A SPRINKLE OF TECHNOLOGY
OpenDyslexic is a new open source font that was created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia! You can download the font for FREE for both commercial and personal use at opendyslexic.org.
Not only can you download the font to use in documents, but they have also created a FREE EXTENSION that can be used in the Chrome browser! Once the extension is turned on, it will automatically override all fonts on any webpage with the OpenDyslexic font for easier readability!
The overview of the OpenDyslexic extension in the Chrome Web Store explains the reasoning behind the font:
"Your brain can sometimes do funny things to letters. OpenDyslexic tries to help prevent some of these things from happening. Letters have heavy weighted bottoms to add a kind of "gravity" to each letter. You are able to quickly figure out which part of the letter is down because of this feature. It aids in recognizing the correct letter, and sometimes helps to keep your brain from rotating them around. Consistently weighted bottoms can also help reinforce the line of text. The unique shapes of each letter can help prevent confusion through flipping and swapping."
Check out the extension in action below.
WEBPAGE WITHOUT OPENDYSLEXIC EXTENSION
WEBSITE WITH OPENDYSLEXIC EXTENSION
To add the extension to a computer, first download the extension in the Chrome Web Store. Then, once it has been added to the toolbar, be sure to click the extension icon to make sure that it is turned ON. Afterwards, every webpage will automatically format with the OpenDyslexic font!
Are you interested in learning another language? Duolingo is a website (app available for iOS and Android) that allows users to learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and more FOR FREE! And, if you create an account, the site or app will track your progress as you go! You can also set daily goals for yourself and change the goals at any time.
The lessons start off very basic and increase in difficulty. Check out Lesson 1 for Spanish below.
I would definitely encourage anyone to give this resource a try. It is fun, easy, and FREE! Teachers, think about using it as a station in your classroom - Students (and their parents) would love it!
Keeping in contact with parents is a necessity in the classroom, but most teachers do NOT want to give out their private number to parents or students who might contact them 24/7. So what's the solution? GOOGLE VOICE!
Google voice allows users to create a separate phone number to share with parents or students that will automatically ring to your personal cell phone or house phone. The best part is that the caller has NO IDEA what your actual personal phone number is!
Worried about receiving calls 24/7? Don't be! You can customize your settings to only receive calls when it is convenient for you! For example, adjust your settings to not accept calls on weekends or after 9pm on weeknights.
Here's how it works:
Parents call the provided Google phone number and the call is automatically forwarded to your cell phone. When the caller dials the number, he or she is asked to record a name before connecting with you.
When you answer the call, a recording is played that says, "You are receiving a call from ____________." You can choose to answer the call or send it straight to voicemail. The caller has NO IDEA whether you picked up the phone and parents will never see your private number!
My favorite part? You can even create a phone number with a specific word or phrase for easy sharing! For example, if your last name is "Jones" you could search for a phone number that contains "Jones" such as 1-555-55-JONES (1-555-555-6637). (Numbers are subject to availability.)
Want more information? Check out the link below to find out how to set up your own Google Voice number!
Have you ever wondered how many emails are sent worldwide in a day? How about how many tweets are posted every second? If so, then Internet Live Stats might be a site that interests you.
Through Internet Live Stats users can watch the Internet grow in real time while monitoring social media usage such as worldwide internet users, Google searches, Facebook and Instagram posts, and more!
Go to www.internetlivestats.com/ and prepare to be amazed!
Want to see how many YouTube videos are viewed every SECOND? Click the link in 1 second and start scrolling!
This site definitely helps put the world's technology usage in perspective for adults and students. The in 1 second option gives users a fantastic visual of the actual usage rather than only a large number that many students, young and old, would find impossible to comprehend. This site could jump start great discussions with students and could even be used as a topic for a writing prompt.
How would YOU use this site in the classroom? Leave a comment below!
For many of us, it's important to know what is happening in the world and, typically, news worthy = lots of Google searches.
Google Hot Trends is a handy visual that displays the latest news trends based on Google searches. If you see a trend and you would like more information, just click the link and a Google search page with related articles will open in a new tab.
To access Google Hot Trends go to https://www.google.com/trends/hottrends/visualize. The site will default to showing one trend at a time. To change this, hover your mouse in the top left hand side of the screen until you see a 3x3 grid.
Then, hover over the grid and highlight the number of trends you would like to see at once.
