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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Darcy Moore's Best of 1:1 Advice

Over the last couple of weeks Darcy Moore has been collecting advice about preparing teachers to teach in a 1:1 environment. He reached out to his network of Twitter contacts and received many, many responses. In the video below Darcy compiles some of the best bits of advice and sets it to music. If your school, like mine, is preparing for teaching in a 1:1 environment, this video is worth watching.

RSS readers may need to click through to view the video.

Comprehensive Lesson Plans for Teaching Copyright

On Friday Ars Technica ran a good article about the Electronic Frontier Foundation's attempt to balance a perceived bias in the Copyright Alliance's educational materials. If you read the article, make sure you scroll down through the comments where there are some good (and some inane) thoughts on the topic of teaching copyright laws in schools.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a set of comprehensive lesson plans about copyright simply titled Teaching Copyright. Teaching Copyright contains five lesson plans. Each lesson plan includes printable worksheets, readings, and suggested activities. For teachers looking for a little more information than is available in the lesson plans, the EFF has a good list of additional resources including videos on the topics of copyright and fair use. To stay up to date on new developments in copyright and fair use, you may want to the EFF blog.

Applications for Education
Copyright can be a confusing topic for adults as well as children. The EFF's Teaching Copyright lesson plans provide teachers with the materials and resources needed for teaching appropriate use of copyrighted materials.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Copyright for Educators
The End to Copyright Confusion
Video Introduction to Understanding Fair Use

Saturday, May 30, 2009

ESL Printables - Worksheets and Lesson Plans

ESL Printables is a community for ESL teachers to find and share worksheets and lesson plans. I use the term community to describe ESL Printables because of its unique registration policy and use policies. To use ESL Printables you have to be a registered user. Registration is free, but to complete your registration you have to contribute a printable worksheet, lesson plan, or Powerpoint of your own. Every time someone downloads one of your submissions, you also earn points that you can use to download more materials.

Applications for Education
ESL Printables could be a great way to connect with other ESL teachers to exchange ideas. The message boards associated with ESL Printables seem to have an active exchange of ideas.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Three Good Resources for ESL/ELL Teachers
Pronunciation Animations
Visual Dictionary from Merriam Webster

NeoK12 - A Super Collection of Educational Videos

NeoK12 is a great collection of educational videos for science, math, social studies, and language arts. Each category is subdivided by topic. For example under the social studies heading you will find sub-categories of geography, government, industry and several more topics. Most of the videos come from YouTube or Metacafe. You could find these videos yourself on YouTube, but NeoK12 saves you time through their categorization of videos.

Applications for Education
Most of the videos on NeoK12 come from YouTube which may be a problem for those who work in school districts where YouTube is blocked. If YouTube is not blocked in your school, NeoK12 could be a valuable time-saver in your search for educational videos.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Can't Use YouTube? Try This
20+ Educational Alternatives to YouTube
Six More Educational Alternatives to YouTube
Quietube - No Nonsense YouTube Viewing
Two Good Options for Subtitling Videos

Week in Review - 7 Most Popular Items

This week, thanks to all of you, Free Technology for Teachers exceeded the previous record for page views and visits in a month and the month isn't even over yet. Thank you to everyone that has shared a link a told a colleague about Free Technology for Teachers. Without you this blog wouldn't have the reach that it does today.

Here are the seven most popular items (based on clicks and views) of the last week:
1. Planet Science - Science Games and Lesson Plans
2. What is Possible With Google Earth?
3. The History Teacher's Attic is a Must-Read
4. Animated and Narrated Grammar Glossary
5. Four Free Tools for Creating Screencasts
6. What Does it Take to Climb Mount Everest?
7. A Great Glogster Tutorial

If you found any or all of the above links useful, please consider subscribing to Free Technology for Teachers via RSS or email.

To subscribe via RSS, please click here.
To subscribe to the daily email, please click here.

Update: the 7th link above wasn't directing correctly earlier today, it is fixed now.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ten Spelling Games and Lessons... and a Laugh

Last night Kavya Shivashankar was crowned champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee 2009. If you're students would like to get started on preparing for next year's competition they can test their skills on this sample test from Scripps. Below the video are other resources your students can use to develop their spelling skills.

