Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Ever Evolving 'Teach-nologist'

As the year 2012 winds down, I, like many of my teaching colleagues worldwide, find that it is a good time to reflect on the year that was.  This process of reflection has solidified for me several benefits of writing the 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' blog.  

1.  Learn, learn, learn, I love to learn! The writing process authenticates my learning because I must formulate into words my understanding of it.  How many times have I 'learned' something to only forget it shortly thereafter?  Too many, I am sure.  More importantly, I may be able to add to the concept and subsequently enhance someone else's learning too. 

2.  Sharing - Teaching in isolation is a thing of the past.  Sharing our professional knowledge and experience, not only improves our teaching practice, but also broadens our perspective.  Interacting with the global teaching community offers a multitude of opportunities to expose ourselves to different ideas, perceptions and opinions - all of which should make us further reflect on our own professional practice.  

3.  Empowering!  The positive connections I have made through 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' blog in the past 7 months have not only inspired me but also empowered me.  Specifically, I am no longer willing to sit at the back of the bus and let a driver determine the direction.  At times, I find myself wanting to be the driver.  This new found self-confidence has led me to contribute a lot more to the educational community - a responsibility I am beginning to appreciate more and more.  

4.  Evolving - I started 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' blog as a way to offer assistance to educators who are interested in integrating technology into their classroom activities.  My goal was to not only de-tech 'teacher-tested' technologies, but to also recommend potential classroom activities.  However, I have found that a more detailed explanation is needed as technology should be used as an effective pedagogical tool, one that challenges students to expand their learning.  In essence, to effectively use technology in the classroom, there must be a pedagogical basis for its use.  As a result starting in 2013, future 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' posts will also include a 'teach-nology' or a pedagogical rationale segment.  This segment will continue to offer sample classroom activities, but it will also explain how the technology will help meet required learning outcomes.  My goal is to enhance the information offered by 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' blog so as to better assist my colleagues.  I certainly hope I can meet this goal.

In 2012, 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' blogs published 38 posts in total.  Below I have created a ranked summary of these posts with the top 10 highlighted at the top (from left to right).

Feel free to use this hyperlink for a larger view - The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers Top Posts for 2012.

Holiday Cheer

Stake Lake Nordic Centre - 20 minutes west of Kamloops

Hello from snowy Kamloops, BC Canada!  As you can see from the photo, it has snowed a lot as of late which allows us Kamloopsians the opportunity to enjoy some good ole Canadian winter fun during the holiday season.  For me personally, I will be hitting the cross-country ski trails but I am sure most of my students will be snowboarding, ski-dooing or playing hockey.  

As this post will be the last one for 2012, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of 'The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers' blog.  It has been an absolute pleasure to connect with you on a regular basis.  More importantly, I would like to wish you continued success and future prosperity for both you and your family in 2013.  Happy Holidays!

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Create 3-D Videos with Xtranormal

Xtranormal is a text-to-speech video creation tool that creates animated video clips with three-dimensional, conversing characters.  This storytelling tool allows users to choose from the template, a wide range of actors and sets options.  Once selected, users enter into the timeline a text script with accompanying character actions and video effects to create a dynamic video in minutes.  Please view the video below for a sample of what students can create with Xtranormal, the free on-line version.  

Depending on student needs, access to technology resources and monetary availability, educators can choose from two versions of Xtranormal - desktop version and a web-based version.  The desktop version requires a software download and a monetary payment upon video export but as a result, it does include many more powerful video features.  The web-based version has both basic and paid account options but it also offers the flexibility of accessing the account from any web browser anywhere.  To help support schools, Xtranormal also provides a paid Educator Account that offers unlimited publishing, full access to the actor/set template, security features and grading options.  The following hyperlink - Xtranormal - has a more detailed comparison of the two options.   

How to Get Started:

Xtranormal has created an excellent 'How To' web page that assists users with the various features of the Online Movie Maker, the Xtranormal Desktop and the Xtranormal for Education account features.  Click on the link below to access this first-rate Xtranormal resources.  

Xtranormal 'How To' Webpage

Sample Activities:

1.  Narration of an Historical Event - As depicted by the video example above, my students used Xtranormal to chronicle an event from the Napoleonic era. 

