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Tools for the 21 Century Teacher Volume 2

This handbook was created for the purpose of providing information to teachers in the 21st Century about several tools they can use in their classroom.

Created in spring of 2011

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Introduction Just under a year ago I created the 1st Edition of Tools for the 21st Century Teacher. At that time, I didn’t intend on creating a second edition at all. Many of the tools shared in volume 1 were well known among the Educational Technology community and were the most widely shared among schools. The purpose of volume 2 is to continue to share free and valuable Educational Technology tools that can be used in the classroom. The use of web-based tools is changing the way many teachers interact and engage in activities with their students. Lessons are becoming more and more interactive with the use of free web-based tools. How we teach might not be changing as much, but what we teach with is definitely going in a new direction. Many of the resources that you will find in this eBook will help teachers collaborate with students and parents. Some are great Web 2.0 software that can be used for project based learning. There are several resources for using cell phones and cell phone technology with students and parents. It is important as educators that we don’t take Educational Technology and use it just for the sake of saying we use it. Remember that it is never about the tool, it is always about the teacher. When you find a resource in this eBook, examine how it will help improve an already great lesson that you teach, and then find ways to integrate it into your lesson It is amazing how in such a short time technology changes. Since writing volume 1, there has been an explosion of new technology: 3D Televisions, Holographic Telepresence, iPads, and Tablet computers to name a few. Each resource in this eBook can be a valuable asset to your curriculum. It is important, however, to try and not use all of them at the same time. Find one that sounds interesting or that you know you can easily implement in the classroom and use it first. Then over time you will find ways to use the other resources provided in Tools for the 21st Century Teacher, Volume 2.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Table of Contents 1.) iTunes 2.) YouTube Tools 3.) Document Collaboration 4.) Link Organizers 5.) File Sharing 6.) Online Surveys 7.) Email to SMS 8.) Poll Everywhere 9.) fotobabble 10.) My Fake Wall 11.) Creaza 12.) Simple Booklet 13.) Bounce 14.) Note-Taking Resources Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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iTunes It took a teacher (my intern I was observing) in my building using an NPR Podcast for me to realize how vital iTunes could be in the classroom. There are several educational podcasts available and they stretch across all curriculum. What is great about iTunes is that there are several Podcasts that can be integrated into the classroom, but might not have necessarily have been intended for education. I wrote a blog post about 10 Ways to Use iTunes/Podcasts in the Classroom in order to share some fascinating podcasts out there. What is great is that I am only just scratching the surface of what is available. Looking back at that post I realized that most of what I mentioned was Podcasts, which is just part of the iTunes software. The iTunes software can offer teachers tons of music to purchase to use the classroom. The music would be very helpful in History classes when sharing music from different decades, as well as for Arts and Humanities classes. At the same time, finding music to play in the classroom during tests or as class starts would be a great way to use the software as well. I was always told and remember reading that listening to music while studying increases the ability to remember. Think about it; how many of you can sing the lyrics to a song if one was played for you? If not looking for music, another option is to look for eBooks. There are several classics that are available to download for free. If you have required reading and students normally have to go buy the book, have them download the eBook and then they can read it on their preferred device. If you teach AP classes, there are several podcasts related to AP and preparing for AP tests that you could share with your students. If not using with students you can find several helpful podcasts that you can subscribe to that will teach you about computers or discuss education in general. Just remember, spend time searching through the huge lists to find the podcasts that update the most often, or have recent recordings. There are several that have been created, but might not have been updated in quite a while. So it might look good from the title, but it might not be new content. I ran across several of those during my own research. The content is there, just take some time and search for something that will benefit you the most.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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YouTube has become a valuable tool for schools to watch and share videos. There are other options like Vimeo; as well as education specific options like SchoolTube and TeacherTube, but they lack the billions of videos available on YouTube. There are several issues with YouTube, specifically the comments and all the worthless videos. However, there are some great videos for students. For teachers, I recommend the following resources for finding videos to share with students. 100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Educators and 100 Best YouTube Videos for Teachers are valuable resources for finding videos. With each page the videos are divided by subject matter, so find the ones that best suit what you teach. Once you find your videos, the next issue is removing all the clutter. If you have a webpage, you can embed the video on your webpage by using the embed code. Don’t know what I mean by embed, well just search YouTube for a video that explains it! If you don’t have a webpage then I suggest using or View Pure (which also has a Firefox add-on). These will help remove all the clutter and provide you with just the video. Another issue is that you might not necessarily want to watch an entire video, or you want to show just a segment of a specific video. YouTube Time or Tube Chop allows you to easily link to a video at the time you want, therefore reducing the load time. Another issue that people have with YouTube is making it accessible when the Internet is unavailable. Luckily, there is KeepVid, which lets you download the videos in various formats. Another valuable resource for YouTube is the ability to add captions to a video. For students who need extra help while watching a film, Caption Tube is a valuable addition to using YouTube in the classroom. This will really help visual learners who have trouble keeping up with the auditory aspects of videos. YouTube itself has realized how powerful their site has become for educators, so in response they have created YouTube EDU, which provides videos specifically for and about education. You will find several lectures from university professors as well as content specific videos. With this great addition, this might be a way to convince your district to allow access to YouTube for teachers and/or students. If you don’t have one already, it might be beneficial to have a channel created for your school or district so that you can share some of the positive things that are going on in your school. A specific channel can make it easy to share with your students, parents, and community. You can learn about creating a YouTube Channel by following a tutorial.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Document Collaboration

