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5 Stellar Online Research Tools for Students


Online research offers solutions to every type of problem with utmost accuracy within a short span of time. This also creates a feeling of enthusiasm and the urge to know more about a particular topic in depth.
Online Research Tools for Students
Apart from the students, the teachers and the researchers are also immensely benefited through the online research help tools. Online research offers solutions to every type of problem with utmost accuracy within a short span of time. This also creates a feeling of enthusiasm and the urge to know more about a particular topic in depth.
Moreover, the research help for students facilitates them in preparing especially during examination time by providing them with detailed suggestions and explanations. This system helps them to utilize time more effectively and efficiently. Not only that, but it also inculcates the habit of regular preparation of homework.
Researching on the Internet can be overwhelming. It is a great tool, but one that can make a person feel ignorant at times. It is sometimes difficult to know where to start. So here are most used research tools used by the experts to find the information they are looking for.
1) Wikipedia
This is a free, web-based encyclopedia. There are over a million articles in the English version alone, but if you require the report in another language, there are dozens to choose from.
A fascinating thing about this resource is that the articles are submitted, edited, and updated by anyone who wants to do so. You might think that this would just cause chaos and render the source unreliable. However, a system of checks and balances keeps the information stable. In fact, a study was performed on the site to determine its accuracy, and it was determined that it is just as accurate as any conventional, physical set of encyclopedias. That being said, I always recommend to students that they verify information with a 2nd source when using Wikipedia just in case some false information made it through the checks and balances.
This site provides you with a list of sites by category. That is, instead of the site containing the actual information itself, you are provided with lists of sites where you will find the information that you are looking for.
People in the library field run this site. Like the previous site, its purpose is to organize the information across the Internet. The search functionality on the website does an excellent job of providing relevant information for your search. A neat thing about this site is that you can email entries to yourself that you want to keep. Also, if you are interested, you can subscribe to their newsletter that will keep you up to date with Internet resources that may be useful.
This site was started was started by the University of Michigan's School of Information, and Michigan SI students almost exclusively generated its content and managed the Ask a Question reference service. Now, 14 other schools are actively taking part in the development and maintenance of this site. It lists hundreds of websites with useful descriptions and is also organized by topic.
5) Local Public Library.
Almost all libraries have an Internet presence. On their site, you can usually find their entire card catalog. This allows you the ability to search the library from home. If you have a library card you can do things like request books, put books on hold, but the amazing this is getting access to the reference databases.

These mentioned are excellent research tools. There are many, much more but these will get you started. We are living in the information age, and almost everything you may want to know is at your fingertips. So have fun!

Online research offers solutions to every type of problem with utmost accuracy within a short span of time. This also creates a feeling of enthusiasm and the urge to know more about a particular topic in depth.

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Brittany Washburn
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Pros and Cons of schools using a Bring Your Own Device Model


The term "BYOD" was first coined in the corporate world a few years ago, with companies allowing employees to use their personal laptop computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in the workplace. However, it has since gained traction in the education sector with an increasing number of schools around the world choosing to implement their own BYOD policies.
Pros and Cons of schools using a Bring Your Own Device Model
Introduction
BYOD or Bring your Own device in education settings refers to the policy of permitting students to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) to the classroom in order to use those devices to access educational information and applications. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as IT consumerization.
The term "BYOD" was first coined in the corporate world a few years ago, with companies allowing employees to use their personal laptop computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in the workplace. However, it has since gained traction in the education sector with an increasing number of schools around the world choosing to implement their own BYOD policies.
Why is it happening?
It is widely acknowledged that technology plays a huge role in students' everyday lives and should, therefore, be an integral part of their learning. Schools allow students to use personal devices for curriculum-related activities. The staff often employ rules regarding when a device can and can not be used. However, for most schools, it is financially unsustainable to provide every student with state-of-the-art technology. BYOD is therefore considered an attractive, cost-effective alternative; recognizing that many students already own devices that are superior and more up-to-date than those available in schools.
Importance of BYOD
Due to the rapid increase of mobile devices, it is assumed that within next five years the total number of devices will be around 10 billion that means 1.5 devices per head. As the personal mobile devices are integrated part of our lives, students want to use their own devices in personal as well as educational purpose also.
In the current education model, when a school wants their students to be more focus, BYOD is a useful and attractive option and will increase the engagement on a large scale if it safely used.
Pros
·       Allows for students to work on a device that is familiar to them and customised to their preferences.
·       Enables the opportunity for schools to leverage students’ attachment to their own devices to deepen learning and to make learning more personalized and student-centered.
·       Can increase the number of devices available for teaching and learning.
·       Enables the school to direct ICT funding to addressing equity issues and improving infrastructure (e.g., wireless).
·       Enables collaborative learning through cloud-based software at any time (school and home).
Cons
·       The success of a BYOD Program will be dependent on thorough planning, and community/stakeholder consultation carried out by the school.
·       Students may bring a range of different technologies to schools which require support from teachers/staff.
·       It can be stressful for the individual classroom teacher as they have to grapple with connection issues and charging problems with specific devices.
These students are part of a Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) program, a movement that has been gaining popularity over the past few years. Many see the use of technological devices in class as the natural way to move forward and keep up in a tech-dependent world. So far, BYOD seems to be the most cost-effective way for the majority of students to work together using personal tools with which they are already comfortable.

