Two Great Tools for Creating Interactive Timelines

January 29, 201
In today’s post I am sharing with you two important web tools that you can use with students in class to create interactive timelines. These timelines can include a wide variety of multimedia materials including: text, images, video, maps and many more. And in the case of Silk, there is even the possibility to invite collaborators to help with editing. Also, both of these apps are available for iPad users.

1- MyHistory

‘Watch and read thousands of fascinating timelines, or create your own. Complete with text, video and pictures to create a dynamic timeline mashup. Using myHistro, you can combine maps and timelines seamlessly into one great presentation, convert any public timeline into a personal pdf file, or export it into Google Earth format for offline storage. All completed timelines can be embedded into your blog and websites for maximum exposure.’

2- Silk
Silk is another excellent tool for creating interactive visualizations. You can use Silk’s drag and drop tools to easily add images, videos, tables, maps, and charts. Silk also allows you to convert your spreadsheets into Silk pages. You can invite anyone to edit and publish data to your Silk page. There are several video tutorials in the site to guide you through the process of building your own Silk visualizations.

Watch this video to have a preliminary idea of what Silk is all about.

A Very Good Checklist for Assessing 21st Century Learning Skills

January 29, 2015
Here is another great resource from Dr. Jackie Gerstein, one of our favourite EdTech bloggers. Jackie designed this beautiful chart featuring  12  attributes and skills that teachers should tend to in their instruction. You can use it as a self-assessment checklist to help you evaluate your teaching practice.

The thing I like about this chart is that it emphasizes the social and affective component in learning, something which is often overlooked in today’s digitally-focused learning paradigms. These mechanical skill-based and market-oriented paradigms reduce students to ‘cheerful robots’ and view pedagogy as ‘merely a skill, technique, or disinterested method’ to teach pre specified subject matter' (Giroux, 2011). Instead, education should be viewed as an important locomotive not only for gainful employment but also for ‘creating the formative culture of beliefs, practices, and social relations that enable individuals to wield power, learn how to govern, and nurture a democratic society that takes equality, justice, shared values, and freedom seriously.(Kindle Location, 67 from "On Critical Pedagogy").

Jackie's set of attributes featured in this chart chime in with Giroux's view of education as a way of producing citizens who are 'critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable and willing to make moral judgements and ac in a socially responsible way.'

Check out Jackie's original post to access more resources and links accompanied with this chart.

Teaching Preschool Children to Thrive in the Classroom

January 29, 2015
While each teaching role is important, perhaps none is more important as the role of teachers involved in pre-K, as this is such an important time in a child's life and is quite often when a child determines whether or not he or she enjoys learning and an academic environment. It may be reassuring or it may be unsettling to discover that your role as a pre-K teacher is so important, but here are some interesting tips from Walnut Montessori Pre-school to help you engage your preschool students in a thriving learning environment.

  • While you cannot control the circumstances and environment which your students are exposed to outside of school, it should be reassuring to know that a great teacher and a great classroom environment can make all the difference in a child's attitude about school. Sometimes it takes a bit of insight into best practices and child development in order to know how to help a child succeed, and that is where this list of tips for teaching preschool children to thrive in the classroom comes into play:
  •  Remember that young children learn through play: Young children learn best through playful interaction with their environment. Children love to role-play and pretend, but these activities are so much more than just play. Children make sense of their environment, of human interactions, and of encounters and experiences they have had through the day by role-playing these scenarios over again. It is important for young children to learn through play, and so your role as teacher is to take advantage of and harness a child's ability to learn while playing. There are many activities you can set up and encourage to help a child learn the best way he or she knows how.
  •  Keep in mind that all children are naturally curious: Children love to learn; it is only as a child enters late elementary grades or middle school that their interest in learning wanes for a variety of reasons. As a pre-K teacher, it is your responsibility to keep a child's natural curiosity kindled and burning. Provide a stimulating and creative environment that encourages a child to engage and to learn.
  • Set a routine: Young children respond well to routines, and if they are used to procedures and routines, they will better cope with stressful situations or any difficulty they may encounter throughout their day at preschool.
  • Transition effectively: Young children have a difficult time transitioning from one activity to the next, particularly if they are enjoying the activity they are involved in. Find effective ways to transition, such as giving warning before a change in activity and perhaps setting up a fun transition procedure, such as singing a song while transitioning or playing upbeat music while the children transition. 

