Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Learn from My Google Docs Mistake

Greetings from the Seattle International Airport. This is my last stop before arriving at the Teacher 2 Teacher conference. Before my next flight I wanted to share a quick lesson that I learned the hard way yesterday.

Readers who tried to visit Free Technology for Teachers between 9am and 9:45am yesterday may have receive a prompt to enter their Google Account password. That prompt appeared as the result of a mistake I made in embedding a Google Docs presentation into a post. The mistake I made was forgetting to select the “allow viewing without login” option before embedding the presentation. Thank you to all of the people who alerted me to the problem. Thank you also to all of the folks who helped me pin down and fix the problem.

Freshman Fund - The College Savings Registry

Freshman Fund is essentially a gift registry for 529 college savings plans. Users can register on the website to receive contributions to their 529 plan.

This service looks like it could be a good way for "long lost" relatives to donate to a child's college savings fund. As graduation season approaches over the next couple of months and "that" uncle or aunt asks what they should give to your child you can direct him or her to Freshman Fund through which they can make a contribution to your child's 529 savings plan.

The Avalon Project - Hundreds of Primary Documents from US History

The Avalon Project is a free resource that I use on a regular basis with a couple of my US History classes. The Avalon Project, produced by Yale University, provides digital copies of hundreds of original documents from a myriad of topics in US History.

Applications for Education
The Avalon Project is a good resource for students that need to find digital copies of original documents. For example, all of The Federalist Papers are available on the Avalon Project website.

Kids in the House - Learn About the House of Representatives

Kids in the House provides great games and activities for elementary and middle school students to learn about the functions of the House of Representatives. Students can play games or go on short virtual field trips through the Kids in the House website. Kids in the House hosts a nice glossary of terms that students can use to find the definitions of vocabulary terms they discover in their activities on the website.

Applications for Education
Kids in the House could be used for students to do some independent learning because the glossary provides students with the definitions for terms that may be new to them. For teachers looking for activities that they can do with the whole class at once, Kids in the House provides a set of lesson plans with printable worksheets and information recording forms to accompany various activities on the website. Kids in the House also provides a downloadable activity booklet that teachers can give to their students.

In addition to games and interactive activities, Kids in the House provides diagrams and charts that students can explore to learn about the functions of the House of Representatives. The How Laws are Made section of Kids in the House is designed for younger students, but could still be useful for high school students.