Can your students search the internet effectively and safely?

chromebook-kids2One of the most important skills we can teach our students – and ourselves – is effective Web searching. For almost any project  a Web search is an integral piece, yet how skilled are students at finding accurate and relevant information quickly? The volume of information – Web ‘hits’ – is overwhelming and most searches don’t go past the first page of results.

When we teach students to search, it takes more than a single lesson. It’s a learning process where skills are developed through trail and error and the searcher paying attention to how they approach the search.  Using appropriate keywords and phrases is a skill to be developed, along with learning how to vet search results – are they accurate, authoritative, and credible, and how would you know that?  It’s not always easy!

UntitledGoogle has a very useful web site for educators in helping student learn these skills.  Their Search Education site offers you and your student many resources, such as lesson plans, short online courses, Google a Day Challenges, and recorded webinars.  Using these resources to help your students learn the art of effective Web searches will help them save time and improve the quality of their research results.

Use Ted-Ed to create your own interactive lessons using a Youtube video




Would you like to create a lesson based on a great YouTube video?  TED-Ed is a free educational website for teachers and learners.  You will find carefully curated educational videos created by other educators on just about any topic.   This platform also allows you to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. You can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact a class, or an individual student.  Creating an account is free and no account is required for students to view your lessons.

iPad Resources for Teachers – from Apple

Apple has a new area on their web site for teachers. In addition to info on using apps you can find resources on using iTunes U and iBooks with your students. iTunes also has an area with a curated collection of apps, books, and media from the App Store, iBooks, iTunes U, and iTunes with engaging learning resources in core subjects. Check this iTunes collection if you are looking for primary sources (oral histories, official documents, archival film, and artifacts)  to help make history more engaging and authentic.

Capture a YouTube video on your computer for use in class

YouTube has some great content for the classroom (check out the Education channel here) yet we often need to have the video on our computer for showing later or even need to capture just a portion of the video – to illustrate an idea or concept perhaps.

ClipConverter is a great tool for doing this, allowing you to save the video in MP4, AVI, or MOV formats, in various resolutions, and even clip just a portion of the video as needed. This is probably the best tool I’ve seen for this purpose.  The YouTube Education channel is a great resource, and clipconverter helps in using that content when you need it.

Where can I find Copyright Free music?

When creating a presentation, smartnotebook lesson,  or a video that uses music tracks, the sure way to avoid any concerns about copyright infringement is to use music you created. Unfortunately, often that is not a reasonable option for a lot of folks, including me! You can however find royalty free music on the internet that you can download and use in your creations. is a site made for education that has free clips, though the full collection is only available with a license fee.


royaltyfreemusicAnother site to look at is  Royalty Free Music, which charges the general public for their downloads, but students and teachers can download quite a bit of the music for free. To request an education account go here.

There are many other sites out there you can take a look at – here’s a site that lists a number of them and also has basic information on creative commons licensing.

powermylearningLooking for digital content for your ipads or chromebooks? PowerMyLearning is a collection of engaging free activities including academic games, interactives, and videos that are searchable by subject, grade, and Common Core standard. Curated by a team of educators, PowerMyLearning also includes several sets of tools for creating a class site, such as playlists, a student dashboard, and other tools. Quiz Packs, available for select content areas and topics, focus on a specific Common Core State Standard and contain one of PowerMyLearning‘s top digital learning activities plus two short quizzes.

PowerMyLearning Resources come from a number of well-known educational content providers such as ReadWriteThink, PBS, BBC, and LearnZillion. Teachers can set up level and interest-appropriate activities, or students can direct their own learning by choosing activities of interest to them. Both adults and students also have access to reports that monitor progress.

Digital literacy is integrated into PowerMyLearning by providing students the ability to choose avatars, create profiles, and tackle special challenges to earn more power for their “Wizmos.”
The PowerMyLearning collection is constantly growing and adding new activities and features. Create a free login and explore activities for your students at at

Use Youtube safely for your classroom

YouTube-TeachersYoutube has a wealth of resources for using in the classroom, yet you may be concerned about having inappropriate suggested videos’, or ads, popping up on the screen.  To remove those problems use YouTube EDU by going to

Once there, an easy way to search by grade and subject is to scroll down a bit and look for the “Classroom Videos” tab just right of center, below the featured video.  Not only will your search be focused on educational videos, those ads and images you don’t want to see will not be there.  Find engaging videos to introduce a topic or present a concept for class discussion – make it visual!

Student Assessment using Mobile Technology

I’ve mentioned Socrative as a great online assessment tool. It’s free and allow students to use their own internet enabled device, such as a smart phone or iPad, in the classroom to answer formative assessments. Of course you could use computers or other school devices such as iPads or Chromebooks.

Another site that I just reviewed is , and I think I like this one even infuselearningmore!  It’s also easy to use yet has some features that Socrative does not have. It has a Draw Response where you can have an image/picture displayed on the student screen on which they draw or otherwise annotate. Students could label maps or diagrams, for example. You can also have a Sorting question where students sort a list – something not possible in Socrative.  You can also see the results of your assessment live, without having to download the results, and can see what each student has answered for each question. This is a great online tool and for using in the classroom.

Summer Learning – for You !

teachertrainingvideosWould you like to learn more about using your computer and online tools this summer – at your own pace, from home?  Take a look at this site – – and you’ll find a wide variety of video tutorials – all Free.  There’s a great range of topics available, including the SmartBoard, blogging, screencasting, Prezi, Linoit, Dropbox, a great many web sites for digital story telling, and much more.  Teaching language is the primary focus of these tutorials, yet they can be applied to any discipline and almost any grade level.  Take a look this summer from your deck or easy chair – enjoy!

50 Free Online Tools for the classroom

50 Tools logoWith so many online tools available to teachers, where do you begin to look? This simple site with a list of some of the most popular tools is a good place to start. Created by the folks at eMints, there are two listing – one categorized by function and one categorized by blooms taxonomy.  50 Free Tools