Top 10 free Windows applications

These applications have been around for a while so they have been peer and community reviewed pretty thoroughly. Most of them are cross platform and they are all high performing applications . Some of them have a pro paid version but all of them are very functional as free applications. I am always using Gimp and I did used to use Scribus .This video reminded me to take another look at it. These applications are very much for 2018 so  , if you have time, take a look. Open Office is good to have loaded if you want an alternative to cloud services. It doesn’t have the high end graphics and presentation capabilities of the Apple and Microsoft alternatives but it works really well. Libre Office is also free and equally as good.

Thinking Kit

Thinking KitThis  free Thinking Kit app is designed for iPads and for students to work in pairs to promote collaboration and some real thinking as they learn. It can be used solo. I have downloaded it onto my iPad and there are examples of what you can do with this app. I would imagine it would suit some subject areas better than others and some activities better than others. I was going to look at it to see if you could use it for language learning. The site for Thinking Kit provides a lot of support and what I like about his type of app is that it allows you to work your way through what it can do so that you learn as a teacher. You can try different things and see what the app can achieve. It is also a good app for getting student feedback so they are partners in learning. You can work with them to create better tasks and improved learning scenarios. You can create the activities in any browser on any device. Since this is a hands on app, I’ll let you look and explore.

Electronic communication

electronic communication According to Workplace-Communication.Com there are 55 types of electronic communication. How many are you familiar with? How many do you use? Which ones have students mastered? Are there any missing? What purpose does each form of communication have and what is its impact? How do you alter the impact? How do you use each of these forms of communication effectively? The site discusses a number of issues and ideas. As teachers we need to be in control of electronic communication and we need to ensure students are getting the positives out of it and that they too have mastered the various forms of electronic communication. Literacy in the 21st century is demanding . The choices are impressive and each choice creates a different impact both on the net and for the receiver. Communicating electronically is about using the best tool for the job and then experimenting to see how you can change the impact. An example? I don’t read emails with a high priority alert any sooner than any other email. I decide what is a high priority in my packed agenda not someone else because they don’t have my life and my day. We need to use alerts and notifications better in schools. The world runs on streaming information and then alerting you to events and changes. In a school context there is a need for a high priority form of communication with an appropriate icon. While we are shifting outside time frames and walls we need to develop suitable protocols through apps, LMSs and email and smartphones which ensure we get the information flowing by way of content and then highlighting events, deadlines, priorities via alerts. Then there needs to be an accepted form of electronic communication for emergencies and emergency information. Things to think about and things to master – literacy first then functionality.It’s not about being tied to work 27/7. Effectively developed and implemented electronic communication saves time and effort and is not time consuming or debilitating.

This is 21st century teaching

EdTech Mixed Plate has a number of videos on YouTube where practising teachers join together to discuss ICT in the classroom. This is what we can do now as teachers. We can join together online and discuss things which are important in a classroom and how we develop and pioneer technology input – or anything else for that matter.The videos are professional development for the teachers participating but they are also professional development for anyone watching. The episode I am using today is on Minecraft in the classroom because Minecraft is gaining traction in classroom use. EdTech Mixed Plate discusses a range of topics and it is interesting to see how the teachers have become involved in edtech and mostly the co ordinator for edtech in their school. Worth a look because I am pretty sure this is the future and now such a gift to us in terms of professional development. Technology is offering us all sorts of possibilities . We are waiting for bandwidth so we can implement these opportunities more effectively.

Integrating technology into the classroom

integrate - definitionThis whole blog is about integrating technology into a classroom and education and how to do it – the tools, the techniques, the thought processes. It is a lifestyle choice! I have never thought in terms of integrating technology into my classroom. I have just thought of using it and finding out how to create good teaching and learning with any technology I have been offered: OHPs, data recording machines; BBC computers,video machines , PCs and now IWBs, smart phones, iPads and laptops. What does integrating mean, though? I looked it up on the Merriam-Webster site to see if that was what I was doing since it is actually one of our professional standards..

1. to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole : unite
Certainly have worked hard on that. I made a decision when we got laptops to get rid of pens and paper to save the planet and to force myself to rethink everything in terms of technology. A pot of pens, a white board pen, a wad of paper and sets of  worksheets are in my classroom incase of long term power outages. The more I have used this approach the more everything hangs together smoothly in a technological way.By blogging about it , I have given myself the opportunity to think things out and reflect on what I have been doing and then get peer support and review. I just use technology and my students just use it and we work together to solve problems since that is part of using technology.
2. to find the integral of (as a function or equation)
Not relevant.
3a. to unite with something else
Yes! I have united technology with everything I do and think in a classroom. I have united it with the curriculum, the daily routine, the assessment processes and performance standards. I have also used it to unite more strongly with my students to create a feedback loop so I can grow their learning and they, in turn, can grow my teaching.
3b to incorporate into a larger unit
I have incorporated it into the classroom and curriculum delivery and everything now has an electronic version and approach. It is fundamental to my teaching and fundamental to my development as a teacher because I have been able to incorporate myself far more effectively into national and global connections. Incorporation is about connectivity with technology.
4a. to end the segregation of and bring into equal membership in society or an organization
4b desegregate
Technology is not something to be viewed as an extra or an event. It is daily living, daily routine, daily functionality and so technology in my life and my classroom is not special or a thing. It’s just normal. In order for it not to be different you have to find the things which suit your needs and the needs of your students – the videos, the tools, the approaches, the websites, the online tools , sites and apps.

Here are 50 ways of integrating technology into your classroom.

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