in upper elementary and middle school classrooms." In particular, the award focuses on individual math lesson plans and activities. A list of past winners is available online. One grand prize winner receives a $25,000 cash prize; five additional monetary awards are available for runners up.

Classroom Resources

Digital Citizenship Curriculum from Google
Google recently released Be Internet Awesome, a digital citizenship learning framework for designed for kids. The program features a curriculum, learning resources, and games that help younger students learn how to be safe online. Be sure to see Interland, a game that allows students to complete missions related to web safety.
FREE Science Resource From the California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Science's teaching resources offer something for every teacher: Online courses, interactives, tool-kits, and much more. If you're looking for fun, engaging science resources, you're bound to find some useful ones here. Choose from lesson plans, as well as games, films and clips, and other interesting multimedia.
Free STEM Outreach Programs From Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is committed to advancing STEM curriculum in the classroom. The organization supports a variety of STEM outreach programs, offering free curricula, student STEM contests, and mentoring opportunities for high school students. From Generation Beyond, a free aerospace classroom resource, to Code Quest, a coding contest for young students, Lockheed Martin funds a number of diverse initiatives that empower young learners.
Free Activities for Teaching Science and Math With Music
MathScienceMusic.org, a new website from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the NYU MusEDLab, features free resources to help teachers incorporate music in science and math lessons. The activities and apps are designed for all students, kindergarten through college. Subjects covered include geometry and physics, among many others, and all lessons teach students about the strong relationship between music and STEM learning.

Websites with Grant Information:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Updating Your Teacher Websites

If you haven't looked at your teacher web pages lately or you never created a page, now is a great time to update it so that it is ready for next year!

  • Log in using your normal computer username and password.
  • Update and create information including posts, pages, calendars and more.
  • Below are some video tutorials from the tech department to add and update your website.

Creating a Web Page

Creating Calendar Items

Creating a Post

Creating Classes and Assignments

Monday, April 30, 2018

Last Chance for STEM!

We are down to the last month of school.
Have you been meaning to try out some STEM activities in your classroom before the end of the year?
Well, now's the time!

Here are some activities that are fun and students will love trying out!

1.    Makey Makey - The Makey Makey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Your students will be able to turn everyday objects into touch-pads and combine them with the internet. It's a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between. (Grades 2-5)  http://makeymakey.com/
o    Makey Makey lessons - click HERE

2.    Ozobots - The Ozobot is a little toy robot that blends the physical and digital worlds and teaches kids programming.  (Grades 3-5)  http://ozobot.com/
o    Ozobot lessons - click HERE

3.    Bottle Flipping - Check out this fun lesson - click HERE
Image result for bottle flip stem challenge

4.    Robotics (KIBO, BeeBots, WeDo) – We have a variety of robots for K-5.  Try out one of these robots in your class as a group STEM activity. 

There are many more STEM items to try out...stop by and check them out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Gaining Resources with DonorsChoose.org

A few years ago, we posted about the crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org. This is such a great resource that I wanted to revisit the topic. With budget cuts and a greater emphasis on using technology and STEM in the classroom, finding other avenues for funding is a necessity.

Since the previous post, we now have several teachers in each of our district's buildings who have created DonorsChoose.org accounts and many who have had projects successfully funded! Funded projects have included resources like robots, Chromebooks, iPads, green-screening equipment, 3D printing pens, and more! Many of these projects took advantage of match offers where companies, foundations, or anonymous donors fund 50% of the project. Creating projects with match offers is one of the best tips out there!

Botley the Robot

Little Bits R2-D2 Droid Inventor

In addition to match offers, there are also other ways to find funding besides individual donors.

Google has been offering some classroom rewards through DonorsChoose.org ($100-$300!!!) for completing their coding and applied digital skills activities. 

Check out this one if you teach grades 4-8: Classroom Rewards for Coding Activities with Google

and this one if you teach grades 6-12: Classroom Rewards for Google's Applied Digital Skills Activities

Angie and I are currently DonorsChoose.org Ambassadors and would be more than happy to help you get started with an account and/or posting your first project. DonorsChoose.org has even given us $5 starter donations to add to your first project! 

