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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

Posts for Tech Tips

Using Different Colored Highlights to Increase Reading Comprehension

January 16, 2013

One of the important advantages of eBooks for education is that highlights don't have to be final. When you highlight a book with colored ink, the highlight is there forever. It is a static experience. You highlight, then you review. You can't change it.

The highlighting experience for eBooks and eTextbooks can be a much more engaging experience. One of our responsibilities as teachers is to use the tools to effectively teach students how to be better independent learners. The highlighting feature, when it allows you to have multiple colors, can be used in exciting new ways.

iPad Tutorial: Using Study Cards in Apple iBooks eTextbooks

October 29, 2012

Earlier this year we released two of our textbooks into the Apple iBookstore: Jesus Christ: God's Revelation to the World and Jesus Christ: Source of Our Salvation. These eTextbooks are specifically designed for the iPad using the incredible tools offered by the iBooks iPad App. One of the most exciting features about this app is the Study Cards. We've all used or asked students to use note cards and flash cards to study for tests or review material. Well, Study Cards in iBooks elevates that learning tactic to a whole new level.

We hope this brief tutorial on using Study Cards in iBooks Textbooks for the iPad will make an impact on the way you and your students use the iPad in class this year. Download a free sample copy of one of our books to your iPad to test out these features:

4 Places to Find the Best Catholic Apps for Your Classroom

June 25, 2012

With so many schools switching to a 1:1 iPad program in the next couple of years, I am starting to get some common questions. As you might imagine the most common question I get from teachers who have been given is, "Do you have any suggestions for apps I should download?"

Classrooms Ascending to the Cloud: Cloud Computing in Schools

May 14, 2012

For teachers, especially those moving to a 1:1 laptop/tablet environment, this is huge. The cloud will allow us to send and receive files easier, provide immediate feedback on projects, and work on various devices from various places. We won't have to worry about running back into school on the weekends because our work will be in the cloud.

Introduction to Using Tumblr in the Classroom

November 14, 2011

I know, I is a lot to ask. It is so tough to stay on top of the ever changing and new technologies. But the fact is as more and more adults get on Facebook, less and less teenagers will spend their time on there. Facebook becomes less cool with every mom posting her latest Farmville update.

SMART Board Tutorial Video: Teaching Vocabulary

October 11, 2011

Most teachers use PowerPoint as the backbone of their direct instruction techniques. Like me, many of these teachers didn't understand the true potential of the SMART Board when they first got one in the classroom. I'm challenging you to use the SMART Board Notebook software to step up your teaching and move beyond PowerPoint lectures. SMART Boards are equipped with interactive tools to teach basic concepts and lessons.

5 Ways Teachers Can Use Screencasts to Engage Student Learning

August 26, 2011

I love creating screencasts. After I did it once, I realized how easy it can be. A screencast is a video recording of someone's computer screen with an audio recording of someone's voice. With free programs/apps like Screenr, Screecast-o-matic, and Screncastle, teachers can make very creative recordings for their students.

New YouTube Videos for Religion Class

August 19, 2011

It is no secret that kids love to watch movies and videos. Some of them come to expect it in the classroom. Just below Google and Facebook, YouTube is the third most popular website in the world. Teens are likely to watch videos online frequently each week. Why not start showing videos in religion class on a frequent basis?

A Review of for the Religion Classroom

June 16, 2011

I recently came across a great, free online tool at I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but I asked around on Twitter and got some great feedback. I tested it out and hope teachers will find some great uses for it in the religion classroom.

SMART Board Tutorial: Using Tabs with Interactive Questions and Answers

June 03, 2011

One of the many features offered in SMART Notebook, is the ability to create tabs with answers hidden behind an image or outside of the screen. This is a great way to add some interactivity to your presentations. It also provides students with the opportunity to come up to the board and move things (and we all know how much they love to play with the SMART Boards).

How Does an Ave Maria Press eTextbook Look on the iPad?

May 20, 2011

We've been excited by the new technologies that have been born in recent years. From a catechetical publisher's perspective, there will be exciting new doors opened up for the textbooks we provide. The iPad especially is seen by many schools as a tool that offers many new opportunities. Our recent interview with Pam Vardano of Loyola College Prep, made that clear. So today we wanted to give you a quick peak into what an [Ave Maria Press eTextbook] looks like on the iPad.

iTeach with the iPad: An Interview with Pam Varnado

May 12, 2011

I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic presentation at NCEA in New Orleans called iTeach with an iPad given by Pam Varnado of Loyola College Prep in Shreveport, LA. Pam, her principal Frank Israel, and their colleagues discussed their experience debuting the iPad program with two trial teachers and classes. They provided a number of tips about classroom management in the digital age and the many opportunities that the iPad provides for students.

Using Slideshare to Improve Your Presentation-Making Skills

May 06, 2011

The website is a powerful home of presentations, PDFs, and videos. Many expert presenters have created model presentations that could act as inspirational for the next time you create a presentation.

Stations of the Cross PowerPoint Prayer Reflection

April 15, 2011

PowerPoint can be a powerful tool for creating prayer reflections. Below you will find a sample Stations of the Cross PowerPoint prayer reflection and template that you can use to create your own Stations of the Cross PowerPoint. This could be something you create as a teacher or something you have your students use to create their own prayer services.

What Is RSS and Why Should I Use It?

April 08, 2011

RSS has virtually replaced the need to bookmark a website. Now that websites are dynamic with blogs, newsfeeds, podcasts, videos, twitter feeds, etc., I get instant notification when a website is updated.

10 Google Search Tips for Students and Teachers

April 01, 2011

In this week's edition of Ave Maria Press tech tips, we explore a tool that is used over 400 million times per day. In the five minute video below we share 10 Google search tips for students and teachers to use while doing research on the Web.

What Is a Wiki?

March 25, 2011

Wiki is a funny word. People laugh just saying it. So, what does it mean? Where did the word come from?

LA Congress Tech Center Presentation

March 22, 2011

Among the many presentations and workshops by Ave Maria Press speakers and staff, Jared Dees offered a showcase of online classroom resources and the Xplana eTextbooks. Some of those in attendance requested a copy of that presentation, which can be found below.

Technology Tips for Religious Educators Webinar

March 11, 2011

Thank you to everyone you tuned in to yesterday's webinar "Technology Tips for Religious Educators." We are very proud of the online resources we have developed for teachers and we hope the tips in this presentation are helpful in your efforts to integrate technology into classroom instruction. If you would like to view a recording of this webinar, you can find it here.

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