2.  Improve Language Skills - Because Xtranormal allows users to change the attributes of a character's voice as well as the language a character speaks, a French Immersion colleague of mine has her students create short narrations for the purpose of exposing her students to new vocabulary, accents and expressions.

3.  Creative Writing - Storytelling is a fantastic way for students to express themselves creatively.  Use Xtranormal to teach students how to brainstorm, plan, write and edit a fictional story, mythical tale or space-age fantasy.   

Xtranormal has many, many educational uses that I know your students will enjoy.  Get started with Xtranormal by clicking here!

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Create Graffiti Style Text Images

At a recent EdCamp I attended, a student-led session highlighted the idea that the best way to engage learners was for educators to interact with students at their level.  Many ideas and strategies on how to achieve this were exchanged, but the one idea that struck me was that the on-line tools we so proudly use for our classroom activities may not be as engaging as we think!  In order to fully connect with students, it is important to use web tools that fit the interests of the students before us.  In other words, a specific web tool may be engaging to one class but not another.  Clearly, teachers must take this into account and have a Web 2.0 toolkit that includes a diverse set of resources that fits the needs of a wide range of students.  

The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers - Graffiti Style
As a result of this latest revelation, I have begun revisiting some web tools that I had earlier dismissed.  One of these tools is The Graffiti Creator.  The Graffiti Creator allows users to create a graffiti-style name or logo within minutes.  There are many options to choose from including various font styles and artistic features that will add life to your creation.

How to Get Started:

Below is a Graffiti Creator screen-cast tutorial that will assist you in creating your first graffiti-style image:

Sample Activities:

1.  Class Website or Blog - jazz up your classroom on-line space with a graffiti-style message or title.

2.  Student E-portfolios - students can include a graffiti-style name bar to introduce their e-portfolio.

3.  Presentations - insert a graffiti image into any on-line or print based visual.  

NOTE: For on-line insertions, users may need to use 'PrtSc' on their computer keyboard to generate the image.  Once generated, a cropping tool will be needed to crop the excess portions of the image to isolate the graffiti text.  

A special thank you to Dave Guymon (@DaveGuymon) for first introducing me to this web tool.

There is a lot of potential with The Graffiti Creator.  Please feel free to explore the possibilities with your students today!  Click here to get started.

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom with Prezi

Prezi is a cloud-based presentation and storytelling web tool that allows users to create unique and engaging presentations.  Within the virtual hybrid canvas - a blend of a whiteboard and PowerPoint slides - users can create visually appealing presentations using two distinct Prezi features: the Zooming User Interface and the non-linear presentation design.  To view a sample Prezi presentation, please watch the Hansel & Gretel story below:

Additional Features:

As you can see from the example above, Prezi has many fantastic presentation features to engage your audience.  Some features that were not shown are:

1.  Screen Blackout - With all the great features Prezi offers, audiences may lose focus on the content of the presentation.  To assist with this, presenters can press the 'B" key during a presentation and temporarily black out the screen to re-engage the audience.

2.  Fade-In Animations - PowerPoint has always had the capability to fade in content on command; Prezi can now too.  This feature is useful if posing a question and when ready, revealing the answer.

3.  Off-line Presentations - No need to worry about poor Wi-Fi connections any longer as Prezi allows users to share presentations without needing on-line access.

4.  Create a Prezi presentation with others - Collaborate remotely with others by adjusting the settings found at the bottom of each Prezi.  Once the settings are changed to "Edit Together", copy the URL that is generated and send it to your desired collaborators via email, instant messaging, etc.  

How to Get Started:

Below is a great video tutorial created by Prezi to help you get started with your first presentation.  

Prezi creators have been very diligent in supporting their users.  This support page - - offers various resources users can access for additional assistance.  

Sample Activities:

1.  Student Presentations - Students can create and present the events of an historical event or tell a creative story they have written.

2.  Teaching a Lesson - Several colleagues of mine use Prezi to introduce new content.  In fact, one colleague gives students a ready-made Prezi and has them present it to the class.  Prior to presentation, however, students can edit the Prezi to suit their needs.

Prezi is a great presentation tool that will engage any audience.  To get started on your first presentation, click here!

