Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 30 - Empower the Community!

Since beginning the ICATS 30 Day Challenge, we have brought to focus nearly 60 tools, websites, and applications for digital learning across the spectrum of subjects and grade levels.  We have had guest bloggers from our EVSC Community of Digital Educators (C.O.D.E.) share their personal classroom favorites.  Looking at the scope of the challenge we can see that as of the time this post was written there have been more than 2500 unique visitors to the blog in the last 2 months and additionally over 2000 comments to the challenges have been presented.  The comments to the blog have included new ideas and thoughts from educators around the country and globe as to how they could use the challenges to enhance learning for their students.  Additionally, many new web tools and applications have been shared and commented on by you, the digital community, in the process.

Today's Challenge is for you to empower each other!

The Challenge:

What challenge would you present that we have not been able to add to ours?   Please think of at least one digital tool, app, website, etc... that you could empower others with. Share your challenge in a comment to this post including a brief introduction to the challenge, helpful resources, and share how you have used it with your students.

As a reminder, if you have not already done so, those participating in the full challenge will need to fill out the eligibility form from the post "5 More Days"on 12/6 to be entered in the drawings.  However, we look forward to seeing what you have been working on with your learners regardless of whether you have been participating all along throughout the challenge!  We will have a wrap-up post on Tuesday December 18th.  Thanks for participating in the ICATS 30-Day Challenge!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 29 - Zoom It

Today's post is on the screen zoom and annotation tool, Zoom It.

Zoom It is a free utility from Microsoft that's easy to use.  It allows users to zoom in on portions of the desktop screen, pan/move the zoomed area, and even draw (annotate) on the screen.  Zooming can be done with the wheel on the mouse or with the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard.  This is a great utility for focusing students' attention to a particular area of your computer screen.

Zoom It is always ready to use.  It runs in the background and activates with hotkeys.  Just select the keyboard shortcut, control + 1, to activate a zoom.  Press ESC or the right mouse button to return the screen to its normal size. 

Annotations can be started by the keyboard shortcut, control + 2.  This allows you to write on your desktop in any application.  Annotations are a virtual layer so when you close Zoom It, all the marks disappear off the screen.

This utility also has a countdown clock that is enabled with hotkeys, control + 3.  

To download Zoom It select the link below:   
Zoom ItSorry MAC users, this handy tool is made by Microsoft and is available for PCs only.Your Challenge:How could you use this tool in your classroom?  


Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 28 - Learnzillion.com

Learnzillion.com offers teachers a wide variety of opportunities! With Learnzillion, you can "plan Common Core lessons; assign lessons and quizzes; assign your students a playlist of video lessons and a mastery quiz, then track their progress against the Common Core State Standards; use the Common Core Navigator to get a birds eye view of what your students need to know and be able to do; use the coach's commentary video to get insights on how to teach each Common Core State Standard; and engage parents [by helping them] get up-to-speed on what their student is learning each week or month." Learnzillion even provides a parent letter!

Upon logging in (which you can do via your Google Account or by creating an account with your @evsc.k12.in.us address), you are taken directly to your dashboard, which gives you notifications and allows you to begin assigning work.

If you click the "Explore Lessons" tab, you are given the option to choose between math and ELA from grades 3-8 and even select a specific Common Core standard. From the "Common Core" tab, you can select a subject, a grade level, and see the numerous lessons Learnzillion has on offer! You can sign your classes up and assign work, quizzes, and lessons from the dashboard.

Here is a sample lesson:

As you can see, there are several options available and already prepared. Learnzillion.com has approximately 2000 lessons at this time. The site is working on the option to allow teachers to post their own lessons and videos at this time, as well as offering feedback for current lessons.

More information about Learnzillion can be found here, with many other FAQs available depending on what you need here.

Challenge: In what ways could you foresee using Learnzillion.com in your classroom? Could it be more than an introductory or "hook" piece for a lesson?