Virtual Field Trips on Steroids

Bringing Curriculum to Life with the Expeditions App  Google Expeditions

Google has done it again. They’ve raised the bar and taken virtual field trips to a whole new level.  You can purchase the entire Google Expeditions Kit with a device for each student, but it’s extremely expensive.  Teachers rarely have that type of budget!  However, you could always write a grant or use sites like to get your project funded.

See the beginnings of grant writing hereGrant Proposal Outline       The Beginnings of a Grant


Google Expeditions at Best Buy

  • 30 students = $10,000
  • 20 students = $7,000
  • 10 students = $4,000

Pros: The phone screen splits in two, and feeds a slightly different image to the left and right eyes which gives the 3D effect. The accelerometers in the phone detect movement as you move your head around and adjust the view – so you can look all around, above and below you.  The overall effect is an amazingly immersive experience. Children could quickly be transported to another part of the world, and describe their experiences to the rest of the class.

Cons: The drawback of this technology is that it’s a single user experience – you are going to need lots of these devices to work with a whole class and costwise that’s probably out of the reach of schools right now. But using with small groups, rotating use through a lesson, could be an option.


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Curating Tools & Social Bookmarking: Focus on Diigo



Internet safety is a high priority and an area of concern for teachers and parents, however internet validity is just as important when students are perusing the internet. It is essential that students are able to determine the validity and credibility of specific websites. We want our students to be able to decipher whether a website is credible or not, however for younger students, this will be a process that will take time to master. Therefore, using Diigo to provide students with a list of websites will give them a wealth of credible information. I love the option to put your links into different categories. This would be ideal for differentiation, different subjects, and various projects.

Categorizing the information enables you to have tons of bookmarks, without it being overwhelming to sift through. Secondly, with the amount of information and resources available online, Diigo makes it very easy to share with others. Students would be able to access the websites from home and refer back to them when necessary. How will you be or could you be using this list of links. I will most likely be using Diigo to personally bookmark websites in addition to using it with my students. It will be perfect for when they go to the computer lab and are with the media specialist. I won’t need to send them with a list of links which they will need to spend time typing in, instead they have all of the websites at their fingertips via Diigo. Also, as a staff, it would be wonderful for teachers to share the websites where we are getting information and ideas. Consider the features of Diigo and how they support your audience.

I use pinterest often, however, many times the picture and caption look wonderful, but when you follow the link to the website, it isn’t what you thought. Also, Pinterest doesn’t benefit my students necessarily, I only use it personally

In an article written by Richardson, it stated “Google engineers estimated that the Web is growing by several billion individual Web pages per day.” This line really stood out to me because when asking students to research something on the internet, they have to sort through an enormous amount. Only a handful of the websites will be useful, credible, and appropriate to the task. As teachers we want to show our students how to make the most of technology and use it as a resource that enhances our learning. The internet’s purpose is to share information and “link” people and knowledge together, so encouraging our students to make their digital footprint and connect is extremely powerful!

Additionally, with the world constantly changing, it is really important that we evolve as well. Teaching cannot remain the same as the past when the world we live in is no longer the same. We need to keep up with the real world in order to prepare the students for it. Also, when reading about RSS feeds, it made it even more apparent that there is just so much information out there and not enough time to go through it all. With the use of the Diigo tool and with the ability to subscribe to information and then see it all in one place on an RSS feed, you are using technology in the most efficient and effective way. Teaching students HOW to use technology appropriately is almost as important as using technology

Totally Twitter

twitter 1twitter 2

Last year, at Hollywood Elementary School, I started my schools Twitter page (@Hollywood ES). ABC7 News Stormwatch team came in for an in-school “field trip” with my students to explain what a meteorologist does and how they do it. During their presentation, they live tweeted and shared photos and videos of the students. Parents were able to follow all the action on Twitter as well!

When looking at the ISTE Standards for my Johns Hopkins courses, I felt as though the Twitter page is a clear example of Standard 3.

 Standard 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning: Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

  1. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
  2. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation
  3. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats
  4. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

Have any of you started a Twitter page for your class as a way to share answers similar to TODAYSMEET? Or a way to curate current event information? Please share how you use Twitter in the classroom 🙂 



Mystery Skype – Social Studies and Global Awareness

Creating “global citizens” and “culturally aware citizens” is a huge push in education today. Students need to be able to have knowledge of the world around them and interact with people all over the globe. In order to get your students to be more globally aware, try MYSTERY SKYPE! Connect with schools in other countries 🙂 Students will be excited and engaged in Social Studies in no time! Click the link below to see how to roll it out.

mystery skype

How to Use Games in Math

Princess Pascucci and the Fraction Fiasco

Introduce the game with a trailer using iMovie. My students LOVED this and it was an incredible hook to make them excited for the game. Click here to watch the trailer –> Ali and the Fraction Fiasco Movie Trailer

I also showed them how I made a digital storyboard to plan out the sequence of events so I was able to link this math lesson with the reading block and with sequencing a story. See that here –> Math Game – Storyboard

Finally, the students played the game! It was a multilevel game that took a few days to complete. Students worked with their team members. It worked out great! Princess Ali and the Fraction Fiasco

Gaming in the Classroom

I recently explored using games in the classroom. I’ve always thought video games were highly unproductive and a waste of time, but I saw the benefit of Minecraft and invested time into researching each type of game in order to see its potential in a classroom setting. Take a look at my presentation which is broken down into 3 different categories.  The presentation can be found here: gaming genre research project

Interested Gamer? Check out the Minecraft Exhibit in DC Minecraft in DC

Head over to Jacqui Murray’s page where she explains how to use Minecraft in the classroom in other ways! – click here

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a columnist, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.




“Decide Now”decide now
Educational Cool Tool


Ensuring excellence and equity among students is a common concern for teachers across all grade levels. Equity refers to the principle of fairness; however, being fair is not always as easy as it sounds for educators. Equity sticks are commonly used to keep students engaged, ensure we are calling on each student rather than a selected few and making students responsible for their own learning. “Equity” takes away the judgment of the individual teacher when determining which student to call on in class. It allows for random selection. In today’s wonderful world of technology “cool tools,” popsicle sticks are a thing of the past. Decision-making on a larger scale can be accomplished with an app called “Decide Now.”
As you can see in the image to the right, I have used “Decide Now!” to input my entire class roster. One spin of the wheel and a student is randomly selected! “Decide Now” doesn’t just allow you to input the names of students in your class and make it easier to randomly select a student to answer in a fun and engaging way, but it can be used for reinforcement ideas, as a “prize wheel,” for classroom jobs, for trivia game topics, to choose partners, centers, the ideas are honestly endless! In an effort to be fair, “Decide Now” makes it easier than ever.
In essence, it is an extremely easy to use app based on a wheel of choices similar to “Wheel of Fortune”. You can input choices and name spinners along with picking color options. Using your document camera you can display the wheel on the board and excite the students as they anxiously wait to see the decision that is made. As a method for breaking up the monotony, this app offers a great way to break from the routine.

This program:
• Works on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
• Requires iOS 4.3
• Allows teachers to establish equity in their classrooms in an engaging way using an alternative method
• Provides customization of labels
• Attach to a projector with a VGA connector and create a whole class activity
• Adds chance and excitement to once tedious tasks

Image Citation:
Catforce Studio (2014) Decide Now (Version 1.6)
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