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Engaging Today's Students with Voki

Student engagement can be an elusive entity for today's educators.  There are many possible causes for learner apathy which range from boredom to socio-economic issues to a lack of ability.  The goal for educators is to find resources that inspire students to actively participate in their learning.  One such resource is Voki - a speaking avatar web tool.  Even the most reluctant learners embrace Voki as it gives them the opportunity to express themselves without the need of standing in front of their peers - a very terrifying experience for some.  From an educational standpoint, Voki provides all students with an equal opportunity to earn the best grade possible!

But who is really best suited to explain the educational benefits of Voki?  The students, of course!  Below are some student testimonials that will further highlight the educational benefits of Voki.

"I liked it because it was an unique and fun way to introduce yourself to your class and your website.  You could also customize your Voki differently than what you look like ... You can have fun!" - Sydney

"It is good for Grade 8 introductions.  Students can find things out about their classmates without the stress of being in front of the class." - Noah

"I think it's a good tool because you can use it to present a project or a speech with it." - Chase

"It's fun to use and it could be helpful in other ways such as sending it to a family member for their birthday, etc." - Keisha

"I like Voki because you get to know more about your classmates.  It's fun, new and a good way to start the year." - Lizzy

"I liked it because we can express our creativity and get to know others." - Shaelyn

"It is good for auditory learners." - Heidi

"If you weren't comfortable with speaking in front of the class, you could use Voki to speak instead." - Sarah

As you can see, Voki is a fun and engaging web tool that motivates students to creatively share their knowledge.  Click here for a detailed explanation on how to get started.  

If you haven't yet, I strongly encourage you to give it a try!

Lynda Hall originally wrote this post for Voki for Education November 2012.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Collaboratively Create Online Videos with WeVideo

WeVideo is a collaborative, online video creation and editing tool that I really encourage educators to try as the educational possibilities and subsequent benefits are endless.  Currently, my students are Skyping with a class from Layton, Utah.  Throughout this process, students have been paired with a partner to create a video in response to a question(s) asked of them about some aspect of Canada.  Students have not only worked together at school on their video project but they have also worked on it from home.  Each time a student accesses their WeVideo project - no matter where they are - they are ready to start from the last video edit.  So far, the project is progressing very well.  My ultimate goal, however, is to expand this collaborative piece by pairing one of my students with a Layton student.  Needless to say, the ability to collaborate with a much larger global learning community will be exciting!  
WeVideo has many excellent features but it should be no surprise that my absolute favorite is the ability to extend unlimited invitations to others to collaborate together to create a video.  Once invited, collaborators can co-create or make their own video using the clips shared by others.  As stated above, the educational possibilities are endless with this feature in that students from around the world can work together to create a video masterpiece on any topic.       

Additional Features:

1. Full-feature video editor: Users can drag & drop images, video and sound clips, special effects and graphics into the timeline-based editing interface.  Once entered into the timeline, users can get creative with a wide range of editing options.  A real-time preview feature also allows users to view their edits immediately.

2. Music & Effects: Create an absolutely unique video with WeVideo's animation, transition, special effects and royalty-free music features!  WeVideo also offers color correction and filters that will definitely add life to your raw footage.

3. All File Formats are Supported: WeVideo supports all file formats from common camera devices - smartphone, digital camera, or video camera.

4. Sharing Options: Users can export their video creations directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter.  Paid WeVideo accounts allow for video download to your computer.  Exported videos can be either 360p, 480p, 720p or 1080p full HD.

5. WeVideo Apps: In recent months, WeVideo has released two apps - an Android app and a Google Drive app.  The Android app allows users to capture images and videos from their mobile device and instantly add them to their WeVideo project.  The Android app will also trim unwanted portions of a video clip prior to its inclusion to a project.

The Google Drive app not only saves video projects to the cloud for easy access across multiple devices but it also allows users to record from their webcam.  The resulting video file can be split or trimmed for further editing enhancements later on. Improved audio functions are also available with the Google Drive app.  Users are able to fade-in audio, fade-out audio, adjust audio volume so as to create a background or feature sound.    

How To Get Started:

Below are just some of the video tutorials created by WeVideo to get you started creating your first video.  Just click on any of the links below to view.

