Cool / Breakthrough Technologies

  • PARLAY - Tools for conducting class discussions

    PARLAY - Tools for conducting class discussions

    Parlay has done a beautiful job of pulling together a thoughtful suite of tools for conducting class discussions. Start by choosing a discussion topic from their library: These contain readings and videos to give background information so that students come to the discussion well-prepared. Then students submit written responses to the prompt and respond to one another in writing. Finally, the class can conduct a live roundtable discussion, using Parlay to track and facilitate their participation. When the discussion is over, the teacher gets a report to see who participated and how. For anyone who uses Harkness, Socratic Seminar, or any kind of whole-class discussion as part of their instruction, Parlay seems like it would supplement that work really nicely.

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  • IORAD - Create interactive online tutorials

    IORAD - Create interactive online tutorials

    So iorad is kind of like a screencasting tool: It allows you to create interactive online tutorials that demonstrate how to do things on a screen. Suppose you wanted to create a video showing students how to use a piece of technology. Using iorad, you could make something that feels like a screencast video, except the video stops every once in a while to ask the user to click on various parts of the screen to follow your prompts, and it won’t continue unless the user does that. This makes the end product a lot more interactive for the user; this will potentially make the learning stick better.

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  •  Floop

    FLOOP - Provide Feedback on student work

    Here’s how it works: Students send pictures of their work in progress to the teacher, along with questions they need help with. The teacher views the work, types in comments that are anchored to specific locations on the photos, then sends it back to students, starting a feedback loop that allows for iteration and improvement.

    What makes this tool unique is the mechanism that allows students to point directly to places on their work that they need help with, then get assistance that can also target specific spots on the assignment. We’ve been able to do that with writing assignments through tools like the commenting feature in Google Docs, but it hasn’t been quite as available in other subject areas.

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  • Screen Recording Applications

    Screen Recording Applications

    Screen recording is becoming more in demand, particularly with Distance Learning or virtual instruction or Flipped classrooms.
    The biggest issue is the question: What do I use?
    There are both free versions and paid version so here are some of the top screen recording and some training tutorials to go along with them.
    Internally we have available Teams and those recording automatically get uploaded into Streams in Office365 making it easy to share internally with students (Parents have to log in using the students credentials to see Stream recordings).
    However, some users, depending on their comfort level, just may find it easier to use other screen recording platforms instead. Streams will allow you to still upload any videos to it manually if they go that route, its just an extra step.
    Click to see some of the most popular options

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  •  Translator Screen shot

    Real Time Translation for teachers & ESOL students during presentation.

    Translated conversations across devices, for one-on-one chats and for larger group interactions.
    TRANSLATOR APP FEATURES - Have real-time, translated conversations with captions, translate menus and street signs without an internet connection, and translate web pages and app content with one tap.
    TRANSLATOR IN THE CLASSROOM - Microsoft Translator helps bridge communication gaps by supporting accessible classroom learning with live captioning, cross-language understanding, and even multilingual casual conversations to help with student integration.

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  •  Immersive Reader Alt text

    Learning Tools / Immersive Reader for ESE, ESOL or struggling readers

    In Office, the Microsoft Learning Tools is a set of features available in Word designed to help you improve reading skills no matter your age or ability.

    The idea with these tools is to remove distractions and offer proven techniques to improve reading fluency and comprehension. For example, using Learning Tools, you can add spacing to reduce visual crowding. You can change the color of the background to make it easier to see the letters. It's also possible to break down words into syllables and highlight part of the speech, and you can use the narration feature to hear the text aloud and see the words highlighted to follow along.

    In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to get started with the Learning Tools available with Microsoft Word to improve your reading skills when using an Office 365 subscription or Office 2019.

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  • Document / Web page Translation options

    Document / Web page Translation options

    Office 365/Office suite –
    This is good for the occasional document needing converting, but not for daily lessons for teacher/student communication barriers with ESOL/ELL students. This is a LOT of overhead for a teacher trying to handle communication barriers with students needing the additional assistance of content provided in their primary language

    The translate feature is built into Word. It is not directly visible within O365 in the browser, but used within Office365 by opening any document from O365 and selecting “Edit in Word”. Has a 3-4 easy steps, but perfectly reasonable.

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  • Audio Transcription from YouTube video

    Audio Transcription from YouTube video

    What are automatic captions?
    Automatic captions are machine transcriptions of the words heard in a YouTube video performed by Google software. While those transcriptions are almost never perfect, more and more, the accuracy seems to be improving. When it comes to transcribing videos for the purpose of making subtitles, automatic captions can mean fewer words that have to be typed by humans.

    About DIYCaptions' Automatic Captions Clean-up Editor
    This app is intended to make it easy to access the automatic captions that YouTube creates for videos and to manually correct any transcription errors so that the text can be used to create more professional-looking captions. For videos where the accuracy of the automatic captions is high, using automatic captions can significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to type a transcript of a video's spoken content.
    - Click the title to read full details

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  • Program needs one browser, but the default is another??

    Program needs one browser, but the default is another??

    So you have Microsoft Windows set to use Chrome as your default browser, but you want to use a desktop shortcut to open a specific site in IE. Or maybe another website icon that will only work in Firefox. Creating a shortcut to a web document won’t work. However, you can open a URL using a shortcut to a non-default browser.

    Now you have a shortcut that will open the website in a specific web browser, no matter what the default browser is set to in Windows.

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  • PDF software options - PDFCandy/PDFCreator/Adobe Acrobat

    PDF software options - PDFCandy/PDFCreator/Adobe Acrobat

    So you're looking at PDF products. The question you need to answer, is what are they trying to do? And do you want or need to spend $$$?
    So let's get right to your next question.... The short answer is NO, the district doesn’t have any licenses for Adobe Acrobat for Teachers/Admins to use. Schools have to purchase individual seat licenses for that if they have to have Adobe Acrobat

    However, depending on your answer to the question above depends on which option works best.
    - Click the title to read full details

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  •  yEd flowchart icon

    Alternatives for Visio

    Microsoft Visio is a powerful piece of software, allowing IT professionals, business people, engineers, and others working in highly technical fields to map out and display complex information in the form of flowcharts, site plans, floor plans, diagrams and more.

    Useful though all this is, the price point is well beyond what the average home user is willing to spend at $300 for the “Standard” version and $590 for the Pro version. (If you’re dead-set on using Visio, there is a potentially cheaper option where you can get Visio Pro for Office 365 for $13/month if you get an annual subscription or $15/month for a monthly commitment.)

    But why pay at all when there are perfectly free and viable Visio alternatives available to you?
    - Click the title to read full details for our top picks.

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Last Modified on October 4, 2021