1. Spelling Wizard from Scholastic.com lets students, parents, and teachers create their own word search and word scramble games to play online. Each game can have up to ten words. To use Spelling Wizard simply enter ten words into the list field then select word search or word scramble. Spelling Wizard is probably best suited for students in Kindergarten through second grade. Scholastic also offers a free tool for creating online spelling flashcards.

2. Read Write Think has an online activity for young (K-2) students based on four childrens' books. Read Write Think's Word Wizard asks students to select one of four books that they have read or have had read to them. After selecting a book the Word Wizard creates a simple online spelling exercise based on the words in the book chosen by the child.

3. Spell Bee was developed at Brandeis University with funding from the National Science Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Spell Bee allows students to play spelling games in a head-to-head format. Spell Bee allows teachers to create accounts for students so that teachers can track student progress.

4. MSNBC has an interactive spelling bee based on the words from the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. There are three games to play and the words get progressively more difficult the longer you play. The words are read to students who then type the word into the spelling box. Just like in a real spelling bee, students can get the definition and or hear it used in a sentence. The difficulty of the words in the game make it best suited for middle school and high school students.

5. Spelling Bee The Game is an online spelling bee similar in style to the MSNBC game mentioned above. After selecting an avatar (game persona), students hear words read to them and have to type the correct spelling in the fields provided. If a student spells a word correctly, they move on to the next level. If a student does not spell a word correctly, they are given an easier word to try. If students need help spelling a word, they can hear the definition read as well as hear the word used in a sentence.

6. Kids Spell provides eight free games that help students learn to spell more than 6,000 words. Kids Spell is a part of the Kids Know It Network. The Kids Know It Network provides educational games for all content areas taught in grades K-6.

7. Spin and Spell has been featured on a number of blogs over the last year. Spin and Spell asks students to select a picture and then spell the name of the item. Alternatively, students can have word select for them and then identify the correct corresponding image.

8. GamesGames.com offers sixteen free spelling games. Most of the games seem to be designed with grades 3, 4, and 5 in mind.

9. Spelling City is a resource that Jim Moulton shared in his Best of Web 2008 presentation at the ACTEM conference in October. Spelling City not only offers games, it also offers the capability for students to type a word and hear it pronounced.

10. Catch the Spelling offers more than two dozen categories of spelling games. Each game has the same format; as words fall from the top of the screen, players have to "catch" the appropriate letters in the correct sequence to spell the word displayed at the top of the game. Players "catch" letters by moving a cursor at the bottom of the page. In some ways it reminded me of a cross between Tetris and Frogger.

This moment from last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee comes to us in the style of "Kids Say the Darndest Things." If you've had a long week of teaching, this might give you a nice laugh.

Sketchcast - Demonstrate Concepts Through Video

I wrote about Sketchcast last year, but on the heels of today's earlier post about screencasting I thought it would be appropriate to share information about Sketchcast again.

Sketchcast is a great way to demonstrate ideas and concepts through drawing and voice. Using Sketchcast is as easy as drawing on a white board while explaining a concept. Sketchcast provides users with a place sketch diagrams while speaking at the same time. The sketches can then be embedded into a blog or shared via email.

Below is a video introduction to Sketchcast.


Applications for Education
Sketchcast is useful for creating short video tutorials for students. Math teachers could use Sketchcast to walk students through the solutions to challenging mathematics problems. Teachers who are using blogs, wikis, or other websites with their classes will enjoy the ability to quickly create a sketch while explaining a concept to students and then quickly embed that sketch into their blog or wiki.

Budget Cuts and Taxes - Lesson Plans

Today's episode of CNN Student News contains a segment about impact of a proposed budget cut on students in California. This segment could be a good introduction to teaching lessons on how state budgets are formed, how a revenue is raised, and how tax revenue is spent. Below the video embedded below you'll find a couple of corresponding lesson plans.


PBS Kids has a great lesson plan for introducing young students to the concepts of budgets and taxes. The lesson starts with a focus on the students' personal budget before moving onto the basic concepts of government budget.

The IRS website, Understanding Taxes, is a good source of lesson plans and individual learning materials about taxes and budgets. In the teacher section of the site you will find lesson plans like this one (opens as pdf) designed to teach students about services for which tax revenue is used.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
It's Tax Day! Where Does the Money Go?
Learning About US Income Taxes
The Importance of Supreme Court Nominations
Lesson Plans from the US Department of State
Civics Lessons for ESL Students

Four Free Tools for Creating Screencasts

Making screencast videos is a good way to create a record of the instructions that you may have to frequently give to students or colleagues. Post your screencasts online and your students and colleagues can watch them when you're not available to answer their "how-to" questions. In the past I have created screencasts for my students about adding pages to wikis. If you've never created a screencast because you thought that you had to have some special skills, this post is for you. The four tools highlighted below allow you to create screencast videos quickly and easily. All four of these tools can be used on Mac or Windows computers.

