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Where Can I Find A Teacher Travel Grant?

AlchemyLogoCropAs an educator, you may well have summers away from the classroom, which leaves you with valuable time to engage in unique and enriching experiences that you can bring back to the classroom in the fall.  Travelling sits on the top of many teachers summer wish lists and can not only serve to help you relax and exhale, but can often times be used to enhance your understanding and connection to the material you teach and help you inspire your students even further. As all teachers know, when you’re excited, they will be too!

As wonderful as these experiences can be for you and the impact it may have for your future students, it’s not always easy to fund and plan your own expedition. Fortunately, there are many different programs that can help you fund the educational experience you crave. Applying for funds is as easy as filling out an application. While it may be too late to apply for a grant for summer 2014, it’s never too early to think about next summer!

The following organizations help teachers fund their travelling and learning learning experiences and may well be worth a look!:

  • Fund For Teachers – In order to be eligible for a grant from this organization, you must be employed full time as an educator for PreK-12th grade and spend at least 50% of your work week instructing students. You must also have at least three years of teaching experience and the intent of continuing to teach the following school year. Anyone who thinks that a summer travel opportunity can positively impact his or her teaching should apply. If accepted, the fellowship can grant up to $5,000 for individuals. Application deadlines vary from state to state but on average, Fund For Teachers funds 500 summer programs a year.
  • The Earthwatch Institute – The Earthwatch Institute recruits individuals from all around the globe to take part in research projects over the summer. In order to qualify for a research project, you just need to be a K-12 educator. Annually, 200 people are granted fellowships and Earthwatch will cover the cost of research, food and accommodations.  Travel to and from the site is not covered unfortunately, but it is common that most people receive reimbursement. While working on the research project, many fellows keep journals and then incorporate their experiences into future lesson plans.
  • Fulbright-Hays – Through Fullbright-Hays, educators are allowed to plan trips abroad that will help enhance their lessons and create a stronger impact for the students learning. The program is usually 4-6 weeks long and takes place in countries outside of Western Europe. Qualified applicants have three years of experience and teach some sort of curriculum relating to social sciences, languages or the humanities. The fellowship covers the cost of the entire trip except for a $450 cost share and more than 100 teachers are accepted annually.
  • Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program – The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program is designed to give all educators the experience to bring geographic awareness to their classrooms. The program is open to all educators who have a proven dedication to geographic education in their field. The program covers the cost of transportation, lodging and food. There are a few different expeditions over the course of a year and each expedition has 2-3 fellows. This program doesn’t just have expeditions during the summer, some take place during the school year- so when filling out your application, it is important that the date works with your schedule.

After going on any of these exciting fellowships, it would be hard to not have a wonderful time to further inspire your students’ learning and perhaps even inspire envy in your colleagues!

It may be too late for an abroad fellowship this summer, but it’s not too late to sign up for professional development days. We have put together a listhere of some great opportunities taking place all over the country this summer and be ready when applications open again for the fellowship programs next year!

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Are There Any Professional Development Opportunities for Educators in the Summer?

colouronwhite-300x214While school year may be winding down, there are plenty of upcoming educational  opportunities for educators to take advantage of.  In fact, the summer may offer even more professional development events, conferences, and workshops than the school year. And the best part is you don’t need to find a substitute teacher for the day!

Below are some fun and exciting professional development opportunities available for you to attend this summer.

