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Jun 29 14

Classroom Close-Up NJ Looks at TECH Gadgets

by fsanchez

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Classroom Close-Up NJ is celebrating its 20th year in 2014. The show, produced by the NJEA, airs on NJTV, our state’s PBS station. “The Emmy®-winning show is in its 20th season and airs on NJTV every Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays at 11:30 p.m.; and Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. The show is sponsored by PSE&G The show is the only half-hour program in the country devoted to featuring the positive things happening in public schools.”

This week I saw a great episode in which there was a clip on technology integration. It is definitely worth your time. Click on the video link, and start at minute 19:00.

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Sign up to receive information on upcoming shows, events and projects from Classroom Close-up, NJ.



Jun 21 14

Next Tech & Learning Trends: Horizon 2014 Report

by fsanchez

001354_23I love this time of year because each June the New Media Consortium releases its annual Horizon Report. So what’s new this year? According to the 2014 NMC Horizon K-12 Horizon report,the evolving role of the teacher as facilitator and hands-on learning experiences that give students agency over their own education are two major trends already taking root in many schools and classrooms. Within three to five years, the authors expect to see increasing focus on open education resources, as well as more experimentation with blended learning models that combine time on the computer with face-to-face instruction. In the longer term, the authors see intuitive technologies that interpret human gestures and motions as increasingly important. And, as educators rethink how to meet students’ needs the way school currently works might have to change — everything from the schedule to the space, as well as models of teaching and learning.

Like last year, the NMC Horizon report authors make predictions about various technology developments and how they will affect educators. This year, the authors expect educators to quickly adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and cloud computing technologies. It will take a little longer for games and gamification to become mainstream, but in three to five years the authors expect more teachers to be using games as teaching tools. Similarly, learning analytics, the data behind each students’ learning is increasingly being used in classrooms. On a longer timeline, the authors find ideas like connecting information from physical objects to online networks through sensors and monitoring devices and wearable technology as potentially important for education.

Watch on YOUTUBE

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Jun 13 14

Maker Spaces at MLHS

by fsanchez

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 10.48.17 AMNext year our Online Academy initiative will expand by establishing a new “Innovation Lab” at MLHS. We hope that this program fosters creativity with our students. To understand what this innovation lab might look like, read more about Maker Spaces since it is that vibe that will fuel this initiative. Probably the best place to start is ASCD’s most recent newsletter that focused on this topic.

Here are the key points from the June 2014 Education Update feature, “If You Build It: Tinkering With the Maker Mind-Set.”

Find Project Ideas

  •, from Maker Media, allows users to search projects by category and assigns a level of difficulty to each.
  • offers step-by-step instructions (and photos) for projects spanning from fish tank dividers, to Swedish pancakes, to wearable message boards. Sign up for contests and participate in the community forum.
  • Students can join to create a portfolio of projects, share ideas with others, and earn patches for completing challenges. Adults are welcome to start a DIY Club orDIY Classroom.
  • Twelve-year-old Sylvia Todd produces the Super Awesome Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show, a popular web show with do-it-yourself craft and science projects for kids.

Get Involved (and Inspired)

  • Follow #makered on Twitter to share projects, ask questions, and chat with other maker-minded educators.
  • Attend a Maker Faire or host your own mini-Maker Faire.
  • Sign up for summer camp! The free online Maker Camp runs from July 7 through August 5 and offers weekly project ideas to ramp up summer learning. Campers can post questions and get answers if they are stuck on a project. To participate, follow MAKE on Google+ and join the Maker Camp Community.
  • Need inspiration? Watch the short film on Caine’s Arcade that inspired the global cardboard challenge.
  • Search for an existing club or start a Young Maker club in your school with resources from the Maker Education Initiative.

Build a Makerspace

KUDOS to Nancy & Jeremy for spearheading this exciting new program. Hopefully we will be able to get a 3D printer for our students! The FULL article is copied in its entirety below: read more…

Jun 5 14

Incredible, FREE Geo-mapping Tools for K-12

by fsanchez

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.54.00 PMThe company Esri has  pledged $1 billion in mapping software to all of the nation’s K-12 schools to improve student aptitude in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM knowledge as part of President Obama’s recently announced ConnectED Initiative.

Esri software, called ArcGIS, is used by practically every federal agency, more than 350,000 organizations globally, including the 200 largest cities in the nation, most other countries, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies and more than 7,000 colleges and universities.