Jing is a free screencasting tool available as a Mac or Windows download. Using Jing you can record videos of your computer screen to visually demonstrate and orally explain to viewers how to perform a task on their own computers. You can also use Jing to take screenshots on which you can then draw and label. Jing screencast videos can be resized to fit your blog or website by following the directions given in the Jing help center. Of the five screencasting tools in this list, Jing offers the most free features. The only drawback to Jing is that you do have to install software on your computer.

ScreenToaster is completely free and quite easy to use. It is a great product although it doesn't have quite as many features as Jing. The trade-off between using ScreenToaster and Jing is that to use ScreenToaster you do not need to install any software. ScreenToaster is a completely web based application that allows you to record what is happening on your computer screen at any given time. ScreenToaster now allows you to record audio to accompany your screencasts. With ScreenToaster you can choose to record all of your screen or just a portion of your screen. When your recording is complete you can save your screencast to your computer, upload it to ScreenToaster, or upload it to YouTube. ScreenToaster is the tool I used to make this popular video about Google's Wonder Wheel.

Screen Castle is a simple screencast creation tool that is completely web-based. To use Screen Castle simply visit their website, click the start button and you're recording. You have the option to enable voice recording for your screencasts. Screencasts made using Screen Castle can be viewed on the Screen Castle website (see my example here) or embedded into another website or blog.

Screencast-O-Matic is a web-based screencast creation tool similar to Screen Castle. Screencast-O-Matic allows you to specify how much of your screen that you want to record. Recording your voice is an available option. Every time that I've tried Screencast-O-Matic it was slow so you probably need to have a fast Internet connection to use Screencast-O-Matic effectively.

What's missing from this list? What screencasting tools do you recommend? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

WebNotes - Highlight, Annotate, Organize the Web

Webnotes is a service that makes it easy to highlight, annotate, and organize your web research. WebNotes has free and paid versions of its service. The free version allows you to highlight, annotate, and organize the information that you find on websites. The paid version allows you to highlight, annotate, and organize information from PDFs as well as websites. There are two options for installing WebNotes. WebNotes can be installed by downloading the full toolbar. The option for installing WebNotes is to use the install bookmarklet that when clicked displays the toolbar on the webpage that you're viewing.

The video below provides a nice overview of WebNotes.

WebNotes Screencast from Alex King on Vimeo.



Applications for Education
WebNotes is a handy little toolbar that could be a great aid to students that struggle to organize the information that they find on the Internet.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Worio Search - Discover More Search Results
Internet Search Strategies Explained
UberNote - A Great Replacement for Google Notebook

Picturing the Century - Lesson Plans and Worksheets

Picturing the Century is an online photo exhibit created by and hosted by the National Archives and Records Administration. The exhibit contains six galleries of images from 20th Century life in the United States. NARA provides teachers with six lesson plans including a printable worksheet for using the Picturing the Century images in their classrooms.

Applications for Education
The lesson plans provided by NARA to accompany Picturing the Century are written in a manner that they can be adapted for use in classrooms from elementary school through high school.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Lesson Plans and More for US History Teachers
Lesson Plans from the US Department of State
The Farm Letters - Stories of Great Depression Life

Navify - Wikipedia With Images and Videos

Navify is a new mashup of Wikipedia, Flickr, and YouTube. Like Nibipedia and Visual Wikipedia, Navify attempts to match videos and images to Wikipedia articles. To use Navify, simply enter a search term just as you would on Wikipedia. The results of your search will be shown in a three tab display of Wikipedia article, related images, and related videos. The screenshot below shows the results page for my search for WWII.














Applications for Education
What I like about this type of Wikipedia and video mashup is that it provides a second or third option for students to get engaged in learning. A student that struggles as a reader can still get engaged in an article through the corresponding videos and images.

Visual Wikipedia is still my favorite mash-up of Wikipedia and videos because of its web-style of information discovery. That said, Navify is a very good resource for finding visual aids to complement the topics that your students are studying.