Sample Classroom Activities:

1.  As mentioned earlier, my students are using WeVideo to teach our Skype partners about Canada.  Essentially, students can teach others about where they live - locally or nationally - by creating a WeVideo.

2.  Have your students create a video book trailer for a recent novel your students have read.

3.  Students can create a video biography of a famous historical figure.  

4.  To introduce themselves to their classmates at the beginning of a course, students can create a video autobiography.

5.  Teachers can use WeVideo to create a flipped classroom instructional video for a particular lesson.

WeVideo is a very good visual web tool.  My students absolutely love using it and I am sure yours will too!  Click here to get started.

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

photo credit: <a href="">Houston Museum of Natural Science</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Create a Symbaloo Homepage for your Often Used Websites

As of late, I have received a lot of positive feedback from students, parents and colleagues about my use of Symbaloo.  Oddly, it is only in the last month, I started using Symbaloo as I am a former iGoogle user.  I am very glad that I made the switch though, as Symbaloo accomplishes my goal of organizing my often used online content in one easy to use homepage that I can access with all my devices - smartphone, tablet and laptop(s).

Symbaloo is a visual, online bookmarking service that allows users to create 'webmixes' or tile-like collections of website links.  Symbaloo allows users to create multiple webmixes with each being available for private use or for sharing with others.  Another Symbaloo feature users can access is the ready-made webmixes on a wide range of topics from the Symbaloo Gallery.  Also, there is an educational version of Symbaloo but it is only free for individual users.  At this point, educators are best to stay with the regular version as there is no added features that warrant a purchase.  Lastly, another Symbaloo service users can utilize are the iPhone/iPad apps or the companion Android app.      

How to Get Started:

View the quick Symbaloo video tutorial below to learn how to get started within minutes.

Possible Educational Uses:

Below is just a sampling of the possible uses of Symbaloo:

1.  As I already mentioned, create a Symbaloo homepage for your often used websites - personal and professional.  E.g. I have a webmix for the technology based websites I like to visit on a regular basis - Free Technology for Teachers, Classroom 2.0, etc.

2.  Create a Symbaloo webmix of related educational content that you would like to share with parents, students or colleagues.  E.g. a webmix of the online resources you use to teach your students fractions in math class.

3.  Have your students create a Symbaloo webmix to share with their classmates, the online resources they found for a specific subject area research project.

I really think you will find Symbaloo a great tool to use for not only organizing online content but also sharing that wealth of information with others.  To try it out, click here!

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Maximize Your Productivity with IFTTT

Staying connected with the global teaching community can be a very challenging, and at times, very frustrating undertaking for today's busy educators.  The trick is to spend less time with administrative tasks such as tweeting out your new blog posts and more time connecting with members of your Professional Learning Network (PLN).  Amazingly, there is a web tool educators can use to automate repetitive tasks - it is called IFTTT (If This, Then That).  

How It Works:

Before we get started, there are some terms you must be familiar with first:

1.  Channels - are on-line services such as Twitter, Dropbox, Gmail, Foursquare, etc. that when linked, allow IFTTT to perform automated tasks.  Currently, there are over 50 on-line services that can be linked to IFTTT.

2.  Triggers - constitutes the 'this' part of a recipe.  They are messages that IFTTT looks for to start an action.  A trigger can be a Twitter message, a voicemail, an email, etc.

3.  Actions - constitutes the 'that' part of a recipe.  They are the tasks to be performed when a trigger is received.  For example, if a trigger is the receipt of an email, then the action could be to send the email to your Dropbox account. 

4.  Ingredients - are specific pieces of data from a trigger.  E.g. the ingredient of a Twitter trigger could be a tweet from a specific person (@MsLHall) or a hashtag (#edtech).

5.  Recipes - are a combination of a trigger and an action generated from your active channels.

A sample IFTTT (if this, then that) recipe could be:

IF  (your profile changes)

THEN   (update profile)

To best explain how to get started with IFTTT and to learn how to create recipes, view the two short video tutorials below:

As you can see, IFTTT is a great tool to automate repetitive on-line tasks.  By doing so, educators will free up precious time for tasks that require more skill or engagement.  I highly recommend giving it a try.  Click here to get started!

