Friday, March 1, 2013

Thank You and Spring Book Group

Thank you to all of our guest bloggers who shared so many excellent web resources with us during Digital Learning month. There are so many great things going on in the state and so many excellent educators. We were glad to highlight 28 of them in this blog. We had a great time compiling and sharing all of the resources through the blog. We also want to thank all of the dedicated educators from our state and beyond who checked in daily and who are implementing these tools to enhance teaching and learning in their schools. The blog will remain open, so we encourage educators to continue to use it as a resource for good web 2.0 resources. Please continue to comment on ways that you are using the resources in your work. Also, if there's a web 2.0 resource you'd like to share, please let us know.

Spring Book Group

Beginning March 4th the IDOE Office of eLearning Spring Book Group will be reading and discussing online The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall.

The authors say, “This book is a journey into what it means to be a learner first and an educator second. It is a book about you, about your professional learning. It’s also about us—the collective us in education—and how our own learning can transform student learning through a systemic vision of professional development.”

Learn more about the book at their website. If you want to become a more connected educator and learner and have the chance to attend a summer eLearning conference for FREE, then join us for our eLearning Book Group.

We know this will be an enjoyable learning experience for all of us and we look forward to meeting you online! If you have any questions please contact Meri Carnahan.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Our final blogger of the month is Therese Dristas. Therese is the Systems Technology Mentor for the School Town of Munster.

Evernote logo
The digital age has brought about many changes to the classroom. Before 1:1 and BOYD, the mainstay of all students were the textbook and notebook. Students now learn through digital content. So, what happened to the notebook? Do students still keep a literature journal, writing portfolio, science lab notebook, or lecture notes for classes? Are students creating single page documents that are saved in files? Do teachers then get 140 emails with 10 attachments? In our 21st century classrooms, there are better ways to handle this and in doing so, preserve the notebook. The notebooks that I am suggesting are places for the organization of multi-media, research, inquiry, observation, metacognition, creativity, and reflection that can be shared with the teacher. Evernote is my favorite 2.0 app for creating online notebooks.

Evernote allows users to establish a web based account for free. Downloading the Evernote app on devices like cell phones gives users the ability to sync across devices. The user takes a picture through the Evernote app on her phone and it is available on her desktop, iPad, netbook, or laptop. The uses for Evernote in the 1:1 classroom are endless. Syncing media across multiple devices is easy and creates a repository for student work. When students “share” their notebooks, teachers can access all media. As students add more information to their notebooks, the teacher can see this work as well. Using Evernote eliminates the need to collect physical notebooks or open a gazillion emails. Students acquire 21st century skills. There is also a place for Evernote in a traditional classroom. Because it is a web based app, students can utilize computer lab time in the same way as already outlined. Research work can be chronicled and easy to access from home computers and they can add their cell phones as a registered device.

Here are a few notebook scenarios.

Science Notebook

Using Evernote to create a weather notebook page, students use an excel spread sheet to collect temperatures for a specific time frame, create a graph, drag and drop the graph in the notebook, and attach the spreadsheet file. They also have the capability to take a picture with their phone of the snow accumulation in the latest storm and sync with their other devices. What does the weather sound like tonight? Using their phones to capture audio, their notebook includes what hail sounds like hitting the sidewalk. They can include the local forecast from the web or an article on global warming. Finally, add the student’s analysis, reflection, conclusion, or summation and the entry is complete. The teacher who shares the student notebooks can review them on the computer without having to collect physical notebooks or open all those emails.

Social Studies Research Project

A student researching immigration for U.S. History creates a notebook for the project. Using an iPad, she captures a video of her grandfather explaining why he immigrated to the United States. This is saved directly into a notebook page entitled Family History. Family photos are attached from files to the notebook or she can use a cell phone or an iPad to take pictures, which automatically sync. Research is collected and time stamped and appears on the left side interphase. The teacher is able to see the time frame it took to create the notebook. An oral history is collected from the student’s grandmother because she does not want her picture taken. The Evernote app allows you to record audio and sync to registered devices. This means that all the resources for a research paper or presentation are organized in one location. Video, audio, current and old photos, along with notes taken in class will all sync to the notebook.

