Friday, September 11, 2009

Week in Review - The Week's Most Popular Items

It's Friday afternoon and time for another week in review. As I do every week, I've compiled a list of the seven most popular items of the last seven days. The list is based on item clicks and views. If you ever miss the week in review post, you can always check out the Post Rank widget embedded in the right column of the blog. Post Rank displays the most popular blog entries at any given time.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Poe and Hemingway Animated
2. Classroom Copyright Chart
3. Bill Nye Tells Kids to Wash Their Hands
4. Only 5 Minutes to Influence - What Do You Say?
5. Free Printable Year at a Glance Calendars
6. Video and Wordle of Obama's 9/8 Student Address
7. Free World U - Free K-12 Flashcards

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As always, thank you to all of you that have helped to grow the reach of Free Technology for Teachers. I truly appreciate every comment, re-Tweet, and email. Speaking of email, if you have any questions or comments you want to share with me you can always email me at richardbyrne (at)

Maps that Teach - Map Puzzles

Owl & Mouse provides good, free educational software and web activities for students. I mentioned Owl & Mouse's map puzzles in a blog post last year. At that time Owl & Mouse offered nine interactive map puzzles. Now Owl & Mouse offers sixteen online map puzzles. The map puzzles present students with outlined pieces to drag and drop into position on a blank map. See the screen capture below.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Five Interactive Geography Activities
GeoNet Geography Game
Landmark Maps Game

Open Learning Initiative - Great Courses

The Open Learning Initiative offers free high-quality courses created by Carnegie Mellon University. There are courses available in Statistics, Engineering, Science, Economics, French, and more. All of the courses are open to anyone that wants to give the courses a try. Users can create an account to track their progress or users can just jump into the course materials without creating an account.

In addition to offering open learning opportunities to students, the Open Learning Initiative provides instructors with course packages that they can use for free. To explore the free options offered to educators, request an OLI Instructor Account.

Applications for Education
The Open Learning Initiative provides high school students with the opportunity explore their interests and get a sense of what is required by collegiate level courses. If you're school allows you to create independent study opportunities, the OLI instructor resources could be starting place for creating those opportunities.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
100 Awesome Open Courses
Lectures and Courses from Great Universities
Yale Open Courses Added to iTunes

Shmoop in Spanish and 19 New Learning Guides

Shmoop, a website that produces excellent study guides, has just released some great new content. Shmoop now offers fifteen of their book summaries and study guides in Spanish for ESL/ EFL students. Some of the titles included in the Spanish translations are Huckleberry Finn, The Odyssey, and Romeo and Juliet. Check out all of the translated study guides here.

Shmoop has also added ninteen new learning guides in English. The new guides include works by Tolstoy, Chaucer, and Carroll. Check out all of the Literature Titles here.

Applications for Education
I have used the Shmoop study guides for US History and Civics with my classes this year. The guides provide a nice framework and background for in-depth classroom instruction. I have also linked Shmoop to my classroom blog and have already had a couple of students tell me that Shmoop has been helpful as a review tool for them.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Shmoop Adds Civics and Biographies
Shmoop Study Guides for History and Literature

The Red Hat Way - The Benefits of Open Sharing

Chris Brogan posted this video about Red Hat yesterday. The video is a short explanation of how Red Hat created a billion dollar business by giving away software. One of the things from the video that stuck out to me as having an application in education is the idea of being a catalyst in a community. In the context of the video, Red Hat was demonstrating how a business can grow through open sharing. The same idea can be used in education, as teachers when we open up to sharing our best practices and best ideas, everyone benefits.
The video is embedded below and well worth ninety seconds of your time.