  • The Civil War Trust’s Summer EventFrom July 17-20 in Atlanta, Georgia the Civil War Trust will host its 21st Teacher Institute. The event is four days full of workshops and tours led by historians and educators. Some special guests include Todd Groce, Jared Frederick, Vince Dooley and many more! Additionally, registration to the event is free for friends of Alchemy Learning if you sign up with this linkwww.civilwar.org/AlchemyAtlanta. In addition to free registration, there will also be free classroom materials, plentiful travel scholarships and free continuing education credits.Civil-War-Trust
  • SC Midlands Summit– On June 11-12th, in Columbia, SC the SC Midlands Summit focuses on the use of Google for Education research tools, Web 2.0 tools, and technology integration in the classroom.  There is a full lineup of speakers and more on the session schedule.
  • Technology for Teaching and Learning ConferenceThis two day conference from June 19-20 in Louisville, KY is an opportunity for K-12 educators to explore how to effectively use technology in education. At the conference, there will be keynote speakers, practical examples, breakout sessions, content delivery and more.
  • EdSurge EdTech EdCamp – On June 24th in San Mateo, Ca, EdSurge is hosting a SF EdTech meetup at the Edomoto headquarters. At the meetup, there will be a few 30-minute sessions based on what the attendees are interested in.
  • ISTEThe biggest EdTech conference in the world is taking place in Atlanta from June 28th through July first. ISTE brings together educators from all grade levels to give them the support and educational resources to support learning in the digital age. In addition, when you attend the conference, you receive a one-year standard membership to ISTE.
  • RSCONRSCON stands for Reform Symposium Free Online Conference and it’s an online event taking place from July 11th-13th to highlight ‘wow’ moments in teaching and learning. The conference features 10 keynote speakers, a tech/app/lesson smackdown and more. It’s an opportunity to connect with over 10,000 educators worldwide without leaving your home.
  • EdTech Demo Fair and EDVentures Conference – On July 17th in Newport Beach, CA, emerging edtech products created by education entrepreneurs will be on display for a hands on demonstration. The event is free and a great way for an educator to see and interact with new and emerging technologies.
  • EdmodoconEdmodocon is a one day webinar on August 6th, for educators to share how they are using Edmodo as well as other digital tools in the classroom. If Edmodo is a tool you frequently use this can help you take the next step and further enhance your use of the tool in your classroom.

Professional Development opportunities are springing up all over the country for educators in the summer and they’re a great way to use your free time to further your learning and understanding of the techniques and amazing tools available to you.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What Web-Tools Can I Embed Into My Digital Lessons?

colouronwhite-300x214Lesson planning in the digital age can be difficult; you need to find a balance between engaging your students and ensuring they are gaining the necessary skills and knowledge.  Fortunately, there are plenty of technology resources available to assist you in creating the best digital lessons possible for teaching your students.

Alchemy SmartBinder is a digital tool to help you build and deliver engaging digital lessons while gaining valuable insight into how students are progressing. This tool also gives teachers the ability to embed properly-secured digital resources into lesson.

Below is a list of some of the wonderful tools that contain embed codes for easy incorporation into lessons.

Audio Tools:

  • Audioboo – Audioboo is a great tool to capture your students voices as well as your own to enrich your lesson plans and motivate students to become more engaged.
  • Soundcloud – Soundcloud is another tool to embed sounds to your lesson plan. You can share podcasts, distribute lessons as well as your own music.

Video Tools:

  • Animoto – Creating a video will not only engage your students visually, but audibly as well. Animoto helps you create videos that will engage your students in the lesson.
  • Voicethread – Voicethread is a tool to help you create conversations surrounding media. After creating a Voicethread, your students can comment and add their own ideas to the dialogue you started.
  • Glean – Glean is a video database with educational videos about math and science related topics. Glean allows you to track when your students have watched the videos which will help you get an understanding of how your students are staying engaged.

Storytelling Tools:

  • Popplet – Creating a thought map is a way for students to be able to follow the relationships between objects and ideas. Popplet can help your students visualize the connections between them.
  • Dipity – Sometimes the best way to explain the order of events to your students is with a timeline. With Dipity, you can create an interactive timeline complete with audio, video, images, text and more.
  • MindNode – Everything is connected, that’s the idea behind MindNode. You create ideas and can connect them to other ideas. This forms an interconnected map of your ideas to show how everything relates to each other.
  • StoryboardThat – Students learn by relating to the content. Telling them a story will further draw them in and interest them in the lesson at hand by structuring the lesson into something that’s easy to follow.
  • Fotobabble – While a picture may say a thousand words, sometimes it’s best to add your own audio instead. Fotobabble allows you to integrate photos and audio to help tell a story.

Collaboration Tools:

  • Padlet – Engaging with your students is something that doesn’t need to take place only within the four walls of your classroom. Padlet allows you to ask a question, and then have your students share their responses. They can be open ended or multiple choice. And responses aren’t only limited to words, students can also share videos and photos.
  • Scoop.it – Working with other educators is a great way to share ideas and further develop your lesson. Scoop.it allows you to curate with up to thirty other members.

Cartoon and Comic Creation Tools:

  • BitStrip – It’s no secret that students love cartoons. Bitstrip is a place where you can create your own comics to connect with your students using a medium they love.
  • ToonDoo – This is another tool that you can use to create comics. Visual learners will benefit from the added imagery to your lesson.
  • Pixton – This comic creation tool also allows for a voice-over effect to enhance your comics as well as the students learning.

