Friday, March 27, 2009

Week in Review - Most Popular Items

It has been another great week of learning about and sharing free web-based resources for education. According to FeedBurner, Free Technology for Teachers now has more than 5000 subscribers. This represents a huge increase in subscribers in the month of March. Thank you to everyone that has helped to spread the word about Free Technology for Teachers by sharing a link or telling a friend about the blog. A big welcome to everyone who has recently subscribed.

Here are the most popular posts of the last seven days.
1. Math Links You Might Have Missed
2. Geography Links You Might Have Missed
3. Open Chemistry - Free Content for Teaching Chemistry
4. Links You Might Have Missed - Presentation Tools
5. Same Content, Different Presentation
6. Create and Share Games on Sharendipity
7. Quietube - No Nonsense YouTube Viewing

If you found any or all of the above links useful, please consider susbscribing to Free Technology for Teachers. You can subscribe to the RSS feed here or subscribe to the daily email feed here.

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Flat World Knowledge Provides Free Textbooks

Flat World Knowledge has the potential to be a real money-saver for college students and possibly for high schools. Flat World Knowledge provides free textbooks created by experts in various academic fields. A quick look at the "find my class" section of Flat World Knowledge reveals that these textbooks are already being used in few dozen colleges across the United States. In all there are thirty-one books divided amongst eight library categories. More books are in development.

The video embedded below provides a good overview of Flat World Knowledge.

A related resource that may be of interest to you is:
Planet eBook

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Intro to HTML with Tumblr

A couple of nights ago I was looking Tumblr again as a platform for introducing some teachers and their students to blogging. I'm also thinking about starting a Tumblr blog to share some of the things I've learned about blogging in the last two years, more on that in the future.

As I have written in the past, Tumblr provides one of the fastest and easiest ways to get started blogging. I've always liked Tumblr because of its easy-to-use user interface as well as its clean and simple design themes. While I was browsing the standard Tumblr themes I noticed, for the first time, that they offer directions for creating a custom theme in html. So now if the selection of pre-made Tumblr themes doesn't provide what you want, you can create your own custom theme. If you've never done any work in html, Tumblr provides clear descriptions of what different tags will do to your theme. It's not a complete tutorial in html, but it is clear and in-depth enough for it's intended purpose of helping you create a custom theme for your blog.

Applications for Education
If you have students interested in learning how to develop custom blog themes, Tumblr might be a good place for them to start. Not only do they get to learn some basic html skills, they can see and share with the world the results of what they've learned.

If you're looking for more formal html tutorials you may want to try w3schools or html Cod Tutorial.

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Making Teachers Nerdy

Making Teachers Nerdy is a blog that I've recently started reading. Each entry is well thought out, and definitely worth taking the time to read. It is updated once a week. The most recent entry contains a fantastic list of live webcam feeds that can be used in creating visual field trips.

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Grammar Bytes - Develop and Test Grammar Knowledge

Grammar Bytes is a great website for Language Arts teachers. Grammar Bytes offers teachers and students a glossary of terms, handouts, interactive exercises, and slide show presentations. There are eighteen slide show presentations available for free download from Grammar Bytes. Each slide show is accompanied by a handout for students to complete as they view each presentation.

The interactive activities on Grammar Bytes require students to do more than memorize the rules of grammar. The Grammar Bytes interactive activities require students to read sentences and identify errors. In some of the activities students have to correct errors in a sentence. Each interactive activity is accompanied by a handout on which students can record their scores and measure their progress.

Applications for Education
The design and content of Grammar Bytes makes it a good resource for students and teachers. If I was responsible for teaching grammar I would use Grammar Bytes by having the students do the interactive activities independently. Then I would collect their results sheets to select the slide show that I would use in the next day's class.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Writing Fix
The Story Starter
Three Reflective Journal Forms

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