Apps and Sites That Work on All Devices for BYOT

“Honestly, I think we should be delighted people still want to read, be it on a Kindle or a Nook or whatever the latest device is.” By J.K. Rowling

With more and more schools launching, ‘Bring Your Own Technology’ or ‘Bringing Your Own Device’ (BYOT/BYOD) I created a symbaloo of all apps and web tools that work on all devices to help educators get started. Even though I am a firm believe, it doesn’t matter what site/app the students use to show mastery of a concept, some educators need a starting place and many have loved this symbaloo so I, of course, want to pass it along.

Typically when you click on the symbaloo tile it will bring you to a website/app that is linked. This symbaloo is a little different because I can’t embed the symboloo because wordpress doesn’t allow iframe widgets, so I had to make it a screen shot with url link.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 9.23.45 AM

If there are sites that work on all devices that you have learned about, I would love to add them to my symbaloo. Please share in the comment section as websites are making apps everyday.

If you would like to view my previous posts on BYOT see below:

Bring Your Own Devices Resources

5 Best Practices for BYOT in the Classroom

Getting Teachers and Parents Comfortable with BYOT

Rolling Out Our BYOT

BYOT and Balancing Equality 

BYOT Our First Month in Review

Digital Portfolios and Student Lead Conferences

“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” By Margaret Peters

Digital portfolios (or sometimes known as e-portfolios) allows opportunity for students to showcase mastery of content through a variety of methods other than paper and pencil. It allows students to show evidence that they are working toward a goal and improving skills based on objectives. Students gain confidence, learn to reflect on their multimedia work, track and demonstrate growth based on their level of learning and most importantly improve self reflection and build learning independence.

Why are we hearing more about digital portfolios lately? Because more colleges and Universities are not just excepting SAT scores but portfolios. There are many applications you can use for digital portfolio such as blogging, 3 Ring, wikispacesGoogle Drive, Livebinders, Gaggle/Edmodo, or Evernote. Evernote is my favorite for many reason but mostly because it’s free, works on all devices and you don’t need internet except for syncing.

In Evernote you can make folders for each students, where they can upload their projects or documents to show mastery. I prefer portfolios because it takes the pressure off of grades and focuses on growth. It also helps set the tone in the classroom environment that we are all different and we will make mistakes but we can learn from them.

I set up my conferences so that I was conferencing with my students in every subject, at least once a week. During this time (because I only had one iPad) I would write the conference notes in their digital portfolio. Over time we could see their progress and growth.

During the conferences, I would discuss with the students individually about what they did well, what they needed to work on and a plan on how they were going to improve. This allowed ownership and also held the students more accountable through reflection. I became the facilitator making sure they made goals that were best for them and that were based on their needs.

Inside the portfolios the students would take pictures of projects they had created, such as the thermal solar house they built or they would upload their best writing piece. Sometimes we recorded our reading fluency so they could hear themselves and make improves. Setting up my portfolios this way allowed the students and I to build a relationship and helped me easily differentiate based on needs and their interests.

Naturally came student lead conferences, where the student walked their parents through their digital portfolio. The students knew their strength and weaknesses and didn’t need ‘prepping’ because they did this naturally every week. It showed the parents the students understood their strength and weakness and allowed the parents to ask their students questions. Because the parents realized that their children understood their learning so well, I found that more parents engaged with their child’s education because they didn’t feel the pressure of figuring out what the student needed to work on. It also naturally helped me, get the parents to see that there is more to education then just grades, taking pressure off some students by default. I also noticed that students had more confidence in themselves because they weren’t comparing themselves against anyone but themselves.

When I left the classroom, I was able to help other teachers set up these portfolios. One teacher @missbrinnsclass, started them. The students are in first grade and it is amazing to see them take control of their learning. Here is a sample of a students writing and her reflection on her work.


This is a video of Madison leading her conference in front of her parents and teacher.

I would love to hear how you are using digital portfolios in your classroom or tools that you are using.

Tips and Resources for a Paperless Classroom

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” By Paul J. Meyer

paperless-greenYou can go paperless, or at least reduce the use of paper in your classroom many different ways. It is easier if you are a school that has Bring Your Own Technology/Device (BYOT or BYOD) implemented but not impossible to do without devices. Below are a few tips/ideas to help you get started along with some other Paperless resources.