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According to its CEO and founder,  Jack Dangermond, “the same mapping software that researchers or governments use to model climate change or predict flooding and crime is the same high school students in Detroit use to map areas of lead contamination in dilapidated housing. In that case, it led to removal of the toxic substance after the students were hired by the city to take care of the problem.”

With ArcGIS Online, students can use maps to explore places in their community or around the world. ArcGIS Online includes content from leading providers like National Geographic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US Geological Survey (USGS). Students can also create maps from their own data. Using ArcGIS Online helps students develop problem-solving, data analysis, communication, and technology skills that lead to college and career readiness.

ArcGIS Online Skillbuilder: Make maps, analyze data, learn content, build capacity for community, college, and career.

Esri EdCommunityArcGIS Online can help teachers and students go places. Give students future options with high-value skills in problem solving, data analysis, and technology integration with ArcGIS Online. Learn how others are doing this by accessing EdCommunity!

Esri K–12 GIS Org: ArcGIS Online Org for learning to use online GIS, and start for ConnectED. (See the current map for state and district licenses, plus T3G alums.) See also the Esri Education Org, the Esri EdCommunity Portaland the Esri Education Industry for more on GIS in education.

Request ArcGIS Online Organization Account: Apply for a FREE school organization account.

Online Course–Teaching with ArcGIS Online: Take this 3-hour webinar/module to accomplish the following objectives

  • Find, explore, and create GIS maps using a free, web-based viewer application.
  • Help students visualize local, regional, and global data and make connections to their own environment.
  • Present questions and have students explore GIS maps to find answers.
  • Choose appropriate GIS classroom activities based on your instructional goals and students’ level of knowledge.
  • Guide students through a standard process for investigating a problem using GIS.
  • Prepare a GIS map presentation on a topic of interest.


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May 29 14

NEW World Language Tools

by fsanchez

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.56.20 PM Each month the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) posts some great online tools on their WEB WATCH blog. Here are some of the best reviews from this past month!

Daily Teaching Tools Chad Manis, a language arts and journalism teacher, says he developed the Daily Teaching Tools site to provide resources, materials, and strategies to enhance teachers’ effectiveness with their students. The site is organized into sections that include tools for new teachers, classroom management, strategy and method tools, tools for students, graphic organizer tools, and free software tools.

Games Kids Play Around the World The Games Kids Play website has an international section featuring descriptions of games kids play in other countries around the world. These include an Argentine game, Czech game, Italian game, Filipino game, Japanese game, and Pakistani game.

Hub for Online Educational Resources The website Learn BIG offers thousands of resources collected from websites and apps in a format that the company says will allow an easy way to search and filter content by subject, level, popularity, and platform. There are e-learning resources for pre-K through postsecondary, and the site is community-reviewed by teachers, parents, and students.

New International Student Exchange Website International Student Exchange (ISE) recently announced the launch of its updated website. The new site is designed to serve multiple users and has social media features, new sections that include a resource center for current families, and a revamped “study abroad” section for students looking to go overseas. According to ISE, the new site will eventually support photo galleries and student sections.

Online Language Courses The Top Free Classes site includes a languages section with descriptions of the classes, course duration, class start times, and reviews, along with links to access the courses. In addition to classes in Italian, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish, there is a course on principles and practice of computer-aided translation from Peking University.

Spanish Learning Tools from VeinteMundos VeinteMundos is a free magazine with articles on Spanish language and culture, and includes an audio component that allows readers to hear the correct pronunciation so that they can work on reading and listening skills. It also has a short text summary of the article, and vocabulary and grammar explanations, as well as comprehension tests.

Official Website of the Palace of Versailles This site, which can be searched in multiple languages, has information about the Palace of Versailles in France, the gardens, the Grand Trianon, and Marie Antoinette’s Palace. For those who are planning a visit in person, there is information on events, exhibits, and purchasing tickets, but the online resources include an interactive map and a catalog of the palace’s publications. There also is now an app for taking a walk through the gardens, and the site has information about that as well.

Bitesize Resources from the BBC Bitesize is a free online study-support resource for students in the United Kingdom, and it has reading, listening, speaking, and exam practice resources for students studying French, German, Irish, Spanish, and Welsh as a second language.