Mashable and Larry Ferlazzo also have good things to say about Navify.

StatPlot - Graphs for Sports

I have to thank the awesome people in my Twitter network for help with this blog post, all of those who offered suggestions are listed at the end of this post. If you're looking for smart people to add to your Twitter network, check the list at the end of this post.

StatPlot is a new service that allows users to create charts and graphs of statistics from the NBA, NCAA Basketball, the NFL, NCAA Football, and NASCAR. Users select the data sets that they would like to compare and StatPlot creates a chart of that data. In the screenshot below you will see a chart I made comparing the Boston Celtics' 3 point attempts to 3 point shots made.













Applications for Education
This is the part where I had to get suggestions from the people in my Twitter network that have better math minds than mine. Here are the suggestions.
Carol @cllecr suggested this use of StatPlot, "stat plot looks like a nice INQUIRY tool.. Answer their own question... Ie is there a home court advantage? Homerun/alt relationship?"
John @johnfaig offered this suggestion, "use as an intro the graph; kids create accurate graph and a misleading version; other kids try and figure which is which."
Cassie @cbanka shared this idea with me, "Stat Plot may work with this lesson plan I found a couple weeks back. http://bit.ly/fYq2."

Expedition Africa - New TV Show and Online Game

Expedition Africa is a new television show starting this weekend on the History Channel. The basic premise of the show is four adventurers traveling across 970 miles of African bush in Tanzania. According to the trailers, the show is not a contest as the four adventurers are working together without any sort of prize at the end. The four adventurers include a wildlife expert, a navigator, a survivalist, and a journalist.

The Expedition Africa website has a game in which players try to travel 970 miles of African bush. Throughout the game players encounter natural obstacles and have to make decisions regarding course of travel and use of resources. In general the game could be described as Oregon Trail meets African bush.

Applications for Education
The Expedition Africa game could be a fun way for students to learn about the natural dangers of backcountry travel in Africa.

Here is a related resource that may be of interest to you:
Wild Earth TV - Live from the African Bush

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heyzap - Strategy Games for Your Class Website

heyZap is a newer website that hosts games of all types submitted by game developers. TechCrunch describes heyZap as "YouTube for flash games." heyZap provides customizable widgets for embedding any of the games on the site into your blog or website.

Applications for Education
heyZap doesn't have a category dedicated to educational games, but it does have categories for strategy games and puzzle games. The puzzle games category is where I found games about the US states and capitals. The strategy game category is where you can find games like Chess. The customizable game widget allows you to select specific games to add to your class website or blog.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Ten Fun Educational Games for K-8 Students
The Math Arcade on Fun Brain
Study Stack - Build Your Own Review Games

The News About the News - Short, Fun TED Talk

While exploring the TED Talks website this afternoon I came across a short, fun talk given by Alisa Miller. In her talk Alisa Miller shares information about the news that Americans see and how Americans see it. Miller also explains why some global stories don't get the coverage that they should receive. During the talk Miller presents excellent visual representations of the type of news stories that are popular and where they are popular. The four minute talk is embedded below.


Reminder, if you need subtitles for this talk visit the TED website directly. On the TED website you can get subtitles and a transcript of this talk in eight languages.

Applications for Education
This TED Talk is short enough and effective enough to be an excellent starting place for a classroom discussion about what is news and what makes a story popular. If you work with ESL/EFL students it might be interesting to have those students exchange ideas about this topic with native English speakers.

World Food Programme - Lesson Plans and Games

The United Nations' World Food Programme's website has excellent resources for learning about world hunger and fighting world hunger. On the website teachers can download lesson plans for use in grades four through nine. These lesson plans call for a mix of online and offline activity. The lesson plan that teaches students what it's like to live on less than two dollars per day struck me as being a potentially powerful lesson for some students. Before using the lesson plans, you may want to have students review Hunger 101 on the WFP's website. In Hunger 101 students will learn basic world hunger statistics and vocabulary.

In addition to lesson plans, the World Food Programme's website offers students a large selection of educational online games and activities. The games are categorized by age group. Some of the games, like Food Force, are about world hunger while other games are more general in nature.

