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If you don’t use educational technology, you’re not a cool teacher.

Whether you like it or not, that’s how today’s students see it. They are growing up with all kinds of tech tools by their side, and they are thrilled to see technology involved in the educational process.

So what are the best resources to use? Here’s 15 of them:

  1. YouTube

The first resource we suggest is pretty simple, and all your students are aware of it. They’ve been watching cartoons and funny videos on YouTube before they started school. When you show the educational side of this platform, they will realize that YouTube combines knowledge with fun.

Whatever concepts you’re trying to explain, you can find YouTube videos to present them.

  1. National Geographic Education

National Geographic is probably the most educational channel ever, but its content is not always suitable for K-12 students. Thanks to this website, however, you get all types of educational content from National Geographic that safe to be shown in the classroom.

  1. Discovery Education

This is another one of your favorite TV channels offering educational resources. In addition to video content that you can watch through online streaming, you’ll also find digital textbooks for science, math, and social studies. How cool is that?

  1. Wonderopolis

Why does a strawberry have seeds on the outside?

That’s just one of the many wonders you’ll find at this website. Wonderopolis asks unexpected questions that will trigger the imagination of your students. Just read the question and let them think. Then, show them the answer. The website gives you videos, images, and articles related to the questions and aligned with Common Core standards.

  1. Padlet

Believe it or not, the Internet gives your students tons of opportunities for developing social skills. Padlet is like Pinterest for students. They can make gorgeous boards to collect documents and web pages they would like to access later. The best thing is that they can share those boards with other students and collaborate with other students during the research process.

  1. TED-Ed

You probably love TED, but are you aware of the Ted-Ed section? It’s all about lessons worth sharing, and you can find lessons on all kinds of concepts. It’s a great website for students at all levels; you just need to find the right video to show in the classroom.

  1. Essay Geeks

Ask your students what they think of essays, and they will probably tell you that academic writing is their greatest nightmare. Still, you need to teach them how to write, and the lecturing process itself can be challenging.

Essay Geeks makes it easier. At this platform, you can connect with professional writers. Essay writing is their job. They know how to handle any topic and any type of assignments, so your students will gain great benefits from these instructions.

  1. Plickers

You do your best to explain the concepts as clearly as possible, but how can you be sure that your students understand? Use Plickers to get instant feedback! You can check whether or not your students understand what you’re explaining by setting questions that demand quick answers.

Your students don’t need devices; they will show their answers on cards and you’ll scan them with the app. Then, you’ll instantly see the feedback on your screen.

  1. PBS Learning Media

This is a great resource to explore in the classroom, but you can also suggest it to parents who want to motivate the development of learning habits at home. You’ll find videos that explain concepts from science, math, social studies, English language arts, and more.

  1. NewseumED

You’d be amazed to see how your students can become interested in history and art if you take them to the right museum. No; you don’t have to organize a field trip if your school doesn’t give you the resources for that.

Thanks to NewseumED, you have wonderful collections at your fingertips. This online resource gives you access to digital content from the niches of history, civics, and media literacy.

  1. Google Hangouts

The Internet gives you opportunities to connect your students with classrooms from all around the world. It’s easy to connect with other educators through Facebook or LinkedIn. When you arrange the time and date, you can connect both classrooms via Google Hangouts.

  1. Khan Academy

As a teacher, you have a responsibility to elevate students’ interest for learning. This online resource will help you achieve that goal. It gives you online lessons in several subjects, including math, computing, arts and humanities, science and engineering, and economics and finance.

The videos are very fun to watch, so they definitely get the interest of young students.

  1. International Children’s Digital Library

When someone develops the habit of reading at very early age, they preserve that interest throughout their lives. Teachers can trigger that habit by suggesting captivating books for their students. You can pick a book from this online resource and guide an engaging discussion in the classroom when your students read it.

  1. C-Span

How are the events from today connected with events from the history? The resources at this website help your students connect the links. They will get access to history lessons, but they will also get informed on current events.

  1. BrainPOP

This website is colorful, fun, and educational at the same time. Who doesn’t like robots and cartoons that teach us something? BrainPOP gives you over 1K videos that cover various subjects from the K-12 curriculum. In addition, you’ll get lesson plans and additional materials that help you make the lectures more fun than ever.

There are plenty of EdTech resources to explore, and you couldn’t test them all even if you tried. That’s why it’s important to find and use only those that could work in your classroom. Hopefully, this list of 15 EdTech resources inspired you to make your classroom more fun!

Author bio: 

Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a blogger. He loves to write, learn new things, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Google+.

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The educational potential of VR technology in today’s classroom is still for the most part uncharted waters. What seems certain, however, is that this technology promises to open up some of the most exciting horizons in the education of tomorrow. Inroads are being made in certain areas, and one of the most exciting examples to have emerged to date is a VR app that lets school children operate a recycling facility from the comfort of the classroom.

