Chrome as Assistive Tech Infographic

The variety of web apps and Chrome extensions has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Many of these tools are available to students either for free or offer lower cost alternatives to what traditionally was considered cost prohibitive support. I complied a Coggle infographic to organize  some of the apps, extensions, and add-ons I use most frequently to support my students. Know of a good tool that’s not on the list? Be sure to comment.

As a side bar… most of these tools require a working internet connection. This on its own is prohibitive for many families. Everyone On (everyoneon.org)  is an organization that works in low income communities and schools to provide a router and affordable internet connection for household that qualify.
https://embed.coggle.it/diagram/56aeb2334f77943445e639df/44a4c419ece1f77b3e76a86fe3e5c7102ae75e859bcc15d3c720a0d5aa68e81e

Two Great Timeline Web Apps

Timelines are a great and easy way to visually represent information in bite size chunks. As an example, timelines can help support struggling readers in understanding the sequence of events in a book.

Ginko App is a note taking app that uses markup for writing but can also be used to construct timelines and off shoots to the timeline. Its clean user interface makes it easy to understand and navigate through cards. As an example, here is a gingko I had started to scroll and navigate through the Common Core State Standards for ELA elementary schools.

Gingko layout for ELA CCSS

Gingko’s can either be private or public. There is a limit to how many you create for free with additional files created with a monthly membership fee (currently $4.99/ month).

Hstry is a great free tool that allows teachers to create interactive timelines. They have a user friendly tutorial that guides teachers through adding content. Timelines created are public and can be shared with others. A teacher can embed images, videos, and audio throughout the timeline. Interactive features include quizzes and feedback. Teacher accounts can create classes and add students as well as assign timelines for students.

In short, check out these tools in helping support student understanding of complex topics using a visual and interactive perspective.

Summer Project: My Metryx

My Metryx

This is a great tool for teachers to keep track of their students data and help “see” what their classroom looks like. There are many customizable features and you can make your data as precise as you need it. 
To start, you will create an account and start with a class. You can then add grades and add students to those grades or add individual students. This is great middle and high school teachers or cluster subject teachers who have multiple classes.
Next, you add your assessments. The hierarchy starts with the Subject > Skillsets > Skills. As an example you can open a Subject for ELA > Skillset for Reading (Running Records) > Skills of fluency, decoding and so on.
Now you can put all this information together and set up parameters for which students will be assessed for what skills. Outcomes can be rated on a yes/ no mode, rubric mode, or data entry mode. 
After assessing your students, you have the options of looking at individual student reports or view how your class is doing on particular skills. The reports are visually friendly turning your data into user friendly pie charts and line graphs for progress over time. Metryx will even help split up your class, either creating either equal groups or RTI groups based on the scoring data. 
Here is a link to a short video tutorial for the visual learners in the bunch: http://vimeo.com/57808886

Vox- Understand the News

From the makers of The Verge and Curbed a new venture in news: Vox. The mission of this site is to provide background knowledge and explain current new and events. Could this become a great classroom tool to help students understand current events? Stay tuned for updates when the site launches.

Update: Vox is up and running with a variety of articles, timelines, and card stacks that explain the history and background information for some of the current events. Check out this stack on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

Two more explanatory journalism sites were also recently released:

The New York Times launched The Upshot with emphasis on data analysis and infographics.

FiveThirtyEight brought to you by the all knowing Nate Silver is also heavy on answering your burning questions like: “Do April Showers Bring May Flowers?”- using data, data, data.