10-Rep Learning ~ Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology & Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague


Back to School~ QR Codes



As you return back to school, consider adding QR codes to your bag of tricks Teaching Strategies.

QR codes are the little boxy graphics popping up everywhere.* Originally used in Marketing for Business, they are fun for students, parents, and those who love them. The purple QR Code on the left represents this blog! Although some school filters block all mobile devices, even employee owned, QR Codes extend learning beyone the school day and your classroom.

Use QR codes as a type of shorthand for content, as a shortcut for link URLs, as a mystery prize, even a staff development tool.

 I recently delivered a professional development training session powered entirely by QR codes scattered on posters in the hallway leading to the training room and around the room. Using their BYOD of choice equipped with a free, downloaded QR reader app, educators could satiate their curiosity at will. (This also circumvented the disharmony of posting presentation links, waiting for inaccurate/slow typists and smiling through diatribes along the lines of “this internet proliferation equals an end to civilization as we know it.”)

Educators could also return later to the presentation with a click, negating the need for handouts. In my online courses, I created QR codes to represent our content chapters. Each week had a different QR code that relayed back to the online content. Next term, I am going to supply the codes and encourage students to save the resulting content in offline format.

* Complete QR Code Definition: QR codes, abbreviated from Quick Response Code, are the matrix barcodes readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones.

Here is a sample of More Classroom Uses for QR Codes:

—12 Ideas for Teaching with QR codes from our friends at Edutopia 

—Always on the techie edge, Miguel Guhlin writes this great post on Updating an Image in a QR Code

—50 ways to use QR codes in the classroom at this google docs link

—Encouraging our youngest writers, Frances used QR codes and iPads with Kindergarten students. The students created stories using an app like Educreations, created a QR code and then their parents access their work with their iPhones.

—Kudos to Scott Hagedorn for this easy-to-implement application of QR codes in the classroom. He places the scanable block patterns on any poster or wall artifact that he wants his students to inquire about. One favorite: an old-school Bo Jackson READ poster (what fifth grader knows what Bo Knows?). Students scan the QR codes using the handful of iPads that Mr. Hagedorn has available in his classroom and then explore the topic.

—High Five to Megan V. who is using QR codes to add book trailers to the books in the school library. Have students create a video instead of writing a book report and then link the video to the book through a QR code. Her blog post covers the basics http://www.mediacastblog.com/book-trailers/

—Mark B. labels equipment and trolleys with QR Codes – linked to a document of contents

—Link the answers to math, science, grammar problems to a QR code

—Attach a QR Code to your email signature, pointing back to your website, blog, school webpage, latest fundraiser, weather report, etc…

—Place a QR code on your website and/or blog for easy retrieval. This is the one on our website.

—Check out this resource: Lisa Mims has curated great ideas at her ScoopIt site called Engaging Students Using QR codes

—Jason Dixon Jr. Chief Learning Officer at Tequipment, Inc. said, “If one simply thinks of a QR code as a printable hyperlink it may help to expand the possibilities. Here is a quick video our team created to highlight using and creating QR codes.”

No tech options? No worries! With lesson comparisons to fingerprints, Students can also draw their own QR code and provide a caption deciphering it or where their code would lead.

—My tech mentor, Linda Uhrenholt says: “As the Nike ads say “Just do it!” I started by exploring what others had accomplished. Heck, the first time I captured a QR code it led to a free cup of coffee at a new coffee shop. This was several years ago. The second time I captured one from a ketchup bottle!!! That led to a short video about a local community college! It’s fun not only to view QR codes but create them! “

Here are  more great sites to use to create your QR Codes:

Create QR Code http://createqrcode.appspot.com/

Kaywa: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

Creating QR Codes from the NYTimes

How to Create a QR Code in 4 Quick Steps



Back to School~Incorporate Podcasts

BacktoSchoolAs you return to school, consider tranferring your printed resources into podcasts.