Applications for Education
The WFP's website looks like a great place to find resources for elementary and middle school classrooms.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The Places We Live - Images and Sounds of Slums
Resources for UN Human Rights Day
Kids Around the World - Culture Lessons for K-5

Google Maps for More than Social Studies

I've mentioned Google Earth and Google Maps in more than 100 of the 1700+ posts published on this blog. Many of those posts highlight uses of Google Maps and Google Earth in the social studies classroom. The uses of Google Earth and Google Maps doesn't stop at the social studies classroom door, there are uses for these tools in math, science, and literature. Google for Educators highlights a dozen ways to use Google Maps and Google Earth across the curriculum.

Here are some other ideas and methods I've suggested for using Google Maps and Google Earth outside of the social studies classroom.
Google Lit Trips - The Greatest Road Trip Stories
The Travels of Odysseus in Google Earth
Monitoring and Mapping CO2 Emissions
More Real World Math
World Sunlight Map
Oral History of Route 66
Search Paintings Around the World
Stimulate Imagination With a Books and Google Maps Combo

The New Carnival of Education is Posted

The new Carnival of Education is posted on Siobhan Curious: Classroom as Microcosm. If you've never looked at it, you should because it is a good place to find some of the best user-submitted blog entries of the last week or so. You can find blog posts like mine about lesson plans for teaching Brown v. Board of Education and blog posts like Scott McLeod's about the way that educational leadership faculty are seen by those they serve.

The Importance of Supreme Court Nominations

Today's episode of CNN Student News leads off with a segment about President Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court Justice. The segment explains why the appointment of Supreme Court Justice is so important to the US government. Last week I posted a list of lesson plan resources for teaching about the Supreme Court and the branches of government. You may want to take a look at that list after watching the video embedded below.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Animated and Narrated Grammar Glossary

Great Source iWrite from the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt company features an awesome animated and narrated glossary of grammar terms. In this glossary you will find animated, narrated videos explaining the use of punctuation. You will find the same type of video explaining the parts of speech and mechanics of writing.

Thanks to Diana Dell for this awesome resource that she posted on Twitter tonight.

Applications for Education
If you require students to do any type of formal writing, the Great Source iWrite glossary of grammar terms is a great reference to link to your class blog or website.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Play Mad Libs Online
Grammar Ninja - A Fun Grammar Game
Five Great Grammar Resources

Find Creative Commons Images on Yahoo Search

Yahoo has introduced a new option for finding Creative Commons licensed images. Now when you search for images using Yahoo's image search tool, you can select filters to refine results to show only images that are licensed under Creative Commons. The filters allow you to select filters for images that can be used for commercial purposes or images that are licensed for remixing and building upon. The screenshot below shows the filters I selected when searching for images of the Eiffel Tower.










Applications for Education
Yahoo's Creative Commons image search filter is one of the easiest-to-use Creative Commons search tools that I've tried. Yahoo's search filters make it easy for students to quickly find images that they can use in all kinds of digital presentations.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Copyright for Educators
Creative Commons Explanations and Teaching Materials
Compfight - Creative Commons Image Search

The History Teacher's Attic is a Must-Read

I might be late to the party on this one, but I'll share it anyway because I can't be the only one who hadn't heard of The History Teacher's Attic. The History Teacher's Attic is written by Jeff Mummert who has been teaching a variety of social studies courses for the last fifteen years. Over the years he has created numerous lesson plans and found many resources for teaching social studies. So, in Jeff's words he created The History Teacher's Attic for this purpose, "to get this dusty stuff off of my hands, all the while adding new content and resources for the history or social studies teacher." It appears that The History Teacher's Attic is updated a few times a week. I took one look at The History Teacher's Attic and knew that I had to subscribe to it. If you're a social studies teacher, you owe it to yourself to explore The History Teacher's Attic too.

MapTrot - Easily Create and Share Maps

MapTrot is one of the most easy-to-use map creation tools that I've come across in a while. To use MapTrot simply click "create a map" to get started. There are three methods for creating placemarks on your map. You can add placemarks by entering an address, by specifying latitude and longitude coordinates, or by simply zooming in and clicking on a location. I found zooming in and clicking on a location to be the easiest of the three methods for adding placemarks. After specifying the location of a placemark you can add information about your chosen location.

The map below is one that I created in about five minutes using MapTrot. RSS readers may need to click through to see the map.


Here's a great example of what can be done with MapTrot.