Art Portfolio

This scenario begins with a field trip to the art museum in a real time or virtual scenario. The assignment for the students is to select an artist whose style they would like to incorporate in an original piece of art. Students take the picture and attach it to the notebook or sync it to the notebook from another registered device. Page one of the notebook is an analysis of the artist’s style based on the picture of the artwork placed directly into the notebook. Page two is the picture of the students’ initial sketch and ideas for the work. The students then chronicle the unfolding of the project. This becomes a part of the students' digital portfolio, a portfolio that eventually will contain all the work created during the course. The notebook reflection gives the student an opportunity to express individual creative thought behind the artwork.

In the book, Classroom Instruction that Works, authors Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock describe the importance of summation and note taking in the learning process. They believe that students need to engage in a process of review and revision of the notes they take and that teachers play a major role by directing and encouraging. This review process becomes both cumbersome and time consuming when students are writing in spiral bound notebooks that have to be collected and read. Having all student notebooks digitally available in Evernote allows the teacher to identify and correct misconceptions, provide feedback in a timely manner, and encourage the important thought processes behind note taking.

The Common Core Standards for writing mandate the use of technology to produce, publish, and update individual writing. It also calls for utilizing “technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.” I can’t think of a more dynamic interphase than that in Evernote. If I have convinced you to try Evernote for individual student notebooks, here are the step-by-step directions on setting this up for your class.
Getting Started

  • Create an account at Evernote ( before you have the students create theirs.
    • Create a personal notebook.
      • Select NEW NOTEBOOK.
      • You will see this popup.
      • Give the notebook a name.
      • Selecting “Synchronized notebook” allows you to use multiple devices.
      • Select OK.
  • Walk students through creating an account. 
  • Have students create a notebook and name it.
  • Have students share their notebook with you by using the following steps. 
    • Highlight the notebook to share by clicking on it.
    • Right click to see a new menu with the following options:
      • Rename
      • Delete
      • Add to stack
      • Share notebook.
    • Select “Share notebook.”
    • Select “Invite Individuals.”
    • Have students enter your email address.
    • They should select “View notes and activities” from the drop down menu.
  • When invited, join the student notebooks. (You may be asked to join more than once.)

Evernote has a learning curve, but once you get the basics down, it is easy to use. I have created an Evernote notebook for some of the classroom basics, which I will add to. This notebook was made public and therefore has a URL address--

The Challenge:
On their website, Evernote says, “Save your ideas, things you like, things you hear, and things you see.” This especially hits a chord for me because of conversations that I have had down through the years about technology. For me the allure of technology was that point, that lesson, or that teachable moment that came together because of the technology and you could see it in the faces of students because they too became jazzed up by what they were thinking and how they were going to use their ideas in their paper or project. Traditional notebooks could not include a recording of a student practicing the flute and then critiquing the performance and setting goals for improvement or a math student’s screencast of where he was lost solving a calculus problem and his subsequent analysis correcting his thought process. So, the challenge for you is to look for this opportunity to enhance learning in your classroom!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tried and True, SymbalooEdu!

Shelley Breivogel and Kimber Scarlett work together on the second grade team at Scott Elementary School in Evansville, Indiana. Kimber and Shelley were featured on the first Educator Spotlight for Symbaloo this year and both are Symbaloo Certified. 

 You can find their team Symbaloo at

As part of a team of second grade teachers, we began exploring online tools to help organize our resources according to our curriculum map. The problem we encountered was not having a logical way to keep track of the links and documents we were using, nor did we have a convenient way to share these resources.  It didn't take long to realize we needed help.

At that point, we started searching for an online tool. That's when we found SymbalooEdu.  Why did we go with SymbalooEdu? We had specific criteria when selecting the tool of choice, and SymbalooEdu met those criteria.

Cost: You can sign up for free. Plus, there is no advertising!

Easy:  Registration involves providing an email address and password. Once registered, you have instant access to SymbalooEdu.

Ready Made: SymbalooEDU accounts come with preset educational webmixes preinstalled that are continuously updated with the latest and greatest educational sites recommended by their Symbaloo Certified educators.

Organized: Each webmix you create becomes a showcase for your links. You can build as many as you like!

Uses: Each tile on a webmix can be used to:
  • Link a favorite website
  • Embed a slideshow, video, flipchart, or picture
  • Embed a Google Document
Sharing: You can share webmixes you create, or you can search the Symbaloo Gallery for webmixes to add to your own personal learning environment.

Personalize: You have the option to add your own graphics to your tiles or to the backgrounds of the webmixes you build.

Time: With one click, you can go anywhere on the web!  Best of all, you can set SymbalooEdu as your homepage.

