Friday, August 15, 2014

One Stop Page for Student Learning Online

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Blendspace is another resource (Similar to Been for Edu) that I am really excited to see used in a designated device environment. Using Blendspace a teacher can collect resources from various locations online for a class or lesson topic and share them out for learning by sharing just one URL to the class.  I love this resource as it will allow you to share media and resources from all areas.  You can share videos from YouTube, those that you have created yourself or from Educreations, a video creation resource.  Presentations, documents, links, images, and the ability to bring information directly from your Google Drive, make it possible to easily focus the attention of the students on a topic or idea.  In addition this tool would be very helpful in pulling together Flipped learning resources per unit in a class or course.  Students are given a code used to get to the Blendspace class that you have created.  There are ways to use quizzes within the resource, track students progress and easily adjust resources to meet the needs of the class. 

Check out how to use Blendspace here:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

TweenTribune - News Resource for Classrooms

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I am super excited to share the fun resource supporting non-fiction, current events and teaches some great tips for online commenting all rolled into one resource.  More and more we see that people are getting away from a newspaper subscription and reading content online.  As more and more schools move toward a 1:1 environment, the collection of online media seems to be growing.  The trouble is that you need to find resources that will keep kids safe, allow them to learn how to use them in a secure way, and provide content at their age level taking consideration for content and reading level.  I believe that TweenTribune by Smithsonian will do that.
TweenTribune is a moderated comment sharing community where a teacher when registered for free, and assign educational content to students.  Students log in using a screen name and have the ability to make comments of which the teacher moderates and can choose to post on the Teacher's TTribune page, or publicly in the TTribune site.  Articles come from reputable sources such as AP, local newspapers and TV stations.  They are vetted for grade and reading level.  TTribune is very clear about the teacher gaining permission from parents to create accounts for students under 18 years of age, and also that they collect no information about the students, email addresses, etc.
Creating an account is simple.  The account automatically creates a list of classes of which you can rename.  Adding students is simple and I love that they encourage you to use a safe naming system when you create the user names as shown in the screen capture below: 

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 Once you have created an account and have students registered, you can begin to select articles.  The articles are fantastic as they are sorted by grade span, have Lexile levels listed and a quiz should you decide to use it.  As shown, you click "Assign" and the article will be placed on the class  list of readings.

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This resource is so great for kids and teachers to use.  As far as I can tell you cannot assign a different article to different kids and I wonder if the best way to differentiate would be to create different classes to accommodate different groupings.  TweenTribune is all supported via a free app for iOS.  This video will help you to learn about it, or create and account and explore!