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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pattern Matcher Helps Students Prepare for ACT and SAT

Pattern Matcher is a feature of PrepFactory's free ACT and SAT preparation service. Pattern Matcher is a game that students can play after they have completed the eight interactive strategy lessons in PrepFactory. The game is designed to help students recognize the types of questions that they will see on the ACT or SAT. After identifying the type of question students can try to match the strategy they should use to the questions they are seeing.

Applications for Education
The next ACT test date is just a week away. Reviewing the types of questions and the strategies needed to answer them is a good way for students to sharpen their skills before the ACT.

Learn more about PrepFactory in the videos embedded below.



Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Nudge - Interactive Algebra Lessons on iPads and Android Tablets

Nudge is a free iPad and Android app that provides students with interactive, on-demand algebra tutorials. The free app provides students with practice problems that they attempt to solve on their iPads or Android devices. When they get stuck on a problem students can ask for hint or for a demonstration of how to solve the problem. In addition to showing students hints and demonstrations, Nudge will show them where they made their mistakes in solving a problem.

Learn more about Nudge in the video below.


Applications for Education
Nudge could be a good app for students who are motivated to practice algebra outside of the assignments that you give to them. Unfortunately, without becoming a Nudge partner, there doesn't appear to be a way for teachers to track students' practice activities.

Simple, Effective Search Challenge Lessons

One of my favorite ways to reinforce the use of good search strategies to students is to show interesting pictures and have students try to make a long list of questions about what they see. Then I let the students try to find the answers to those questions. When they get stuck, I intervene to remind them of one of the search strategies that they have been taught. (Google's search education page has great lesson plans for teaching core search strategies).

Creating image-based search challenges:
1. Locate three public domain or Creative Commons licensed pictures to use as search prompts. If you have pictures of your own that you want to use, that’s okay too.
2. In Google Slides create a list of questions that your students might ask about the image. Put one question on each slide.
3. Arrange the slides in order of difficulty. On each slide give a search hint in the speaker notes.
4. Publish your search challenge activity and share the link in this form.

My "Big Truck" example:
Some of the most common questions that are asked when I show this picture to students or adults.
Where was this picture taken?
How big is the truck?
How much fuel does the truck consume?
How big are the tires?

All four of the questions above can be answered by using various search strategies and tools. Using the "similar images search" in Google Images will help you answer these questions. Google Maps Street View will help you answer the questions too. And while not essential to answering the questions, refining your search to a specific top-level domain could help too.

Make Your Videos Lively With Puppets

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning and the author of Making Your School Something Special.

Getting a thought across to students in a short video can happen in all sorts of ways, and using puppets is one of the better ones for making content that can appeal to all ages.

In this contest-winning video, Dennis Grice of Concordia International School in Shanghai made a piece to help students learn how not to spam each other, as well as what to do when getting messages that make you mad.

Spam: Don't Do It


A follow-up to watching this 90-second video might be having students think of some of the most important pieces of what they've studied, and to brainstorm what puppet PSA's could be that would help them remember the concepts going forward.

If they go ahead with making the videos, you might have them follow the rules in the Next Vista for Learning Creative Flight '17 contest, which runs through April. Find all the details here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

VocApp - Multimedia Flashcards on iOS and Android

Last week I shared a few tools that students can create digital flashcards. Two of those tools offer the option for including audio in flashcards. Another option is to use the VocApp app for iOS and Android.

To create flashcards on VocApp you need to create an account and sign-in. Once you're signed-in you can click "create flashcards" and begin writing out a list of words. Choose the language that you want to learn and VocApp will automatically translate words from English to the language you've selected. On the flashcard creation screen you can add an image to represent the words you're entering into your flashcards. The case of common words, VocApp will automatically add images to your flashcards. To help students learn how to pronounce words, VocApp offers audio support.

VocApp does offer some pre-made flashcard sets for sale, but you don't have to purchase anything in order to use the service to create and study your own flashcards. There is also a large gallery of public flashcards created by other users and made available for free.

Applications for Education
There is certainly not a shortage of flashcard services on the web. That doesn't mean we should ignore it when a new one comes around.  I like to give students a few options and let them choose. Some students may prefer the interface of VocApp over that of similar services. The ability to use VocApp in a web browser as well as on an Android tablet or iPad makes it a good option for BYOD settings.