Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Free Awesome Tech Tips

It is very rare that I sit in a PD and have my mind blown over and over. I had to pick my jaw up off of the ground more than one time and claimed it was the best PD I had ever had at my school.

We had Casey Veatch come in and train us on ways to use our current technology better and for free. I feel like all to often you hear about something really cool and it is pricey. This was not the case!

We started with nearpod which to me was very similar to class flow. It just seemed easier to create. There is a free version and a paid version but there are a lot of functions available with the free versions. This website allows you to create interactive lessons. You can even upload your current keynotes and power points and turn them into an interactive lesson. Students input a code and you direct the lesson. They can take a poll, choose multiple choice, write short answers and draw a picture to answer your questions. You can view the responses in real time and even show it to the class. 

Next we explored some of google's cool features. Did you know that on the web version of docs you can research without leaving the document? Just click on the research tab and go. You can even drag images right into your doc from your search.

Then we learned some handy Mac tricks do to with docs. You can highlight a section of text and have it read to you. This is an awesome feature for kiddos that struggle to read! They can even select the voice. Or you can select the text you want read and imbed it in your doc.

If you are using an iPad/iPod you can turn speech on too. Go into general, then accessibility next choose Speech and turn on Speak Selection. You can change the voice and the speed of the text. You can even turn on highlight content. That option will highlight as it reads the words. Once you have turned this on you tap what you want read and click speak. This FREE tool will open up so many doors for our struggling readers. 

In the Safari browser you can choose a function that consolidates what is on the page and it will read that to the students. This function is mostly found with in sites that are periodicals. Regardless this is another great tool for struggling readers.

Pages is something I use all of the time but I learned new functions for that too. I learned you can lock shapes in place, shapes also function as text boxes and it is super easy to add sound and video to your page! If you leave it open on an iPad students have an interactive learning experience! 

When Casey was finishing up I was dying for more. Then he told us about his YouTube channel where he shares weekly tech tips. I subscribed right away and plan to watch them all. It was that good!

I hope you have learned something you can use in your classroom! If you have questions about any of it feel free to comment or email me! 

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