2011 Classroom Technology Blog Review: 31 Posts to Help K-12 Teachers use Technology and Software More Effectively

Children using computers in the classroomHappy holidays to you and your family from blog.classroomteacher.ca.

If you’re a teacher that lives around here (Ontario, Canada), then chances are you’ve just begun your two weeks of winter holiday: A chance to spend time with family, loved ones, and friends… And hopefully a chance to work on some classroom technology projects, that you just haven’t gotten around to during the school year.

2011 has been a productive year for this site: 31 posts written to help teachers get more out of their computers.

Here are some of the things happening behind the scenes on this site:

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Great Educational Websites That Your Students May Not Be Allowed to Use

Teachers are adding classroom technology to their programs. There are lots of great websites out there to help teachers bring their lessons out of the brick-and-mortar classroom and into a digital learning space.

Unfortunately, a lot of these websites have terms of service that require users to be 13 years or older in order to sign up for an account. This is to protect minors, to protect companies from accidentally collecting personal information from minors, and to comply with privacy legislation.

Although blog.classroomteacher.ca may talk about different ways to use technology in the classroom, the opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and do not represent any employer, school board, ministry of education, or legal/privacy expert. 

It is up to the individual teacher to read the terms of service of any website service before using it with their students to ensure that they comply with any school or government privacy regulations. For example, in the US, the Federal Trade Commission Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) give parents control over what information websites can collect from their kids.

Here are some great websites that teachers use with students. Now let’s think about whether students under 13 years old are actually allowed to create accounts on their own.

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How to Use Your IPad 2 and Evernote Peek to Help Your Students Study

Here’s another reason why the iPad is a useful teaching tool in your classroom. Not only can you use the iPad to take notes in the classroom, but you can also use it to create virtual flashcards to help your students study for a test or exam.

Sure, you could use index cards, post it notes, or plain old paper to make study notes. But the iPad has that cool “it” factor that might hook your struggling student. (Especially when using the Evernote Peek app…)

Having digital study notes on your iPad has several advantages:

  • The iPad is lightweight and easy to use. (You’re not waiting for your laptop to boot up to use a different digital flash card program.)
  • Post it notes on your wall can be a great visual reminder to study… but they start to lose their stick after a while.
  • Index cards are nice, portable and a pain to pick up when you accidentally drop them.
  • It’s easy to share your digital study notes (using Evernote and Evernote Peek) to have multiple students on their iPads studying from the same set of cards. (Real flash cards would have to get copied out by hand or photocopier.)

Here’s how you use your iPad to study for a test:

  1. Install the free Evernote iPad app
  2. Install the free Evernote Peek iPad app
  3. Use Evernote Peek to Start Studying
  4. A few things to know about using Evernote Peek as a study tool on your iPad 2

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How to Get Students “Talking” on Your Online Literature Circle Blog

Are you encouraging your students to fly and chat on your class website, or are you clipping their wings?Do you have a class website or online literature circle blog? Are you letting your students fly and chat online on your class website, or are you clipping their wings?

Lots of teachers are taking their lessons out of the physical classroom and into the digital learning space. Now, students can talk about books in literature circles at school, and also online if the teacher sets up a class website or blog.

Blogging software is a great way to get students to start talking about books online. There are a few different ways to run an online literature circle:

  1. You can write blog posts. For example, students can write a reading response to a book or teachers can ask guiding questions about the book, etc.
  2. You can leave comments to blog posts. For example, students could respond to guiding questions written by the teacher or to a book review post written by a fellow student.

Here are some things to know about how to encourage (or throttle) online student discussion:

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