Best Practices In Teaching, Learning, and Technology Integration

Welcome to my Blog! I hope to share innovative information that I learn about technology integration and best practices in teaching and learning. Combined with good instructional strategies,technology integration is the key for creating an engaging and rigorous environment for students. Feel free to join the site and follow my blog posts. I look forward to interacting with you and adding you to my Professional Learning Network. Thank you!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Using Prezi for Student Projects

PREZI is an online presentation software tool with a zoom-able canvas, that makes it fun to explore, and is visually captivating to  your audience. Watch the video below to get an example of what students can do with Prezi for project presentations in all subjects!

Virtual Museum Projects

What is a Virtual Museum Project?  ...basically, a collection of electronic artifacts and information resources - practically anything that can be digitized.  Virtual Museums can be created in Microsoft PowerPoint, with non-linear slides.  A collection may include paintings, drawings, photographs, recordings, video segments, etc.  This "non-linear" presentation gives the viewer the option to "jump" over slides to specific groups of slides.  So, students would create “rooms” where researched information is housed, with links back to the “entrance.” Virtual museums were first presented at the ISTE (NECC) in 2005.  Now, with several ways to "spruce up" Microsoft PowerPoint, virtual museums are a welcome, well-sought-after way to engage students, which creating amazing projects. Teachers from Keith Valley Middle School, in Pennsylvania shared their slideshows, where they begin using these museums to replace traditional art history reports.  Students can easily develop virtual museums from scratch, and use these museums to further their knowledge of curricular objectives in academic subjects across the curriculum.  This project promotes student creativity and engagement.  Below are a few links where you can view additional information on virtual museums.  View the video below to see some student examples.  How could you use VMs in your classroom?  Comment below with ideas or questions.   

Benefits & Purpose:
o They allow for integration of  21st Century Skills into traditional learning.
o They promote cross-curricular integration by having students link ideas.
o The museums provide new, meaningful, and contemporary opportunities to integrate technology.
o They help students gain presentation skills.
o They motivate student learning through high-interest activities.
o Research for the museum and the construction of the museum requires students engage in higher-level 
o They encourage reluctant students to write.
o They appeal to students who are visual learners.

Virtual Museums to teach integrated subjects:
o  Students can create rooms about topics other than history (e.g., math, science, literature, civics, geography).
o  Students can create rooms on a single theme with each room representing a different content area (e.g., If
    studying Galileo, one room may focus on geometry, one about daily living during his time, one with a written biography, and one on the science of his time).
o  Students can present the rooms in the form of an auction with bidding starting at a set amount for each 
o  Have students use the same pictures in each room, but use different writing styles for the placards (e.g., 
biography, persuasive, descriptive).
o  Use the museums to teach research, notetaking, and writing skills.
o  Have students create museums as portfolio assessments of all content areas from a single semester.
Excerpts Taken From: Educational Virtual Museums Developed Using PowerPoint

Resource Links:  

Friday, March 16, 2012

April is National Poetry Month!

Would you like a way to integrate technology into your poetry unit? It can be difficult to do anything more with a poetry unit other than reading and writing poems. Educators need to integrate technology into their lesson plans more and more as companies are demanding future employees with computer skills, and the technology generation is growing bored with traditional teaching methods. Many states now mandate technology to be a part of the curriculum. So, here are few ideas:

1. Using Photo Story 3, you can turn your class poetry into a narrated video for students to enjoy and take home! Photo Story 3 is a Windows program that creates slide show videos using digital pictures. The program is very user friendly, allowing users to keep it as simple as possible or more polished if they choose. The options included in the program range from cropping and rotating pictures, using color effects on pictures, to transitions and music/narration. The example below is a Photo Story of the poem "Candlelight" done by Charlotte S; Poem written by Coreena Lindquist:

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2. Using an electronic Flipbook, you can turn your students into published poets!  Issuu is allows you to publish books and magazines in a digital format, where the pages actually flip as if you were turning a paper magazine or project.  Students and parents really like this feature, and projects can easily be posted on your webpage.  See an example below.  

3. Using Voicethread, you can have students illustrate and narrate their poems, and comment on each other's work.  This is a great way to promote dialogue among students.  Below is an example of a third grade class in Brooklyn New York.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embracing the New Interactive Classroom

Some of you may ask, “Why do I need a NEW classroom?”  “What’s wrong with the classroom I’ve always had?”  I manage my students pretty well; My test scores are good; My students come back to see me year after year. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills conducted a poll, and 80% of voters said that the kinds of skills students need to learn today are different from what they needed 20 years ago. And 99% of voters said that teaching students 21st-century skills is important to our country’s economic success.  Students are ready for this shift to multimedia—even enthusiastic. "Students are more comfortable experimenting with technology and visual media because these are a regular part of their lives outside of school.” So, this PRESENTATION clarifies what these skills are—and some new engaging ways to teach them!