Everything Teachers need to Know about Google Scholar Library

January 29, 2015
We have recently started sharing with our readers here a series of blog posts covering important tips and features embedded in Google Scholar. Today,we are introducing you to Google Scholar library. This is your personal library  where you aggregate and organize the articles and research papers you read.

Google scholar library is definitely a must-use feature for student researchers and academics. It allows you to save articles right from the search page and organize them using your own tagging system so you can easily search and find them when need be. More importantly, any link you save to your Scholar library comes in with other bibliographical information such as formatted citations, number of citations of the article, date of publication and many more.

Read this guide to learn how you can set up your Scholar library. Below are answers to some important questions regarding different features of Google Scholar library. You can use it to help you better understand how Scholar library functions. This snapshot is taken from Google Scholar help centre.

Google Scholar Library Tips

Public Domain Project Offers Tons of Copyright-free Media to Use in Class

January 28, 2015
Public Domain Project is a new website that provides tons of copyright-free historical media files and cultural artifacts that you can use and remix in your own work.As of right now, Public Domain Project features over 80,000 copyright-free video clips, photos, sound recordings, and 3D models. Also,' the project includes digital models of NASA tools and satellites, Georges Méliès' 1902 film, A Trip To The Moon, speeches by political figures like Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King, Jr., recordings of performances from composers like Beethoven, and many more.'

Watch the video below to learn more about Public Domain Project

Courtesy of Open Culture

Tow of The Best Twitter Tools for Teachers

January, 2015
There are several third party tools out there that would enable you to enhance your tweeting experience, below is the editor's choice of two of the best web tools to use with your Twitter. As a teacher, using these tools will help you expand and enrich your professional learning experience by enabling you to follow like minded people, create lists to crowdsource information around a particular topic, read your Twitter stream in a magazine-like format, and make the best of the networking potential of hashtags.

1- TweetDeck

TweetDeck is by far the best of them all. I use TweetDeck app on my Mac and it works wonders. It lets you create lists and collections around a specific topic. I have a list titled Educational Technology  to which I added a number of popular EdTech Tweeters. TweetDeck allows you to track Twitter feeds of the people you follow in real time and has a notification column where you can see tweets mentioning you. I would suggest that you tinker around with the different features it has to learn more about how it works.


This is a great tool for creating magazines from your Twitter feeds. To start using it you need to sign in using your Twitter account. Once logged in, click on "create a paper", give it a title and short description then choose what you want to be featured in your magazine. You can for instance create  a magazine from only your Twitter feeds, or from Tweets from your timeline or use both of them in one single page. You have a lot of options to choose from. You can also change the template and themes of your magazine and customize the fonts and text as you want. I personally use to read Tweets on my timeline.

3 Important Google Search Tips to Help Students with Their Language Learning

January 28, 2015
Today I want to share with you three useful Google search tips that students can use to enhance their language learning and enrich their vocabulary. These tips are related to the use of Google’s integrated dictionary. There are actually three ways students can use Google’s dictionary right from their search bar: the first way is to search for definitions, the second one is for synonyms ( words with almost similar meanings) and the third one is for antonyms (words with opposite meanings).While I have been using the definition feature of Google for years now, it is only recently that I learned about the antonyms and synonyms functionality from a post by Drive Bunny which also inspired me to write this blog post.

1- Searching for word definitions
Google offers a quick and easy way to search for definitions of any term by simply typing “define” followed by the word you want defined. If you are using Chrome browser, you can do this right from the address bar otherwise you need to head over to Google and type in the search phrase in its search box. For instance, to look for the definition of the word ‘antonym’ type in “define antonym’ as shown in the screenshot below.

2- Search for synonym
Students can also use Google integrated dictionary to search for word equivalents.For instance if they are writing an essay and want to avoid being redundant by using the same word over and over. They can instead use one of its equivalent.
To look for synonyms on Google simply type in “synonym’ followed by the term whose synonyms you are looking for.

3- Search for antonyms
Similarly, students can use Google integrated dictionary to search for words that have opposite meanings. To do this they can type in “antonyms” followed by the word whose antonyms they are looking for.