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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Month in Review - June's Most Popular Posts

It's hard to believe that it will be July in a few hours (is already July for my friends in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia). I hope that those of you who are on a break from school are getting the rest and relaxation that all educators need.

Here are the ten most popular posts in June, 2011:
1. 77 Web Resources for Teachers to Try This Summer
2. Interactive Textbooks via iPad
3. Using Google Earth in Mathematics Lessons
4. Top 5 Apps for Administrators to Learn and Use
5. Show Me App Now Available
6. How to Use Google Bookmarks
7. Experience Some of ISTE Without Being There
8. 9 Places to Find Creative Commons & Public Domain Images
9. Image Embellisher - Easily Add Special Effects to Images
10. Mapfaire - A Simple Way to Make Simple Maps

Many Books - 29,000 Free eBooks

Many Books is a service that has indexed more than 29,000 free ebooks that are available in a variety of formats for a variety of devices. The books that you will find through Many Books are works that are either in the public domain or have been licensed for free distribution. You can search Many Books by title, author, genre, or language.

Animaps - Create Animated Google Maps

Animaps is a new service that was built for the purpose of allowing users to create animated Google Maps. The basics of creating maps in Animaps is very similar the process for creating maps in Google Maps. The main benefit of using Animaps over Google Maps is that you can create a tour of your placemarks that plays through according to the timing that you specify. Another benefit is that you can build in colored shapes to expand and contract to demonstrate patterns. You can also import images to your map from Flickr, Picassa, and Facebook. Click here to watch a demonstration of Animaps in action.

Applications for Education
Watch this Animap to see an overview of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. As you can see, Animaps could be a great tool for having students create tours of historic events. You could also have students create fictional stories that they illustrate on Animaps.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

Create Choose Your Own Adventure Videos

Earlier this week I was one of the instructors at the Ed Tech Teacher Teaching History With Technology workshop. Through one of the other instructors, Greg Kulowiec, I learned how to make videos that you upload to YouTube interactive. By using the spotlight annotation tool in the YouTube video editor you can insert into your videos a hyperlink to other videos or websites. By inserting multiple links into your videos you can create "choose your own adventure" series of videos. Click here to see one of the videos that Greg's students created using the spotlight annotation tool.

Here are the basic directions for getting started linking together a series of YouTube videos that you and your students have created. These directions assume you already know how to upload videos to YouTube, watch this video if you don't know how to upload videos to YouTube.

Step 1:
Click image to view full size.
Step 2:
Click image to view full size.

Steps 3-5:
Click image to view full size.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Socrative Student Response System

My name is Dennis Villano and I am the Director of Technology Integration for Burlington (MA) Public Schools. Thank you to Richard for this great opportunity to guest post about the Socrative student response system.

Socrative is a rapidly evolving free web application that provides the easiest and most user-friendly experience I've seen from any student response system. Socrative will ultimately provide full-featured apps for iOS and Android devices. The system was developed by MIT graduates.

Socrative provides a similar end user experience to that of the SMART Response System or Promethean Activote. The difference with Socrative is that students can use web-enabled devices as their buzzers and input device. We tested the system with iPads, iPod Touches, and iPhones. The interaction between the teacher created questions and student responses was fast and clean. Teachers can create individual questions, quizzes, and polls. The creation of questions is stunningly easy to use and the steps are easy to explain to teachers.

Teachers can register for a free account. Once you have created a quiz, students login to a virtual room with a number assigned to each teacher. This process was so simple that it could easily be used in an elementary classroom. Once students have entered the classroom, they can participate in any of the activities sent from the teacher. The activities include multiple choice, short answer, and true/false questions. The questions can be answered anonymously or with student names so that progress can be measured. Socrative emails teachers reports that include graded assignments for everything except short answer questions.


The system is appropriate for almost any grade level. Teachers have access to live results and can see how students are progressing instantly. Teachers can even create questions for students to answer during a "Space Race" where students answer as individuals or part of a team and try to finish the race first. Socrative also features "Exit Ticket" for quick end-of-class assessment of student understanding. Teachers can send follow-up activities to gage student comprehension.


Socrative is an impressive free application that serves as an important pieces in the 1:1 classroom as well as a great alternative to expensive classroom response systems. Clearly, the best feature of Socrative is ease of use for students and teachers. Socrative's Boston area representative, Ben Berte, also has a great blog about the product and education.

7 Tools Students Can Use to Create Music Online

Yesterday, I gave a short presentation on digital storytelling to the folks in attendance at the Ed Tech Teacher Teaching History With Technology workshop. One of the points I made to participants is that when creating multimedia digital stories the best way to avoid any kind of copyright issues is to have students create their own sounds and images to include in their projects. Here are some tools that students can use to create their own sounds online.

