And technology is one of the fastest changing pieces out there! Almost the minute that I think I’ve figured out how to upload the software, it’s time to update the software to the newest version. This can be wonderful: the constant hum of activity and innovation almost makes me feel like I’m part of the motion of change itself. But at the same time, it can be quite difficult when it comes to incorporating technology within the classroom. Just when I have my “Jeopardy” powerpoint ready to use, along comes the newest, better program that students can use that makes my measly powerpoint look “so 2000 and late” as Fergie would say.
So, today’s post should only be taken at today’s value. If you come back to this one in a year, or (gulp) even 6 months, these will probably change. But for TODAY, right now, this minute, here is a list of some of the best software that link arts integration with student accessibility and engagement.
There’s lots of great software out there that I would recommend, but here are some that I use almost constantly in my classroom right now:
1.) Kidspiration –
Kidspiration is an elementary school software program that allows students the ability to create organizers using pictures or music, use virtual pattern blocks and tiles to form creations in math, and even has built in activities for reading, math, science and social studies that extend student learning and allows them to create their own manipulatives. It truly puts the students in the drivers seat for their own learning and that’s HUGE when you’re a 3rd grader. I like to use it when we’re studying composers to synthesize their information, and as a way to create their own listening maps when we do lessons like “The Planets” from composer Gustav Holt. It’s also great for students with special needs because there is a sound tool for student who struggle with reading or communication.
2.) Google Earth –
Google is always coming up with new innovative tools and I absolutely love this one. It brings the earth to life and can be used in so many ways. From connecting to map writing, to measurement of streets, to figuring out how waterways contribute to land division, this is a fabulous tool for all grade levels to use as both an engagement piece and as a way to process new information in these areas.
3. miXscope –
This program is just plain down cool. Here’s the scoop from the programmer info: “miXscope enables microscope and video camera users to take snapshots, create time-lapse movies, stop motion movies, or image sequences of the world around them. Users can also add time stamps, text comments, image overlays, make measurements, add special effects, and/or draw on the live view images.” Basically, we use it during science as a way for students to capture what they are seeing, either through the microscope or through the video camera and splice it together to create a time elapse sequence. We can then use art to compare the “real life” creations to artistically created pieces. Sequencing, patterns, drama, music, order, division – it can all play a part when using this software.
4.) Quicktime Broadcaster –
For those of you that don’t have Garageband or other comparable software, this is a great alternative! Quicktime Broadcaster allows students to create a radio broadcast of a project and then upload it to a variety of sources: youtube, websites, school TV stations, you name it. Students love being able to create their own radio broadcast on a variety of subjects – they can outline the format, decide what music they want to play, and determine if they want it to be audio, video or BOTH. Plus, since they can share it, they take more pride in their work and the details are much for fine-tuned.
5.) FlipShare –
Yes, I know that FlipCameras are folding up shop. However, I also know that a bunch of schools (including ours) purchased them. We’re not just going to throw them away! FlipShare is an awesome tool for editing and sharing student videos. After students create their videos, they can edit them, produce them and send them as a greeting card, youtube video, or email them. My students love the greeting card feature – they can educate others through an online greeting card. When they send it to their parents, it’s a great way for parents to become involved in what their kids are learning.
So there you have it!
My top 5 picks for software that I use in my classroom all the time. There’s definitely more out there though. Do you use some software that has that “cool” factor? If so, please share it with us! We all want to know the latest and greatest in our rapidly changing tech world!
And….GREAT news! This whole week’s tech series, plus other popular technology posts with valuable links and info will be wrapped up into a FREE eBook that will only be available here on EducationCloset.com! My email subscribers will get first dibs – so why not sign up? It’s free and you get great stuff like this! It’s located over there to the right…. 🙂
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.