Virtual Recycling

Rotor Studios and Creative Agency Protein One have joined forces to develop a new app, the release of which was announced earlier this month. School children in Australia will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the operation of a recycling centre in Hume. However, instead of having to traipse down to the facility, VR technology enabled by Oculus Rift headsets will let children learn about every aspect of the operations of refuse recovery specialists Re.Group. As we’ll see, however, the experience isn’t some mere series of 360-degree demonstration video.

A New Way of Learning

What the app does is recreate the entire facility at a 1:1 scale in virtual reality that the children can explore from top to bottom. The young users will be able to navigate through every nook and cranny of the operation and enjoy a phenomenal level of interaction with the facility’s environment. The children will be able to operate machines as they engage in games developed to educate them about the ins and outs of the various functions and processes at work. The level of interaction available to users is incredible, and forms a very promising example of the kinds of experiences that virtual reality will increasingly be able to provide class rooms. Special games are available for children to learn about the regular operations of the facility as they help separate refuse and assign resources. There are also visual aids and voice overs to assist with the learning process.

Bring the Kids to Work

This software suite wouldn’t be the first example of VR offering learning capabilities. Indeed, its format shares many similarities with that of Operation Apex, the VR marine biology simulator. It is a great example of the benefits of hands-on learning technology versus traditional methods of education: the VR world proves incredibly immersive and can capture a child’s attention in a way that a textbook or video simply can’t compete with. We’re still in the earliest days of VR as an educational tool, but the potential of such technology in the future is certain to increase exponentially as developers and educational specialists begin to work in closer cooperation. Students have the opportunity to learn information in a much more engaging environment that can stimulate their brains in a palpable fashion, and bring them face to face with their subjects in a way that goes far beyond mere novelty. What’s more, VR activities such as these prioritise learning by doing, rather than just the fact retention that is the foundation of learning by rote. This has proven to be a much more effective means of learning, and lets children create experiences to help anchor fact-based learning in a more dynamic and impactful dialogue. What these students can enjoy at the Recycling Discover Hub is certain to be among the first of many such ingenious examples of the potential of virtual reality-assisted education.

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Over the past few decades, schools have relied on computer technology for delivering educational content or equipping students with resources to enhance their learning. With the advent of the Internet, some schools have started offering classes fully online for maximum flexibility, while other brick-and-mortar institutions are incorporating digital tools into their classroom and at-home assignments. Incorporating these tools helps educators keep their students engaged in a time when online media is a huge part of many students’ lives.  Education technology platforms like Study.com use Virtual Classrooms to seamlessly integrate teacher feedback, dynamic learning, analytics, and personalization when assigning homework.

Here are some of the main benefits of Virtual Classrooms, how students can get the most out of their homework assignments, and how teachers can use technology to inform their in-class teaching methods.

Virtual Classrooms Help Teachers Create Homework Assignments

Teachers can use Study.com’s virtual classrooms to create and grade homework assignments using Study.com’s vast library of content. Teachers can choose from over 50,000 text and video lessons and easily assign the lesson and its corresponding homework quiz by clicking on the Share tab.  Teachers can assign all the pre-selected lessons for a course, or they can mix and match lessons to create a custom course specific to their curriculum.  Teachers can also assign videos and quizzes to either an entire classroom or specific students, offering more opportunities for scaffolding. For teachers who like to plan ahead, Study.com offers the option to assign multiple lessons at a time—set it and forget it!

Assignments from virtual classrooms can also be shared on other learning management systems like Google Classrooms, Blackboard, and Schoology.

Virtual Classrooms Assess Student Comprehension and Progress

Videos and online quizzes offer immediate grading, as well as answer explanations so that students can learn from the questions they missed and target their study habits to areas that need the most help. With this digital method, students can learn from their mistakes in a safe environment, away from the potential embarrassment of getting an answer wrong in front of classmates and get feedback in real time rather than wait for homework to be graded or reviewed in class.

Teachers can also gather data from Virtual Classrooms to analyze individual student scores and class trends and further tailor their curriculum to address student needs. Teachers can see how many students completed each assignment, how many times each student took the assessment at the end, and what score each student earned on their first attempt and best attempt. If the teacher notices a pattern—for example, 60% of students in a class incorrectly answered a question about balancing chemical equations—it might be worth reviewing that material again in class before students take the final exam. Similarly, teachers can hone in on exactly what individual students are having trouble with, so they can provide support quickly before it becomes an issue.