The term "BYOD" was first coined in the corporate world a few years ago, with companies allowing employees to use their personal laptop computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in the workplace. However, it has since gained traction in the education sector with an increasing number of schools around the world choosing to implement their own BYOD policies.

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Brittany Washburn
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Grееn Sсrееn Tools And Tips Fоr Uѕіng In Thе Сlаѕѕrооm


Green screen or chroma key allows you to photograph a subject against a green or blue background and replace that background with a digital backdrop of your choice. It is the easiest and less expensive way to put your subject against any backdrop you want
Green Screen Tools and Tips for Using in the Classroom
If you aren’t taking advantage of the green screen to add depth to project-based learning in your class, then you will want to read this primer on how to get started. In this entry, we take the direct route to inexpensive green screen tools and offer real examples from classrooms.

Green screen or chroma key allows you to photograph a subject against a green or blue background and replace that background with a digital backdrop of your choice. It is the easiest and less expensive way to put your subject against any backdrop you want without spending a fortune for costly backdrops. You can do this with existing quality software that doesn't cost you anything at all.
Green screen or chroma key allows you to photograph a subject against a green or blue background and replace that background with a digital backdrop of your choice. It is the easiest and less expensive way to put your subject against any backdrop you want

A green background works well because it is the furthest color away from human skin tones. That makes it easier to remove the green and place a background. If you aren’t familiar with green screen creation, follow the tips below to get started:

1. Pick your app.

Whether you are on iOS or Android, it is quite easy to create the special effects green screens afford. Some apps you can use include Green Screen for iOS or Green Screen Pro for Android. For Windows or Mac users, do NOT spend hundreds of dollars on a green screen program.

Do Ink is a green screen app available in iPhone, iTunes, and iPad. By using the green screen effect, Do Ink green screen lets teachers and kids create amazing photo and video projects. Elementary school kids can use Do Ink green screen to create their own movies, tell stories, explain their ideas, and so on. This app can use the live camera feature but it also allows you to work on prerecorded photos and videos. Creations of kids can be saved so that it can be shared later. Other features include using both the front and back cameras, setting a stop time for the video, white balance, exposure, video trimming, etc. 

2. Decide on the type of project.

Consider allowing your students to choose. For example, you might assign them a book trailer, a holiday portrait, or thank you note to a guest speaker, a commercial for a product, news/morning broadcast, or historical report. They might even decide to do something else like a sports or music video.

3. Keep the following technical tips in mind:


  • ·       Avoid shadows.
  • ·       Use tripods.
  • ·       Place your subject 6-10 feet in front of the green background to avoid “green light spill” onto your subject.