Generating Multiple QR Codes with Google Docs Spreadsheet

QR Codes have become extremely popular in schools lately.  Please view my PRESENTATION to learn some ways that they can be used in the classroom.  Many teachers that I work with have incorporated video book reviews by the students as a formative assessment.  A great way to "publish" these book reviews and share with other students is to generate QR Codes to adhere to the books.  Students can scan the codes with their smartphone, iPad, tablet or laptop/PC (with webcam) to see a peer-review of the book!  Dutch Fork Elementary School has  set up a QR Code station in the library for students to view the opinion of their peers on video before deciding to check out a book.

Generating several codes can become time-consuming if you are using any of the QR Code generating sites.  However, you can decrease the time dramatically and organize your codes by using a Google spreadsheet.   Tammy Worcester provides this Tip of the Week: Click on this TEMPLATE to enter text or URLs, and a QR code will automatically be generated for you.  Then, simply copy and paste the code to your desired designation. Or save the codes to any location on your computer.  In order to view the codes in the Google spreadsheet, be sure to change the view from normal view to list view. 

Are you using QR Codes in your instruction, or do you plan to?  If so, please comment and share some ideas about what you are doing or plan to do. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

TimeToast: Create Interactive Timelines in Minutes

This online Web 2.0 tool allows students to create timelines in minutes.  Yes, it's free!  See the example below, as a student displays his research on the American Revolution.  Try it yourself at

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mimic Twitter in the Classroom to Increase Engagement

Embrace the backchannel and engage your students with which allows you to create a room where students can participate in a real time conversation. In the classroom, what a great way to supplement the showing of a film, increase engagement during presentations, and more! Check out the introductory video below:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Flipped Classroom: Will you be "Flipping Out?"

In November, I facilitated a professional development workshop for secondary mathematics teachers on technology integration, based on Marzano’s instructional strategies, with positive feedback and implementation of the Flipped Classroom by several teachers.  The LiveBinder for the presentation is in a previous post.  One strategy that yields a 20% gain in learning is Homework & Practice.  However, research shows that students should adapt skills while they are learning them.  Speed and accuracy are key indicators of the effectiveness of practice.  That being the case, what does it say about students who get home and become stuck while trying desperately to follow the day’s notes to complete homework problems?  Often this results in feelings of frustration and ineffective practice. 

The flipped model of instruction is an innovative teaching strategy that can elevate those frustrations and have students prepared to work problems in class, where the teacher can assist.  This also creates more time for application activities or labs, where students will be able to cover more material with a deep understanding. I used this model with great success in the mathematics classroom (on a small scale) to differentiate instruction, but only periodically as remediation or enrichment. The reaction from the students was extremely positive.  They enjoyed being able to learn at their own pace by pausing and rewinding at will.  EDMODO was a great tool to post lesson videos and elicit student feedback.  While reflecting and searching for new resources, I stumbled across this video.  The flipped model of instruction will take some teachers more time to become sold on the strategy.  This is a paradigm shift for teaching and learning.  Instead of our traditional role as “sage on the stage,” we are now the “guide on the side.” Watch the video below to see how the success of this strategy convinced a high school principal to FLIP HIS ENTIRE SCHOOL!  What do you think about this model of teaching and learning? Do you think there are any content areas the flipped classroom wouldn’t work for?

Additional Resources
Flipped Class Network:
Co-learning Network:
Great Webinar:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Scoop It: Use This Tool to Graphically Share Your Interests

Use to gather information on your favorite interests. You may also use suggestions from thousands of other users. Click on the "My Scoop it Profile" above to see more topics curated by me, and also sign up for your own profile to begin curating your favorite topics!! I look forward to following your topics. Below are a few of my favorites to provide teachers with resources for instructional strategies.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Engage Your Students with Glogster

View the Glogster poster below to see ideas for using Glogster in the math classroom, and learning some benefits of integrating Glogs into instruction. Click Here to view thousands of shared Glogs, categorized by content and subject. These posters with embedded videos, pictures, and interactive features are sure to ramp up the engagement for any assignment.