Lesson Plans on Culture in the Ancient Americas The Textile Museum of Canada’s exhibition, Cloth & Clay, includes a teacher’s guide with lesson plans, curriculum links, and background information for teaching about the major cultures of the ancient Americas. There is information about the five written languages under the section called Ordering the Universe. Each section also offers ideas for classroom projects. The museum collections section has information about the ancient cultures of Central and South America to accompany the images of the artifacts.

World Languages e-Cards
The 123Greetings website is subtitled “Free Greetings for the Planet,” and the world languages section of the site has e-cards for various holidays and for occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. There are also congratulatory cards, as well as friendship, thank-you, and everyday cards. The languages currently offered on the site are German, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish.

Educaplay is a platform that allows teachers to create their own multimedia teaching activities.  Among the activities they can create are quizzes, video quizzes, dialogues, interactive maps, crosswords, riddles, and word search puzzles. In addition, the learning resources section has activities in 14 different languages.

New Resource for ESL Teachers
The information and resources on the Masters in ESL website is designed to help current and future teachers of English as a second language. It includes lesson plans, advice on using Common Core State Standards in ESL teaching, and a blog. Recent blog topics of discussion include instructional technology tools in the classroom, online master’s degree programs, and overseas jobs.

The Cervantes Virtual Center
The Cervantes Virtual Center website was created by the Instituto Cervantes to help spread the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures. To achieve that mission, it provides materials and services for Spanish teachers, students, translators, and others interested in Spanish language and culture. The site is organized by education, literature, language, arts, and science.

Create Websites and More
Weebly for Education is a free service used by teachers to create classroom websites, blogs, and student e-portfolios. It offers a drag-and-drop website builder that can be used to add text, photos, videos, and maps. With the blogging feature, teachers can post class updates and homework assignments for students and parents.

Latin American Culture Site
The Mundo Latino website has videos, animated shorts, articles, humor, and poetry. There is also a section with resources for children, which teachers of younger students may find especially useful.

French Audio and Reading Exercises
The audio and reading exercises on this website include vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and reading and listening comprehension. There are also exercises and games intended to improve language literacy in children and adults.

Science is Fun in Spanish
Spanish teachers who are looking for ways to incorporate teaching about science into their language classes may find this site useful. This Spanish language page has science-related anecdotes, experiments, and quizzes. There are also links to stories and books about
science and scientists.

AP Spanish Language and Culture
Created by Carmen Gwenigle, who teaches AP Spanish at West High School in Iowa City, IA, this AP Spanish Language and Culture website offers resources for teachers and students of AP Spanish. Her class focuses on both grammatical accuracy and communicative fluency to help students build proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The syllabus guideline on the site shares six thematic units on language and culture.

Virtual Museum of New France
The Canadian Museum of Civilization’s Virtual Museum of New France shares information about “the French North American adventure” and what drew the French to North America. It presents the French colonial experience from Acadia through Canada to Louisiana. It does so through five main themes: colonies and empires, population, everyday life, economic activities, and heritage

Latin Poetry Podcast
This website features the translation, reading, and discussion of a series of Latin passages. Christopher Francese, Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Dickinson College, who performs the readings, notes on the site that he is open to suggestions for other poems and passages to be read.


- See more at:

Apr 28 14

Clean up your YouTube

by fsanchez

YouTube-Five-StarsOn this blog we have highlighted the web service View Pure, a neat way to ensure that when you send students a YouTube clip, you can make sure that all the videos on the right side are appropriate. It does so by deleting all of these videos.

Educational blogger Rich Byrne has review additional services that are as good as View Pure . Here are his suggestions:

Quietube is a handy little browser extension that removes all the clutter from YouTube allowing you to view only your selected video. Quietube removes all advertising, sidebar content, comments, and ratings. Installing Quietube requires nothing more than dragging the Quietube button to your toolbard. Then anytime that you’re on YouTube click the Quietube button to remove all of the clutter and just watch your selected video. Quietube works for Viddler and Vimeo videos too. makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the related videos and associated comments. To use simply copy the url of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare also offers browser bookmarklet that eliminates the need to copy and paste links.

VideoNotes is a neat tool for taking notes while watching videos. VideoNotes allows you to load any YouTube video on the left side of your screen and on the right side of the screen VideoNotes gives you a notepad to type on. VideoNotes integrates with your Google Drive account. By integrating with Google Drive VideoNotes allows you to share your notes and collaborate on your notes just as you can do with a Google Document.