Other Embeddable Tools:

  • Evernote – Evernote allows you to capture your notes off of a white board and embed it into a lesson. But the capture is more than a picture of what you wrote, the image is searchable to help you organize your content.
  • Google Blogger – Google Blogger is a blogging platform where you can share thoughts, images, videos and more.
  • Voki – Sometimes in the digital space it’s nice to put a face to a voice, a digital face that is. Voki allows you to engage your students with an interactive lesson delivered by your own personal avatar.

Embeddable Games:

  • Grammar Pop – Grammar Pop is a game you can play to enhance your grammar skills. Playing a game is a great way to engage students and increase their interest levels in learning specific skills or ideas.

Embedding a tool into your lesson is as easy as copying and pasting an embed code. However, not all tools have equal levels of security around data. At the beginning of each embed code you will see either ‘HTTP’ or ‘HTTPS.’ The ‘S’ at the end signifies that there is a layer of security to keep your data safe (SSL). Some learning management systems and content management systems, SmartBinder included, will not support tools that don’t have the SSL because it can put student data at risk. It is important to check the embed code to see if the tools you’re using uses HTTP or HTTPS and how that impacts you.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

How Can I Use Technology Keep My Students Engaged Through The End Of The Year?

colouronwhite-300x214The end of the school year is rapidly approaching and, depending on where you teach, summer break could be under a month away!  But how can you keep your students excited and engaged about what you’re teaching when thoughts of summer fun are starting to occupy their minds? Your students still need to finish learning the curriculum and prepare for final exams as well as state standardized testing, especially as many schools have already begun their state testing.  Here are some suggestions to keep your students engaged (while still having fun!):

Review Games – Towards the end of the year, students may be focused on days at the beach and baseball games, but don’t let that detract from what they should be learning in the classroom. Try playing review games to keep your students engaged and prepare them for finals and testing at the same time:

  • PurposeGames is a great free tool for you to create games to play in your classroom. There are two types of games you can create in the form of a multiple-choice option or a mapping option where your students are given an image and they have to name certain places on the map. This game isn’t limited to geography; it can be used with mapping the human body, moon phases and more.
  • ProProfs Brain Games is a free tool to create word games such as crossword puzzles, word searches, brainteasers and more. A huge benefit to these games is that they are easily embeddable and can be added to your Alchemy SmartBinder.

Quiz activities – There’s no easier way to prepare for a final exam than with practice quizzes, and here a few tools that can help you break the monotony of standard assessments and keep the students intellectually hungry:

  • eQuizShow is a free tool to help educators create a Jeopardy style game online. You simply enter categories and then type in questions and answers. eQuizShow is very easy to use and doesn’t require you to upload any files.
  • Socrative is another quiz building tool that is extremely device-friendly. It can be used by student teams or individually by your students as they race to answer questions correctly.  After each correctly answered question a rocket ship moves incrementally across the screen and the first individual or team to propel their rocket ship to the other side of the screen wins.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

New Website, New Teacher Tools!

The Alchemy Team is excited to announce the launching of our new website that unveils our suite of premium curriculum and learning management SmartBinder tools! Contact us today for information on special deals for our early adopters!

SmartBinder Premium Upgrades!

Our new website features our suite of collaborative curriculum and learning management SmartBinder upgrades to the free SmartBinder Flip. Learn more here!

  • SmartBinder Collaborate facilitates team teaching with full course creation and editing rights for multiple teachers..
  • SmartBinder Engage gives students their own learning environments with course materials, discussion boards, and assignments and assessment management.
  • SmartBinder Insight is a teacher’s personalized dashboard with RTI flags, student progress and other instructional support.

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SmartBinder Teams!

Alongside the premium SmartBinder suite, we are thrilled to announce SmartBinder Teams, which integrates with any of the SmartBinder suite to enable the creation of peer-to-peer teams of any size to promote collaborative curriculum development, team teaching, and subject matter repositories.  Watch the video here!

 

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers and schools.  Alchemy recently released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. SmartBinder Collaborate, SmartBinder Engage, SmartBinder Insight, and SmartBinder Teams are presently in private-beta. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Alchemy in the News: November

Well, November flew by and jettisoned us into the Holiday Season!  ColourOnWhiteAlchemy’s SmartBinderFlip, the free, cloud-based lesson binder that helps teachers build, deliver, and capture data on digital lessons, continued to receive recognition and user adoption, and, in addition, we pushed some exciting new features to private beta!  Read more below:

More SmartBinder Reviews!