Document collaboration is a great way to start thinking about getting your students to go paperless. These are a couple web based options for one time use with a student. If you are looking for a permanent solution, you could follow the lead of several school districts that have adopted the use of Google Docs or Live @EDU from Microsoft. Within their software package, they provide the ability to allow students and teachers to collaborate on a document. Now, you don’t necessarily need to use sites like Crocodoc and, but they are available options for collaborating on a document. Students could just as easily email you their paper and you could use the tools already available in Word (colored font, italics, strikethrough, bold, shapes, text box, etc) to edit a document. When you are done, you just email the paper back with your corrections and allow the student to improve the paper. The benefits of sites like Crocodoc and is that you can collaborate on the document in real time. Imagine a student working on a paper. Normally you wait till they are done to read it. Once you get the chance there are grammatical and spelling errors that you spend your time fixing. By collaborating on a document you and the student can fix those issues in real time. Each of these sites does offer some other features, some of which are free, others that have monthly membership costs. Crocodoc does allow the ability to annotate text and fill out PDF forms which as a teacher could come in handy. You can also copy and paste a URL which will allow you to annotate a website as well. This could be a great way to share a website with your students and help them see where to look on a website for information or annotate an article through a URL.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Link Organizers

When I first started teaching I was introduced to a site called TrackStar. The idea behind this service was to provide a way for a teacher to group together links for students to use to conduct research or to share resources. For each link a teacher could insert a short description of what the student could expect to find. With the increase in Web 2.0 tools, the ability to group links together has become a lot easier. One of the options is, which is a URL shortener. They added the Bundles feature to allow users to bundle links together into one shortened URL. There are some neat features. You can provide a title, description, and even a short annotation. You can also determine the order the links will appear. When you are done creating your bundle you will be able to share it with students, and then it creates an area for you and your students to discuss the links. and MultiURL are two other options for organizing links. They both don’t have near the features as Bundles, but they offer simplicity in the fact that it is easy to put links together and then share them. will put all your links into a group and then provide a URL to share with students. MultiURL allows you to put links together in a group, give the group a name, an alias, and even a password. When you are done creating your group you will be able to view the links in two ways. One way just puts all the links on a screen for you to click on and then opens them in a new window. The other method shares the links in a slideshow fashion with all functionality of the web pages. Any internal links will be opened in a new window. I am impressed with link organizers like these because it allows users to provide websites that they know will be what the student needs for research. It allows students more time to actually read websites instead of spending time searching through Google. It is also easy to create links to go with each unit that you teach and then share those with students on a syllabus or a handout.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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File Sharing

