Finds of the Week: May 24-28

Since I began blogging, I have been sharing great resources that I have stumbled across or that have been shared with me. But I often forget how important it is to remember that when you are thinking about integrating a tool into your classroom that you are doing it to help enhance your lesson, and not just to use it for the sake of using it. I have offered some small suggestions on how some of the tools can be implemented, but that doesn't mean that there aren't uses out there that haven't been thought up yet. I often need to remind the teachers on my staff that I am available to discuss these types of issues, even if it is only on a limited basis, being a half-time technology integration coach.

During a meeting with a teacher, we will look at the lessons the teacher has identified and discuss what the goal of the lesson is and then determine what, if any, technology could be implemented. There will be times where technology will take away from the lesson and integration won't be recommended. Of course, implementing a new technology could be a bit unsettling for a teacher who may not be completely familiar with the particular tool, but I am also available to go in and coteach in their classroom with them. Again, I am only available certain periods in the day, and if absolutely necessary for one of my teaching periods, there is always the possibility that I can get a cover for my own classroom. Our elementary teachers have another person available to them, but I also let them know that I can assist them with finding resources for their classroom if they give me enough time to find what they require.

So whether you need some resources, you want to have someone to bounce ideas off of, or you need some "just in time" training, make sure to use the resources that are available to you in your tech directors, tech integration coaches, and librarians!

And speaking of resources, here are some great finds for the week!

1. Google Docs Self Grading Quizzes - The end of the school year. A time of finals. And having to get senior grades in immediately. And waiting in line at that Scantron machine! Here's Google Docs to the rescue! Through this Screencast-O-Matic, a wonderful educator (I wish I knew who he was so I could give him proper credit) has shared how anyone can use Google Forms and Spreadsheets from Google Docs to create a self-grading multiple-choice quiz or exit ticket. There is a slight learning curve to setting up your spreadsheet and form, and you have be a little familiar with using formulas within spreadsheets, but once you have it set up, it is a breeze to use. And you can even let your students know what their grade is as soon as they submit their answers. Talk about immediate and timely feedback! As a bonus for you, you get a breakdown of how each question was answered in the summary for your form.

You can view the screencast below or click on the link above to see how to set up your own form and spreadsheet.

2. bomomo - Here is another site that's for our art teachers out there, or for other teachers that want to get that creativity shared with their kids. I don't have much of an artistic talent, but knowing some of our students, I'm sure they can come up with some extraordinary pieces of art with a tool like this.

Bomomo is a free web app that works in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome (and I'm told in many other browsers, too) and allows a user to get to work as soon as the site loads. There is a level of experimentation that goes along with using the site, but this experimentation also can lead to so interesting discoveries. When you have created something you like, you can save it as a low or hi resolution jpg.

3. Quizinator - Have you ever left your laptop at school, created a quiz or worksheet on your home computer, and then forgot to save it to a flash drive or email it to yourself? Or what if you want to share with other teachers? Quizinator is a site that allows you alleviate these problems and even to make it easier for you to create a multitude of worksheets and quizzes. With Quizinator, a bank of questions is kept from questions you enter, and you are able to select the questions you want and rearrange them using drag-and-drop. Once your document is complete, you obtain a PDF version for printing or posting online.

Quizinator has stated that they will always be free, but they are planning on adding premium features on top of what is currently offered. You can follow them on twitter (@quizinator_en) or read their blog for even more information and ideas. This resource was shared on twitter via @thadhaines.
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