Mobile: There is a free mobile app! All your favorite links will be at your fingertips wherever you go!

Everyone: Anyone can use Symbaloo. Your students will benefit by using the webmixes you create.  Your students can also create their own webmixes for school projects.

How we use SymbalooEdu:
We started by creating a homepage. This webmix includes all the internet links to sites we use daily.

Teacher Homepage
We use our curriculum map to organize all our teaching resources by month. (Videos, Flipcharts, Teaching Resources, Google Docs)

Teacher Resources for January
The Symbaloo Gallery offers many useful webmixes you can add to your own personal learning environment. 

Common Core Resources
Webmixes can be created based on teaching units.

Teaching Resources for Flat Stanley
We use our curriculum map to create monthly, student webmixes. Every link is a free online activity or game that we specifically select based on the standards we are teaching for the month. Students use the activities to reinforce the skills we are currently teaching. They have access to the webmix at school, home, and from any mobile device they own.

Student Activities for January
Parents love the student webmixes!

We have also created a webmix specifically for parents. This webmix includes links to the student gradebook, school website, teaching programs used, and parent-help sites.

Parent Resources

As you can see, SymbalooEdu is very visually attractive, and is great for customizing, organizing, and sharing resources!  SymbalooEdu also allows educators to manage their personal learning environment with great ease.

The Challenge:
Go to and create your free SymbalooEdu account today!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

QR Codes In and Out of the Classroom

Kelly Scholl (@SchollHouseRock) is currently a high school science teacher at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana. She currently teaches Earth Science, AP Physics C: Mechanics, and AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism. She is also creating a new online Astronomy course to debut with Center Grove Global Campus this summer.

I received a class set of iPads two years ago. I was excited to infuse this new technology into my classroom, but I also realized I had a huge learning curve ahead of me before I would be able to use them effectively on a daily basis. The more technology I have around me, I find the more aware I am of technology throughout my life. I started seeing QR codes (right) in stores, on advertisements, on the tables at restaurants, and even on ketchup bottles in my local grocery store. Being a science teacher, I’m naturally curious. I began scanning these random QR codes just to see what was there. This sparked the idea to start using them in my class to also encourage students to be curious. Inquiry is at the heart of science, and can also make for some compelling learning experiences!  Beyond the mystery, QR codes provide a quick and easy way to reach specific resources without having to type in a long web address.  Over the past two years, I’ve been able to reach different levels of student engagement through the use of QR codes, and I’d like to share my experiences with you today.
First, the basics of getting started with QR codes:
  • Consider what information you’d like to share. This could be a message, a web address, a YouTube video, a Twitter or Facebook page, a Google maps location, an App store download, or even a Dropbox file. 
  • Determine your intent of the QR codes.  Think of how and where you’ll use QR codes in your classroom to encourage active participation. You could even encourage students to use them in their projects. 
  • In order for QR codes to work, your students must have a camera and scan app on their smart phone or tablet. Doing a simple search for QR readers in the app store will provide several options.  There are several scan apps out there, with a large variety of them being free.
  • Input your information into a QR Code Generator site and ask it to generate a code for you. I personally like, but there are many out there if you just search for QR code generator. You will then copy and paste, or download to save, your code onto your document, advertisement, post, etc.


I have used QR codes in my classroom for several different things, but below are examples of things I’ve done with different levels of interaction for the students:

Minimal Student Interaction – My basic use of QR Codes
I have a sign posted on my door for students to scan with their smart phones. It has a simple message on it that I change from time to time. Some students are interested and want to know what I have to say. This is a fun interaction that is not required by them.

Required Student Interaction - Using QR Codes for differentiation in the classroom
At the start of a unit, I usually have students do some current events reading about a topic to get them thinking about the topic and asking questions that can drive our learning for the unit. In my last unit on earthquakes, I had made 3 categories of readings (introductory/basic, video/diagram, scientific/technical) and provided several options in each category. Students went around the room scanning and reading articles that were interesting to them and completing a reading guide I had them working with. All were engaged, loved the fact they had some choice, and asked great questions with the new background information that will drive our unit on earthquakes.

Optional Student Interaction – QR Codes help extend lab analysis to outside the classroom
One problem I always face in my AP Physics classes is time…there’s just not enough of it. Our lab software has actually created a function to generate a QR code of the data that students can then scan with their iPads or smartphones and take that home to analyze. If all we have time for in class is lab design and data collection that is now acceptable. Groups can now work together virtually via Google Docs to create their lab and have all their data right with them.