In the 1st Volume I talked about Dropbox, which is a great web-based flash drive. With Dropbox you also have the ability to share folders and files with others, especially students. With the increase in cloud computing the ability to share files has become increasingly easier to do. is a simple file sharing site. With you can share any number of files, of any size, and within seconds. There are three simple steps. First, you select your files, then you share them, and then you go on about your I guess there are really only two steps. Creating an account is free and simple: name, email and password. A great feature with is that you "get" statistics with the files that you share, which is why creating an account is so important. started out as a site intended for the easy sharing of pictures. What is different about is that it uses a simple drag and drop feature. There is no “uploading” required. You find your file on your computer and drag it into your web browser. displays the files with the title you gave the file. So it is important to remember to apply an easy title to your files. Once you have dragged your files, will create two URL’s. One URL is for sharing, one is for editing, so even after dragging and dropping you can still access and make changes. You can download the files in a ZIP format as well. It can sometimes be hard to get assignments to absent or homebound students, especially if they don’t have an email address. File sharing sites like these make sharing files with your students much easier. You could easily provide a units worth of directions and worksheets to students for them to have access to in case they ever “leave their work at school.”

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Online Survey Tools The Internet has allowed us multiple ways to interact with our students and learn what our students are thinking. One way we can do that is through simple online polls or surveys. There are several options out there, but these are the three that I have used and have had the most experience with. Flisti provides a place for you to ask your question and provide your answers. Once you have done that it creates a URL for your poll and ways for you to share it on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks. You can allow multiple answers and see the results as well. An additional feature allows for comments, so students could also provide background for their choice. No sign up is necessary. Kwik Surveys offers users the ability to create "quick" and easy surveys or forms for completely free. You have an unlimited number of questions, answers, and surveys that you can create. You can download your results to Word and Excel as well as customize the look of the survey. No sign up is necessary, but create an account to save data. There are tons of extra features with Kwik Surveys, so I suggest you check them out. It is the most in-depth of the three. Urtak allows you to create a simple poll, unlimited polls in fact, and embeds your poll anywhere. The twist, not only can participants answer your questions...but they can also ASK questions. Therefore your poll becomes more interactive and they might think of a question you did not, or an answer you did not think of. With Urtak you can only choose from three possible answers: “Yes, No, and Don’t Care.” With such limited answers, that is the benefit of the ability to ask questions and start a discussion. When users visit they will see your question as well as a place to ask a question. You can provide a name for the poll and provide a description. Data is instantly fed back through the poll.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Use Email to Send SMS

I attended a conference last spring where a teacher introduced how you could send SMS messages to students and/or parents using your school email address. I did not know this existed, but it makes perfect sense. There is a huge concern about students having access to teacher cell phone numbers and this completely alleviates the issue. You will need to get a students cell phone number AND carrier to use this service. It also will use Standard Text Messaging Rates, so be sure that it is okay with parents as well. With Email to SMS you have the ability to send a 160 character message to students/parents from your email account. It is important to remember that if you have an email signature it will count towards the 160 characters, so you will want to take that off. Using Email to SMS would be a great way to send reminder messages to students about homework, tests, or projects that are due in your classroom. You could also send extra credit assignments through a text message, which might entice students to provide their cell phone number. This is a great feature for coaches and club sponsors as well. So how does it work? I use AT&T, so I will provide them as an example. You simply type in the cell phone number followed by the carriers SMS Gateway. For example: That will then send a SMS to students providing who it is from and the subject. When you send a message, students can reply and it goes straight to your email inbox. You will also have documentation of the conversations you have with students and/or parents as well. If you are interested in using this service, here is a great list of cell phone carriers and their SMS Gateways. If your local carrier is not on this list, just call them and ask for what their SMS Gateway is. Every carrier has one. Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Poll Everywhere Poll Everywhere is a website that allows users to respond to polls using their cell phones. The majority of students today can barely go a few minutes without using their phones. It is a never ending battle in the school system. With that I say; “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Poll Everywhere is a simple tool to create questions and answers and then students send in their answer via text message (Standard Text Messaging Rates Due Apply). With Poll Everywhere you can easily provide the poll from the web or you are provided with a downloadable Power Point slide. What I like about Poll Everywhere is that responses are virtually instantaneous, so you get real time results. Poll Everywhere does provide K-12 options for their services. You don’t need to pay to use this service, however, paying provides you the ability to track responses, have response moderation, create teams, and have a larger number of maximum responses. You have an unlimited number of classes that you can use this in and you can use it as often as you like, you will just be limited in the number of responses. The maximum on the free account is 32, so if you have more than 32 kids, you will need to look at upgrading. You can create both multiple choice and open-ended questions; although I do warn against open-ended questions because you can’t monitor responses. Since students will be able to type anything and you won’t have control over it being sent through to the response system. When students text a response to a multiple choice question the answers will appear in a bar chart in real time, providing instantaneous results. To learn more about Poll Everywhere, I suggest checking out this YouTube video: An Educator’s Introduction to Poll Everywhere.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Fotobabble is a site that allows users to record their voice over an image. I like this kind of service because it is simple, yet provides an alternative way to present information. Fotobabble provides users who struggle speaking in front of people a way to do a public speaking presentation. As for teachers, it could be an entertaining way to provide information to your students in a way that they have never seen before. I am a huge fan of the site Wallwisher, and you could integrate it into using fotobabble by uploading picture with information to a wall you create and then have students comment. I can really see this being used across the curriculum. Here are several ideas: - Math teachers/students could take a complete solution to an equation, record themselves explaining the steps in solving the equation, show it on the whiteboard, and as you discuss, write over what you are explaining you did. - Social Studies teachers could have students’ complete autobiographies of famous people, presidents, events, etc. - English teachers could have students read a poem that relates to a picture that they choose. - Science teachers could have students upload an image of an element and record over the information about each part. - Art teachers could have students discuss various aspects of a famous piece of artwork. - Foreign Language teachers could use it to translate a comic into the language that they are studying. Fotobabble is about allowing students to be creative using their voice and creating projects in a new and different way. The site was never intended for educational purposes, but it sure does allow itself to be used in that way when you are willing to think outside the box.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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My Fake Wall

