Every year, we at eMINTS offer some pre-conference workshops the day before the conference commences. This year, we have three such workshops underway. There are sessions covering Weebly, SMART Products, as well as Google Apps. Roger Brallier of Mexico, MO is back again this year to present on managing a classroom website using Weebly in “Wock Your Webpage with Weebly”. Roger is an experienced and knowledgeable eMINTS trainer who is best when it comes to do-it-yourself projects. With Weebly, Roger can demonstrate how easy it is for one to create and manage a website using this free online tool. In “Applying Research-Based Strategies Using SMART Products”, presenter Martha Bogart of Cooperating School Districts (St. Louis) shows participants how SMART Boards and SMART Notebook can be used effectively in the classroom. While I was stopping by, Martha was sharing the wonder of pull tabs in Notebook as a way to reveal key information or instructions for students using the SMART Board. Throughout the session, a connection is made with the nine McREL (Marzano) research-based strategies and SMART Tech products. It’s always great to learn how pedagogy meets technology in the classroom. Centralia’s Matt McKenzie presents on the many benefits of Google Apps. These free tools offered by Google can fill classroom, team, and school district needs with just a Google account. Matt is extremely knowledgeable in this area as his school district has made some major strides in integrating Google Apps in nearly every aspect teacher and student work. Pre-conference sessions are typically three hours. They are often extended versions of the hour-long sessions we provide during the meat of the conference. The three sessions above are just a taste of what the eMINTS Conference has to offer participants over the next few days. Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.
These 3-hour hands-on workshops are offered from 1:00 – 4:00 on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 to kick off this year’s eMINTS National Center Conference.
Wock Your Webpage with Weebly – Learn how to transform your online classroom webpage with Weebly – and you can link to the world!
Applying Research-based Strategies Using SMART Products – Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to connect the Nine Instructional Strategies to your SMART Notebook lessons to improve student achievement.
Digital Journey to Authentic Learning – Participants will learn how to blend creativity into student-centered activities and how to use Share software to create and publish in the 21st Century classroom.
Unlocking the Potential of Google Apps – Participants will experience the benefits of using Google Apps within their buildings, grade level teams and even with students.
Using Open Source Content in the Blended Classroom – explore technical tools that are freely accessible online for public use and how these tools can economically extend your classrooms into the 21st century- expanding the learning experience and opportunities for all.
Visit http://www.emints.org/conference-2012/conference-schedule/ for more information on these workshops, keynotes, and all of the breakout sessions offered at our annual eMINTS National Center Conference. Hurry! Registration closes on February 3, 2012.
We hope to see you there!
eMINTS National Center Conference Coordinator
The World Wide Web is a wondrous thing, but it is often overcrowded with material not suited for students. We at eMINTS are always on the lookout for tools and resources that make the web a friendly place for students. This week’s list of online tools will do just that.
While Blogger and WordPress are excellent blogging tools, they come with the added risk of being part of an online community. For some teachers, this is rather uncomfortable position. Kidblog.org makes it possible for teachers to set up safe and easy to figure out blogs for their elementary and middle school students. Kidblogs simply allow students to publish blog posts and converse in a safe, controlled environment.
Looking for more of an online presence for students? Try Weebly for Education as a web and blog host. The popular web hosting and design site provides an added features of collecting homework and managing student accounts. Of course, there is also a blogging component that makes Weebly rather versatile.
It has been mentioned here before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Safeshare.TV is an easy way to access videos on YouTube without having to deal with pesky ads, (un)related videos, and comments. Safeshare.TV just makes it possible to access the great content that can be found in YouTube’s many, many videos.
How about finding resources on the web that contain appropriate reading levels for your students? Twurdy is a Google-powered search engine that color-codes resources based on reading levels. This can come in handing when researching a topic for students with some reading limitations. Allow students to conduct searches on Twurdy or do the work beforehand, identifying the most appropriate results for your students.
What are some tools you use in providing space and accessibility to the web for your students?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. A special H/T goes out to eMINTS instructional specialists Carla Chaffin and Debbie Perkins for suggesting the tools above.
School districts are cutting back on server space and software purchasing. This makes it hard to create and maintain usable classroom websites. Luckily, the Web is loaded with plenty of free alternatives.
You say your school is unable to purchase Dreamweaver? Try Nvu. For those who like to have more control than templates offer and no funds to purchase expensive software, NVU is a good alternative to the popular Dreamweaver.
Server space for websites is being drastically cut? If you’re okay with templates, Google Sites and Weebly both offer some great hosting options. With the right know-how, one does not have to be limited to templates, but both services offer a nice variety of templates with many features that will improve the interactivity of your site. Google’s sites offer seamless integration of the many Google tools also available for free. Weebly is a slick online web editor and host that also offers many interactive components to take your site to the next level.
Sometimes districts offer a small amount of space for a “templated” web page, but there are limits to resources. Simply tap into the many web-based tools that are free to users with an email address in order to enhance your students’ experience.
As mentioned above, Google offers many tools that can be easily converted to educational purposes. Google calendars provide both a self-standing website option and an embed-able element so that you can add this feature to your own site. Google Groups can provide a password protected space for discussion and file sharing. Google Docs give you the opportunity to produce collaborative documents, spreadsheets, images, surveys and quizzes, and presentations. Many of the tools on Google Docs can easily be “hacked” to fit teacher and student needs involving sharing and privacy as well as web publication possibilities. These free tools only skim the surface of what Google has to offer and did I mention it was all free? 😉
For lists of resources, teachers can utilize any number of social bookmarking sites. There’s Delicious which uses tags and clouds to create user-friendly interfaces and organizational systems. Diigo has many great collaborative possibilities. EverNote even takes the collaboration a step further and offers a desktop version for easy syncing. All of these tools can be used to provide students their own Internet-based libraries specific for their needs.
Communication is an important component of any teacher’s responsibilities. What better online tool for communication is there than the blog? Google has Blogger. WordPress is another great blogging tool and is utilized over at Edublogs. Blogs are free to set up and provide many opportunities for interaction with your students, parents, and colleagues.
This is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to free tools that can provide an alternative to the traditional classroom website. Almost any online tool has a practical classroom application. What are some of the tools you use for your classroom website?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read some of his other posts over at Suppl_eMINTS.