Student Generated Interaction – QR Codes outside my classroom
As part of a culminating semester project for my AP Physics students, I asked them to create a video that would teach a basic part of physics they have learned about over the semester. The trick was, they had to make the video be less than 5 minutes and the target audience was our school community (other non-physics students, parents, guests). Students had to make the video they created educational, but also entertaining enough for the target audience want to want to watch to completion. Of course, the second challenge was to get hits on their videos. To accomplish this, students were to create QR codes and a mini-advertisement that would pique the interest of the target audience. We posted the video about force needed for a rock to break your car windshield on the doors of the main student entrance. We posted the video about best technique for weightlifting and best technique for pull-ups on the doors of the school weight room. We posted the video about the height at which your milk carton will break if dropped by the cafeteria tray return.
Some videos got twitter love and have hundreds of hits, others were just watched because students saw each other scanning codes so they scanned too. Some students in my earth science classes were asking about the videos and asked if they signed up to take AP Physics if they’d learn “cool stuff like that.” Although minimal, the buzz and excitement that I personally saw about physics content in a group of non-physics students made me happy.
For the Future – Student Generated Interaction with the Community
Last summer, I was lucky enough to be accepted as a new online teacher for the launch of the new Center Grove Global Campus coming out this summer and have Joanna Ray as a mentor. While developing our brand new courses, one constant I’ve kept at the forefront of my mind is how we should create online learning environments that promote collaboration, inquiry, and engagement. Students shouldn’t have to learn in isolated environments. Being new to online, I continually am thinking of ways to build in interaction and relationships through my course. The content I will be teaching to these students is Astronomy. In this course, students will be completing an assignment similar to the AP Physics project described above, however I will be asking my online students to think of places in the Greenwood community that would benefit from the information. After acquiring prior approval to hang their QR code in the community, we will monitor video hits, comments, and hopefully my students will be sharing their newfound knowledge with our local community. Lifelong learners, here we come!

The Challenge:
Kelly has shared some great information with us about QR codes. Utilize some of Kelly's suggestions and try QR codes in your classroom.

Monday, February 25, 2013

NBC Learn - Helping Make Sense of it All

Our blogger today is Jon Carl, social studies teacher at Reitz High School in Evansville.

As schools move away from traditional textbooks and the printed support material that accompanies them, teachers have the difficult task of finding digital materials to fill the void.  While there is an abundance of resources available on the Internet, I sometimes find it hard to locate materials that are appropriate for my students.  Many times there is too much information and it is at a level that students can’t comprehend.  Often, prepared projects, lessons, or activities that I find require much more class time than I can allot.   With all of these problems in mind, one of my favorite digital resources is NBC Learn.  

NBC Learn is a collection of thousands of video clips produced by NBC.  Many of them originally ran on the NBC Nightly News.  For older teachers, previewing the clips will bring back many memories.  There are also a number of older news real footage clips from the 1940’s,  as well as short pieces that were produced as part of the NBC education program.  

NBC Learn is organized with teachers in mind.  With the ever increasing number of constraints on a teacher’s time, the NBC Learn site is set up for quick, easy access to the material.  The keyword search allows teachers to find sets of clips that pertain to specific topics.  They have also organized clips into groups by subject area.  The most obvious content areas that would benefit from this resource are history and government classes, but NBC Learn has clips perfect for many other areas of study.  The subject sections include; Math & Statistics, Science, Health & Wellness, Language Arts, Business & Financial Literacy, and Education.

Since a majority of the clips originally aired on NBC nightly news, the content is delivered in a clear and concise manner, making it easy for students to understand.  Because they were produced by one of the leading news gathering organizations, the video b-roll is of the highest quality.  More and more of the clips are also aligned to the state standards.  

Class time is at a premium.  The video clips found on NBC Learn are perfect for the teacher that has a lot to “cover” in a short amount of time.  Most of the clips are no longer than 4 minutes.  They are great to use to open a topic, close a topic, or provide a few minutes of information while the teacher transitions from one activity to another.  

Because of the abundance of great material, the ease at which the material can be located and the quality of the video clips, I use NBC Learn on a weekly basis to help my students Feel the History.

