Teach Engineering – K-12 Engineering Curriculum

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WHO: Teachers looking for lesson plans and units for STEM classrooms.

HOW: Visit https://www.teachengineering.org/, click through the various sections, or use the search bar to go through 1,400+ lessons currently available. These lessons at aligned to a variety of standards including Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards. While a user does not have to sign up for an account, creating one gives the ability to save lessons into a curriculum, write reviews, and set up a profile.

WHEN: Teach Engineering is not only great for upcoming lessons in your class, but also to create course maps for the upcoming school year.  If your school is looking to start a STEM course, or specifically an engineering course, Teach Engineering is well worth your time to look through.  The best part about Teach Engineering is that it is completely FREE.

Quizizz: Engaging, Entertaining, And Competitive Formative Assessment

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WHO: Teachers in 1:1 or BYOD classrooms that are looking for formative assessment that captures students attention.

HOW: Teachers sign up for an account at http://www.quizizz.com/, choose a public quiz, or create their own, and begin!  When creating a quiz, teachers can search the public bank for quizzes and copy individual questions over to their own.  The quizzes can also have media embedded to base questions on. Each question can have up to four potential answers.  After a teacher starts a quiz, they direct their students to open a browser and go to http://quizizz.com/join/.  The students will then enter the teachers quiz code, enter their name (they will be given an avatar), and wait for the quiz to begin.  Once all of the students have entered the room, the teacher begins the quiz.  Students are able to see both question and answer on their screen instead of looking back and forth between device and projector.  Each correct answer gives the student points, and quicker answers net higher point values. After answering a question, the screen displays a humorous meme to let them know if they were correct.   At the end of the quiz, the students are given their rank for that particular assessment.  Teachers are given a graph with student scores and an option to download the results in a spreadsheet.

WHEN: Quizizz is a great formative assessment tool.  It could be used at the beginning or end of a class, or as a weekly checkup.  Teachers could also have students create their own quizzes as a way of demonstrating mastery of content.

Shomi Links – Quick, Easy, In-Text, Scannable Links

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WHO: Teachers looking to add links into documents to supplemental material, forms, and more.  Shomi Links are in-line text so they do not take up as much space as a QR Code.

HOW: Sign up for an account at https://shomi.link/, create a link, and copy the text link or download the .png image file of the link.  You will need to install the font on your computer in order to copy and paste the text link.  Next, have students and parents download the Shomi Link App on their mobile device.  After opening the app on the device, point the camera (and zoom if needed) at the Shomi Link to be directed to where the teacher has selected.

WHEN: Shomi Links are great for teachers to add in supplemental materials into assignments or paperwork sent home.

Here is a Shomi Link for Teacher’s Tech Toolbox: TTBShomiLink

Here is a Youtube Video describing Shomi:

Five Options To Learn How To Code

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The Hour of Code runs from December 7-13, 2015; here are a few options to keep teaching code all year round!

Code.org – This is the website linked with Hour Of Code, there are a few different options that help to keep students engaged in creating code to program a popular character to complete a level. After completing students are rewarded with a certificate of completion.

Kodable –  There are free and paid versions, with the free version being a basic curriculum.  Teachers sign up, create classes, add students, and get started.  Students visit the site, put in the class code, then select their name.  Kodable is very basic and geared towards elementary level.

All Can Code – This website allows students to lead the character “Marco” around many levels while using visual coding with blocks.  Students also learn about loops and boolean statements using this engaging activity.

Code Combat – This site has a few different coding languages to choose from, including python.  The difference with this game-based coding tool is that the students must write code instead of using blocks.  This allows students to begin to learn syntax.  In this game, the students lead their character on missions through levels and also interact and battle with other characters.  Teachers can create classes and follow student progress throughout the game.

Codecademy  – This site breaks away from playing games while learning.  Users can select what they want to learn about and get started. Options include website, Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, Command Line, SQL, Java, Git, HTML & CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby.  Lessons are provided on the left side and a workspace is given on the right to start typing.  There is also the option to have a premium account in which a personalized curriculum is created.

IPEVO Ziggi-HD Plus Product Review

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DEVICE: IPEVO Ziggi-HD Plus Document Camera

COST: $99.00 (plus tax and shipping if applicable)

INTERFACE: USB

POSITIVE:

Cost: While staying just below the $100 price tag, this document camera is very appealing when compared to competitors products.  Schools can afford to outfit multiple classrooms with document cameras for the cost of one of the competition’s models.

