Top 5 Social Apps with Uses in Education

So we all understand that kids live in Apps, but so do we! Why fight the transition to the digital age, when you can embrace it, and encourage your students to be more engaged in their learning? Your students are not only engaging in content, but more importantly becoming creators of it! Here is my list of the Top 5 Apps that can be used in education with all of your students:

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Musical.ly– an App that allows creation and sharing of short 15 second videos. Popular amongst kids to record videos of them lip-syncing or dancing to songs. Collaboration is possible through a unique duet function. There is functionality that can be used within a classroom experience: 1. Student Speeches. There are speeches available (like Martin Luther King Jr) which students can produce videos on. Allow your students to be creative in producing a great lip-syncing speech! You, or they, can also create your own audio byte if you want. 2. Allow your students to create 15 second lessons learned bits. Ask your students to show you what they learned in the day’s lesson! Empower them to show you what came across as the top learning objective! ***Caution: This app is rated for ages 12+ due to some access to inappropriate content/vocals. Like any app, it is important to talk with users about proper use and appropriate content.

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Instagram– an App that allows creation and sharing of pictures and short videos. Allow your students to submit creative assignments, or to work collaboratively on problems. Today’s collaboration was once (and still is by many) considered cheating. Allowing students to post pictures and videos of problems/work to get feedback from classmates can provide a great environment of helpful engagement. It is up to you, the teacher, to facilitate the proper use.***Caution: This app is rated for ages 12+ due to some access to inappropriate content/vocals. Like any app, it is important to talk with users about proper use and appropriate content.

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Twitter– Yes, Twitter. With the use of #hashtags, you can create a lively environment where your classroom in engaged in and out of school. Just as Twitter is being used with TV, news, and presidential speeches, you can use twitter to gain immediate feedback during lessons! By simply creating #hashtags, your students can engage and provide feedback to the #causeandeffect lesson that can be used during and after school, or any day there after. By creating a #hashtag, you are creating a real-time discussion board for your students to participate in, even if students come to you in different periods throughout the day! As a teacher, you will be given direct feedback on your lesson, and more importantly, on what your students are understanding.

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MineCraft– Imagine your students being able to create a virtual world, and then being able to give you a guided tour within it! MineCraft is the virtual Lego’s set. Users are able to create landscape, buildings, rooms, furniture, etc. From Mathematics to Architecture, there are many applications that can be focused on here. Users are able to open up their “worlds” to other users, which allows a fantastic option for true collaboration in development. My daughter, at the age of 13, used Minecraft to begin creating her future. With a love of gymnastics, she designed and built her future gym that she would like to own. From layout to equipment, she was able to plan, critique, revise, and finalize her dream gym. Inspire your students to create and build their futures!!

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YouTube– We all know what Khan Academy can bring to a student, but do we believe that 5, 10, 15, even 20 minute lessons are truly engaging with today’s students? Many ask, why not create your own videos as teachers? Simple- who has the time to create and edit a 20 minute lesson? With the attention span of students shrinking, there is a new phenomenon that every teacher can engage with- Minute Lessons! With a simple download of YouTube and the YouTube Capture App, you and your students can create and publish quick 1 minute lessons for everyone to view. By limiting it to a minute, you and your students are forced to get to the point, and relay the main objective or lesson learned in the delivered message. Want a way to collect summative information on a lesson? Why not have students create and submit a 1 minute summary of your daily lesson!

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A short comic gives the simplest, most perfect explanation of privilege I’ve ever seen.

Please click on the link below. Explaining privilege is extremely difficult, especially to those who have, as the tendency is to take offense as if the explanation is a knock on their upbringing. However, it has nothing to do with their upbringing, but rather in the subtle differences that easily go unnoticed by all. 100% on point.

Source: A short comic gives the simplest, most perfect explanation of privilege I’ve ever seen.

What Will Teachers Focus On Returning From Winter Break?

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Returning from Winter Break is always a whirlwind time for all involved in education. Parents, teachers, and students are experiencing the mixed feelings of the anxiety of having to return to the repetitious school day and the excitement of returning to the school day. So with the beginning of the second half drive to the end of another school year, just what should teachers be focused on?

There will be a variety of ideas and thoughts that will come to mind: State Testing, Projects, Teaching to the Test, Differentiating Instructions, Curriculum Planning, Data Analytics, Assemblies, etc….

Here are the Top 5 Focus Points for the Best of the Best Teachers:

  1. The Students
  2. The Students
  3. The Students
  4. The Students
  5. The Students

Contrary to the media and public hype around everything that is outside of the teacher’s control, it is only the focus on their students that your true teacher understands that they can control! With only 180 days to be a positive influence in the education of each child, and knowing they are in the second half stretch, the best teachers know that they must focus on the needs of each child to inspire them. It really is that simple!

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Calm down. Obama is right to use executive powers for gun violence epidemic | Opinion | NJ.com

An excellent article on Obama’s decision to use his executive powers to finally address the gun violence epidemic. When it is something that affects our schools and endangers our children, I am glad that he has taken these steps to begin the journey to a solution for a better tomorrow!

Source: Calm down. Obama is right to use executive powers for gun violence epidemic | Opinion | NJ.com

When a Teacher’s Email About My Son’s Food Allergies Made Me Cry | The Mighty

Parents, if you are thankful for any of your children’s teachers, please take the time to send them a note of appreciation! The morale boost is immeasurable, especially during the school year. We must counter the negativity with the great positive events that are happening inside every classroom around the globe! Here is a simple act from both teacher and parent that will mean the world to this child, and teach every other child in the classroom to have be understanding of others!!

Source: When a Teacher’s Email About My Son’s Food Allergies Made Me Cry | The Mighty