April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

The Best PowerPoint Alternatives for Creating Great Presentations

We’ve all endured “death by PowerPoint.” It’s a painful experience for the audience and probably not all that fun for the presenter either. To help students deliver effective presentations—free of those deadly bullet points—SLJ columnist Richard Byrne cites his go-to applications.

Getting Kids Engaged with Primary Sources | Cool Tools

Primary resources can help bring history to life for students. Make the most of first-hand accounts and other primary source content with tools such as the National Archives’ Digital Vaults, video tour included.

Top Tools for Upgrading Your Resume | Cool Tools

It’s spring, a time when students start looking for summer jobs or internships—and that requires some attention to their resumes and portfolios. In this month’s “Cool Tools,” Richard Byrne taps the best applications for creating an online showcase of your best work.

Alternative Search Tools: These options to Google will help students become better researchers

Cool Tools columnist Richard Byrne presents some free options for research that don’t require a login, along with a few quick tips to aid student searches.

Planning Common Core Lessons?: Free, Web-based applications can help align your plans with the new standards

Ready or not, here they come. At almost every school I visited this year, teachers asked me to address the Common Core (CC) standard in my workshops. Planning lessons with CC in mind presents a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. These sites are designed with the express purpose of helping plan lessons around Common Core.

Teens Dig Tumblr

According to Social Times, an online source for all things social media, Tumblr has eclipsed Facebook as the number-one platform of choice, with 61 percent of 13- through 18-year-olds using it, compared to just 55 percent using Facebook. What gives? Is Facebook really for old people?

Tumblr lets teens fine-tune their interests, and it’s highly customizable. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from their browsers, phones, desktops, or email accounts, making it accessible anytime, anywhere. More than […]

Mobile Apps Make Student Assessment Easy and Interactive | Cool Tools

Regardless of what curriculum areas we teach, observing and assessing our students is something that we all do every day. Thanks to mobile devices like iPads and Android tablets, recording our informal observations and formal assessments has never been easier.

Tech Tidbits from the Guybrarian’s Gal: Make Technology Work for You

A friend of mine recently forwarded me one of those emails. I’m sure you’re familiar with them: lots of cute photos, and when you scroll to the bottom, you typically see some kind of humorous statement. This particular email had several pictures, all of teenagers—at the park, in a restaurant or car, at a baseball game. And in every image, the teens wereahunched over, totally engrossed in their cell phones. The very last photo is of Albert Einstein, and it’s accompanied by a quote from him: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Free Web Tools Make Classroom Management Fun

Web applications that make it easy to create records in appealing formats for sharing, selected by Richard Byrne, School Library Journal’s Cool Tools columnist.

Cool Tools: The Best Free Web Applications for Reaching Out to Parents

From maintaining a blog to texting updates from the classroom, free web apps can help educators foster those important school-home connections.

Online Bookclubs are Facebook for Booklovers!

This summer, I taught a professional development class for our staff. The goal? To each read two novels and one nonfiction book that we could enthusiastically recommend to our students this year. What we ended up with was a lot more than we’d expected, and it’s worth thinking about offering a similar class at your own school.

Making the Most of Video in the Classroom | Cool Tools

From Vialogues and SynchTube to TED-Ed, free tools for hosting conversation around videos.

Summertime and the Reading Is Easy: Kick back with a good ebook app or two

Handy tools for reading and ebook discovery that you can enjoy using yourself and perhaps put them to use with students in the classroom or library.

Ebook toolkit: Cool Tools for Multimedia Publishing

When it comes to creating media-rich publications, iBooks Author is just one of many great options.

Cool Tools: Create your own learning games for free

A quick web search for “educational games” or a variation thereof will yield thousands of results. Some of those games might suit your students’ needs, but you could end up with nothing. So rather than spending hours searching for a great learning activity, why not create your own game? Better yet, have students help devise one that they can play with their classmates.

Designing and building games used to […]