  • ·       Make sure no one wears clothing that is green, brown or a combination of those two colors.
  • ·       Light the green background separately from your subject(s).
  • ·       Create a green background using one of these (in order of preference):

  1. ·       Vinyl – an inexpensive shower curtain may work (like the one from Dollar Tree above)
  2. ·       Muslin and other cloth
  3. ·       Green paper (matte or glossy, although the former is preferred)
Green screen or chroma key allows you to photograph a subject against a green or blue background and replace that background with a digital backdrop of your choice. It is the easiest and less expensive way to put your subject against any backdrop you want


  • ·       Take advantage of a teleprompter (like the free online CuePrompter on a computer) to help cue students.
  • How Do Ink Green Screen Works

    Do Ink green screen is a versatile and easy to use tool. Here is how you can create photos and videos by using Do Ink:
    1.      Open the Do Ink green screen app.
    2.     You will see a “+” sign. Click on this sign.
    3.     Click on “create a new project”.
    4.     Now, the first thing to do is to add the bottom layer. To do this, select the source from where you want to import the picture. The source may be your camera, video, image or Do Ink library.
    5.     Using the masking feature will allow you to create different transparent sections on the layers. Therefore, it is recommended to use this feature.
    6.     Add the middle layer i.e. camera layer on the timeline. Again, select the source which may be a camera, video, image or Do Ink library. If you want to take a picture or record a video, use the camera as a source.
    7.     If you want to add some additional backgrounds, then drag the picture to a stopping point (that you consider appropriate). This will increase the number of seconds. Then click on the “+” sign to add an additional background.
    8.     If you want to zoom in a layer, pinch it in the preview window.
    9.     If you want to take a picture, click on the white, circle-shaped icon. You will have the option to discard your creation or save it to the camera roll.
    10.  If you want to take a video, click on the red, circle shaped icon.

    Using Do Ink Green Screen with elementary students

    Do Ink green screen is one of the best tools for education. If you want to use it with your elementary students, here is how you can do it:

    Presentations about Animals

    Students can use Do Ink green screen to present their learnings about different animals they studied in the library.
    1.      To make this project fun and interesting, ask your students to eat large pizzas and bring the empty pizza boxes to the school.
    2.     The next step is to prepare the green screen. To do this, paste green paper to the inside of the boxes.
    3.     Ask students to draw the animals they researched on a paper and cut out this paper.
    4.     Paste green paper on rulers/sticks.
    5.     Tape the animals on green rulers.
    6.     Point the camera at the pizza box and hold the animals in front of it.
    7.     Start recording.
    8.     The green background will be replaced with the photo you have selected. For this purpose, animal habitat pictures can be used.
    9.     Upload the student creations to the Google drive.
    10.  Once all students are done with their projects, share these videos with the whole class for viewing. 

Educational Benefits of doing Green Screen Projects

Green screen allows pupils to discuss, evaluate or reflect on their learning using their imagination and digital skills. Pupils can share a story or get into character using a background setting of their choice – this is a classic example of using technology to do things that would not be possible without technology as suggested with the SAMR model in the classroom.

In conclusion, this technology which was once an awe-inspiring feat only attainable if you were working in the film industry on the backlots of Universal Studios is now readily available and easy and engaging for your classroom. Whether you teach preschool ages students or Year 12 students, green screen technology has a place embedded into your learning and teaching program. If you already have iPads in your school, then you are well on your way to integrating green screen technology.

Green screen or chroma key allows you to photograph a subject against a green or blue background and replace that background with a digital backdrop of your choice. It is the easiest and less expensive way to put your subject against any backdrop you want

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Brittany Washburn
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Coding Made Accessible to ALL Learners with Guided Coding Stories


I've heard it time and time again, "there aren't great resources out there for teaching computer science with our special needs population."    I get it, using the robots, block coding, even the code.org lessons is seriously challenging in this setting. Without first building the coding language and concepts, how could we ever expect any students to be successful with more advanced coding?

There are currently more Makerspaces, robotics clubs, and technology classes are in our schools than ever before. The reality is that the current model is not simple enough for all learners to succeed. There needs to be a level of understanding before students can successfully program a robot or build an algorithm for a block coding program.

This is where Guided Coding Stories comes to the rescue! We developed a way to build those foundational computer science concepts in a way that can be done with any learner at any age level. The best part is that the activities are incredibly engaging and built in a way to limit frustration (and increase perseverance).