Here is a podcast by Tremaine Jackson and  Deborah Tarsiewicz explaining the growing popularity of the genre, Steampunk novels. What I like is the transferability of your hardcopy texts to Web 2.0 tools such as Podcasts. As explained in a previous post on podcasts, I like Pod-0-Matic, a free podcast conversion utility.

Give a listen:

Some uses for Podcasts:
website greeting for parents
daily/weekly class annoucement on your website or blog
student projects –poem recitations, stories, biographies, summaries of novels, historical periods, current event
weekly “TeacherTalk” diaglogue starring you and a colleague

General Tips for Podcasts:
keep language concise, direct, and lively
keep podcasts short…less than 4 minutes
add texture with music, sound effects

Great source for Podcasts:
Library of Congress–my personal favorite
Scientific American
Podcast Alley

click here to read more about incorporating social media in your classroom (pdf download)


Using Word Clouds in the Classroom

Word Clouds are visual representations for text data, typically used to depict keyword metadata (tags) on websites or other digital documents. What counts with word clouds are the frequency with which a word is used. Word clouds are also known as Tag Clouds.

My new favorite way to use Word Clouds is to help graduate students in their job searches. I copy the text of a resume and paste it into a Word Cloud Generator. When I copy the text into a word cloud generator, common themes and experiences immediately appear.

professional competencies

Michael Gorman gives 108 additional ways to use Word Clouds in the Classroom in this post in 21st Century Tech.

  1. Put your lesson plan into a word cloud to create a word cloud of what you will be learning about. This could also be part of your entire course outline used at the beginning of a course.
  2. Paste a reading from your text into a word cloud. You may wish to turn off common words.
  3. Copy and paste a reading from the web into a word cloud. You may wish to turn off common words.
  4. Put vocabulary words into a word cloud.
  5. Use a word cloud to create a discussion either in class or posted on the web for a discussion forum. Try to create it so that a question of inquiry can be used.
  6. Create a group word cloud of the entire class or sub groups in the class. This could be in reaction to a discussion, an idea, a reading, or video. Students work in groups to come up with 20-30 descriptive words and then make a word cloud. Using advanced tools they could rank them or color code them.
  7. Each student creates a word cloud in reflection from a discussion, an idea, a reading, or video. Individual comes up with 20-30 descriptive words and then makes a word cloud. Using advanced tools they could rank them or color code them.
  8. Entire class creates a word cloud in reaction to a topic. In order to capture student word have them digitally input them using the Web 2.0 tools Write with Me or Google Forms.
  9. Have students create word clouds that generate understanding of a concept, standards or vocabulary word.
  10. Illustrate classroom thoughts or views using a word cloud to survey students. Favorite university, pro team, singer, etc.

Click here to read all Gorman’s suggestions

Learn More: 12 Valuable Wordle Tips You Must Read…Word Clouds in Education Series: Part 1

Another post on Word Clouds


Tech BFFs: Math and Science Apps for K-6

BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

Tech BFFs: Math and Science Apps for K-6

Apps+for+Education  by Jacki Kratz has a comprehensive wiki list on apps and tablet uses. Jacki Kratz advises, “Remember to use the apps to help the learning, not to do the learning. The lesson should be supported with the apps like graphic organizers.”

Also, SimpleK12 and Little Einsteins have some nice webinars on ipads that you might want to check out.

Paul Ingram has  been working with a teacher in Dallas on developing the Teaching Table App application. It is a set of K-6 digital manipulatives designed for the iPad. Currently in the final beta testing phase, you can sign up for the free, final beta version on their website.


Top Ten Most Popular Stories from Digital Learning Environments

The Top Ten Most Popular Stories from
DLE: Digital Learning Environments

Web 2.0 Tools for Math Educators

20 Technology Skills that Every Educator Should Have

Web 2.0 Science Tools

Educational Technology Bill of Rights for Students

All the Web 2.0 Tools you’ll ever Need in one Blog Post!