Using Aviary's Roc service you can create your own music loops or samples. After you've created your music samples you can download them, reuse them in Myna, or embed them into your blog. Below you will find a brief tutorial on how to create sound loops using Aviary Roc.



Beat Lab is a free service through which you can experiment with thousands of sound and rhythm combinations. Using Beat Lab is easy. Beat Lab provides a grid on which you select the sounds you want to have played. You can specify how often you want each sound played and how quickly you want the sounds played. There are twelve default sounds provided in the Beat Lab grid. You can add more sounds by selecting "add more sounds" and choosing from the huge catalog of sounds. If the sound you want isn't available in the Beat Lab catalog you can upload your own sounds.

Incredibox is a neat website that allows you to create unique rhythms and sounds from drag-and-drop menu. The sounds in the menus are recordings of a Bobby McFerrin-like artist making "human beat box" sounds. You can experiment with different sound loops, choruses, and instrumental sounds to create your own unique sound loops. To use Incredibox just head over to the website, select the English or French version, then start mixing sounds by dragging from the menu to the "people field." Every time you add a new sound a new person appears in the screen. Click a person to delete the sound he represents.

UJAM is a service that aims to make everyone a singing sensation. Okay, so it might not make you a singing sensation, but it could help you create music tracks that you can share with friends and use in multimedia productions. Here's how UJAM works; you sing or play an instrument while recording to UJAM. When you're done recording, use UJAM to alter the sound quality of your voice, turn your voice into other sounds, adjust the tempo of your song, and or remix a song to include your recording. UJAM is essentially an online, light weight version, of Garage Band. Watch the video below to learn more and see UJAM in action. 


Soundation is a free service that allows anyone to create and remix sound tracks online. If you have used Apple's Garage Band or Aviary's Myna, Soundation will look familiar to you. Soundation provides five tracks on which you can place music clips and sound effects to mix together. To create your original work you can select from Soundation's gallery of 400 free sounds, upload your own sounds, or record new sounds using the instruments and keyboard built into Soundation. When you've created a product you like, you can download it or share it in Soundation's gallery.

From the same people that brought us the great computational search engine Wolfram Alpha comes Wolfram Tones. Wolfram Tones uses algorithms, music theory, and sound samples to generate new collections of sounds. Visitors to Wolfram Tones can experiment with sounds and rhythms to make their own sounds. Wolfram Tones allows visitors to choose samples from fifteen different genres of music on which to build their own sounds. Once a genre is selected visitors can then alter the rhythms, instrumentation, and pitch mapping of their sounds. When satisfied with their creations, users can download their sounds or have them sent directly to their cell phones.

Having students experiment with rhythms on a drum set is usually a very loud experience for the students and for anyone within earshot of those students. That probably explains why my elementary school music class was held in a room behind the cafeteria kitchen and hundreds of yards away from any other classroom. Fortunately, developments in technology have made it possible for students to experiment with drum rhythms on a quieter scale than was previously possible. One such tool that makes this possible is Monkey Machine. Monkey Machine is a free web-based program that allows students to experiment with drum set sounds and rhythms. Using Monkey Machine students can customize the selection of drums and cymbals in their virtual drum set. Monkey Machine also allows students to customize the tempo in their drum tracks and the frequency with which each drum or cymbal is played. All tracks created using Monkey Machine can be downloaded as MIDI files.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weaving History - Create Timelines with Maps to Match

Weaving History is a promising website for history students and teachers. The purpose of Weaving History is to enable users to create timelines matched to maps.

There are two basic functions that you need to know about in Weaving History; Factlets and Threads. Factlets are where you create short summaries about an event. Factlets include dates, places, names, and other relevant information. Threads are where you string together a series of Factlets. In the Threads view you can choose between "chrono view" and "geochrono view." Chrono view displays threads in a traditional timeline style with a list of Factlets below the timeline. The Geochrono view displays threads as placemarks on a map with timeline below. Click on any of the placemarks in the Geochrono view to see the Factlets connected to the events at those places.

Applications for Education
Weaving History could be a great way for students to construct displays of information they've found through their research. Connecting the timeline of Factlets to the map of Factlets could help students visualize a progression of events through time. When I first looked at Weaving History my thoughts immediately went to my US History students who sometimes struggle to remember sequences of events related to the American Revolution and where they happened.

H/T to Google Maps Mania.

