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Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the FreeTech4Teachers.com world headquarters in sunny Woodstock, Maine where the thermometer currently reads -9F. In other words, it is a great morning to snowshoeing with my dogs. (They don't wear snowshoes).

While I'm out snowshoeing my thoughts will surely wander to the next few weeks of conferences at which I will be presenting. This coming week I'll be in North Carolina for #NCTIES15, the following week I'll be in Sydney for the Future Schools Expo, and then I'll be at ASCD's annual conference in Houston. If you're going to be at any of these events, please say hello.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Browser-based Tools for Creating Audio Recordings
2. 5 Videos on Making Flipped Video Lessons
3. Google Launches YouTube Kids - An for Watching Family-Friendly Videos
4. Create a Word Cloud Within Your Google Documents
5. How Wind Chill Is Calculated
6. Google Classroom Now Lets You Customize Your Classroom Themes
7. 10 Good Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms Add-ons for Teachers

Registration is open for the spring and summer sections of my popular online courses Getting Going With GAFE and Blogs & Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders. Graduate credits are available for both courses. People who are subscribed to the PracticalEdTech.com newsletter receive a discount on registration.

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.
Versal is a great tool for building interactive online course components.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
PresentationTube provides a good way to use PowerPoint to create flipped lessons.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
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.

Customize Your Wikispaces Navigation With Favorites

Wikispaces has long been a favorite tool of mine for students to use to create resource pages and digital portfolios. Over the years Wikispaces has continuously evolved by adding handy little features to their service. One feature that I wasn't aware of until reading yesterday's Wikispaces blog post was the option for members of a wiki to customize the favorites navigation in their views of a wiki.

To add a page to your favorites in the navigation you simply need to click star icon in the upper left corner of a page in your wiki. Wikispaces offers screenshots of the process here.

Applications for Education 
Customizing the favorites navigation in a Wikispaces wiki could be helpful to students who are working together to develop a resource wiki. Each student could favorite his or her own page to make it easier to find each time he or she logs into the wiki.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lesson Plan - How Expensive Are Payday Loans?

Econ Ed Link is a good source of comprehensive lesson plans for teaching economics lessons. How Expensive Are Payday Loans? is one of the featured lesson plans for use with ninth through twelfth grade students. The lesson is based upon a Federal Trade Commission video explanation of the costs of payday loans. The video in conjunction with the lesson plan teach students how to calculate the total cost of loan after accounting for finance charges, interest, and loan origination fees. The video is embedded below.


Applications for Education
How Expensive Are Payday Loans? could be a great companion lesson to my personal finance game Life on Minimum Wage. When students reach the point in the game that they need to borrow money, stop the game and interjection the lesson on the cost of payday loans.

5 TED-Ed Lessons on How the Human Body Works

This morning I visited TED-Ed's Lesson catalog and saw a new lesson about the pancreas. Seeing that video prompted me to look for other TED-Ed videos about the human body. I came up with four more and put them into a little playlist on YouTube. The five videos cover the pancreas, kidneys, lungs, heart, and liver. The playlist is embedded below.


Applications for Education
Earlier this week I shared five good apps and sites for learning about how the human body works. These TED-Ed lessons could make good companion lessons to using those apps. Like all TED-Ed lessons they're not thorough enough to stand alone, but they do make for good introductions and or concept reviews.

How to Search for Old Newspaper Articles in the Google News Archive

When I talk about search strategies in my workshops I stress the importance of getting students to utilize more than just the default Google.com search engine. One of the ways to do that is to introduce students to resources like the Google News Newspaper archive. In the Google News Newspaper archive you can search for a specific newspaper, search for article titles, or as demonstrated below you can search for a topic.


This is one of the resources that we will explore during my presentation Teaching With Technology and Primary Sources next week at #NCTIES15 in North Carolina.

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