Summer is well underway, finally, for many of you. I know this past school year seemed very long especially here in Kentucky with seemingly every weather phenomenon and miscellaneous delays such as special elections and the threat of teacher strikes. I hope you are now enjoying time with your family, vacations, and just some much needed relaxation time. As for me, I enjoyed an awesome vacation out to California and Disneyland with my family. But now I am getting acclimated to my new position after almost completing the first week. I am excited to get back to this blog after my vacation time and begin sharing some great stuff with you.
I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight my top 3 tools to learn about during your summer break. As you begin to organize and prepare for the new school year, take a look at these tools and find a way to use them either in your classroom with your students or just to make your work time more efficient. Remember: instructional technology not only includes tools for the classroom, but also making our teaching lives more productive and efficient for a better quality life outside the classroom.
- Insert Learning allows you to add instructional content onto any webpage by:
1. Add annotations to an online article.
2. Add questions for students to answer or discuss.
3. Add other links or video clips that might pertain to the content on that page.
Insert Learning can be used through the Google Chrome Browser. Just install the extension from the website or from the Chrome Web Store and your ready to start Inserting. It is a great way to encourage “close reading” skills and make sure students are truly understanding what they are reading. Click HERE to view an example I made from an article on Abraham Lincoln from Biography.com.
- Boomerang is an extension that works inside of your Gmail in order to accomplish time-oriented tasks. Many school districts are beginning to migrate from Microsoft Outlook over to Gmail. As teachers and staff get acclimated to the using Gmail, they are finding certain limitations within the features of Gmail. One option they are missing in Gmail is the ability to set an email to automatically send at a later time. Adding the Boomerang extension to your browser will give you that option. When composing or replying to an email, you can set it to send at a later time. You also get the ability to “snooze” your inbox. When you are in an important meeting or in the middle of an important lesson with your students, you can “snooze” your inbox to prevent email messages from popping up during a set timeframe.
- FlipGrid is a tool for adding students’ verbal voice responses to an assignment that you create for them. You can create a written or video assignment for your students to respond. FlipGrid is a great tool for formative assessment to gage understanding of the items taught that day or even for a pre-assessment to see how much they really know about a topic. It is also great for assessing foreign language skills, assessing music performance, and even assessing scripture memorization. The best thing about FlipGrid for this summer is that it is now totally FREE! Microsoft has recently purchased FlipGrid and all of the formerly premium paid content is now free for all teachers to take advantage of. This means you have unlimited possibilities in creating assignments for your students. Take a look at a sample FlipGrid HERE and respond! If asked for a password just enter: Imagination1
Enjoy your summer and stay tuned for the next tech idea here at TECH Imaginations!