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Monday, March 17, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: New PB Wiki Features

I've written about using PB Wiki and using a wiki in the classroom in the past. You can read my past writings about using wiki programs here and here. PB Wiki has released a whole bunch of great new features for educators. PB Wiki was the first wiki program I ever used in the classroom so I feel some kind of weird techno-nostalgic connection to PB Wiki. PB Wiki has a great new wiki about using and making wikis with students.

Here are a couple of short videos about using PB Wiki.




Applications for Educators
The PB Wiki educator Wiki has many great resources for teachers. One of the most valuable resources is the collection of rubrics for grading students making a wiki. One of the challenges associated with using new technology that teachers face is how to assess achievement. PB Wiki's educator wiki demonstrates the collective wisdom of teachers around the world collaborating on the creation of rubrics. Collaboration is the real benefit of web 2.0 utilities.
Here are some useful pages from PB Wiki's educator wiki.
Wiki Etiquette for Students
How to assess a student's wiki
Examples of wikis in classrooms.

Free Technology For Teachers: More Math Games

I'm on a real gaming kick today and here is another great website of educational games for kids. Multiplication.com has four pages of games for kids to use to practice the multiplication tables. (There are also addition, subtraction, and division games). I played a couple of the "car wash" games today and they were quite enjoyable. After playing the games I can see how kids would get addicted to the games in a good way.

Applications for Educators
Educational Games have a real purpose in the classroom. Educational games like the ones available on Multiplication.com let students practice and progress at their own pace while the teacher or classroom assistant works with students needing extra help or an extra challenge.

Free Technology For Teachers: Social Networks for Kids, Teachers, and Parents

Students love social networking websites. Imbee has designed a platform through which teachers can capitalize on students' attraction to social networks and turn social networking into an educational tool. Imbee, to borrow the old Kix cereal phrase, is "kid tested and mother approved." Imbee provides a safe social networking platform for tweens (not quite teenagers). Imbee provides a platform for students to create profiles, share notes, post images and videos, and generally do all of the things the popular social networking sites do.

Imbee ensures the safety and security of young users by requiring parental or teacher approval to join a network and requires a parent or teacher to authenticate the identity of each Imbee user in a network.

Applications for Educators
Imbee allows teachers to set up networks for their own students. Teachers can then post assignments, notes, and images or videos relevant to class. Imbee provides teachers with ready-made permission slips explaining the website for parents to sign. Parents can be added to the network for your class so that they can see what their kids are doing and learning. Imbee provides a great introductory tour for teachers and lesson plans regarding the use of Imbee in the classroom.

Free Technology For Teachers: Quiz Tree - Educational Quiz

Quiz-Tree provides a wide variety of free educational games and activities for students and teachers. Most of the Quiz-Tree games and activities are web-based. Some of the games and activities are available as downloads for Windows operating systems.

One of the activities on Quiz- Tree that really caught my eye is the interactive image of John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence. Clicking on a person in the image provides you with a short biography of that person.

Applications for Educators
It is easy to find a game or activity on Quiz Tree by browsing based on grade level or browsing by subject area (see image above). There are over 1000 games and activities available for free covering all grades and content areas.

Free Technology For Teachers: Math Games

The Oswego, New York school district website has a great resource for math teachers called Math Magician Games. The games cover basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. The games are appropriate for students up to about the 8th grade.

Application for Educators
The games are straight forward and simple for students to get started using. The games are not flash-based so there is very little concern about whether or not your computers have the latest plug-ins or browser updates. The students can sit down at the computer and get started with very little "down time" as you try to get everyone playing.

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