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Brittany Washburn
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Screen Time Guidelines for Children in School and At Home


It is found that "6-year-olds who spent the most time watching television, using a computer or playing video games had narrower arteries in the back of their eyes-a marker of future cardiovascular risk.
Screen Time Guidelines for Children in School and At Home
In today's high tech and busy world, it's a challenge to limit children's total media time.There is constant exposure to TV, computers, and video games. It was a challenge to get children away from the screen without them beginning to hate you. You may even encourage more interactive activities such as creative play, reading together, athletics, and various hobbies.
We shouldn't forget, though, that TV and computers in moderation can be a good thing, not only for entertainment, but media can also be used as an excellent educator. Children can learn alphabets and grade-school students can be exposed to science and nature shows.
The danger is too much media exposure and the wrong usage, which discourages other, more active pursuits. Problems range from lower grades in school, developing violent and aggressive behavior, and becoming overweight. Also, media exposes children to all kinds of advertisements.

 That said, let's start with some guidelines to limit media exposure:


  • ·    It is recommended for Children under 2 years old not watch any TV, and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming." Most programs should be informational, educational, and nonviolent, and the programs should be monitored.
  • ·       Also, keeping "TV sets, VCRs, video games, and computers out of children's bedrooms." This might help control the dramatically rising rates of media usage by children and teens.
  • ·       It is found that "6-year-olds who spent the most time watching television, using a computer or playing video games had narrower arteries in the back of their eyes-a marker of future cardiovascular risk."
  • ·       Parental involvement could improve how media affects kids' lives. We should have discussions with our kids so that we reach agreement on the matter in advance. Sitting down with the child and discussing the specific details about this matter makes it easier for the child to understand.
  • ·       Another easy way to limit screen time is not to turn it on. Sounds easy enough, but it can be difficult at first. But when everyone gets home from school or activities, instead of flopping down in front of the tube, offer a snack and sit at the table and do homework. Make a rule that says no television until after dinner. You and your children might be frazzled at first, but it will help bring your children together and make you a better family overall.
   There are many ways to sneak activities in to substitute for television time. Try to downplay the television and avoid power struggles. Instead of repeating no television over and over, just announce that it's time for whichever activity you prefer.
·       Set time limits on media usage. A new study has found that children whose parents set consistent rules about TV use were less likely to exceed recommended time limits. For us, TV/computer stay off during school days.
·       Earning media time. On weekends and holidays, there is a set media time limit, and he may earn more media time with good behavior and chores.
·       Provide alternatives to media. Weekday activities include karate, swimming, and guitar lessons. Weekend activities include ice skating, baseball, and skateboarding.
I'm a firm believer that we must interrupt our children's regularly scheduled programming to give them a healthier start on life.

It is found that "6-year-olds who spent the most time watching television, using a computer or playing video games had narrower arteries in the back of their eyes-a marker of future cardiovascular risk.



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Brittany Washburn
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Top iPad Apps for Grades K-5


With some structured education on a device such as the iPad, pre-kindergarten children have much to gain. There's a mixture of apps with tons of content that'll keep students engaged and learning, tools for teachers to assess and manage classes, and opportunities for students to think, create, and share.
Top iPad Apps for Grades K-5
The pre-kindergarten environment encourages learning and getting along with others. Young children are typically quick learners. We are often surprised at how fast they learn something new. In today's environment with computers, smartphones, and countless other electronic devices, children are exposed to technology at a young age. With some structured education on a device such as the iPad, pre-kindergarten children have much to gain. There's a mixture of apps with tons of content that'll keep students engaged and learning, tools for teachers to assess and manage classes, and opportunities for students to think, create, and share.
With hundreds of grades k-5 apps available for the iPad. Choosing the best apps to stay organized can be overwhelming. But don't worry.
Here are five powerful iPad applications for grade k-5.
VocabularySpellingCity is a fun way to learn spelling and vocabulary words by playing engaging learning games using any word list. The most popular activities are Spelling TestMe, HangMouse, and their vocabulary games, available to Premium Members. The most popular word lists are Sound-Alikes, Compound Words, Hunger Games and SAT Words. Spelling TestMe is a spelling test that reads each word aloud, uses it in a sentence, and repeats the word. Students can work at their own pace and receive instant feedback upon submitting the completed test.
Word BINGO helps beginning readers recognize and locate more than 300 sight words. The words originate from pre-primer, primer, first grade, second grade, and third grade Dolch word lists. Using a Bingo game format, the child taps each word read aloud. When they score a "BINGO," they collect a cute animated bug. Other features include spelling practice, an interactive word block tower, and engaging opportunities to fling bugs into a warp zone when a child identifies a word correctly. The settings are adjustable, and the report card reflects a transcript of the child's performance. The app can hold to five accounts and one open slot for a visiting "guest." This is definitely a fun alternative to flash cards.
Reading, even in the digital age, is probably one of the essential skills that children acquire. It can be a valuable source of pleasure which also develops important language and social skills. It is fundamental to most school activities; it can also open up new worlds and give access to the wealth of human knowledge. This app that has been developed by child psychologists and other specialists at The Open University enables young children to take part in fun games which can help develop interests and skills that will be relevant to them when they start to read.
Students may not realize it, but this app is full of opportunities to apply knowledge of geometry, area, fractions, and percentages. The goal is to slice a given shape equally into a specified number of pieces. The shapes, number of cuts, and pieces change with each new turn. The puzzles vary in complexity and become progressively challenging. This addictive app at the outset appears completely different from the traditional geometry textbook or worksheet, and yet it will provide a reason for students to access knowledge from prior math lessons.
This app teaches a variety of skills, including literacy, math and thinking skills. One of the features of this app is the way that they provide follow-up off-screen activities to go with the on-screen game that is a part of the app. They are leading the children to more in-depth learning, not just more in-depth into the app store, as is so often the case with online learning.  This is a great app for pre-schoolers and pre-kindergarten students.

