International School Bangkok has nearly completed its first school year with a 1-1 laptop initiative, piloted with the current 6th grade class (Class of 2017). It has been both a growing and amazing school year, with countless positive gains in digital teaching and learning. I too have been working to contribute to the success of the 1-1 laptop implementation, applying both familiar and new practices gleaned from personal exploration and experimentation, as well as applying knowledge and concepts from SUNY’s COETAIL Asia courses (Taught by the incredibly talented, Jeff Utecht).
Digitally reflecting upon this school year brings to mind some applications, tools, sites or otherwise that have become fast favorites for enhancing both teaching and learning in a 1-1 learning environment.
Check out these top favorites:
Sketchbox: Digital Post-it notes! Sketchbox is a free Mac download that creates an uncluttered Sticky Notes Manager for your Mac desktop. Many of our 6th grade students use these Sticky Notes to write down homework or other important reminders. And the great news is that as soon as they open their laptops, there it is, serving as a reminder!
Quizlet: Is a great study tool appropriate for upper elementary to high school levels. Quizlet has a flashcard mode, learn mode, and test mode. It is wonderful for building academic language, understanding new words, and powerful for English language learners continuing to attain the language (It can even be used for Modern Language studies). Quizlet has ready-made words and definitions for a wide range of subjects and topics but is also super use-friendly for creating your own words/definitions. Quizlet can be collaborative or individualized and contains both teacher and student features.
Tour of Quizlet.com from Phil Freo on Vimeo.
Edmodo: Is instantly popular because it has a Facebook look and feel to it. It is a free, secure, social learning platform for teachers and students. It is especially useful for schools that do not have a Moodle platform in place, or for individual classes that want a more personalized display place to work from. Edmodo is easy! Messages, links and video posting, assignments, calendars, networking, community building, mobile accessing, group differentiation, co-teacher plan sharing, libraries: these are just a few Edmodo features and perks!
Screencasting tools (Jing, Screentoaster are just a few that are out there for free)! Screencasts benefit all learners. A screencast allows students to watch and listen to at the same time, but the real power is the opportunity to playback, review instructions, information, ideas, and more. They are also super quick and easy to make. Both Jing and Screentoaster tools are free downloads and easy to share through embedding and/or publish via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook.
Flysketch is an application that allows you to draw on top of just about anything on your screen. In 6th grade, we have used it for main idea highlighting, emphasizing words or paragraphs in online content reading. Flysketch also allows you to draw shapes or images to help define what you want to say, or further emphasize a point. Other cool perks: you can drag and drop the results of your work onto another application, or email it; you can bring up a window without ever leaving TextEdit to create diagrams and then add your creations to TextEdit. Or, if you come across a great interface that you want to check out in better detail later, you can use the screen capture button and tuck it away to a folder.
Keynote, Pages and Photobooth
- Keynote is a very cool Mac presentation tool. It has the power to really make a presentation come alive and look amazing. Our students have generated countless projects using Keynote. It is also great because one of the sharing options can send the project to YouTube.
- Pages is a word processor and layout tool. This means that before kids even start to write, their work looks polished and professional. There are also great templates, such as a storyboard for planning a digital story.
- Photobooth is a Mac application for taking photos and videos with an iSight camera by Apple Inc. for Mac OS X. (It was also recently announced for the iPad 2 tablet). Kids especially LOVE it for quick, easy photos and capturing video clips. Most of our students have also independently found out how to get the newest effects and have had (maybe too much) fun with this
Oldies But Goodies that continue to rock for classroom use!
Freeplay Music: CC licensed music to enhance projects
Creative Commons, Compfight: Awesome visual inspiration portals that have CC licensed images
Shelfari: Virtual bookshelf with a social twist! Maintain a bookshelf of books read (fabulous graphics), read and write book reviews, create an exclusive group for your class, chat with others about books
Netvibes is a living dashboard! I love this for housing all student blogs. It allows me to quickly see when a student has posted something new. I also maintain a private page to monitor all my favorite blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and so much more!
Jeopardy Labs allows teachers and/or students to create a customized jeopardy template without PowerPoint. The games made can be played online from anywhere in the world. It is a great collaborative study tool where kids can “play” from their own homes, yet be studying together.
YouTube: Creating your own channel where student work/projects are housed, easily allowing for students to embed their projects/videos onto their blogs without creating their own personal account (Which is initially ideal for early Middle School kiddos).
It has been a fabulous and growing 1-1 school year. And there is so, so much more out there than just these featured faves! I would love to hear more about what other teachers love and have found to be affective and useful in their classrooms.