Virtual Classrooms Can Turn Homework into a Game

The biggest draw for students, a virtual classroom offers enhanced opportunities for gamified learning.  Teachers can make homework more fun and engaging with a YouTube-like experience for students who are used to consuming information through video. With the proliferation of Buzzfeed quizzes and other online tests taken for fun, a quiz attached to an online lesson can also feel more like a game than an assessment. Although entertainment is not the main reason for students to complete their homework, it can still encourage students to study outside of  the classroom and may help them retain more information if it is presented in a memorable way.

Virtual Classrooms Personalize Education for Students with Different Learning Styles

Virtual Classrooms not only enable students to learn anytime and anywhere, but also cater to different types of learners and students’ needs. In particular, students who are audiovisual learners rather than text-based learners stand to benefit a lot from digital learning. Unlike in the classroom, students have the opportunity to re-watch a lesson if they missed something the first time. In addition to videos, virtual classrooms still provide a text-based option through transcripts for students who learn better via reading than listening/watching. By providing options for students to self-select their learning method, virtual classrooms help put more students on the path to academic success.

Beyond the Classroom with Study.com

In addition to their powerful classroom tools, Study.com provides support for teachers’ own personal and professional development. With a vast library of lessons focused on developing workplace skills, their platform is invaluable to a developing teacher. In particular, their preparation materials for national teacher certification exams like Praxis, along with state-specific exams like FTCE and TExES provide prospective teachers with all of the material they will need to pass their general knowledge and pedagogy exams. They are also ideal for current teachers who are looking to gain additional credentials, such as subject/grade-level certifications or administrative credentials.

Have a go, and let me know how you get on!

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As teachers, we want our kids to connect with the real world. We want them to understand what’s going on and how it relates to them. That’s why we build current events into the curriculum. But just turning your kids loose on the Internet to search for “a story” in an age of fake news can be a recipe for disaster. News sites can be full of auto-playing videos and distracting content. Many sites hide their full stories behind paywalls. News sites don’t filter their content for age appropriateness. And even if the kids do manage to find a story, they’re often at a loss tounderstand it.

Enter NewsForKids.net . NewsForKids is a free news site that is geared toward students. It features age-appropriate content written in an accessible manner. The articles are a mixture of high interest, timely topics from a variety of areas. Although the language used is simple, the tone of the articles is direct and not condescending.
Ideas that might be new are explained within the context of the articles. Often, if more detail is required, a link to a short supplemental article will be available in the sidebar. In most cases, kids shouldn’t need additional resources to understand the article and its relevant background.

Most stories on the site are appropriate for all audiences. But teachers or parents working with very young children may choose to set an age preference in Settings. Doing so will automatically hide the rare stories that have more mature content. Because the site has very few external links, it is ideal for independent student work.

NewsForKids is a good classroom fit at a time when there is renewed academic focus on non-fiction reading. The stories on the site are well-researched, and neutral in tone, with both sides of a situation presented. Each article provides references to several reliable news sources for students who would like to pursue the article in more depth.
The articles are well illustrated with two or three captioned images. The images provide additional context and help even “scanners” get the general idea. Where appropriate, articles are also accompanied by an interactive map, allowing students to understand the story in a geographical context. Stories are also tagged by region, so teachers who wish to focus their students on a particular area of the world can do so.

Have a try, and let me know what you think! 

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Everybody gets exposed to about 174-newspapers-worth of data on a daily basis*, but how much of that actually catches our attention? Adults and children alike have to be able to read and present data effectively nowadays.

So, if you are looking to create an impact and even explain intricate matters in your classroom, visuals are the most effective tool to do so. Moreover, color visuals increase the willingness to read by 80%.

But making great-looking visuals requires time and advanced designer skills… no more thanks to Vizzlo!

Vizzlo gives you the power to create sophisticated infographics in seconds right from your internet browser.

With over 100 templates to choose from, Vizzlo could not be easier to use. It is very intuitive, and it makes your experience surprisingly smooth, leaving you with some extra time to browse through Vizzlo’s different examples and descriptions of each chart. Thousands of professors, students, and lecturers from all around the world have already embraced Vizzlo.

It is as quick as selecting the chart you want to use, adding your data, personalizing the format and you are ready!

You can create from the straightforward timeline and bar charts to rich butterfly and Nightingale’s Rose charts.

Vizzlo supports all the features you would expect from a modern cloud-based platform. Your work will get saved automatically, and you can access it again to continue where you left off from all internet browsers, or even directly from PowerPoint. Vizzlo also lets you share links to your fellow mentors with viewing or editing rights and collaborate with them directly in your charts.

Downloading PNG images or high-definition PDFs is available as well so that you can print out your work in billboard-size if you want, or fit it into any screen, without compromising its definition. With Vizzlo you can also organize your charts in folders by class and have your students participate directly on the platform.

Speeding up your work and increasing your productivity is the aim behind all Vizzlo features, saving you up to 50% of the time you spend preparing presentations, and creating your material.

