Innovative Tools in the Classroom

As we wrap up, I is for Innovation, I thought I would leave things with some innovative tools you can get for your classroom and some ways you can use them.

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    Triforce of Ingenuity

    Perler Beads: We know this would be my first pick. I have really gotten into using Perler Beads with my teachers and students as our way of having our own 3D Printer. We currently do not have the funds to get the emerging technology in schools. While my nieces and peers have access to one at their schools. I stumbled on using Perler Beads due to health advice from my doctor. Perler Beads have been around for about 30 years and usually as Kids’ Craft uses or for SPED activities. They are both inexpensive and really allow students to run wild with their creativity in the classroom. I have used mine to create achievement badges, keychains and 3D modles like Super Mario Maker Amiibos. You can get either set colors or mixed and they are a lot of fun in the classroom.


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Banana Piano Anyone?

Makey Makey: I used a Makey Makey on a regular basis at my former school using it for STEAM activities with my students. These ranged from creating their own game controllers to use in GameJams to creating their own musical instruments from everyday items like cardboard tubes or cooking gloves. Recently, Joyz Labs has created a portible type to go and they work great with ardinos and Little Bit Maker kids. Give them a try.



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Catch it!

Catchbox: I get to finally play around with one of these next week at Edcamp ICE After Dark with my fellow tech person, Michael Jaber. I first saw these used during a conference in Chicago late last year. I thought they were great, a beachball type microphone that you can toss to the audience and they can ask questions and talk in no time. They can be custom designed and used from seminars to interactive activities. They range from $350-$600 depending on the type and if you want detailed customizing, but think about it. You can hold a pep rally and instead of walking towards a person who wants to give an answer or talk about something. Just roll the dice (I had to say it) and send it flying to the person. It mutes itself, and the wireless pick up hooks up to almost any PC, Mac or sound system. Great for sport events, Q & A or one or used for Persicope and 360 Videos.

4. Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 7.31.27 AMRicoh Theta: I so want to get one of these. The Ricoh Theta is a full 360 camera that takes both pictures and videos with one press of the button or tap from your smart device. Many of my peers from Tony Vincent to Felix Jacomino have one. Think about it, you can record a full Breakout Edu for your classroom without running to everyone or a shaky camera. You just mount it, hit record and away you go. Do full interactive 360 videos you can share on Youtube or Vimeo and soon Google Drive.


5.Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 8.19.24 AM.png Bloxels: Yes, I have one more amazing STEAM device for your classroom on gamification, Bloxels. When you build a game with Bloxels you get to do it all. It starts by designing the hero of your game, one block at a time, on the 13×13 Bloxels gameboard and ultimately building an entire world around your hero. Once your game is ready, you’ll be able to share what you create with the world. And if your players like your stuff, they can even use their hard earned coins to download your creations to use in their own games.  Bloxels are not only a great classroom item for students to be innovative, but you can create classroom GameJams. Which is when students create games and then share them with their classmates or other schools to play. Bloxels also has the sister app, Pixel Press Floors that allows you to create your own games. I have used Bloxels three times and hope we can move it to your school in the near future. Not once have I seen students or teachers disappointed in using Bloxels. They are innovative and amazing. Give them a try today.


These are my Top 5 of innovative items you can use for your classroom, give them a look and see if you can start using them today and start Building like a Pirate.


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