Applications for Education
MapTrot is a great tool for introducing students to making maps online. Map making isn't limited to just the social studies classroom. MapTrot could be used by students to map out the locations in a story they've read. MapTrot could also be used by students in a science classroom to map the locations of volcanoes or the site of an earthquake. Art students could use MapTrot to create a map of the birthplaces of artists or to map the location of significant works of architecture.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Show World - Geography Lesson Plans
National Atlas Map Maker
Glotter - Building and Sharing Google Maps

A Great Glogster Tutorial

Glogster is a powerful tool for students to use to create online collages that they can share with their friends and classmates. If you're not familiar with Glogster, it can best be described, as Amy Mayer did here, as an online poster creation tool with music. Glogster for Education gives teachers the ability to create accounts for their classrooms. Using their Glogster for Education accounts, teachers can assign to and manage individual accounts for their students.

I could walk you through all of the things you can do with Glogster and the steps you need to take to get your students using Glogster, but Traci Blazosky has already put together an excellent Glogster tutorial. In Traci's Glogster tutorial you will find directions on everything from registering with Glogster through embedding finished Glogsters into a wiki or blog.

Applications for Education
Glogster can be used in any number of content areas. I've had students use Glogster to create collages about famous figures from the 1920's. Literature teachers may want to use Glogster to create book reports and or character portrayals. Creating Glogster collages could be an assignment in and of itself or the collages your students create could be part of larger collaborative project like creating a wiki on a particular unit of study.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Myths and Legends Story Builder
Stupeflix - Free Video Montage Creator
The End of Slide Shows - Animoto

Monday, May 25, 2009

MyPicsMap - View Flickr Images on a Map

My Pics Map is a mashup of Flickr and Google Maps. My Pics Map allows you to quickly display your own Flickr collection on a map. You can also view on a map the Flickr collections of other users simply by entering their user names. If you don't have any Flickr images your own or you don't know of any Flickr users whose collections you'd like to view, simply click on explore and zoom in on an area to view images for that area.










Applications for Education
My Pics Map could be used by students to discover images related to cities, countries, and regions that they're studying. Students that go field trips and overseas study tours can use My Pics Map to share and provide geographic context of their pictures.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Creative Commons Animal Photos
Find Flickr Images by Tag or Location
Life Photo Archive Hosted by Google

Writing Den - Writing Tips

The Writing Den is a good little reference website for student writers. The Writing Den offers students a word of the day, tips on grammar rules, and tips on sentence and paragraph construction. For teachers the Writing Den offers seven ideas for using the resources on Writing Den in their classrooms.

Applications for Education
The Writing Den has a definite web 1.0 feel, yet still offers some good tips that can be used by students and teachers.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Essay Map - Step-by-Step Help Constructing Essays
Grammar Bytes - Develop and Test Grammar Knowledge
Language Arts Links You Might Have Missed

Remarkable Images of Protest

As I've mentioned in the past, Environmental Graffiti is an excellent place to find photo essays to share in an Environmental Science classroom. Today, Environmental Graffiti posted a photo essay that could be a great discussion starter in a social studies classroom. Remarkable Images of Activism from the Last Fifty Years features photographs, with captions, of protests from Tienanmen Square, protests of the 1999 WTO Conference in Seattle, and Anti Iraq War protests.

Applications for Education
This collection of images could be used as conversation starters when introducing the events pictured. The collection could also be used to start discussions about protests in general.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Fibonacci Sequence Illustrated by Nature
The First 100 Days in Pictures
The Inauguration in 60 Seconds

Planet Science - Science Games and Lesson Plans

Planet Science, produced by the NESTA, provides students from pre-K through middle school with online games and activities for learning about science. Planet Science also offers teachers lesson plans that include the use of online and offline resources. Parents looking for activities to get their children excited about learning science should the parents section of Planet Science.

The Battle for Planet Science is one of the featured games on Planet Science. Battle for Planet Science requires students to use their knowledge of a variety of science concepts in order to succeed in the game. Prior to playing Battle for Planet Science you may want to have students review by trying the quizzes in the science news quiz archive.

Applications for Education
Planet Science has something for most science students and teachers. The activities, games, and lesson plans are appropriate for use in grades K-8.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Great Science Activities from Exploratorium
Science is Fun - Home Experiments
Science Projects and Posters for Elementary Schools

Examville - Practice the SAT Online

Examville is an online resource for preparing for standardized tests and for studying specific content areas. Examville features full-length practice tests of the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT. The tests are timed. Test takers receive their scores as soon as they finish the test.