1. Decide on a workflow. Have students submit assignments and homework via online. Use sites such as Gaggle, Edmodo, Moodle  etc

2. Use web tools for productivity! Have student’s….

– create ebooks using flipsnack or scribble press

– present material using PowerPoint, Slide Rocket or Prezi

– keep a digital portfolio via Evernote, WikiSpaces or Mahara

– collaborate in real time using Google Docs, Zoho Documents or

– represent their knowledge (informal or formal assessment) through Todays Meet, Edu Glogster, Show Me or Poll Everywhere

3. Have your students blog instead of writing stories, reading responses or essays.

4. Use individual whiteboards to work out problems or brainstorm.

5. Use a doc camera or interactive whiteboard instead of showing examples on paper

6. Have more class discussions and debates!

7. Have students collaborate using 1 piece of paper verse 4. It also allows them to practice 21st century skills of collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

8. Keep a grade book online or by using a spreadsheet

9. Create eNewsletters, use email or vodcast to share out what is happening in your classroom.

10. Use a wiki or website to display hotlists, webquests and resources so students are active in their learning instead of passive.

This year in my personal life I have been trying to go paperless as well, to practice what I preach. Some of the things I have started changing is having all my bills as online payments, grocery lists are now in my Evernote or Notes App and I am having stores email me my receipts.

Paperless Resources

Paperless Coalition

Prezi- The Paperless Classroom

Paperless Classroom Blog

Paperless Classroom Website

5 Applications to Help go Paperless

Please share any tips or resources you have for making your classroom or personal life paperless!

Using Evernote in an Elementary Classroom

“There can be an infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if the teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.” Nancy Kasebaum, US Senator

Using Evernote in the elementary classroom makes a teachers life easier! Besides the obvious reason why a teacher would like it….because it’s free; here are three more reasons why you should be using Evernote in your classroom.

1. e-portfolios –

I use Evernote to create e-portfolios not only for each one of my students but for myself. With bring your own technology coming to my school district, Evernote is the perfect answer. Evernote can be used on all devices from iPads to computers.

I can create a notebook for each student and keep all their work in one place if I teach kindergarten or fifth grade. This is also helpful during conferences (student or teacher lead) because the students work is easily assessable. If your district has student friendly email address such as Gaggle, then the students can create their own accounts and create their own e-portfolios. If you have a student that can’t or hates to write/take notes, with Evernote they can use the audio bottom to record their notes and save to their account.

As a teacher I can also create my own e-portfolio for my professional. I can save all my artifacts in one place from student work samples, audio of a student conference, pictures or lesson plans to be able to show as evidence for my evaluations, interviews etc.

2. notebooks-

You can create and manage all parts of teaching using notebooks. For example, I create a different notebook for all my school committees and projects. I have a notebook that keeps my common core information organized while I have a different notebook for lesson plans. The students can also keep different notebooks depending on topic or subject to also keep organized. Having all the notebooks in one account also helps students not lose their notebooks from school to home. They can’t “forget” to bring their notes home to study because Evernote syncs all accounts so the student can get on any computer and retrieve their notebooks. You can also add tags and search for information within your notebooks. With in a notebook you can create your own notes using text, photos and/or audio notes.

3. web clip/bookmarking-

The web clipper feature is amazing since we save a lot of different things from web sites. The web clipper is a button that you can add to your bookmarks. With the clipper, you can select what parts of the site you want to save to Evernote or you can save the whole webpage. This is great because before I used bookmarking sites such as diigo but now I condense and save everything through my Evernote account. (One less account to worry about) You can place the clippings into any notebook you want it to go in.  This is helpful for students when they are researching. They can find a vast amount of sites, videos, pictures and save it while also saving the original url with the clip so they can reference the source.

One of the best features is how Twitter and Evernote have teamed up so I can bookmark a tweet into my Evernote. All I have to do is add @myen once I have established a linked account. To learn more about how to link your twitter and Evernote:

Using Evernote in the classroom helps engage our 21st century students while also preparing them for their future. To get your Evernote account click here: