I feel bad posting this because it seems like gloating, however I wanted to post this in order to highlight this great teaching tool called Buncee (pronounced 'bun see'). Buncee is a presentation tool that is online, a million times better than PowerPoint, and much more interactive and exciting than Google Presentation. I found Buncee through previous edtech meanderings on Twitter; however I was contacted recently by Christopher from Buncee who found me through Twitter and decided to interview me about my experiences with Google+ Connected Classrooms and Google Earth virtual field trips in my classroom.
The experience with the interview was so much fun, simply because I got to brag about my students and share so much about how the amazing technology in my classroom has helped my students, who are special education students, learn so much more than they believed (and in many cases others believed) they could. I found it so rewarding to discuss my passions, and technology and teaching are my passions. The technology I use for virtual field trips was explained and highlighted in my previous post. The technology piece I want to illuminate in this post is the magic of the Buncee, an up-and-coming edtech tool for teachers and students. Buncee is both an online tool for use with any web browsers and an app for use with tablets; therefore any classroom with 1-1 computing can use the tool.
One way I have included the use of Buncees in my professional development is creating poster examples for our PBIS posters for my school site. I am also planning to present other sites during my 'Tech Liberator' staff development sessions using this dynamic platform in order to get more teachers interested in using Buncee for enhancing 21st century skills in their classrooms.
The uses of Buncees for students are immeasurable, seeing as how common core comprehension and collaboration standards that involve students working together and presenting what they learn using technology begin in kindergarten and are included and expanded upon as they grades rise. The Buncee presentation platform allows students to work collaboratively on one Buncee or share the presentations with teachers digitally or visually.
The Buncees are so simple to create and user-friendly to the highest degree; not to mention it is filled with so many awesome tools: stickers, animations, photos, audio, video, etc. Lastly, Buncee is integrated with Google in order to bring student Google drive files into the presentations. I am loving Edu Buncee and recommend this invaluable educational technology to all who read this!!!
Google Earth is a tool that I use every week, if not every day in my classroom. I have also presented this tool to my previous district at a summer tech institute professional development training and in my first day of meeting the staff at my current position/district. It is a teaching tool that is invaluable in its ability to bring a rich background to any environment you are instructing upon or any story you are trying to weave with words during lovely literature lessons. Google Earth is a virtual globe that gives students and educators the world at their fingertips, where they can zoom in and walk through nearly any site on the planet (sometimes historical sites) for free (download desktop version here or app version here) Simply stated, it puts your students in the spot in the world where they can walk through their lessons rather than just listen to them. Google Earth has extensive capabilities for expansion using .kmz files which can instantly add millions of different functions such as tours, geological formations, and added map layers to an already brilliant application (for a tutorial on downloading and using, check out this link from Google Lit Trips). Who doesn't want to walk by the pyramids and through the Valley of the Kings while you are teaching it... okay we can all think of some students who don't, but for the majority it can be endlessly useful to have an instant portal to the magical, historical and scientific sites of the world. So many wonderful resources exist for you to use this as a teaching aide or as a project aide in class. The following sites are just a list of resources, not a traditional "top ten" list in order of importance. Just sharing!
#1 Google lit trips
Google Lit Trips is a site created by a Google Certified Teacher named Jerome Burg. This site was copyrighted in 2006 and I found it in 2011, meaning I missed out on so many years of brilliance! The agony. Anyway, in this invaluable site for teachers, one can find several .kmz or Google Earth files (most now available for the iPad/tablet/mobile device as well) that take you on a literary trip through the world of different works of school literature. Once downloaded and added to your side navigation in Google Earth, the tour begins taking you on a walk through the eyes of the characters extending the experience of a novel for your students. Every book was created by educators and students, who are profiled on the site, and all files are free. Most books are accompanied with other supplemental material, such as CCSS resources for additional lesson planning. The tours are complete with links and facts that can make any reading block a reading block party. Teachers cannot go wrong with this site!
Check out some books as categorized by the site by grade level:
K-5: ~ Number the Stars - Lois Lowry
~ By the Great Horn Spoon - Sid Fleishman
~ Bud Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis
6-8: ~ The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
~ Esperanza Rising - Pam Munoz Ryan
9-12: ~ Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
~ Candide - Voltaire
Higher Ed: ~ The Road - Cormac McCarthy
~ Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
#2 America: A narrative history - US history tours