Examville also gives users the opportunity to create study groups to study online with the help of classmates and teachers. Teachers and students can use the study guides uploaded to the site by others or upload their own study guides for others to use.

Below is a short video introduction to Examville.

Introduction to Examville from Examville on Vimeo.



Applications for Education
Examville is geared toward use by high school and college students preparing for standardized tests. The practice SAT is probably the most valuable resource for high school students using the site.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
EduFire Flashcards - SAT Prep and More
Word Ahead Vocabulary Videos
PrepHub - Collaborative Test Preparation

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What is Possible With Google Earth?

Frank Taylor, author of the Google Earth Blog, recently presented at the Where 2.0 conference. His presentation focused on "what is possible with Google Earth." I couldn't find the slideshow has not been posted on any presentation sharing sites so you'll have to download the file to view the slides. The presentation, titled "Extending Google Earth" offers some good examples of Google Earth mash-ups and other uses of Google Earth that you might not have considered before. Taylor focuses on Google Earth as a visualization platform and not just a mapping platform.

Thanks to Rich Treves for posting the link to the slideshow on his blog Google Earth Design.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some new ideas for using Google Earth, this presentation may be for you. You may also want to look through the entire list of presentations at Where 2.0 for other ideas about using Google Earth.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
KML Factbook - 2D and 3D Mapped Data Displays
Award Winning Google Earth Lesson Plans
Google Earth Links You Might Have Missed

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Week in Review - 7 Most Popular Items

I'm headed out on a short camping/fishing trip this Memorial Day weekend and I hope that this week-in-review finds all of you enjoying the weekend too. This week Free Technology for Teachers added 250 new subscribers. Welcome to all of the new subscribers, I'm glad that you found this blog useful. Thank you to all of the long-time subscribers who have helped to expand the reach of Free Technology for Teachers by sharing links and spreading the word about this blog.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last seven days:
1. Photos 8 - Thousands of Public Domain Images
2. 8 Ways to Build Websites (Not Blogs) for Free
3. Medical Animation Library
4. Google Wonder Wheel in Action
5. Stupeflix - Free Video Montage Creator
6. Booklet Creator - Turn Any PDF Into a Booklet
7. Bill of Rights Rap

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What Does It Take to Climb Mount Everest?

I am a big proponent of introducing students to sports and recreational activities that they can pursue for a lifetime. As some long-time readers of this blog know, one of my life dreams/ goals is to climb in the Himalaya. For the last six weeks I've been following along as America's premier Himalayan climber, Ed Viesturs, records and posts video dispatches to YouTube from Mount Everest basecamp. Viesturs was successful in ascending Everest for the seventh time. You can watch all of the dispatches on the First Ascent channel on YouTube. In the video below you will see Ed Viesturs, Peter Whitaker (nephew of Jim Whitaker the first American to summit Everest), and Dave Hahn on top of Mount Everest.


Applications for Education
Health and Physical Education teachers looking for a way to pique students' interest in a healthy, active, lifetime pursuit may want to consider showing some of these clips to their students.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
360 Degree View from the Peak of Mount Everest
Exploring Mount Everest Lesson Plans
PE Zone - Lesson Plans and More for PE Teachers

Friday, May 22, 2009

Data.Gov Makes Raw Government Data Accessible

Data.gov is a source of raw data sets generated by the various agencies and departments of the US government. Some of the agencies providing data on Data.gov that may be of particular interest to educators are the National Center for Education Statistics, National Science Foundation, and the US Census Bureau. Data.gov is still in development and search options aren't as polished as I would like, but Data.gov is still a potentially useful database.

Applications for Education
Data.gov could be useful in any high school content area that teaches statistical analysis. In particular, I can see environmental data being used in an Earth Science classroom and data from the Economic Research Service could be used in an economics or business course.

Memorial Day Video and Resource Links

Memorial Day weekend begins in a couple of hours here in the United States. Today's episode of CNN Student News concludes with a short segment about the history and purpose of Memorial Day. It's probably a bit late to include the video in your lesson plan for today, but you may want to use it when students return to school on Tuesday. The video is embedded below.


Larry Ferlazzo has assembled a good list of slideshows and text resources for teaching about Memorial Day. I recommend visiting his list to find materials to complement the video embedded above.

