Author: Katelyn Scully
About the author: Hello! My name is Kaitlyn and I study PreK-4 education and Spanish at Grove City College. In the fall of 2015, I was a student in Dr. Fecich’s Technologies of Instruction class; during that semester, one of our projects involved service learning. I chose to create a video tutorial about eduBunceefor an Instructional Technologist, Brittany Groff, to include on her resource website. After graduation in May ‘17, my goal is to work abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, or stateside with ESL/multilingual students.
About the tech tool: Buncee is an online tool that enables users to register for a free account and then begin making posters and presentations. What I appreciate about Buncee is that it is more kid-friendly than some other online tools (which are very functional but not conducive to use by PreK-4 students). Creating in Buncee is simple: make an account, open a new file, choose a background, and start adding elements. Speaking of elements, there are a wide range of add-ons in Buncee, such as animations, videos, files, drawings, and more. Users can add multiple slides to a presentation, and when they are finished, they can download or share the slides.
There are plenty of opportunities to use Buncee in a PreK-4 classroom. For example, 2nd grade students could make digital book reports and 4th graders could make a digital science fair poster, as opposed to purchasing a tri-fold and other supplies. Even if young PreK students are not using Buncee themselves, their teachers can certainly utilize the resource.
EduBuncee is also available to educators for free. To create and organize classes, however, requires a fee. To learn about how to use Buncee, check out this Buncee slide I created with links to tutorials:
Today I thought I would share with you my experience with importing one of my SmartNotebook lessons into ClassFlow.
I went through and edited my presentation and the process was quite easy. I was able to add a backdrop and card notes for teachers who may want to download the lesson. It was very easy and I am going to do it again with my other SmartNotebook lessons.
Guest Author: Hannah Finnley
About the Author: Hello fellow educators! My name is Hannah Finley and I am a Junior Elementary Education major at Grove City College. As I jumped head-first into education during my second semester, I fell in love and found my passion in teaching and doing whatever it takes to reach kids from all different backgrounds. Some of my favorite subjects to teach are math and science, and one of my biggest goals is to encourage young girls to explore STEM and get them excited about the awesome things that they can accomplish! When I’m not in class, teaching, or thinking about teaching I enjoy spending my time running, playing Frisbee, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.
About the tech tool: Spongelab, my favorite online tool of all time! One of the few things that makes me consider teaching middle or high school, just so that I would have more of an opportunity to use it. But what is it exactly? Is it a Google Extension? Is it a science resource for educators and students? Is it pure internet gold? Spongelab is all of these things, offering educators and students a unique place to find interactive resources to make lessons more engaging and allow for deeper exploration of a variety of topics.
Signing up for Spongelab is quick and easy, especially if you use your Google account to log-in. With the vast number of tech-tools out there, having one less extra password to remember is a luxury. You can also use another email account to create an account or you can log-in using Facebook. I prefer to use my Google account, as my Gmail is where most of my professional and educational accounts are linked. Once you’ve created an account, it’s easy to customize a profile and create “classes.” It will walk you through how to add students to your classes, and even allows you to monitor students’engagement on Spongelab through class reports. This may help in assigning students to play a practice game for homework, which can then be checked. By comparing tools used and student comprehension, you’ll also be able to determine what works and what doesn’t. Your profile is also where you keep track of tools that you’ve found, find lessons, share lessons, and earn “badges” and “points.” As you use and explore Spongelab more and more, you’ll find yourself leveling-up and earning credits. According to the site, these credits can be used toward coupons and other educational offers. Credits can be bought, but I’ve found they add up pretty quickly while you click around. If your school has a subscription to Spongelab, your Profile Settings is also where you can enter the affiliation code and have unlimited access to everything on Spongelab. Even without one of these subscriptions, it’s been superbly easy to access many games, visuals, and tools for free just by searching.
Once you’ve got your profile set up, it’s time to set sail and start exploring! If you’re looking for science news and the latest STEM current events, head over to the “My Community” tab. You’ll find Spongelab’s frequently-updated social media pages embedded into one place. For classes from k-12, these news stories can be used to connect language arts, social studies, and STEM into one neatly condensed package! These articles can be used to help squeeze science content into reading for the elementary teacher pressed for time, or as a starting place for a science or research projects in middle level or secondary education. I also see potential as an educational and engaging “when you’re done” activity, where students can explore the site, within certain parameters. Students might be allowed to choose to watch a short video, experiment with a simulation, or play a game that is relevant to the current topic or that they need help in. If you want to take it a step further, ask students to write a quick description of what resource they used and what it’s called. Not only will this help expose you to new tools, but will help hold students accountable for their learning.
But where oh where are these resources actually found? As it turns out- they’re plastered all over Spongelab. After moving to the “Browse” tab, you’ll be able to search for a resource based on subject, type, and language. The language feature may be especially helpful for any ELL students in your classroom, as they can begin to understand the content in their first language. This is also where you can contribute content and add resources you’ve found to your “list” for later use. By saving resources, you can save yourself precious time searching for them again later when lesson planning. Another feature that I love is that Spongelab has partnership with McGraw Hill and some other commonly-used textbooks. I remember using these textbooks myself throughout my middle and high school science classes. Students can use the extra resources that Spongelab has for each chapter to gain a greater understanding of the topic, or see it in a way that makes more sense. This can also help differentiate instruction and make content more accessible for students. Make sure to spend some time picking through the resources available to find ones that will best work for you and your class. Many are interactive and engaging, appealing to all different types of learners. So go ahead! Get out there and soak up all that Spongelab has to offer!
Using polls can not only keep your students engaged and using technology effectively in the classroom, but it can also inform your teaching. During class you may want to see what your students already know about a given topic or maybe you want to see what stuck with them from last class...enter polling tools for the classroom!
Ways to use polls in the classroom:
There are so many polling tools available, but I would like to suggest Poll Everywhere. Poll everywhere is a fantastic tool to ask questions and get student feedback immediately.
Features of Polleverywhere:
As a professor of educational technology, I need to stay up to date with technology for preservice educators to try in the classroom. This summer as I was checking out my Twitter feed I found 3 new tech tools that I put into my syllabus as an option for students to try. The tools listed below can be used for flipped learning or for tools to keep students engaged in a lesson.
I write about edtech in action, random tools I find, and reflections upon teaching and learning.