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

5 Fun & Interactive Grammar Websites for Students

Teaching grammar and vocabulary can be challenging at times for Language Arts teachers as the content is not as exciting as learning about other topics like the combustible chemical reaction of napthalene.  Below are five websites that will provide a more fun and interactive methodology to teaching grammar and improving vocabulary.

Irregular Verb Wheel - This fun and engaging website created by Macmillan Dictionary allows students to practice identifying various verb conjugations.  The goal of the game is to earn as many points as possible by identifying the correct past, present and future tenses of a selected verb from the wheel within the allotted time.  The learning focus for this game is commonly used irregular verbs that are often incorrectly applied in our daily oral and written expression.   

Free Rice - is a free, online game that allows users to help with world hunger while improving one's grammar and vocabulary skills.  For each correct answer from the multiple choice format, 10 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program.  Also, students are further challenged to expand their vocabulary because with each correct response, the next question is chosen from the next upper level of terms.  Recently, Free Rice has expanded its gaming repertoire to include other subject areas such as art, chemistry, foreign languages, math and geography.

Grammar Bytes! - is another free website that enables students to practice a wide range of grammar skills including sentence structure, usage and punctuation.  The website includes a glossary of terms, interactive activities, printable handouts, presentations including YouTube videos, and a quick summary of tips and rules.  The best aspect of the Grammar Bytes website is that students must demonstrate their working knowledge by correcting sentence errors, not just memorizing the rules of grammar.

Grammar Ninja - is a fun and engaging game that students can use to practice the identification of the various parts of speech.  There are three levels of difficulty: Beginner Ninja, Skilled Ninja and Master Ninja.  Instant feedback is a key feature of this website because if a student answers incorrectly, the words explode.  

Interactives: Spelling Bee - is a great website for students to practice their spelling.  Students are read either a story or a sentence and then are to spell the missing words.  Words can be repeated or a definition can be supplied if a student is having trouble.  At the end of the activity, results are calculated to determine a student's mastery of the vocabulary.  All grade levels are available as well.   

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

E-Portfolios: Celebrating Student Success in the 21st Century

“The age-old practice of displaying a student’s work is alive and well.”

It is no secret that children love to share their accomplishments with others.  Whether you are a family member, friend, coach or teacher, there is at least one time when you have been asked to display a child’s masterpiece on the refrigerator, office desk or classroom pin board.   The reason behind this long standing practice is simple.  Children need continuous feedback to reaffirm that they are valued and accepted and that their efforts are appreciated.  Consequently, the more positive feedback children can garner from encouraging role models will more than likely ensure the successful and ongoing development of the child.

Enhancing the Learning Experience with e-Portfolios

For educators, it is imperative that student success is celebrated.  One method of displaying student success is the use of e-Portfolios.  E-Portfolios are the ongoing collection of digital evidence and artifacts for the purpose of demonstrating a student’s ownership and personal reflection of his/her learning.  The benefits of using e-Portfolios are immense.  In a nutshell, e-Portfolios enhance the student learning experience by greatly expanding the audience who can not only view the e-Portfolio, but also provide valuable feedback.  By expanding the walls of the classroom, the learning process becomes more personal and authentic which encourages students to play a more active role in their own learning, an important component for future success.  The second key benefit of e-portfolios is the introduction of digital citizenship.  The importance of creating and managing a positive digital footprint cannot be underestimated as much of the content we share on-line is often permanent.  In this digital age, it is imperative that students actively engage in representing themselves on the internet in a positive manner. 

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Digital Medium

Before suggesting possible web tools for e-Portfolio use, it is important to consider the following factors:

1.  Purpose: Educators must consider the purpose for implementing e-Portfolios into their pedagogical practice as the reason(s) may be the determining factor(s) when selecting the most appropriate web tool for your needs.  For example, if the purpose of the e-Portfolio is to encourage students to reflect upon their learning or to assess and report student progress, the utilization of a web tool that incorporates a text editing feature would be necessary.  Or, if the goal is to showcase student work, a web tool with a variety of graphic options would be needed.  No matter what the educational goals are, it is vital to select the right web tool for the task. 

2.  IT Support and Infrastructure: The main concern one must investigate is whether or not the selected web tool matches the technological resources available to you and your students.  To minimize technological issues, it is recommended to select web based tools as they are more likely to be compatible with multiple operating systems.    

