25 Tips for Dealing with Digital Distractions

flickr photo by Kris Krug http://flickr.com/photos/kk/4059160242 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

In truth, it can be hard to focus among the delights presented by a never-ending machine of distraction available on the Internet.

TeachThought has a great post with 25 tips, ideas, and tools to assist us with this endeavour.

  1. Use Apps Like StayFocused

    “You don’t necessarily have to be prone to being distracted to sit down to work only to find yourself shopping for pearl snap shirts on eBay and wondering how you got there. StayFocused is a Google Chrome plug-in that lets you decide up front how much time to allow yourself to burn on those time-wasting sites before it cuts you off cold.


  1. Track Yourself With Resources Like RescueTime

    If you’re not quite ready to let StayFocused dictate your web browsing, try RescueTime. It records where you click and how much time you spend there so that you can see the depressing results in all their graphed glory. If and when you decide to make some changes, it also includes the option to start blocking sites altogether.”

Read the entire post and the other 23 tips here.


Keeping Up-To-Date With Digital Citizenship

Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

TeachThought recently published a great reflection about not assuming that students (or adults) really have a deep understanding of digital citizenship.

Digital Citizenship is huge.

Or so it seems by the countless articles we read on the topic each week. As plugged-in educators who are putting together the first annual Digital Citizenship Summit, we are swimming in a sea of amazing advice concerning cyberbullying, empathy online, public shaming, tech balance, digital tattoos, and more. To us, it often seems like everyone is well-versed in digital citizenship and everything it entails. They’re not.

Planning the Digital Citizenship Summit has provided us with a great deal of insight into how the digital citizenship community, and education world at large, can better promote the concept of digital citizenship. We have been able to see firsthand the major gap in understanding between digital citizenship evangelists and the general masses, and have discovered some potential ways to decrease the gap.” Read the entire article here.

If you are looking for resources and ways to teach about digital citizenship, some of the best resources for students, teachers and families can be found here at Common Sense Media.

3 Strategies To Integrate Technology Into Any Lesson via TeachThought

flickr photo by flickingerbrad http://flickr.com/photos/56155476@N08/12601914845 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

“3 Strategies To Integrate Technology Into Any Lesson

by Sandra L. Love, Ed.D., mentoringminds.com.

In today’s classroom, we have moved beyond teaching reading, writing and mathematics through rote memorization.

We must push students to dig deeper and ask clear, thoughtful questions so they build the critical thinking skills essential for success in school, college and life. Technology has played a huge role in the development of the modern classroom, progressing from something that’s “cool” or “different” to a key piece of the critical thinking puzzle.

While technology is an important part of the education equation, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Teachers play a bigger role than ever in developing an engaging well-rounded curriculum, though integrating technology into the mix presents its own unique set of challenges. Many teachers have been reluctant to replace their print materials due to cost and dissatisfaction with the available digital options. According to the MDR 2014 State of the K–12 Market Report, there’s a growing demand for solutions that improve teaching and personalized learning and educators are willing to consider new instructional models.

So, how do we build an engaging curriculum based on the components of critical thinking, while incorporating technology into the mix – without sacrificing the basics? Here are a few simple tips to integrate technology into almost any lesson.

3 Strategies To Integrate Technology Into Any Lesson

1. Think Visual–Or Help Students To Do So 

There is a wealth of free programs that allow students to incorporate visuals into their class work.

For example, programs like Easel.ly can be used to create infographics to enhance history papers or scientific experiments. Animoto, a video program that turns your pictures into video, can be used to create book reviews or book trailers, which can transform an ordinary book report, essay, math project, or art portfolio pice into a fun and engaging multimedia experience. Technology is nothing is not visual.

2. Blog All About It–Before, During, & After Learning

Journaling is a classic critical thinking instructional strategy that helps students independently deliberate on a teacher-prompted topic.”

Read the entire post here.

Great New Post from Teach Thought: 64 Essential Apps for Teachers

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Jason A. Howie: http://flickr.com/photos/jasonahowie/7910370882

From TeachThought:

What exactly makes an app “essential” is open to interpretation. For pure productivity, you could consider the direction of Google Drive, Skype, Zoom Notes, iAnnotate–maybe a gradebook app, Class Dojo, etc.

But what if your classroom if is full of open-ended projects and you need to constantly communicate with students, parents, and the community? Google+, Google Hangouts, Remind, DIY, and maybe Trello?

College-prepping seniors in high school? Need apps for struggling readers in elementary? It just depends.”  Read the entire piece and check out the 64 Apps over at TeachThought, click here.