A child that enjoys learning is much more likely to want to continue learning than a child that becomes bored with learning. The iPad app is a wonderful tool to help educators create that enjoyable learning environment for the student.

With some structured education on a device such as the iPad, pre-kindergarten children have much to gain. There's a mixture of apps with tons of content that'll keep students engaged and learning, tools for teachers to assess and manage classes, and opportunities for students to think, create, and share.


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Brittany Washburn
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Blogging in the Classroom Tips and Tricks


Get your students blogging so that they can share their work and thoughts every day. Blogging provides the learners with a stage to be more interactive and glued to the lessons taught or to be taught in the classroom.
Blogging in the Classroom Tips and Tricks
The word blog is slang for weB LOG, which is a "journal" that is available on the web. Educators are beginning to use blogs in a variety of ways. Some teachers use blogs to communicate with parents about weekly events in their class. Other educators use blogs to share their ideas and teaching experiences with their colleagues.
Our grade six class has started using blogs to improve our writing by sharing daily class and school events with parents and friends. Each day one student is assigned to write a blog about the previous day's events. Students may write the blog at school or home using Word Press.
Some students write their blog at home after the day is over, and those without computers or internet access in the classroom write them the next day at school with the help of an educational assistant. Furthermore, Students that struggle with writing use a program called Co-Writer to help them spell more efficiently when writing their daily blog.
Many schools and university management have created their organizational website and blog to inform and update prospective students and their parents about their programs and course schedules. Blogs can be used in a number of ways to enhance the learning experience in the classroom.
·       Update students about courses you intend to offer in the upcoming semester. Allow students to view class catalogs plus fill up or download an online class registration form along with a secure transfer of registration fees without traveling to the school or university to complete formalities.
·       Blogs are great platforms to carry on discussions from a distance. Students can simply respond to blog posts and discuss topics through comments.
·       Allow students to publish their assignments and project works on their individual blogs for you to easily edit the same.
·       Teachers can post various assignment outlines; plus the key points of the lectures on the class blog which is easily accessible by the learners. It will specifically benefit those students who were unable to attend the lecture. They can follow the discussions without any problems.
·       Add important website links plus your upcoming class registration details (online class registration form, etc.) on the blog for people to book a seat.
·       Communicate with students and their parents by posting important information about upcoming field trips, related registration forms, and trip-related documents for easy viewing online with instant downloading options.
Teachers should encourage their students to create blogs and update it regularly posting topics that will be discussed in the upcoming classes. It will help students to get an idea as to what will be discussed in the next class; plus read through text books or search for added information on the internet preparing themselves before joining the class.
Get your students blogging so that they can share their work and thoughts every day. Blogging provides the learners with a stage to be more interactive and glued to the lessons taught or to be taught in the classroom. Blogs act as a great collaborative platform where all students and teachers can participate and quickly create, co-manage, and even edit content, if needed.

Get your students blogging so that they can share their work and thoughts every day. Blogging provides the learners with a stage to be more interactive and glued to the lessons taught or to be taught in the classroom.
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Brittany Washburn
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