  • Alchemy’s SmartBinder Flip (beta), released this fall, was ranked #20 on the “Top 100 Educational Sites/Apps 2013” by David Kapular of Technology Tidbits and Tech & Learning!  Kapular writes that SmartBinder is “an excellent site for creating a digital lesson w/ any kind of content.  Once this lesson is created it can be shared w/ students via a URL and can be used to “flip a classroom.”  Check out the full list of 2013’s Top 100 edtech tools and sites here.
  • Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers  listed SmartBinder Flip as one of five online tools that help teachers align to Common Core.  He highlights SmartBinder’s Standard Mine that allows teachers to ‘drag-and-drop’ tag their lessons to Common Core or customizable standards.  Check out Byrne’s post here.
  • Finally, Future Teachers Learning Together, a product Elon University‘s education program reviewed SmartBinder Flip and reported that “thanks to the vast online resources that are out there for teachers, there is a way for teachers to create interactive lesson plans online,” and they “hope that you think Alchemy SmartBinder is as great a tool as [they] do!”  Read their full detailed review here.  We love feedback from emerging teachers so keep it coming!

 Alchemy in the News

  • As reported by citybizlist, Betamore and Alchemy Learning led a discussion on educational technology and web-based application development with a group of educators from the Ukraine.  The educators consisted of Open World-sponsored professors from the Ukrainian universities and were hosted in Baltimore by the World Trade Center Institute  Read more about the exchange here.
  • Alchemy travelled to the Baltimore Convention Center on November 4th for the 2014 AIMS Conference, which consisted of teachers and educators from AIMS’s 124 Maryland and Washington D.C. schools.  This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. David Eagleman, a Guggenheim fellow, NY Times Bestseller, and director of Laboratory for Perception and Action at theBaylor College of Medicine.  Eagleman’s research and keynote centered on the impact of unconscious neural functioning on learning.

What’s Ahead?

  • Following on the heels of the release of SmartBinder Collaborate to private beta for the fall semester, which builds upon SmartBinder Flip with robust curricular structure and teacher collaboration, we’re excited to announce the release of SmartBinder Engage to our pilots. SmartBinder Engage is seamlessly integrated with SmartBinder Collaborate, features student portals, and empower teachers with tools for assignment and assessment creation, delivery, grading, and management.  Next-up for private beta is SmartBinder Teams, seamlessly integrated portals for teams of faculty members to collaboratively manage shared resources!

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers and schools.  Alchemy recently released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. SmartBinder Collaborate, SmartBinder Engage, and SmartBinder Teams are presently in private-beta. Create your free SmartBinder Flip account and launch the new tutorial at alchemylearning.com.

Alchemy Learning, Betamore Engage in Dialogue with Visiting Ukrainian Educators

On Tuesday afternoon, Betamore, Baltimore’s, center for technology and entrepreneurship, and Alchemy Learning led a discussion with visiting university educators from Ukraine at Betamore’s Federal Hill campus.

The Ukrainian educators, from Kharkiv National University and Odessa State Environmental University were sponsored by Open World, a Washington D.C.-based organization seeking to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and countries of Eurasia, and were hosted by Baltimore’s World Trade Center Institute, the largest international business network in the Mid-Atlantic, which strives to drive the growth of Maryland’s global business community through global networks.

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Visiting Ukrainian educators engage in dialogue with the founders of Alchemy Learning and Betamore

After a day and a half of visiting Edcamp BaltimoreJohns Hopkins University, Towson University, and Goucher College,the educators engaged in dialogue with Betamore founder Mike Brenner and Alchemy co-founders Win Smith and Henry Blue on Betamore’s Academy courses and entrepreneurial initiatives, Alchemy SmartBinder and the development process, and a variety of other topics including social media tools and strategies, applications of gamification in education, and a proposal for a Ukrainian-based tech-enabled environmental monitoring system.  The group will spend the final days of their U.S. venture in Washington D.C. 

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers and schools.  Alchemy recently released SmartBinder Flip beta, the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on student mastery and understanding.  SmartBinder Collaborate, SmartBinder Engage, and SmartBinder Teams are presently in private-beta. Create your free SmartBinder Flip account and launch the new tutorial