My Fake Wall is just what it sounds like, a website dedicated to allowing users to create a fake Facebook Wall. Students’ today (although just as many parents use it) could be considered the Facebook Generation. My generation might be known as the MTV generation. So much of their lives are consumed by what they read on Facebook. Why not take that knowledge and use it in a project where students can create a Fake Facebook Wall. You do have to register for an account using an email address and a password, but no verification is necessary, so it could be used right away. With My Fake Wall, the opportunities are endless. Social Studies teachers could have students create walls for presidents and events (there are several samples on the main page). Science teachers could have students create walls for elements and experiments done in class and create “conversations” between the various samples they use based on reactions. English teachers could create walls for authors and have them discuss their book with other authors or even authors from the past. Math teachers could create walls for formulas and concepts and discuss on the wall with other concepts how they need each other for a solution to work. The ideas are endless for being creative and My Fake Wall provides all the features of a real Facebook Wall: images, wall posts, friends, etc. View this example of Franklin D. Roosevelt to get a better idea of what it would look like. Students could easily print off a completed wall and turn it in as a project. The majority of students know about and how to Facebook, time to use it to our advantage in the classroom. Notice that this website is in Beta, so it could change and provide more features over time. Right now, it is very simple. Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Creaza is a site that offers a mind-mapping tool, cartoon creation, movie editor, and audio editor. I prefer to use this site because of all the features that are available in one location. Video and audio are becoming a huge part of curriculum in schools and it is important that our students have a good understanding of how to use these tools. To learn more about each of the features I suggest that you check out the links to the videos below. - Click Here for a video about the Mind-mapping software. - Click Here for a video about the Cartoon software - Click Here for a Demo/Video of the Video Editor (Does take some time to load) - Click Here for a video about the Audio Editor What I like about this site is that any audio you create can be imported into a video that you are editing. The cartoon software comes with unique themed artwork as well as the ability to upload your own artwork and pictures into your cartoon. The mind-map software provides a valuable method for students to organize their ideas for a project. In order to use the software you do have to register for an account with Creaza. When you register you will get a profile page that allows you to access all of the content you create. Registration can be for a free or premium account. There are several more features that you get with a premium account, but it is not necessary to use the basic features. To learn more about the premium account and how to go about possibility getting it for your school, check out their Purchasing page. A good way to stay on top of any changes to Creaza is to follow their blog and see what updates and new features that they are adding to their product.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Simplebooklet is a site that allows users to create a booklet on the web without any sign up necessary. You can easily choose a layout for your booklet and then determine what information you want to include based on the layout. The idea behind Simplebooklet is to provide users an easy way to create and publish a multimedia document, such as a brochure, flyer, or online advertisement. When finished, it is easy to publish to the web via social media, websites, or blogs. Here are some of the great features of Simplebooklet: 1.) Custom Sizing allows you to easily determine what your booklet will look like 2.) You can add virtually anything – movies, audio, pictures, backgrounds, links, and any embeddable html code. 3.) No need to know any coding, everything is drag and drop 4.) Customization with the style of your booklet 5.) Pre-made templates for easy publishing 6.) Fast transitioning makes it easier to show your completed booklet without pause in presentation 7.) Viewable on touch screens like the iPad and iPhone. 8.) Search Engine friendly so that it can be found on the web 9.) Saved on the web so that you can access them anywhere and at anytime Simplebooklet offers students another option for student projects. Leave PowerPoint behind and provide this as an option for a student project instead. When they are finished, they can easily email you a link to their completed booklet.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Bounce is a fun an easy way to share ideas on a website. You provide a URL to a website and then it will grab a screen-shot of the website. From there you can then click and drag to create a textbox around an area that you want to take notes about. You can provide a title for the page and after you are finished taking notes, you can share the page via Facebook and Twitter. You can also provide names so that Bounce can label the feedback. Students could use Bounce to analyze a website or as a teacher you could use the site to provide feedback about a website that you want students to review. If there is a website with an article, you could provide notes at certain parts of the article you want students to be prepared to discuss, or write about. Another way to use Bounce is when students complete a project using a web based software like Simplebooklet or Glogster, then they could Bounce that website to you and then as the teacher you could write notes on the page and provide a grade digitally. With the increase in web based projects, Bounce offers an easy method for grading all those assignments. You could also use the idea above to allow students to use Bounce to provide constructive criticism on other students work. You would then be able to easily grade students for participation because their notes would appear on the screen-shot of the website.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Note Taking Resources