Apr 23 14

Empty Bowls Presentation

by fsanchez

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 4.40.34 PM Today at 5:30 Come to Room 332 for a presentation on “Technology that is Elementary!” I hope you enjoy the resources I curated for both parents and students: STUDENTS: 

Parents: Copy of the Presentation

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Mar 27 14

Tools for making audio-and video-based tests

by fsanchez

This week I read a great Rich Byrne blog post on the DIGITAL SHIFT website. In the spirit of the new PARCC assessments that will have media-rich questions, he has collected and reviewed the best online tools for making audio-and video-based tests. Here’s the post:

Video, audio, and images can spark students’ imaginations in ways that text alone sometimes can’t. Likewise, multimedia often helps students gain a deeper understanding of a question. In the past a struggling reader might have had assessment questions read aloud to him or her. Now, online video and audio allows these students take tests without another reader present.

Metta is a digital presentation tool that enables you to combine videos from YouTube, pictures from the web or your desktop, text, and voice recordings in one presentation. After you’ve assembled that part, you can insert multiple-choice quiz questions to gauge your test takers’ understanding. Students must answer questions before moving onto the next part of the presentation. Share your Metta assessments simply by giving students the URL. They can also be distributed to students through Edmodo and may also be saved in your Google Drive account.

ImageQuiz is a free service enabling quiz creation based on any images you own or that you find online. Students answer ImageQuiz questions by clicking on a portion of your chosen picture. For instance, if you use an uploaded image of a map, you can design questions that require users to click on states, cities, or countries, for their responses.

Creating an ImageQuiz assessment is easy. First, give your quiz a title and upload a picture or copy and paste the URL of an online image. Then, draw outlines around the portions of the picture that feature your answers. Finally, write your questions and try out your quiz. Distribute your ImageQuiz by sharing its URL—and feel free to check out my sample quiz:

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eduCanon is a free service for creating, assigning, and tracking students’ progress on flipped lessons built from YouTube, TeacherTube and Vimeo videos. Key feature: the option to track your students’ progress as they work through an assignment.

To create eduCanon lessons, start by identifying a topic and objective. Then, within the eduCanon site, search YouTube, TeacherTube, and Vimeo to find an appropriate video. Next step is to build multiple-choice questions throughout your video’s timeline. You may create as many lessons as you like and assign them any time.

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Kahoot , a service for delivering online quizzes and surveys to students, has a premise similar to Socrative and Infuse Learning, which I’ve covered here previously. Kahoot builds quizzes that your students can access through any device with a web browser (iPad, Android device, Chromebook). Each question can include pictures and videos. As the teacher, you may control the pace of the Kahoot quiz or survey by imposing a time limit for each question. Students are awarded points for correct answers and the timeliness of their responses.

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Finally, just in time for the 2013-2014 school year, Google has added native support for using videos in Google Forms, allowing you to create quizzes including YouTube videos and pictures. To do this, simply select “image” or “video” from the “add item” menu in your Google Form. If your school uses Google Apps for Education, this platform may be the most convenient way to create and distribute multimedia quizzes.

Do you think the dynamic multimedia test format will help your students? Then use these tools to craft vibrant, engaging assessments.

Mar 12 14

Join the NJEA’s 1st “Unconference”

by fsanchez

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 8.18.26 PMOn Wednesday, July 16, NJEA will hold its first unconference, Techstock 2014. The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey will host the event, which is co-sponsored by the Southern Regional Institute and Educational Technology Training Center (SRI&ETTC), and the Richard Stockton College Master of Arts in Instructional Technology (MAIT) program.

The program begins with continental breakfast and registration from 8-9:30 a.m. followed by four one-hour sessions. Lunch will also be served.

The registration fee is $35, but the fee for early-bird registration, which runs from Jan. 6 through April 30, is $25. The final registration deadline is June 27. Registration is limited to the first 200 participants. Attendees will receive four hours of professional development credit. See flier for details.

Mar 11 14

Clean-Up Your Digital Footprint Resource

by fsanchez

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 9.26.29 PMToday on Platform for Good, they had a great Clean-Up Your Digital Footprint resource for our Digital Native students. Here’s what they have to say:

Looking to improve your digital footprint? Here are seven easy tips that cover everything from checking your privacy settings to thinking before you post. Just download the list to get started on building a safer and more responsible online presence.

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