Is it for everybody?

Why yes, it is!

Vizzlo offers a free version which already makes all charts available with the Vizzlo watermark. If you want to go further, you can upgrade to Vizzlo Premium (starting at USD 11 **) or Vizzlo Business which allows you to upload your fonts and collegian image (starting at USD 15).

Of course, Vizzlo offers special conditions to educators and their students upon request. 

If you ever need guidance, Vizzlo’s support team is there for you at help@vizzlo.com, or you can review their tutorials and FAQ in the Vizzlo help center.

Are you ready to start saving precious working hours when preparing your lessons?

* Hilbert, Martin, Mapping the Dimensions and Characteristics of the World’s Technological Communication Capacity During the Period of Digitization (1986-2007/2010) (December 8, 2011). 9th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting, International Telecommunication Union, December 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2039491

**2 monthly payment in a yearly subscription

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Kids keeping you up all night? It happens. Maybe they’ve had a big day visiting family; their schedule’s out of whack and their sleeping patterns are, too. Or maybe that ghost story they heard at school is sending their imagination into dark places and they can’t calm down.

Or maybe…and in today’s society, more likely…their inability to sleep is down to screens.

TVs, tablets and smartphones might be part and parcel of your child’s life. Nowadays, children only a few years old can swipe screens with staggering ability – some are plenty more adept at it than adults!

But aside from the education and creativity that certain apps can foster (and the breaks they give us parents!) there are plenty of downsides to all these screens.

Such as the following:

Kids aren’t getting enough exercise

Sure, there’s fitness apps and games that have them dancing, playing tennis and so on. There’s apps that lock them out of treats or from getting to the next level until they’ve completed their quota of exercise. But the danger is that this is still a lot of time dedicated to screens.

Wouldn’t it be better if your kids simply played football, or hide-and-seek, or superheros, outside after school instead? Of course, it’s a hard habit to break. They’re used to coming home and getting some video games in, or even as tots, being handed an iPad to watch cartoons on while Mummy enjoys her coffee date. And that’s ok…once in a while.

But over a long period of time, their health pays the price of this screen time. They become less active, more prone to illnesses and can find it hard to fit into social situations as they get older.

So make sure your children are getting a little exercise and fresh air every day. Put up with the tantrums for a while and soon they’ll realise how much this time outside actually benefits them!

Screens mess with our sleep

Sleep deprivation is a major, and all too common, problem in modern society. We’ve come to accept it as normal to be under-slept, over-stressed and constantly rushing from place to place. Few of us nowadays know the importance of relaxation and few of us seek help in this area when we so badly need it.

But getting enough sleep, on a regular basis, is one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways in which we can boost our health. Staying well-rested makes us healthier and happier, plus more productive, creative and thoughtful human beings. On the other hand, being sleep-deprived makes us irritable and lethargic zombies, who are always on the brink of a) biting someone’s head off or b) falling asleep.

Doesn’t sound like Parent of the Year, does it? And really, is that the best example to be setting for kids??

Your kids need their sleep even more than you do. Make sure they get enough of it, and the results will speak for themselves.

But where do screens come into this?!

Well, now that you know how important sleep is, you’d do anything to help your kids get enough of it, right? Good.

Now what if I told you that screens actually prevent sleep? Basically, the blue light they give off increases alertness, over-stimulates the mind and messes with our circadian rhythms.

What’s more, these screens actually block the production of serotonin (the “happy hormone”), which causes us to feel calm, relaxed and sleepy…i.e. the perfect prelude to sleep. Uh-oh.

So by using these screens before bedtime, your kids can become too stimulated and wound-up; even if it doesn’t physically show. Then, when they’re expected to sleep, they simply can’t settle and you all have a restless night as a result. It isn’t their fault. And it may not be yours, not consciously anyway.

The screens, however, are another story. Let’s blame them.

Finding balance

Don’t get me wrong. I know we need to move with the times and that advancements in technology have opened up some incredibly exciting opportunities for children and adults alike; particularly in areas like e-learning. But that doesn’t mean we have to spend most of our waking hours glued to our screens, does it?!

Hopefully not. Because the more fixated we are on screens during the day and into the evening, the more our sleep will suffer.

I propose some balance in terms of on-screen/off-screen time. By all means, allow your kids to play whatever games you’ve approved and to mess around with these devices for a little bit every day if that’s what you choose. But make sure that they’re getting exercise and outdoors time in, too. And try to shut off all screens at least an hour before bedtime, to allow the effects of that blue light to wear off.

Ideally, you should reduce screen time as much as possible to help your kids get a better sleep. That might not be realistic immediately, and you may need to wean them off…but give it time, and they’ll start sleeping more soundly as a result.

Meaning you can, too.

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