If you'd like to get started on your own, here's a quickstart guide! To learn more about how DonorsChoose.org works, the impact it's had, and more detailed steps to posting a project, check out the slideshow below!

I know there are many of you who have had projects funded! Please feel free to share the resources you've gained in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

SeeSaw in Action

Last May we introduced you to SeeSaw-an online portfolio tool teachers and students can use to document learning. This week guest blogger Diane Bobik, first grade teacher at Fox Twp., gives us a glimpse into how she's been using SeeSaw in her classroom.

Image result for seesaw app

Welcome to the 21st Century….wait we’ve been here for 18 years!  This was important message that I learned at PETE&C this year in Hershey.   Are you still sending home paper newsletters, notes, and updates? I was guilty of keeping things the same even though times are changing.  There are so many digital tools out there to track behavior, send messages and newsletters to parents, practice skills after lessons, and gather electronic portfolios...but who has time for all of these apps? I know that I certainly don’t have the time or to be honest, the patience to learn all of these programs.

SeeSaw offers all of these tools in one simple app.  And the best part, it’s FREE! Setting up a class is easy.  There are templated letters to send home to parents so they can sign up.  Parents can keep one account for several children. This was a win for my class since I have siblings together this year.  Once you have your account ready, the kids can start using the app. So far, we have taken pictures of our vocabulary words and then recorded ourselves reading them.  We have recorded videos explaining how we solved our math problems. We have done videos of our oral reading of stories. I can also use the app to send newsletters, reminders, and behavior updates.  Parents are then able to respond directly to me, or send praise to their children on their posts. Parents and students cannot make their posts live until they are approved by me. This is especially helpful if you have a student who wants to put silly things onto our page.

Here are some examples of what we have done with this amazing app:

Students log in with a QR code.
Student is taking a picture of his vocabulary words.
Students are recording themselves reading their vocabulary words.

Thanks to Mrs. Bobik for showing us how this 21st century tool has impacted her classroom! If you have any questions about getting started or if you already use SeeSaw in your classroom, be sure to let us know and check out the Badging Center under "Other Badges" to get your badge and let others know you're ready to share your expertise!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Making the Most of iPads in the Classroom

With the wealth of iPads available for use at the elementary level, I thought it would be a great time to highlight some of the apps that are currently installed. If you have a personal iPad, you may find these apps useful as well. There are quite a few installed apps for skill-based practice, but the apps I am going to focus on will, in many cases, help move students from consumers of information to producers or will help them apply what they've learned!

I tried to break the apps down by category, although some may actually fit into more than one. It would be great if we could have the apps sorted into folders on the iPads, but with the way the updates push out, that isn't currently possible :(

Robotics-Sphero EDU & Sphero Mini (for use with the Sphero Mini robots), LEGO Boost (for use with the LEGO Boost kit), WeDo 2.0 (for use with the LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits), Wonder, Xylo, Path, Go, Blockly (all for use with the Dash and Dot robots), Droid Inventor (Little Bits R2-D2 Droid Inventor kit)

*Note: the robots for use with these apps may not be available in all buildings, but if you'd like to borrow something, let me know!

Coding-Hopscotch, The Foos, Scratch Jr

Osmo-Pizza Co., Osmo Monster, Coding Duo, Osmo coding, Numbers, Masterpiece, Newton, Words, Tangram (see previous post about Osmo here!)

Google apps-Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Classroom, Hangouts, Google Earth

Formative assessment-Plickers, Flipgrid, Kahoot, Nearpod, Explain Everything

Digital portfolios-Seesaw, Class Dojo

Notetaking/Organizing ideas-Popplet Lite, Dragon Dictation, Notepad +

Create Videos-iMovie, Spark Video, TeleStory

A few others: ActivCast (mirror devices with the new ActivPanels), QR Reader (scan QR codes-great for puzzles, scavenger hunts and more!), EdPuzzle (assign video lessons-great for flipped learning)

Mark Anderson (@ictevangelist-click here to see a larger version) recently posted a great periodic table of useful iPad apps, especially for elementary use, sorted by category. You may recognize some of them from the above list. If you check out a new app and think it would be beneficial, let us know by dropping a comment below!