Here is a video I created for the Evansville/Vanderburgh School Corporation's Community Of Digital Educators. (CODE)

The Challenge:
Have you utilized NBC Learn resources yet? If not, now is the time to try it out. You can find the NBC Learn resources in My Big Campus, if you use that as your Learning Management System, or go straight to the NBC Learn website.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Get Engaged with NEARPOD!

Today's bloggers are Lauren Cooper, 1st grade PBL teacher, and Brook Busse, elementary eLearning coach, both from Plymouth Community Schools.

To be honest when I first heard about Nearpod I thought to myself, “This sounds great, but I don’t have time to create these presentations.” As I began investigating, I found that the lessons are actually VERY easy to create. In fact, if you have a presentation already created through Keynote or Powerpoint it can be uploaded right into the Nearpod website!

What I Love:
Nearpod allows me to focus my learners on a single task. Students can’t advance ahead or fall behind. I control the information that is available. With young learners, it is an easy and efficient way to share websites and youtube videos without having students navigate to other pages, many times getting lost in the process.

Nearpod allows for instant feedback on student understanding. I can create slides that allow for students to write, draw, or choose a multiple choice answer to check for understanding. Nearpod gives me the option to keep this information private or share the response of a student with those viewing the presentation. By doing this learners are then given the opportunity to justify and/or explain their response with their classmates. It is also great to show exemplar answers with the learners.

ENGAGEMENT! My students LOVE Nearpod. It allows for them to interact and share their learning. When learning and exploring through Nearpod, I don’t have to ask learners to stay on the correct page and or direct them to a certain webpage. My students are engaged and ready to learn.

Nearpod is set up in a way that makes it very easy to share and collaborate with other teachers in creating new presentations. The company is also looking to improve and enhance their product. As you begin using Nearpod please feel free to contact them with questions, ideas, problems, or praise. FEEDBACK

Lauren Cooper
1st Grade PBL Teacher
Washington Discovery Academy (PCSC)


I first heard about Nearpod on Twitter. Everyone was talking about how awesome it was, so I checked it out and immediately pictured it being used in our elementary classrooms to improve instruction and gain instant student feedback. To begin with I shared this tool with only a few teachers to see what they thought. After trying it out with their students, they too could see what Nearpod had to offer. The students were ENGAGED in the learning, teachers could easily check for understanding throughout the lesson and adjust their instruction with the feedback they got from their students.

Within a NPP (NearPod Presentation), you can include the following interactive features:
*Poll, Q/A, Quiz
*Browse the Internet
*Draw it

Below is a graphic and a link to a short video to help you understand how Nearpod works:

(Teacher has to use an iPad to control presentation.)

Click here to watch a video on how it works!!

PCSC has the School Edition of Nearpod, which allows for the sharing of NPPs (Gold Version does also). We have been organizing the NPPs created by our teachers into our very own PCSC Nearpod Library. Check it out here:

Are you NOT an iPad school?? Don't worry...the school edition includes the web version where students can access the NPPs from any computer browser!!

Brook Busse
Elementary eLearning Coach
Plymouth Community Schools

The Challenge:
Create a Nearpod presentation and share it out on Twitter! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #INeLearn!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Read OutLoud – Support for Struggling Readers and Writers

Our blogger today is Karen Osborne, Assistive Technology Consultant for the West lake Special Education Cooperative.

How fortunate we are in this great state of Indiana!!! Read:OutLoud was chosen as the text reader for every school in Indiana!

Don Johnston and his company has made this all possible!

We have access to this great resource that can assist all students who struggle with reading, writing, and comprehension. This great software tool can help teachers to differentiate their instruction as well. It is truly the complete package! Where do we start? Read further to see our adventure in getting this up and running in our districts!

Your technology department is key!
As the Assistive Technology coordinator for our cooperative, I was met with the challenge of getting this resource into the hands of staff and students in two school districts. With one district on a 1:1 initiative with laptop computers and the other on a more traditional model with computer labs and staff and student classroom computers, the respective technology departments did a tremendous job of getting us set-up.

Your administration is key!
Release time was provided for 1 and ½ hour in-service training to our staff working with those students identified as struggling readers. In some cases, general education teachers attended as well. This was set-up in computer labs. We invited our Northwest Indiana PATINS Promoting coordinator to do this training. It was great to have the software readily available as those trained were able to go back to their buildings and have access to the software immediately.

