10 Do’s and Don’ts to using PowerPoint to deliver lectures that don’t suck

March 23, 2013 By: Lisa Nielsen 

Picture a half-full classroom with nearly-comatose students descending into the slow death that takes place while listening to a lecture that is as interesting as the buzzing of a mosquito that one cannot find in order to squash. It’s no secret that some teachers, even doctorates who work as college professors, suck when it comes to lecturing. Don’t let that be you!

We (especially students!) all know that not all lectures are created equal. Student AmberDawn Miley pointed this out in a discussion on Facebook when she said, “Just a thought. If teachers delivered like TED people. A lot more students would be tuned in.”(2012)

So what can educators do to make their lectures more engaging?

– 10 Do’s and Don’ts to using PowerPoint to deliver lectures that don’t suck


The 30 Best Web 2.0 Tools For Teachers (2012 Edition)

From: http://edudemic.com/2012/10/best-web-tools-2012/

Looking for the best cloud computing software for your school? What about a way to remotely store homework and other assignments? It’s time to figure out which web 2.0 tool is right for you!

The following presentation contains dozens of the most popular tools being used in classrooms right now. In fact, I’ve personally used more than 90% of these tools in higher education. They’re useful, most are free (some are freemium), and true time-savers. You’ve probably heard of some but I can almost guarantee there’s something new here for you.

The Best Web 2.0 Tools For Teachers

  1. Google Drive
  2. Dropbox
  3. CloudMagic
  4. Jumpshare
  5. Weebly
  6. Issuu
  7. ePubBud
  8. Infogr.am
  9. Text2MindMap
  10. EdCanvas
  11. KeepVid
  12. TubeChop
  13. GoAnimate
  14. TodaysMeet
  15. Slideshare
  16. Voki
  17. Prezi
  18. Record MP3
  19. Delicious
  20. Jing
  21. Pixlr
  22. Loopster
  23. Evernote
  24. Scoop.it
  25. Paper.li
  26. LiveBinders
  27. Join.me
  28. Zamzar
  29. Poll Everywhere
  30. VoiceThread
  31. PlanBoard
  32. TeachersPayTeachers (TPT)
  33. Gnowledge

40 Sites for Educational Games

This list, presented in alphabetical order, has a nice mix of subjects and grade levels that teachers can use with their students.

40 Sites for Educational Games

  1. ABCya – A great site for games and mobile apps for elementary students.
  2. Academic Skill Builders – A wonderful site with learning through the use of multi-player games.  Also, there is an educational portal which allows for student tracking.
  3. Arcoiris – A nice site for educational games in English and Spanish.
  4. Braineos – Games based on flash card in a wide variety of subjects.
  5. BrainNook – A fun site for students that focuses on English & Math.  Also, there is a teacher portal with lots of resources for educators.
  6. Bubbabrain – Lots of game for all grade levels that allows teachers to create games too.
  7. Cackleberries – A virtual world filled with educational games for kids 3-7 yrs old in a safe environment.
  8. Clever Island – Excellent games for kids 3-8 yrs old in a wide variety subjects such as: Math, Reading, Spelling, etc.
  9. Cookie – A great site for educational games and teacher resources.
  10. Creativity Games – Learn through the use of creativity brain training games.
  11. Creating Music – A fun site for learning music through the use of educational games and other online activities.
  12. DimensionU – An innovative site for learning math in a 3D virtual world.
  13. Fish Smarty – Excellent site for online learning through the use of educational games.  There is an educational portal for student tracking as well.
  14. Fuel the Brain – A wonderful site to learn elementary skills such as math, science and reading. Lots of educational resources too!
  15. Funbrain – One of the most popular sites for educational games for kids K-8 yrs old.
  16. Funschool – A wide variety of games, activities, and videos for kids.
  17. Game Classroom – Games for students K-6th grade in math and LA with lots of resources such as: worksheets, videos, and more.
  18. Gamequarium – A popular site with lots of games in a wide variety of subject areas.
  19. GameUp – A innovative site from the creators of BrainPop where the games are based on their interactive animated videos.
  20. Kidz Page – A fun site for educational games PreK-8th grade.
  21. Learning Games for Kids – A great site for educational games on lots of different subject areas.
  22. Lure of the Labyrinth – An innovative game for middle school pre-algebra students.
  23. Magnahigh – Math games for K-12 with educational portal.
  24. MinecraftEdu – A unique game based on the popular PC designed for schools.
  25. PhyFun – Physics-based games for all grade levels.
  26. Pipo Games – A nice site for educational games for ages 3-12 yrs.  A paid site unlocks all the features.
  27. Play Brighter – A fantastic site filled with educational games on a wide variety of subjects, built on its unique anime style interface.
  28. Play Kids Games – A fun site for educational games in subject areas such as math, vocabulary and geography.
  29. Power My Learning – A great all-in-one site for education filled with games, videos, resources and more.
  30. Sheppard Software – A nice site with lots of games on different subject areas.
  31. Skoolbo – Wonderful educational games for core skills in the primary grade levels.
  32. Spelling Connections – A cool site for spelling and vocabulary games with educational portal.
  33. Teaching with Portals – A very innovative game based on the popular console/PC game Portal, with lots of lesson plans to be found.
  34. Tucoola – A great site for skill-building games for the younger kids with student tracking.
  35. Tutpup – A cool site for math and spelling where kids compete against each other.
  36. Vedoque – A nice site for educational games PreK – 8th grade.
  37. What2Learn – A excellent site for educational games where teachers can create games and track students with a paid account.
  38. Yogome – A great site/company with lots of innovative games and mobile apps on recycling and more.
  39. Zondle – Interesting games that support learning and can be embedded into a site.
  40. ZooWhiz – A fun site for kids 5 – 15 yrs to develop Math and Reading skills by creating their own virtual zoo.
For my Pinterest board on educational games click here.