Simplenote is an app/software that allows you to create, share, and save all your notes. Simplenote is available as a free web-based, desktop-based, and iPod, iPhone, and iPad application. Creating an account for Simplenote is as easy as an email address and password. For each note you can add tags (which are like creating folders) as well which helps keep all your notes organized and makes it easier to separate personal and professional notes. If you create a note and forget to tag it, you can do that after the fact. Each note also provides you with the number of words and characters as well. You can also pin each note to the top of your list. With Simplenote you will have the ability to take a note and publish it as a web page. You can also share the note and it will create a URL as well. Whoever you share the note with; you both can make changes at anytime. WorkFlowy is a site designed to help you create list and organize your life, work, personal life, etc. It is very simplistic to use. It is a free service and since it is web-based you can access it from any computer. You can use keyboard shortcuts to create your list. This site only requires email and password, and does not have to be a genuine email address, so students could use it. Since you can expand the information, it could be used in class to share information as well. To get a better understanding, check out the WorkFlowy videos on YouTube. Quicklyst is a website that allows user to easily take notes. The application requires no registration or login to get started, although that is still an option so that you can save notes for the future. Quicklyst provides you with instant access to the most popular Internet sources, including Wikipedia and the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Quicklyst makes it easy to organize your notes into study guides for upcoming exams. You can even search your notes for a specific topic or subject.

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About the Author My name is Michael Zimmer and I am currently employed as a Technology Integration Specialist for Hopkins County Schools in Western Kentucky. Before taking the TIS position I taught Social Studies for six years, covering all subject matter as a Social Studies Teacher.

As a Technology Integration Specialist I am supporting high school teachers with the implementation of various technology based equipment, such as Document Camera’s, Airliners, Clicker Systems, FLIP Cameras, etc. I also collaborate with teachers in the development and implementation of technology projects that our students complete using the various equipment and various Web 2.0 tools.

“Tools for the 21st Century Teacher, Volume 2” is a free publication and can be used, printed, translated, and distributed in an educational setting without permission from the author. If you use, print, translate or distribute this document, please contact the author and let him know so that I know where and how this publication is being used. For more information about many of the tools mentioned in this publication, subscribe to my blog, The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness. You can also find and follow me on Twitter.

Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2 – By: Michael Zimmer

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Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2  
Tools for the 21st Century Teacher: Volume 2  

This eBook is for teachers looking for resources to integrate technology into their classroom. You will find links and information for vari...