Your students are key!
As the staff began to show students a particular feature of this software (Note-taking), they began to be curious about how it works and incorporate it into their writing assignments. They asked to use this tool and wanted to know about other features:
  • It offers highlighted text as it reads at adjustable paces.
  • It offers outlining in various formats.
  • It offers a bibliographer. (Known to be used by staff working on Master’s degrees!)
  • It easily saves to the desktop for easy accessibility the next time it is needed.
Of course, there was the opportunity to go to the website and view 5 min. video demonstrations on How-to use the features and you can print step-by-step guides to help with your personal learning curve and to share with students.

Your technology mentors/trainers are key!
This is our second year with district wide use of this technology. We continue to look at how we can provide access to the students at home as there are take home rights! We are doing more student training in sub-groups in classrooms to continue to train them on this type of technology. We encourage them to use the features that can best meet the needs of their learning style.

The Challenge:
Click here to learn more about Read:Outloud. Get on-board with this great software program and see the difference in your student’s learning!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Quizlet: A new way to practice using technology

Hello, everyone! My name is Viviana Nicolosi and I am a Spanish teacher at Danville Community High School. I would like to share with you how I am currently using Quizlet to help improve the way my students learn and practice vocabulary for our language class.
I must say that I had hit an impasse a few years ago in my language classes. We had a fair amount of vocabulary to learn, yet we were all tired of pairing up and making flashcards for homework. Then I discovered I was excited to see that I could provide the vocabulary to my students in a way that allowed them repeated, and randomized, practice yet it still contained some of the traditional features a student would seek out. Let me explain.

Once you have established your Quizlet account, you will see that there are 5 different games the students can play in addition to simply flipping flash cards. They are: Speller, Learn, Test, Scatter, and Space Race. The flash cards are on the home page for quick access and are available for easy printing, which I always recommend to my students. Quizlet is in the midst of enhancing their site, so I believe much more is to come in the near future.
Since I started years ago, Quizlet has only gotten better. For example, they now have a game called Speller that allows the students to see the word, actually hear it being said (with notable accuracy for a computerized voice), and requests that the student type it out. It will then correct their answer, keep score for them, and move them by levels. What I mean by the latter is that as the student finishes a set, Quizlet will show them how many words they have left to see, how many they have partially learned, and how many they have fully learned. It then prompts them to continue practicing, and will do this until they have gone over all of the words in the set. As a teacher, I love being able to see what words present the biggest challenges, and it helps the students keep me informed as we practice together. The student can even choose the speed at which the words are said! I like to have my advanced students remain on, “Speak Spanish (fast)” while my students who struggle with listening comprehension may use, “Speak Spanish (slow).” Finally, one of the features I love most is that if a student spells the word incorrectly, Speller will break the word down, spelling it out letter by letter, so they can rewrite it.
Next, they have Learn. Learn is very similar to Speller in that it will pronounce the words for them and allow them to switch from English-Spanish (and vice versa). What stands out is that the students are presented with the entire set of vocabulary words at once and can see their score (incorrect/correct/remaining) off to the left. It also gives them the option of selecting, “Override: I was right,” in case you have one definition sharing two vocabulary terms or they just make an unintentional mistake.
The next game offered by Quizlet is Test. This is a great way to give your students a practice test before the big day. It is a mix of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, true or false, and matching. The students control how many questions are on the test plus what types of questions are produced. Let’s say you are going to give them an essay test. You may want to request that they only choose the fill-in-the-blank format so they are sure to know how to write out all of your words. There are simply numerous possibilities.

I would venture to say that my students’ favorite game is Scatter. This is a timed matching game that keeps track of the highest scores achieved. The scoring, of course, makes the game that much more fun for them. They love to see who holds the top score, and they absolutely love trying to beat it. Although I enjoy their enthusiasm for this game, I will say that I tend to ask my students to practice the other sets first for two reasons. First, I like for them to really learn the vocabulary before playing the games. Secondly, I think it gives them incentive to learn the vocabulary more quickly so they can spend time trying to beat the record.