Clarity: IPEVO has made a large step in picture quality with this edition of the Ziggi Document Camera Series.  Featuring an 8 Megapixel lens, a max resolution of 3264 x 2448, 12x digital zoom, and a streaming rate of 30 fps, make this the best document camera IPEVO has released.

Footprint:  The Ziggi-HD Plus takes up very little space on your desk.  The base is roughly the size of a smartphone.  The neck articulates and folds up if you want to put it away or take it with you to a presentation.

Ease-of-use:  The included software is simple and straight forward.  Teachers can be up and running with this device in their classroom in under 10 minutes or less (depending on install time.) IPEVO provides their Presenter Software, which has many different options for teachers when using one of their document cameras.  Teachers are able to zoom, split screen, and adjust white balance from inside the software.  This allows the camera to stay on the desk while the teacher is up at the board.

NEGATIVE:

Connection: The Ziggi-HD Plus is USB only so it must be run through a computer.  While this is listed as a negative, it is really a trade off for the small footprint and low-cost.  IPEVO offers other models of document cameras, specifically the VZ-1 VGA/USB Dual Mode Document Camera that can be run directly to a projector if desired.

 

IPEVO Document Camera Comparison Chart

 

Photos For Class: Creative Commons Licensed Pictures With Attributes On Image

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WHO: Teachers looking for a way to help students find pictures with proper attributes and appropriate for class.

HOW:  Visit http://photosforclass.com/, type in what you are looking for in the search box, and download the picture of your choosing.  The picture will download with attributes at the bottom.  Pictures come from Flickr with a G-rating and Creative Commons licensing.

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WHEN: This is great for any projects your students may do.  It can be very difficult to find proper pictures in class, but Photos for Class is there to help.

Code Combat: Learn Coding While Playing A Game

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WHO: Teachers looking for a way to engage students in learning how to write code.

HOW: Students can sign up and start playing on their own, or a teacher can set up a class with student accounts and track progress. Code Combat teaches students to actually type code, the next step after the drag-and-drop blocks you see on most websites to teach code. Code Combat teaches students can choose from the following languages:

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WHEN: This is a great activity to kick off the Hour of Code December 7-13, an enrichment course, or a full computer science course.

Pocket Points: Students Earn Rewards For Locking Their Phones During Class

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WHO: Schools/Teachers looking to reward students for not using their phones in class.  While many schools do not allow students to have their cell phones on them in the classroom, many teachers now have to spend valuable class-time policing technology policies.  This app helps out both the teacher and the student.

HOW: Student downloads the app to their cell phone, opens the app, and locks their phone during class.  I am reminded of using this out our local movie theatre, in which a locked phone through the duration of the feature film will unlock concession stand coupons.

WHEN: At the start of the school day or at the start of each class.  Teachers remind their students to lock their phones and no longer worry about it.  As the day progresses, the students earn points.  These points in return can be redeemed for offers from local businesses and chains.

Here is a list of some of the featured chains:

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All Can Code – Run Marco: Engaging Activity Teaches Coding To Anyone

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WHO: Teachers, parents, and students interested in learning the basics of coding.

HOW: Simply go to https://www.allcancode.com/, click on Play Demo, and get started! It is also available on iOS, Android, Chrome Web Store, and Kindle Fire.  All Can Code is also working on a comprehensive system that will allow schools to create their own levels, publish to students, and assess performance.

WHEN: This is great for technology classes looking to teach students the basics of coding.  It will help students develop the skill set to solve problems logically, as well as teaching algorithms, loops, etc.

When I started to play the game myself, I found that before I knew it, I was playing level 10, counting steps, and fully engaged on how to solve the task at hand.  Head on over to https://www.allcancode.com/ and give it a try yourself!

Mac Of All Trades: Refurbished Apple Products

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WHO: Schools, teachers, parents, or students looking for Apple products at a lower cost.

HOW: Visit www.macofalltrades.com, browse for the product you are looking for, and purchase!

WHEN:  Mac of All Trades runs frequent sales, so check back to their website frequently.  There is also an option for volume purchases, which are typically five or more of the same item.  This option is great for schools looking to create a lab at a lower cost.  Shoppers can also check out what is available in the clearance section.  Here you may find some “scratch-and-dent” type items.  If you are alright with scratches, dings, malfunctioning webcams, etc.. these items are offered at deep discounts.

Mac of All Trades may also be interested in buying your used products, so if you are looking to upgrade, it may be worth your time to visit their “sell” section.

I have used this company before and I have been very happy with their product.  When I did have some issues, their customer support went above and beyond to accommodate.