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Monday, April 27, 2015

Use Monster Heart Medic to Diagnose a Healthy Lifestyle

This is a guest post from Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

A recent app developed by UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, and funded by a National Institutes of Health SEPA Award, serves as a great example for what we can achieve when we use technology in the service of community. This time, the collaboration resulted in educating people about the importance of healthy lifestyles and habits through the creation of Monster Heart Medic. This free, new app for iOS - and soon coming to Android - is a well crafted educational adventure game that explores the cardiovascular system by examining how it is affected by healthy living.


Meet Ragnar! A friendly 3 eyed monster who needs students’ help! Ragnar is not feeling very well and needs children to help him get better! The game is cleverly crafted through an interactive narrative. As students build their knowledge of the cardiovascular system and healthy living, they earn health achievements. Through hands-on tests, interactive simulators, discussions with health professionals, animated monster stories, and arcade games, players learn about common cardiovascular conditions, diagnostic tests, and what steps can be taken to get and keep a healthy cardiovascular system.

From learning about the different parts that make up the cardiovascular system, to truly embracing the role of a healthcare provider, students use medical tools like a stethoscope and pressure cuff to help diagnose cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the app does a brilliant job of bringing to life and helping children visualize the dangerous effects of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 10.16.45 PM

We all know how much children love customizing characters and Ragnar is no exception! Children can customize him with hats, moustaches, hairstyles and much more. Even with the fun music and character customization, the ultimate goal and lessons of the game are never lost. The different game levels reinforce the importance of healthy food and lifestyle choices. As students diagnose and treat Ragnar, they will learn how to make these choices for themselves so that they do not end up like this monster!

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 10.18.37 PM

While Monster Heart Medic is geared towards children, teens and adults can greatly benefit from some of the fun as well. The exciting game play serves as a great tool for clinicians and parents. They can use it with children to enhance and develop their health literacy and make informed decisions about how to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This past year, I co-taught Advanced Topics in Education (ATEd), a project-based course where physician assistant students at the Keck School of Medicine of USC explore the changing dynamics in how people today communicate and investigate how they can use these different platforms that technology has afforded us to deliver patient education outside the four walls of the examination room. Monster Heart Medic serves as a brilliant example of how we can help tackle problems in healthcare by reaching out and delivering education; this time through a exciting game!

Learn more from Sabba this summer! She will be leading workshops for EdTechTeacher in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Two Good Mathematics Glossaries for Students - One in English and Spanish

Like a lot of kids, when I was a middle school and high school student the vocabulary of math often tripped me up. Once I wrapped my head around the meaning of terms I had an easier time understanding and solving the problems. Having a glossary of terms often helped me out. Here are couple of excellent mathematics glossaries for kids.

Math Vocabulary Cards is a free iPad app designed for elementary school students. The app offers exactly what its name implies, a series of flashcards of mathematics vocabulary terms. Each card contains a term, a diagram, and a definition. By default the term is hidden and students have to guess the term based on the definition and diagram. Students can also use the cards with the definitions hidden and the terms revealed. Math Vocabulary Cards can be used in Spanish or English. Simply select a language at the bottom of each card. Students can browse through the entire gallery of flashcards or choose a specific category of terms to study.

Jenny Eather's A Maths Dictionary for Kids has been around for years now. Every year it is updated with more great content for kids. The dictionary provides simple and clear definitions of math terms. Each definition includes a small diagram or simple activity to illustrate the term's definition. A Maths Dictionary for Kids does not have a search option, but it doesn't need one as all definitions appear alphabetically just like in a physical dictionary. Nearly all of the content in the dictionary can be printed.

Parts of this post originally appeared on one of my other blogs, iPadApps4Sschool.com.

Socializing School Events With Social Media

Last week I received a copy of Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick's book The Art of Social Media. It's a quick read that is full of actionable items. One of the chapters of the book is about incorporating social media into physical events like conferences. As I read the chapter I thought, "this could apply to school events."

Here's the general outline of how this could work:
1. Let's say your school's music program is having a fundraiser event like an auction or a costume contest.
2. Pick a hashtag for the event and let people know about it. Print it out and plaster it on posters with prompts like, "remember to tag your pictures, #myschoolrocks."
3.  Use a tool like Tagboard to monitor the hashtag and reTweet, Pin, reGram, tag, and otherwise help the event's hashtag grow.
4. After the event is over go through and choose a bunch of pictures and or Tweets to create a collage of highlights of the events. Tools like Pic-Collage and PicMonkey make it easy to build collages. (Remember to ask for permission to re-use another person's pictures). Post the collages on your school's Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. Of course, you'll also want to use the collages in your school newsletter too.

Why do this?
1. Your students and their parents are already likely to be using social media during after-school events.
2. By encouraging the use of and tracking a hashtag you can have a better sense of what is being said about the event.
3. People love to see pictures of themselves (the selfie stick is the new symbol of narcissism) so by including their pictures in news about the event they're more likely to share news about the event.
4. If the event went well, people had fun, and money was raised (or whatever the event's goal was), you now have a small army of people who have positive feelings about the school that they are sharing throughout their communities. Sharing good feelings and comments about your school is always a good thing.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Week in Review - New Pageview Record

Good morning from the FreeTech4Teachers.com World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. For the third day in a row we are experiencing squalls, wind, and generally just a winter that won't quit. I probably jinxed it last week when I raved about how spring had finally arrived. Before I head outside to ride my bike in snow, I have this week's week-in-review to share.

This week saw FreeTech4Teachers.com receive a new record high for pageviews for a one month period, just over 1.1 million views. Put another way, that's 1.09 million more than I ever expected when I started this blog nearly eight years ago. A huge thank you to those who have been with me since the early days. And thank you to everyone that has helped the site grow by sharing posts through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other networks. It's seeing Tweets like the one below that make it fun for me to keep blogging. Thank you.


Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Handful of Tools That Help Students Analyze Their Own Writing
2. 124 Recordings of Famous Poets Reading Some of Their Poems
3. Google Classroom Now Supports Teacher Collaboration and Announcement Drafts
4. g(Math) for Google Forms Now Supports Handwritten Responses
5. How to Use Handwriting in Google Documents
6. 100 Practical Ed Tech Tips Videos
7. 10 Topics for School Blog Posts


PD Opportunities With Me
Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.

Friday, April 24, 2015

How to Use Handwriting in Google Documents

Earlier this week John Stevens tipped me off to using g(Math) to add handwritten responses to Google Forms. This morning John sent me a direct message on Twitter to tell me that you can now use handwriting in Google Documents through the g(Math) Add-on. John wrote out step-by-step directions with screenshots here. I made a short screencast of the process. That screencast is embedded below.


Thanks again to John Stevens for the tip. And thanks to John McGowan for developing g(Math).

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