Your students are bored of PowerPoint. Switch to Prezi

Chances are, your students are tired of PowerPoint. It was catchy at first, but now your students are used to having lessons on the data projector.

They’ve seen bulleted lists fade in and out and they’ve watched slides go by one by one. PowerPoint doesn’t hook your students anymore. Been there, done that, and they’ve even written their own PowerPoints.

Prezi is the new PowerPoint.

If you haven’t used it before, then the flashy transitions will hook your kids. It’s cool.You know how you can zoom in and out of places in Google Earth – like you’re flying? Well, Prezi is a lot like that.

Instead of using slides, you have one big page that you spread your lesson over and then you zoom and twist around your page to focus on different ideas. check out the example Prezi by Paul Hill at the bottom of this page.

Here are some other great Prezis about making great Prezis:

After the initial wow factor fades away, Prezi is still a great teaching tool because you can jump around in your presentation instead of going slide by slide.

8 Reasons why you should switch to Prezi in the classroom Continue reading “Your students are bored of PowerPoint. Switch to Prezi”

Twitter in the Classroom

twitterAt the end of June, our Grade 8 Language Arts (English) class experimented with using Twitter in the classroom.

Continue reading “Twitter in the Classroom”

Classroom Technology – Where does the funding come from?

Classroom technology is great… but where do we get the money to fund the educational technology? I would like to have a class set of laptops for my Grade 7 and 8 students to use: 

Continue reading “Classroom Technology – Where does the funding come from?”

Classroom Technology: Classroom Clickers (SMART Technologies’ Student Response System)

Classroom clickers are a piece of educational technology that allows you to get your students more involved. You put up a question on your computer and students use the classroom clickers to vote in their answers.

SMART technologies has a SMART Response student response system (formerly called Senteo) that has caught my attention.

I’ve heard people talking about clickers before, but it wasn’t until I visited Brian Aspinall’s website after he left a comment that I did some more research. Essentially you can post a question and have students click in their response using individual remote controls. You can set up questions using the SMART software (or Powerpoint, I believe.) Continue reading “Classroom Technology: Classroom Clickers (SMART Technologies’ Student Response System)”

Integrating technology in the classroom Wish List

We’re constantly trying to think  of meaningful ways to integrate technology into our classroom. We’re doing some of these things in one form or another (i.e. class blogs and student wikis), but we’re always trying to improve our practice. Here’s our wish list for things to experiment with over the next few years. 

Are you doing any of the following things in your classroom? What were your experiences? Would you do it again? Continue reading “Integrating technology in the classroom Wish List”

Review of Using Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in the Classroom

Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2 for WiiThis week, we brought in Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) into our classroom as a class reward for our Intermediate students as well as for our daily physical activity (DPA) requirements.

We’ve been thinking about bringing in Dance Dance Revolution into our classroom since last summer,  but didn’t actually start to research specifics and the benefits of having DDR in our school until October. 

Although we’ve used Dance Dance Revolution in our programming before at a teen drop-in center / community center, yesterday was the first time we actually played DDR with our students in school.

Here’s our review of using Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party (Nintendo Wii) in our Grade 7 and Grade 8 classroom.

Continue reading “Review of Using Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in the Classroom”

WordPress Plugins we use on our School Website

We haven’t posted recently because we’ve been busy experimenting with educational technology for the classroom, instead of simply writing about it.

It turns out that one of our colleagues has a kindergarten student who has his own free blog. Apparently, he reports on the classroom activities and uses exclamation marks quite liberally in his writing.

So, to honour the future bloggers of the world, we decided to do a quick post showcasing WordPress plugins that we use on our school website and classroom homework website.

(We run our classroom and school website using free WordPress software on our own self-hosted blog. What gives us the edge over someone who only has a free blog account is that when you run the WordPress software on your own computers, you have complete control over which plugins or themes you install, essentially making your classroom website infinetely expandable and customizable.)

Continue reading “WordPress Plugins we use on our School Website”

Technology Projects for the Classroom

Tomorrow is the last day of school before the Winter Holiday Break. So, ofcourse we’re eagerly awaiting our two weeks off so that we can play on the computer more and work on some side projects.

(On a side note, one of our students did an incredible job on her student wiki, updating her KWL chart for our Integers units at midnight. Another one of our students is hacking a remote control to make an infra-red pen to use with a wiimote smartboard. So, I don’t think I’ll be the only one playing on the computer this holiday…)

Google implements a philosophy based on the 20/80 principle: 80% of your success is created by 20% of your effort. (Or, conversely, 80% of your time only produces 20% of your results.)

Alex K, a Technical Soluions Engineer over at Google talks about the “20 percent time” in action: “The 20 percent time is a well-known part of our philosophy here, enabling engineers to spend one day a week working on projects that aren’t necessarily in our job descriptions”

This holiday break, we’re looking forward to focusing on some “20 percent time” projects that aren’t “necessarily in our job descriptions,” but will hopefully lead towards some fruitful results that aid our teaching practice. Here are some of the projects we’re looking forward to experimenting with: Continue reading “Technology Projects for the Classroom”

Use Google Translate to Help Parents Understand What is Going On

Consider your own experiences with communicating with parents about your reading program. What are the key barriers to parent involvement in your teaching situation?

Personally, I’m big on integrating technology into my classroom practice.

However, I think the greatest barrier to parent involvement is the language barrier. Continue reading “Use Google Translate to Help Parents Understand What is Going On”

Using Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in Schools and the Classroom

UPDATE: We tested Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in our classroom. Read our review on using DDR in the Classroom. 

M. Temchine, NY Times, 20070429I’ve decided that I’d like to experiment with Dance Dance Revolution in my classroom.

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is a video game by Konami that was released in the arcades of Japan in 1998 and is now available across several home entertainment systems, including Playstation, Wii, and Xbox. 

Players stand on a dance platform with arrows pointing up, down, left, and right. By listening to the music and watching a computer screen, players need to tap the corresponding arrows on the beat. 

There are different levels of difficulty, so game play can range from simple to challenging. On the Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party includes the use of the wii remote. Up to 4 players have to move both their hands and feet to the beat.

Overall, DDR is a high-interest, low-skill activity that appeals to the video-game generation, and as a teacher who continually looks for innovative ways to achieve curriculum expectations through technology, DDR is in my sights.

Continue reading “Using Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in Schools and the Classroom”