Recommended Web Tools for Displaying Student Work

These are the three web tools I highly recommend for creating student e-Portfolios. 

1.  Weebly for Education is a web based tool that allows users to easily create an attractive website - blogging option available as well - by using the simple drag and drop interface. Users have a wide range of multimedia features to choose from such as video, audio, images, etc. The true power of Weebly, however, is demonstrated with its HTML feature as anything with an embed code can be added to the website. Lastly, another key element of the Weebly for Education site is the teacher account feature as teachers are able to create and manage student accounts from a central location.

2. Evernote is a powerful cloud based web tool that works on multiple computing and mobile platforms. Not only can the user create text, photo and audio notes, but your favorite web pages can also be clipped and stored using “Web Clipper” – an Evernote compatible app. Organizing your data is also very easy with Evernote as a search can be conducted by keyword, tag or printed and handwritten text inside images. As well, annotation, shapes and sketches can be added to your data using “Skitch” - another Evernote companion app. By far the best feature of Evernote, however, is the synchronization of data across all devices. For instance, when a photo is taken from your phone and saved in Evernote, it can be accessed within minutes from your computer or for that matter any other device with an Evernote application.

3. Pinterest is an interactive social media web tool which is best described as the present-day version of the scrapbook. Images are ‘pinned’ from the internet or uploaded from the computer and organized in categorized collections, or boards. These boards can also be shared by requesting an invite to someone else’s site. Pinterest is by far the most visually pleasing web tool of the three which definitely makes it a favourable choice for e-Portfolios for the visual arts.

E-Portfolios are a great way for students to take ownership of their learning.  In turn, the displaying of student work to a global audience has a powerful and motivating influence wherein positive feedback can have a tremendous impact on continued student success.  It is for these reasons that e-Portfolios are considered a pedagogical treasure.

This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Celebration of Connected Educators

In this third and final post of the "Staying Connected with TeacherCast" series, our focus will turn to the wealth of information, knowledge and expertise offered by our very own industrious and innovative teaching colleagues from around the world.  Many of these colleagues are educators just like you and I whose passion for teaching is demonstrated by the sound pedagogical practices that occur in our classrooms on a daily basis.  Teachers, such as these, strongly believe that sharing their educational know-how with a wider audience is not only important but a necessity in order for future generations of teachers, and subsequently students, to gain the most benefit.  As a result, it is safe to assume the next step in our "staying connected" journey requires us to not only utilize new found resources but to also share our educational materials, insights and skills with the global teaching community.  Many educators will resist this request not because of a lack of teaching skill but rather of confidence.  I can personally attest to this view because it was only a few, short months ago that I, too, did not think I had anything important to contribute.  But with a good heart to heart chat with a fellow colleague (Thank you, Anna), I gained the necessary confidence to break out of my shell.  So for those educators out there who are in the same position I was, I strongly encourage you to rid yourself of those confining shackles and embrace the connected educators community by sharing your expertise with us!  We are eager to learn from you too!

The TeacherCast Educational Magazine offers educators a relaxing and engaging coffee-shop atmosphere to share their pedagogical expertise.  In essence, the TeacherCast Educational Magazine is a collection of articles written by every day educators on a wide range of topics such as technology integration, software tutorials, leadership, personal reflection and much, much more.  Currently, with a family of more than 50 writers which include teachers, principals and superintendents, the TeacherCast Educational Magazine provides educators with an excellent opportunity to learn, share and collaborate with our peers.  In fact, many of these writers appear regularly on the TeacherCast Podcast as well to further elaborate on their teaching practices and ideas.  With a viewing audience from more than 120 countries each month, the TeacherCast Educational Magazine is truly an inspiring educational resource teachers can not do without.   

Below is just a sampling of the great content one will find in the TeacherCast Educational Magazine:

"Promoting Student Engagement ~ Make Your Mark" by Angela Maiers

"Your Leadership "Home Button"" by Joe Mazza

"Student Standardization" by Tom Whitby

"Use Google Voice to Call Parents" by Melissa Seideman

"Making the Right Digital Decisions" by Steve Anderson

"Teaching Communication is the Key" by Catlin Tucker

If you are interested in becoming a TeacherCast contributing writer, please fill out the contact form located at the bottom of the TeacherCast Educational Magazine web page and Jeff Bradbury will be more than happy to support you in your "staying connected" journey.  

