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Whiteboard Plus

GynzyWhat’s missing from your expensive new interactive whiteboard? The missing element for teaching with new technology is often software that can turn it from a piece of hardware into a teaching machine. Gynzy has a wide assortment of common-core aligned lesson plans and activities for both classroom work as well as for professional development. As you’d expect, everything can be marked up with a stylus and there are a slew of images and widgets available to help any class run smoother. It’s free to try it out and the service costs $100 per teacher or $1,000 per school to license the service.

 

 

See and Say

TellAssessing English skills of those who aren’t native speakers is never easy, but Pearson’s Test of English Language Learning (TELL) can do it reliably and efficiently. Administered via a tablet, TELL assesses a student’s ability to listen, speak, read and write by exposing them to videos, pictures and words and then asking them questions out loud. With the power to identify, assess and monitor students, all of TELL’s grading is automatic with scores available in minutes.

 

 

Small School, Big Courses

EdynamicDue to the size of their teaching and student bodies, small schools often can’t offer the variety of courses that large ones can, but eDynamic Learning can help with an online offering that any big middle or high school can be proud of. With more than 50 digital classes available, the curriculum spans the gamut from “Art in World Cultures” to “Veterinary Sciences.” It’s all browser-based and the classes work with many popular Learning Management Systems and include teacher guides with detailed lesson plans.

 

Whiteboard Plus

GynzyWhat’s missing from your expensive new interactive whiteboard? The missing element for teaching with new technology is often software that can turn it from a piece of hardware into a teaching machine. Gynzy can take care of it with hundreds of common-core aligned lesson plans and activities for both classroom work as well as for professional development. As you’d expect, everything can be marked up with a stylus and there are a slew of images and widgets available to help any class run smoother. It’s free to try it out and the service costs $100 per teacher or $1,000 per school to license the service.

Freebee Friday: iPad Education Central

Itune U ed bLooking for new curriculum or just some fresh ideas on how to teach? The revamped Apple iTunes U pages should be your first stop with lots of new ideas on how iPads fit into the school scene. To start there’re new apps that make creating assignments and classwork much easier and let you hand out digital assignments. Because the pad can now be linked with a variety of educational apps, it can collect homework automatically, making the mechanics of the classroom much smoother.

Itune U ed aThere’s something for teachers as well with the site’s Education Spotlight page, which every teacher should add as a favorite or bookmark. You’ll find everything from the work of distinguished scholars and teacher-written texts to professional development courses and apps for English learners. The site really comes into its own with the “Get Started Teaching with iPad” sections. Each has dozens of online classes from a wide variety of sources to help fill out your curriculum. Most are free but a few are for anything from $2 to $15.

Print and Digital Together

Total motivation aWhy choose between print or digital content for students when Mentoring Minds provides both. Its Total Motivation K-through-12 curriculum is browser based and includes printed workbooks for a single license fee. Its curriculum covers reading and math, is aligned with the latest standards and the package includes a progress monitoring screen so that teachers can keep track of every student’s work.

Freebee Friday: Camp at Home

Camp googleHow do you go to summer camp and travel with world of science without ever leaving your home? Go to Camp Google, an online place for 7- to 10-year-olds to learn about math, science and engineering topics. The site has a wealth of curriculum and activities for summer fun and learning that are organized into four themes: music, nature, space and oceans. It all starts on July 13 with a week of content that comes from the likes of NASA, National Geographic and the National Parks Service. It sure beats campfires and roasted marshmallows.



Freebee Friday: Gaming Education

K12 decisionsNothing works for teachers better than tricking students into learning by playing educational games. K-12 Tech Decisions takes this notion to new heights with an article by Mitch Weisburgh, the cofounder and director of Games 4 Ed. “Why gaming Matters” is the first of a series of articles on game-based education and how it can be integrated into the classroom dynamic.

 

 

The 123s of Summer Retention

We all know that the months of July and August can undo a year’s worth of hard classworkwork. The right math app used over the summer, however, can mean the difference of starting over and building on what the students have already learned. Don’t feel bad about giving assignments over the summer, because students often have to read a novel or two to get ready for the next year’s English class.

Math upgrade KLearning Upgrade’s Math Upgrade Kindergarten can help in a big way. It has 50 music- and video-filled fun lessons with interactive games that can help reinforce the year’s curriculum and push forward into new mathematical territory. Everything is aligned with the Common Core standards and the company is working on activities and lessons. Schools that use license Learning Upgrade get it for free over the summer months.

Math motionThe $3 that Motion Math costs may be the best money spent on math education throughout the year. That’s because this math app not only works with iPads and Android tablets but Windows Phones as well. Aimed at third and fourth graders, the app focuses on fractions, what they are, how they work and why students shouldn’t be afraid of them. The lessons are Common Core aligned and really games that work with everything from pie charts and number lines to numerators and denominators, decimals and percentages. For those who’re having trouble grasping the concepts, Motion Math has hints.

Math bugsRather than concentrate on any particular skill, Math Bugs goes after the whole gamut of math. In addition to the basics, like adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, the app teaches shapes, common factors and algebra. It has word problems as well as a series of mental math tricks that can streamline figuring out problems. On top of single-player and group modes, you move among its different skill levels and set the program up to present as many rapid-fire questions in 60 seconds as can be answered. It’s free and has ads, but for a small upgrade fee, there are harder problems available.

 

 

 

Texas 1, 2, 3 Step

Stepping stones bOrigo Education just updated its Stepping Stones program to add special features for classrooms needing to meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards. The K-through-5th grade math curriculum focuses on thinking and reasoning skills but is chock full of furry cute animals for children to relate to. The program runs in a Web browser so there’s no new software to load and update.  It costs $169 a year for a teacher’s subscription, but you can try it out for a month for free.

 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.