My Top 3 Social Bookmarking Sites

Surfing the web for resources for your students is great but is pretty time consuming! How do you keep track and remember that awesome site you found for your students 2 weeks ago?! And which computer/device did I use?!

Thankfully, there are a number of web-based tools that can help you select, collect and share great sites on topics important to you and your students. All these below tools are accessible on a number of browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari…) and devices (like smartphones or tablets like IPads).

delicious

1. Delicious – An oldie but a goodie that was sorely neglected but recently acquired by the YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen so it is more actively support and updated. You can save (and tag) websites so you can visit and access later. I have been using this site for a quite a while and use it often when reading online on the web or (more likely on the IPad with hot beverage at the ready.) Here is a link to my delicious account. Feel free to search through the tags for useful sites. I collect links on this site after browsing through Apps like Zite, HuffPost, TrapIt and the ever popular Flipboard. While reading on IPad, I collect links on my topics of interest for everyday teaching practice or sites to share with colleagues. As for browser support there are a number on Chrome extensions or add-ons for Firefox and Internet Explorer.

diigo

2. Diigo – is similar to Delicious for saving sites with the additional options to highlight and add notes to specific pages.  See this video for more information on getting started.

pinterest

3.  Pinterest – It is impossible to ignore the fastest growing  (and 3rd most popular now) social media site behind Facebook and Twitter. Finding resources is as easy as visiting the site and searching under Education. Many of our kindergarten and primary teachers have accounts (One told me she was the “queen of Pinterest” but I am not saying who) and have been collecting excellent ideas and “Pin” ideas regularly for their classrooms and beyond.

Thanks to everyone for their ideas and advice for this tip and others too. Honourable mention should definitely go to Instapaper too as an excellent app that I use to collect and read articles for specific offline use. Personally, I use Instapaper for a quick and easy and not “internet reliant” way to access articles on detailed instructions on how to do something with a quite a few steps  i.e. A teacher’s guide to using Evernote for portfolios etc.

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My top 3 Cloud Storage Apps

If you have ever asked…where IS that file!? Cloud storage sites are an excellent way to store and access your important files on multiple devices like tablets, smartphones  or multiple computers. All provide FREE space and are a perfect alternative to the increasingly unreliable and easily lost USB drives.

My favourites are:

  1. Dropbox: The most popular and user-friendly app; available in the widest variety of apps; storage; great for collaboration and sharing folders with friends and  starts at 2 GB with lots of ways to earn free space
  2. Microsoft SkyDrive: allows you to access your files from any computer; 7 GB of free storage (25GB for Hotmail/MSN users)
  3. Google Drive: Integrates well with Gmail and can display an excellent variety of file types; My favourite for sharing “one-off” files quickly; 5 GB of free storage

All these applications are excellent for sharing files like photos or videos and handy for collaborating on projects with multiple editors and writers. Files and projects can be stored in an online folder rather than having multiple versions emailed back and forth. In all of the above sites, each file becomes a link that is easy to share in messages or posts.

For more information and a pretty comprehensive review of cloud storage options, please feel free to visit the below article.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/24/2954960/google-drive-dropbox-skydrive-sugarsync-cloud-storage-competition

Two min. tech. tips

According to Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” The same could be said for technology these days.

This year I am hoping you will take 2 min. to try a few new  ideas and tips from the ever-changing educational technology world. Some you might know, but hopefully you will pick up a few new tricks to improve your tech. skills.

Goal: Training should be quick, relevant and helpful for teachers.

Delivery: weekly to your inbox by email OR by Twitter. Feel free to follow me at @anthonychuter

Follow up: Up to you! Depending on feedback and interest, I can schedule follow-up sessions if a topic, resource or idea needs more attention.  Thanks for reading and I look forward to your feedback!

Anthony

Mindshift – Our Action Research on Creativity and Collaboration skills

Two years of research, collaboration and hard work came to a satisfying conclusion on April 25th 2012 as our Action Research team presented our findings to colleagues and guests on enhancing collaboration and creativity for the 21st Century learner.  We attended seminars, workshops and received expert guidance from colleagues our Ontario Institute  for Studies in Education OISE professors to help us frame our action research. What an excellent experience to work, learn create and collaborate with my team and variety of experts!

We concluded that best practice would be to allow students  opportunties to collaborate and work individually for ALL project-based learning . Our research and reading indicated that creativity is enhanced by conversations and interactions but students do need time to work out ideas individually. Projects should not be either individual or collaborative but both in order to flourish.

Greg Graham, “The best thinking occurs when students work alone but share together.”

The original “GroupThink” article

Here are the tools used:

Grade Two: Kerpoof.com

Grade Three: Voice Thread


Our Grade Three project on the Titanic
https://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=2946551

Grade Four: Bitstrips for Schools

Grade Five: Wikispaces

Our Grade Five Digital Storytelling project: http://l5bstory.wikispaces.com/

What is Action Research?
Richard Sagor’s The Action Research Guidebook

Presenting at the Ontario SMART Conference 2011

http://www.clker.com/clipart-smart-board-blank.html

Thanks to all those who attended the SMART Ontario conference at the new Crossroads Public School on Saturday October 15th in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake.  In my first experience as a SMART Exemplary Educator, I led a class full of dedicated and keen professionals through an “Introduction to SMARTboards” session. We explored a number of resources and best practices with the SMARTboard to aid student learning and provide educationally rich resources for the teachers in attendance.

In a 21st century classroom, a SMARTboard is one excellent tool to aid teachers design interactive lessons and activities to target a variety of learning styles and promote rich learning. Thanks also to the Crossroads P.S. team, Giancarlo and the SMART team for the countless hours of planning and preparation necessary to make such an important, collaborative and successful conference run so smoothly.
Here are the files from the session. All are in .notebook format.

Module One
Module Two
Module Three
Module Four

Also here  is a file with instructions on the the famous Magic Magnifier.

For more tips and tricks, please feel to browse my web bookmarks at:
http://www.delicious.com/anthchuter/smartboard

Follow me or feel free to contact me with questions or ideas on twitter at http://twitter.com/anthonychuter

My top 3 graphic organizers for students

We have found Inspiration and Kidspiration useful at our school but recently there has been a substantial growth of web-based (and free!) mind-mapping and graphic organizer tools. Here are a few tools to aid writing, planning, organization and the development of 21st Century skills.

1. Popplet – a Prezi-like graphic organizer and mind-mapping tool that is an excellent platform for students to demonstrate their learning. The presentation mode is similar to Prezi and useful for students to present their ideas in larger maps. Students must create an account to save their maps. Files can be shared as images files (.jpg or .gif) or embedded into a website or wiki.

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Bitstrips for Schools!

This Bitstrips for Schools is an incredible resource for creativity, content creation and collaboration for students. Over 1000 comics, projects and countless characters have been shared, commented upon and enjoyed by our community in this safe and educational rich site. Each comic tells a story better than my text so here are a few projects…

Grade 4: Identifying and Solving Cyberbullying 1

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