Lastly, we have Space Race. Personally, I very much enjoy this game. It is a combination of all the classic Quizlet features. The students will see vocabulary words pass by on the screen. They are given a box at the bottom of the screen with their goal being to try to type the word that they see traveling across the screen before it disappears. They may choose to have the word appear in the target language or in English. They may also choose to ignore punctuation, spaces, and/or details in parentheses. (This grants them more time to type what they see so they are not fumbling around trying to add accents.)
Before I leave you, I would like to add that, although we have been speaking about using Quizlet for vocabulary, it can be for so much more than that. I have created sets to review pronouns, conjugations, and even cultural details. Really, you could do anything that you can pair up! Quizlet also added a feature awhile back that allows us to attach Flickr images to our flash cards. If you upgrade to the ad-free account (Quizlet Plus for $15/yr.) you can also add your own images. This means that you may use the pictures from your recent trip to France in order to help your students learn the names of the monuments you have discussed in class. I think this is a great way to personalize your Quizlet sets. Finally, just as an added detail, if you do upgrade, you will be able to create unlimited classes. Why is this important? It gives you the tools to differentiate your students’ learning by allowing you to create individual classes for low, medium, and high learners instead of having one class that all of your students share.

Thank you for your time. I hope you have enjoyed reading about Quizlet. Now, go out there and set up your first class! You won’t regret it. I promise.

The Challenge:

Sign up for a free Quizlet account and try it out with your class. Share how you've used Quizlet, or how you're planning to use it, in the Comments section below.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Our guest blogger today is Deb Gaff, PRISM Educational Liaison. 

PRISM is excited to be a participant on the Indiana Digital Learning Blog! PRISM is an acronym for Portal Resources for Indiana Math and Science. In 2003 PRISM was started as a database of digital resources for Indiana Math and Science middle level teachers and learners. Over the past 10 years we have grown! You will now find digital resources for all STEM subjects for grades kindergarten through 12th. All of our resources are mapped to the Indiana and Common Core State Standards. We are hosted by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Resources can be found by browsing the list of almost 4,000 quality resources, searching by standard, grade, technology used or key word. Teachers using PRISM find resources they can use in their classroom to make learning engaging and relevant for their students.

Tammy Beck - Sarah Scott Middle School, Terre Haute, Indiana
PRISM site for Pi Day
"I use PRISM as a resource by keyword search according to concept or CCS Standards. Whatever topic is being discussed in my class, I search by keyword to find a fun activity that my students will find interesting and that can be conformed to apply with my own ideas of presenting a lesson. "
For example, on or around March 14, “Pi day” Tammy uses the PRISM to find activities for her classroom.

PRISM Materials Finder

PRISM has resources for the one-to-one classroom or for the one computer classroom. 
Are you thinking about trying project-based learning? Enter PBL in the search window. Need a hands-on activity for science class?  Enter hands-on in the search window.  Best of all keep checking back to see what is new as we are always updating our database with great finds. 

PRISM members also receive a monthly newsletter. We let you know about great new resources we have found on the web. STEM resources are featured as well as Apps and Web 2.0 links to engaging sites that are suitable for any course you might be teaching.  

If you need a Learning Management System for your digital resources PRISM can help you with that as well.  PRISM offers FREE Moodle hosting for K12 teachers. Simply create a membership ID for the site and you can use PRISM resources for your Moodle courses. You will find that we are always using the current version of Moodle and provide a safe and secure learning environment within our courses. Teachers can step into Moodle by implementing one feature at a time. You can use as many Moodle features as you like with your students!

Bill Wilkinson - Honey Creek Middle School, Terre Haute, Indiana
I primarily use PRISM to give my students their unit tests. Before the test, this saves the time and fuss of using paper. During the test, it takes less time for students to take, I can correct errors on the test instantly, plus students can focus better on the questions because they are only shown 1 question at a time. Then minutes after the test, when everyone has finished, I allow students to immediately look and see how they did, while this is most relevant.

Would you like to learn more about Moodle? Sign onto the PRISM site and click on Event Registration.  PRISM runs online Moodle courses throughout the year. You can earn professional growth plan points for participation. At the end of each course you are ready to begin using what you have learned with your students. You will always have access to Moodle tutorials customized for PRISM’s Moodle. Click the tutorials link on the right side of the PRISM page. Additionally, we provide on-going support. If you have a question about Moodle or anything else on the PRISM site click on the Contact Us link in the top right corner of our page

Thinking about flipping your classroom? Create a Moodle course and add PRISM resources your students can use independently to deepen their understanding of the course content.

Find PRISM on Facebook as well - Resources and cool news you can use are posted daily on our Facebook page.

   Follow PRISM on Twitter - @RoseHulmanPRISM .

Contact me, Deb Gaff at .

The Challenge:
Explore the digital resources on the PRISM site and share your favorite! Let us know how you will use the resources in your classroom.