David Kapuler is an educational consultant with more than 10 years of experience working in the K-12 environment. For more information about his work, contact him at dkapuler@gmail.com and read his blog at cyber-kap.blogspot.com.

Best Educational Wikis of 2011

ICT Magic
First place for the 2011 Best Educational Wiki went to Martin Burrett for his ICTmagic wiki. It’s a truly inspiring collection of IT resources for students and teachers, and it’s sure to give you more ideas than you could possibly have time to try. ICTmagic was also our Featured Wiki last August, so you can read more about it in Martin’s own words.

Resources For History Teachers
Second place went to Robert Maloy of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His Resources for History Teachers began as part of a class in 2006. Then, in the best tradition of all great wikis, it grew through the combined efforts of Professor Maloy’s students, along with K–12 educators and students from around the world, into a rich, multimedia, cross-referenced sourcebook for anyone interested in teaching or learning about history.

New Year, New Web Tools to Try!

Looking for something new to try in your classroom? Here are some web tools that other schools have found success with:

The Google Art Project includes digital images from 17 of the world’s greatest museums. View artwork with incredible zoom levels, and even create and share your own collection of masterpieces.

The Reel app helps you quickly upload and share presentations. Each presentation is given a unique URL which allows the creator to poll an audience for their impressions.

The Bounce app is an easy way to critique websites. Bounce instantly takes a screenshot of any website and allows the user to add notes on the image – which then can be saved or shared through Facebook and Twitter.

The Spur app is a “fun and easy way to critique your visual design.”  Just paste a URL (or upload an image) and you’ll be able to use seven different tools to help you find what’s working (and what isn’t!).

Scribble Maps use the Google Maps database to create instant maps that teachers or students can customize, draw on, and share.

PrimaryWall is a web-based sticky note tool designed for schools that allows pupils and teachers to work together in real-time. Create an instant digital wall to toss up notes or use as an instant discussion tool.

Aww is a web whiteboard, which is also touch-friendly, that allows you to easily draw sketches, collaborate with others and share them with the world.

Freebies (From NextVista.org)

Not sure what to do with your break?  A collection of presents for you awaits below – enjoy! (By Rushton Hurley, www.nextvista.org)

From Dan Rezac and Scott Meech of the EdReach.us crowd (great podcasts for those interested in the professional side of education), a thunderously cool effort to get teachers to share the small and large victories each day via Twitter (hashtag #eduwin):

For you art folks, here’s a rather amazing tour of the Sistine Chapel.  I was captivated.

From GCT buddy Chris Clementi, a link to a visualization of how color is perceived culturally:

On the techno-artistically moving videos front, see the award-winning “World Builder,” suggested by David Zach:

Another gallery is the Gallery of Parks in Google’s Street View, which can be a great way to take a quick trip when you don’t have time to jump on a plane, train, or horse:

Also very cool from Street View is the opportunity to explore places like Pompeii and the Amazon in order to wildly enhance a lesson:

Think it’s important for kids to understand computer science concepts in our changing world?  Here’s an effort to provide resources for teachers teaching with and/or about technology (it’s going on this week!):

The STEM Video Game Challenge is up and going!  Entries close March 12, 2012.

