Monday, April 18, 2011

Web Tools for Brainstorming

Brainstorming can take all shapes while developing an idea. Students used to get excited when you asked for ideas about a topic and they saw those ideas written on a piece of paper or on the board and how they were all connected. Some still brainstorm that way. Computer programs like Kidspiration and Inspiration have made brainstorming on curriculum topics even easier - visually and connecting to ideas on the web. More resources have been made available through the internet and as our District has increased the numbers of SMARTBoards and ActivBoards in the classrooms, more student interactivity accompanies each developing idea.

While preparing to present at conferences and helping teachers find more resources to help develop 21st Century skills, I've found several tools worth checking out. Some of my favorites are:

Most all of the online, brainstorming tools now are free. Some do ask you to register, but it isn't required. I like being able to work with others and see the changes and additions as they happen.

Here are links to a blog post of the Top 5 Web 2.0 Brainstorming Tools and take a look at the Brainstorming page in our Student Online Collaboration livebinder. Have fun brainstorming on one of your favorite topics and let me know which program you liked the best or share one of your own.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Need Videos for Your Curriculum?

It seems that most of the time when we think about using a video to go along with our lesson, YouTube pops into our minds. I know it is probably the most popular website for videos, but it really causes concern for teachers and school districts because of the inappropriate content available to anyone and everyone. WS/FCS blocks YouTube in our district like so many other school districts.

WS/FCS has two fantastic, educational paid solutions, Learn360 and netTrekker, for teachers to find video. They are correlated with the NCSCOS and many examples have already been linked inside the lessons in Learning Village. The videos within both applications have been checked out by educators and are approved by our District because they follow CIPA guidelines.  Along with these two wonderful resources, maybe you would like to check out a few additions and/or alternatives that have been approved by our Software Clearinghouse:

Great educational site with videos, images, and other Teacher Resources

        Wonderful site where you can browse categories, find Educator Resources, watch and upload videos, and much more.

Kid's video site, filtered and has two rules - be kind, positive, and encouraging with comments and NO profanity

Although there are many choices out on the web, why not try using one of these to compliment your next lesson?