There is no doubt that TeacherCast lives up to its motto of "a place for teachers to help other teachers".  Jeff has put his heart and soul into offering a central location or "meeting place" for a wide array of educational resources in various formats so that there is a little of something for everyone.  On behalf of the thousands of educators out there, I would like to thank Jeff for all his efforts as we appreciate it very much.  Also, we would like to thank Jeff's wife and fellow teaching colleague, Jennifer (@bassjen1) as without her love and support, Jeff would not be able to live out his dream of making TeacherCast an educator's go to resource.  The goal is and will always be to do the best for our students and TeacherCast certainly makes that goal a reality for many, many educators worldwide.  So please do not hesitate any longer, get involved and be vocal about the great things that are currently happening in education today.  Get connected!  Stay connected!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

TeacherCast Podcast with Jeffrey Bradbury

Staying connected with one's Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a critical component in the ongoing pursuit of improving personal teaching practices.  To take full advantage of your PLN however, it is important to maintain a consistent pattern of engagement.  For some educators, establishing that habitual routine can be difficult unless an universal resource is available.  In the first post of the "Staying Connected with TeacherCast" series, it was explained how TeacherCast fulfills the needs of educators by offering a plethora of educational resources in a variety of formats.  Resources such as TeacherCast University, LiveBinder Gallery, TeacherCast TV and much more offer educators a wide range of information to expand their pedagogical practice.  The key attribute of these fantastic resources is that they are all offered in one, easy to use location.  As a result, educators can easily connect with the global teaching community by utilizing the numerous resources TeacherCast offers!

In Part Two of this three part series, we now turn our attention to the merits of the TeacherCast Podcasting Network, a vibrant library of audio presentations hosted by Jeff Bradbury for the purpose of offering yet another medium for educators to access professional development resources.  Essentially, TeacherCast podcasts are lively discussions with the most respected educators from around the globe who share their knowledge and expertise about some of the hottest topics affecting education today.  TeacherCast podcasts are organized into three main formats.  

1.  TeacherCast Podcast is a round table type show featuring teachers and administrators who discuss educational topics they specialize in such as EdCamps, curriculum development and leadership.  Jeff welcomes all interested teachers who want to share their expertise to contact him and invite themselves on the show.  In the past, the show has featured great guests such as Steve Anderson, Tom Whitby, Jerry Blumengarten, Angela Maiers, and over 200 other leading educators from around the world.  Below are three sample round table discussions you will want to listen in on: 
2.  App Spotlight is an interview style podcast where Jeff  invites web businesses, app developers and other educational vendors to discuss how their apps work and how teachers can best use them in the classroom.  Past guests include  "KidBlog",  "Socrative",  "EasyBib",  "My Big Campus", and  "Poll Everywhere".  Please check out some more excellent app reviews below: 

"EduTecher & EduClipper"

3.  TeacherCast University is a show that focuses on the pressing questions and concerns of today's busy educators.  Teachers can email or call into Jeff and he will offer support and direct teachers to the resources that will best suit their needs.  The TeacherCast University podcast also features @GrogtheZombie or "Grog's World" as well as ASKITT with Jeff Herb  (@InstTechTalk) who will also assist colleagues from around the world with pedagogical issues.  Below are a few sample TeacherCast University podcasts you will want to listen in on:

"Taking Control of Your Professional Development"
"Podcasting in the Classroom"
"Taking Your PowerPoint Presentations with you"

The TeacherCast Podcasting Network is an incredible educational resource for teachers as the breadth and depth of the topics covered is truly exceptional.  However, the best part of the TeacherCast podcasts is the convenience as the podcasts can be listened to anywhere, at anytime.  The TeacherCast Podcasting Network can also be found on iTunes and Stitcher and is also available for download on every Apple and Android mobile device.

The final post of the "Staying Connected with TeacherCast" series will focus on the TeacherCast Educational Magazine, a collection of blog posts written by notable educators who share their wealth of knowledge and teaching experience in their specialized field of expertise.