Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great Example of a Professional Development Wiki

Mark Spahr has put together a great professional learning group where he teaches. Mark is a culinary arts teacher and a leader in technology at his school. One of the things he's done is organize a lunch group that meets to discuss the use of technology in their classrooms.

Today, I came across the wiki that Mark's professional learning group has built together. If you're looking for a great example of how wikis can be used for collaborative professional development check out MVYDC Laptop Lunch.

Free Scientific Calculator

Encalc is a free online scientific calculator. I'm not much of a mathematician so I'll share with you how Encalc describes itself on its homepage. "Encalc is an online scientific calculator. Its strength lies in its ability handle units and dimensional analysis, to define variables and its large database of constants. Parenthesis and scientific formulas are also supported."

One of the features that I really like about Encalc are the explanations of how different variables and constants function within an equation or formula. Click on the image below for an example of the explanations offered for this sample problem.

Applications for Education
Good scientific calculators are expensive. Some schools have the students buy them other schools provide them and sign them out just like a textbook. Either way someone is absorbing a large cost. Fortunately for schools and students facing budget crunches, there are web tools like Encalc available for free.

Pete's Power Point Station - A Great Stop for Elementary Teachers

I came across Pete's Power Point Station yesterday while I was searching for lesson ideas to use with a group of struggling readers in one of my US History courses. Pete's Power Point Station has hundreds of Power Point presentations that can be downloaded by teachers to use in the classroom. The bulk of the presentations are best suited for use in elementary school and middle school settings. There are presentations for almost every subject area and school theme. The topics range from geography to dealing with school bullying.

Applications for Education
If you need a presentation for your elementary or middle school class in a hurry, chances are Pete's Power Point Station has something for you. If you can't find exactly what you're looking for, consider downloading the closest presentation and modifying it for your needs.