20 Google Tools for Today’s Classrooms

Student-Centered STEM+ Learning Environments

Social Media Improves Education

Are You Ready to BYOD?

Student Achievement Research Meets Technology


Tech BFF~Glogopedia-the best of Glogs

BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

One of “Big 4 Tenets of the 4OOPS” landscape is “Resist Recreating the Wheel”

Take a look at the searchable space called Glogopedia-the best of Glogs


Glogster EDU is the leading global education platform for the creative expression of knowledge and skills in the classroom and beyond.  We empower educators and students with the technology to create GLOGS – online multimedia posters – with text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, data attachments and more.
Source: Glogster EDU website


Why not spend a little bit of Saturday clicking, learning, saving, and creating?


iPad Apps by Subject Area

The most comprehensive list of iPad Apps by Subject Area I’ve seen.
It is arranged in a lovely grid format (which is my personal fave), organized by subject and grade level.

Thanks insightful innovators at TCEA!


TCEA iPad apps


EdWeb Webinar How Schools Are Using iPads to Increase Learning

EdWeb Webinar: How Schools Are Using iPads to Increase Learning: Three Case Studies

Presenters: David Vinca, Founder of eSpark and Colleen Loftus, Teacher and School Partnership Leader for eSpark

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 4pm ET

Want to make your classroom more individualized, efficient, and fun? In our community’s next free webinar, David Vinca, Founder of eSpark Learning, and his colleague Colleen Loftus, will show you how three schools revitalized learning with successful iPad implementations.

They’ll begin with Mineola SD in New York, and discuss the value of letting students take home devices. David and Colleen will share how iPads can be used to increase hands-on, individualized learning and raise achievement levels on assessments, just like this New York school district did. Next, they will explore the unique ways that iPads can improve opportunities for Special Education populations. We’ll see how the KIPP charter school network in Chicago used iPads to improve learning outcomes of their special education students. Their final case study will show how the Utica School District re-imagined kindergarten. Hear all about this innovative program, including the efficient way the iPad hardware was deployed in this Michigan district.

Join David and Colleen on August 9th for ideas on how to use iPads to invigorate your classrooms.



Tech BFF: Addressing Reading Challenges With Qwiki

BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

In the rush and crush of the daily classroom schedule, it helps to have customizable strategies for the myriad of reading challenges that may arise in the classroom.

Do you think reading difficulty is confined just to certain students or, should we be ready for it to emerge, at least periodically in every student on our class list? Can it be triggered, say, by sudden trauma at home? Could it be triggered by something new and unfamiliar?

I remember one student who moved to our San Diego school. She had strong reading scores in her home state school in Kansas, but after a few weeks, her teacher noticed a sudden change. After exhausting many diagnostic avenues, we looked more closely at the curriculum. The class was studying “boats” which are very common in San Diego, California, but not so much in Kansas! A hugely unfamiliar unit with odd new words (yacht, skiff, rudder, hull) that everyone seemed extremely familiar with, left her, well, “adrift”. When we realized this disconnect, we were able to scaffold the appropriate supports very quickly.

I wonder…can observation play a key role in helping students who suddenly struggle with episodic reading difficulties such as the one mentioned above in the San Diego school?

One of my online course students named Mary agrees. “We see incidences of environment vs literature/standardized test questions disconnects ALL the time. {For example,} “People in south Louisiana don’t have a clue what a basement is! They don’t know that snow boots should be worn in the wintertime. Boots to them are something the women wear with their skinny jeans when they dress up. The swamps are only 50 miles away but many of the 2nd graders have never seen them.”

An interactive new website, now in alpha will address these dis-fluent disconnects. It is called Qwiki.

It passed our classroom tryout test – we asked students to put in unique search strings and Qwiki delivered on almost all of them. It also allows publicizing to social media sites and embedding code.

Check it out – http://www.qwiki.com

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