Professional Development Spotlight: Torsch

Torsch (Today’s One Room School House) is a paid site (~$7-17 per month) aimed at professional development. The idea is that you record yourself during a lesson, upload it from your computer or a number of online cloud services and send it to a mentor, coach, admin, etc. There is automatic transcription service of the videos, places to upload supporting documents like lesson plans or sample work, etc. The individual who receives is able to view all the materials and collaborate with you (without being in the same room) to provide assessment, feedback, coaching logs, live video conference or chat, create video libraries, tag video timeline with keywords linking to rubrics, frameworks, etc. While this may not be for everyone, it is a really fabulous tool for those working with coaches who are farther away.  

Technology Spotlight: School Tube

School Tube was created in 2006 with the idea that students and teachers needed a safe space to share videos. Videos are moderated by approved local educators to ensure a safe experience. It reaches 5 million US teachers, 55 million US students (1.4 billion worldwide students) with over 500,000 videos from around the world. So relax, take a deep breath and feel a little more at ease with this video sharing site.

Technology Spotlight: Class Dojo

Class Dojo is a really cool opportunity for teachers. It is a classroom management tool that allows teachers to track challenging behaviors to locate patterns and help manage, reward acts of positivity, communicate easily with parents through photos, videos and private messaging, including translation into over 30 languages!  Teachers also have a whole toolbox of mini-apps like random student selector, noise meter and group maker to streamline the processes of the classroom. Students can also create a digital portfolio. It is highly customizable for your classroom needs. The only pitfall that I have heard from teachers is that you have to remember to use it, however, that was a few years ago, before the added toolbox of mini-apps which helps integrate the app into more than just classroom management and parent communication, it is a whole classroom app. Dive in and give Class Dojo a try!

Technology Spotlight: BeFunky

I recently was looking for an avatar maker. I wanted one that I could upload my own picture and then work from there. I tried a few out but BeFunky was my favorite to work with by far. There are free filters and paid filters, but you do get to check out the premium styles from the free which is nice. I appreciate being able to test drive anything before paying. I actually found what I was aiming for on the free editor. So if you want to make an avatar based on a picture or just manipulate a photo in a fun way with filters and other free editing tools, give BeFunky a chance.

Curriculum Spotlight: Newsela

My first master teacher just introduced me to Newsela which she uses all the time with her fifth-grade class. It is a free site that cultivates news articles for students to read. The best part, each article is available at a variety of reading levels so you can differentiate for your students without any heavy lifting. Some articles are also provided in Spanish, which can be a great resource for ELL students or even Spanish classes. 1

Digital Citizenship Resource: Digital Law

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As we discuss Digital Law, I think one of the biggest topics is Copyrights. Creative Commons is a copyright license designed for the digital age to promote sharing. “Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. We unlock the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity”(Creative Commons, n.d.).

They have a few different types of licenses based on what you are willing to allow to be done with your work. By default, the page loads with the most open version of the rights as they are encouraging people to be creatively open with their work but there are more limited options if they suit your needs better.

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If you are considering using a Creative Commons license for the first time, I urge you to take the time to read the license itself first. They are not revokable


Creative Commons. (n.d.). What we do. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from