Flashcards and Word Searches Using Google Spreadsheets

Today, The Official Google Docs Blog is featuring three Google Docs spreadsheet templates that may be of interest to educators. The three templates allow you to create flashcards, word searches, and a word study game. You can access and read more about the templates here. I have to admit that I'm not much of a spreadsheet user, but these three Google Docs spreadsheet templates might get me to spend some time with a spreadsheet.

Applications for Education
If you've been looking for just the right flashcard program or the right word search generator, but haven't found it, these templates might be what you need. One clear advantage of using these templates over a commercial program is that you won't be exposing your students to any advertising on your word search or flashcards.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Three Getting Started Guides for Google Docs
Projects Using Google Docs
Eight Ways to Use Google Docs from Tom Barrett

Math and Language Arts Games on Arcademic

Arcademic Skill Builders offers a collection of twenty-one quality games for sharpening math and language arts skills. All of the games can be played online and six of the games are even enabled for play using a Nintendo Wii remote. All of the language arts games are one-player games. Nine of the fifteen mathematics games are enabled for multiple player use.

Applications for Education
The games on Arcademic Skill Builders are good for elementary school students to use to practice their mathematics and language arts skills. According to their website, Arcademic Skill Builders plans to add a record-keeping capacity in the future.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Ten Fun Educational Games for K-8 Students
Parade of Games in Powerpoint
200+ Free Games for Your Class Blog or Website

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bill of Rights Rap

Here is a good little review video of the US Bill of Rights. The video, produced by the people at Flocabularly is a two minute take on the Bill of Rights. You can find a copy of the lyrics here.


Thanks to Oswego98 for sharing the link on Twitter.

Applications for Education
Flocabulary videos provide a good model for combining US History and music. History teachers and music teachers could work together to have students develop their own songs or raps about various aspects of US History.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Reach 'em 2 Teach 'em: Educational Rap
Free Music Archive
More Than 100 Links for Music Teachers

Cobocards Create Flashcards to Use Online or Offline

Cobocards is the newest entry into the online flashcard market. Cobocards, like other flashcard services, allows you to create customized sets of flashcards. One of the key differences between Cobocards and other flashcard services is that Cobocards provides you with pdf copies of your flashcards that you can print to study offline. Of course, you can study also study your flashcards online. If you study your flashcards online, Cobocards will keep track of your results for you. If you would like to share your flashcards with a private group, like the students in your classroom, Cobocards allows you to do that too. Another of Cobocards' better features is a comprehensive set of video tutorials explaining all of the options and features that you can utilize.

The screenshot below shows the flashcard printing options offered by Cobocards.

















Applications for Education
Cobocards offers students and teachers the best of both worlds, an option for studying online and an option for studying offline. If you have students that don't have Internet access at home, creating Cobocards flashcards at school and the printing them to take home is an excellent alternative to online studying.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Ediscio - Collaboratively Create Flashcards
Flashcard Flash - Search for Flashcard Sets
Quizlet - Create and Share Flashcards

10 Free Royalty-Free Stock Photos per Day

PhotoXpress, featured on TechCrunch earlier today, is a new source of free royalty-free stock images. In order to download the images without watermarks you must register for a free account with PhotoXpress. Once you have registered and completed your profile you can download up to ten images per day. The PhotoXpress collection currently contains nearly 350,000 images with many more being added daily.

Applications for Education
PhotoXpress is a good resource to add to your list of places for students to find free images for their digital presentations.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Photos 8 - Thousands of Public Domain Images
William Vann's EduPic Graphical Resources
Morgue File - Odd Name, Good Free Photos

From Washington to Obama in 4 Minutes With Dates

I few months ago I posted this video depicting each of the 44 US Presidents in 4 minutes. Today, while looking for another video I came across the video embedded below which depicts the 44 US Presidents in 4 minutes. This video includes the dates of the time in office for each president.


Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
American History in Video
American History Review Videos
Snag a Free Full-Length Documentary

New - Video Responses to YouTube Videos

YouTube has announced the addition of a new feature that could be useful for online discussion about videos. The new feature is the option to record a video response to a video using your webcam. After every video that you watch you can click the "post a video response" link just below the video player and record your response.









This only works on YouTube itself, not on embedded video players.

Applications for Education
If you teach an online course or in a 1:1 environment, the option to quickly post video responses could be a good way to build a conversation about a video. In particular, I think this would be good for courses that frequently discuss news stories and or public policy issues.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
VoiceThread Highlights
PBS Launches a New Video Portal
20+ Educational Alternatives to YouTube