Superlibrarian Meg Omainsky has launched her homage to the Google Demo Slam for the coming semester.  It’s called STEM Slam, and encourages students to make videos telling about STEM concepts in their daily lives.  You can make one video that could compete in both this and one of Next Vista’s contests – what a deal!

Looking for math videos on sites other than NextVista.org?  Check out this great wiki, which was nominated for a 2011 Edublog Award:

From Peggy Zegley, a great site combining vocabulary for English language learners and an effort to address hunger:  http://www.freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/

Still on the change-the-world front (a front we know well), there is ChangeEducate, a non-profit initiative that seeks to educate students on issues of poverty: http://changeeducate.org/

For those interested in editing media online, take a look at OneTrueMedia (the free version is limited, but does give you the chance to try it out, with reasonable prices if you go premium):

Need 12 dozen places to educate yourself online?  If so, this next link is certainly for you.  Lots of sites, broken down by categories, for classes, open courseware, etc.  The only flaw I saw is that they are missing NextVista.org.  Perhaps it’ll be 145 sites next year!

MERLOT, the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, rates lots of online textbooks and course resources (over 2000, if I’m reading it right) at this site:

For you folks interested in possibilities of tablets and other mobile devices, from Med Kharbach we get the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning site:

Michigan dynamo John Sowash has a site covering all sorts of issues on iPads in Your Classroom:

The folks at Escondido Unified have gathered info on iOS apps.  They’re not impressed with the difficulties of the volume licensing arrangement Apple has, so only list free ones.  Makes sense!

Many of you, like me, are interested in Android-powered tablets, and there is an interesting review on such things (a comparison of the iPad2 and Xoom, specifically) at the following link.  Thanks to Palo Alto teacher Roni Habib for this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml_gaCCUyVs

David Andrade has posted some great Android resource sites in the Tech & Learning pages:

Those of you in Michigan already know how cool the MACUL organization and conference are, but the good news for everyone else is that membership in MACUL is now free!  Crazy good deal, that.  You can sign up at: http://membership.macul.org/account/register.aspx

Still on the Michigan and conferences theme, you might want to consider the conference with the best name of any I’ve known, Wildly Exciting Education Conference, which will happen at Grand Valley State (Allendale, MI) in August (discount for those registered by Jan 15th):

Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon ran another fantastic Global Ed Conference this year, and you can use this link to get to the session archives (webinars on all manner of topics, uses Blackboard Collaborate, formerly Elluminate):

When talking about webinars, one might also think of how to record an online conversation, and here’s a post about doing exactly that with Skype:

There are amazing stories of work going on in the poorest parts of the world, stories that may not make the sensationalist news outlets, through a beautiful project called Under-Told Stories.  Find out about it at:

A similar site with a goal “to create cinematic narratives that speak to the heart of the human condition” is MediaStorm.  Thanks to Guven Witteveen for pointing me to this one.

Ever needed public domain historical footage for a video project?  The Prelinger Archives is a wonderful site for exactly that: http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger

Educational consultant David Kapuler of Tech & Learning released his “Top 100 Sites of 2011,” and for those who found the preceding not enough, cut loose here:

To finish, here’s one you might know about, but is way too fun not to mention: The Period Table of Videos (University of Nottingham).  Notable is the rocking ‘fro on the main prof, which you can see in this one for Argon

It turns out said professor has a wikipedia page, which is cool, though no mention of his hair.  Was tempted to edit the page to celebrate the epic coiffure.

Using your SPACS email for popular education websites

Another advantage of have our school email accounts with Google is the Marketplace feature. This allows our users to use their existing SPACS email account (i.e. jdoe@spacs.k12.wi.us)  to sign in to other websites. Recently, I’ve added three popular educational sites to our SPACS account – BrainPOP, SlideRocket, and EasyBib.

To utilize any or all of these site,  use the links provided below to go to the website. From there, you can sign in using your SPACS email address and password. No need to create a new account. And it automatically gives you all of the educator’s account features!

As additional sites become available, I will add them to our account and send a notification.


Log in to the popular educational website, featuring animated movies, quizzes and more!


SlideRocket is a web-based tool that allows you to create and share presentations.


Automatic works cited and bibliography formatting for MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian styles