A really cool feature of Hot Trends is that users can search trends in different countries or regions of the world! I LOVE this feature for the Social Studies classroom! If you are studying a specific region, pull up the Hot Trends in that region and have a class discussion. Compare the trends in that region to the trends in the United States. To change the region, look for the link at the bottom left-hand side of the screen. Trends will default to All Regions until you change it.
If you plan to use Hot Trends regularly, I would recommend bookmarking it for easy access later.
As teachers, we have all struggled to keep our classroom noise level in check at one time or another. Bouncy Balls is a FREE and FUN way to monitor classroom noise and it is guaranteed to make you and your students smile!
This website activates your microphone to detect noise levels in the classroom. The louder the noise, the quicker and higher the balls on the screen will bounce! If the noise level is low, the balls will mainly stay still. You can even adjust the sensitivity of the microphone depending on the level of noise you would like for a specific activity!
This website is very easy to use. Just go to www.bouncyballs.org and click BEGIN BOUNCING!
Be sure to turn your microphone on or the balls will not bounce! If the microphone icon has a line across it, just click it to turn it on.
Adjust the settings and that's all there is to it! You can even change the balls to emojis, bubbles, or eyeballs! KIDS WILL LOVE IT!
Use this tool as students work in pairs, groups or independently! Do you have any cool ideas for how to use it? Leave a comment below!
When I was in the classroom, I used Discovery Education weekly. It is a fantastic resource for finding all types of media to use in your classroom - NOT JUST VIDEOS! You can search for encyclopedia articles, videos, images, quizzes, teacher guides, virtual bulletin boards, and more!
One of my favorite features of DE is the ability to search media specifically by TEKS!
First, log in to Discovery Education. If you need help logging in to your DE account, please contact me! I'm happy to help!
Once you are in, you can always search for media based on a keyword such as weather or planets by typing the keyword or phrase in the search box. BUT, if you click the Curriculum Standards Search link under the search box you can actually bring up pieces of media for specific TEKS!
Select your state, standards, document, subject, and grade level.
All of the TEKS for that content and grade level will appear. Click on the "+" next to each strand in order to see specific Student Expectations (SE). If a SE is hyperlinked, that means there are pieces of media attached to it! Just click the link to see the media!
Are you looking for something specific? Maybe you only want to see images or encyclopedia articles? Narrow your results by media type in the menu to the left of the search results.
Click on a result to view, download, or find more information. That's all there is to it!
Most teachers, at some point, have shown a YouTube video in class. YouTube always made me a little nervous as a teacher because while the video I was showing was totally appropriate, the ads, icons on the side, and the recommended videos at the end of the finished video were NOT always student friendly. A very EASY and FREE solution is ViewPure!
ViewPure is a free website that allows users to watch any YouTube video without the comments, ads, or any other distractions. All you have to do is go to YouTube and copy the video's URL. Then, go to ViewPure, paste the video's URL and BINGO - a totally pure view of the video!
Video Playing on YouTube
Same Video on ViewPure
And my FAVORITE feature? Check out what happens when the video is over! View Pure just shows a screenshot of the video and no recommendations! I LOVE THIS!
We've all had the experience of visiting a website only to find that the site doesn't load. Typically, we immediately reload the page and hope for the best. When it STILL doesn't load properly, instead of freaking out, you can find out if the site is really down OR if it's just you!
When you're having trouble with a site, go to Down for Everyone or Just Me?, enter the troublesome URL, and see if others people around the world are having trouble accessing the site as well.
The site will determine if the site is actually down or if the problem is on your end.
Who doesn't love emojis? They are an easy way to add a little bit of fun and humor to a conversation. Now, you can quickly create a personalized emoji of yourself FOR FREE using the Bitmoji extension! Just download the Bitmoji extension, connect your Google account, and create your personalized emoji! #EasyPeasy
You can edit your emoji anytime and there is a large variety of images for all occasions and emotions!
You can use the emojis in Gmail and in Google Docs. Once you are in Gmail, compose a message and you will see the emoji icon on the bottom tool bar. Just click the emoji that you would like to use and it will automatically be added to your message!
To use the emojis in Google Docs open the Doc, click the extension, and drag the emoji into your document!
What a fun way to communicate or respond to student work!
I am a teacher, Digital Learning Specialist, presenter, wife, mom, Google nerd, and life long learner. I am dedicated to finding and sharing easy, quick, and engaging resources for use in every classroom!