Snag Learning Film of the Week - Disconnected

How long could your students go without going online? In 2008 three Carleton College students tested that question on themselves. Disconnected chronicles the "struggles" of those three students as they disconnect from the web. Follow along as the students try to re-adjust to life without Internet access. Watch the sixty minute video below and read the discussion questions here.
Watch more free documentaries

Applications for Education
This film could be a great way to get students to reflect on their use of the Internet in their personal and academic lives. Teachers of Sociology might find this to be a good resource to add to their lists of current resources.

Tools for Creating Strong Passwords

As more and more of the important information in our lives moves online it becomes more and more important to use strong passwords. In addition to being in the habit of using strong passwords that contain letters, numbers, and special characters you should also be in the habit of changing your passwords regularly. Of course, developing strong passwords isn't always easy. Here are some tools that can help you and your students create strong passwords.

Password Bird is a simple website that asks you three questions then generates a password for you based on your responses. Every password it generated for me included numbers and letters. If you don't like the password it generates for you, simply click the link for a new password.

 PassPlex is a simple tool for generating strong and unique passwords. To use PassPlex to create a password all you have to do is enter the number of characters you need and the level of complexity you desire for your password.

Random.org offers a password generator that will allow you to create up to one hundred unique passwords at a time. To use the Random.org password generator just specify the number of passwords you want to create and the number of character each password should have. After making those specifications the list of passwords will be generated for you.

New Password Generator offers two tools for randomly generating passwords. The simpler of the two allows you to specify the number of letters and digits in your passwords. The more complex generators allows you to  specify if you want a combination of upper and lower case letters, special characters, and the length of your password.

Here are a couple of videos that can help you explain to students why they should create strong passwords and how to go about it.

Here's How to Choose a Safe Password by Explania.

How to choose a safe password - Explania

Here's Secure Passwords Explained by Common Craft.

Monday, June 27, 2011

BBC Witness Podcasts - History Told By Those Who Experienced It

Earlier today I asked my Twitter network to share some of their favorite history podcasts. One of the podcasts that was mentioned over and over was the BBC's Witness podcasts. The BBC's Witness podcast series offers short, under 10 minutes, audio recordings of newscasts and interviews with people who experienced historical events first-hand. There are currently 168 episodes in the series and more are to be added every day.

Applications for Education
The BBC Witness podcast series could be a nice addition to the resources you share with your history students. The combination of first-hand accounts and news clips provide students with a different perspective than they will find in a textbook. The BBC Witness homepage offers links to additional resources related to each podcast episode.

Thank you to everyone on Twitter who recommended this nice resource. I've already enjoyed listening to a couple of the podcasts.

Tildee - Create, Share, and Find Tech Tutorials

Tildee is a good site for creating, sharing, and locating tutorials for all kinds of technology-related things. Tildee provides a template and platform for sharing tutorials with others. Each tutorial you create is assigned a specific url that you can share with anyone. Your tutorials can include any combination of text, screen captures, and videos. Each tutorial that you create on Tildee is assigned a unique URL that you can share wherever you like.

Even if you don't use Tildee to create a tutorial yourself you can still use the site. You can browse or search the gallery of public tutorials to find one suits your needs.

Applications for Education
At the beginning of the school year one of my colleagues gives students the assignment to create short presentations about the software on their netbooks. That assignment is intended, in part, to help the students familiarize themselves with their new netbooks. That assignment could be taken one step further with Tildeee by having students create and share tutorials about the software they use.

Cite Bite - Link Directly to Quotes in Webpages

Cite Bite is a simple tool for creating a direct link to a passage of text on a webpage. It's a simple process to create a direct link to a quote using Cite Bite. To use the service just copy and paste the chunk of text you want to share into Cite Bite. Then copy and paste the url of the source into Cite Bite. Cite Bite then creates a url that you can share with others to send them directly to the quote you want them to read.

Applications for Education
Cite Bite could be a handy little tool for those times when you want all of the students in your classroom to read and discuss a passage from an online article. While you could probably accomplish the same thing by just posting the source link on your classroom blog, the benefit of Cite Bite is that it will automatically highlight and direct students to the passage you want them to discuss.

9 Places to Find Creative Commons & Public Domain Images

When students create multimedia projects they might be tempted to simply do a Google Images search and use the first images they see. But as educators we have a responsibility to teach students to respect copyright holders' rights. One of the ways that we can do that is to teach students to use Creative Commons and Public Domain images.

Morgue File provides free photos with license to remix. The Morgue File photo collection contains thousands of images that anyone can use for free in academic or commercial presentations. The image collection can be searched by subject category, image size, color, or rating. Morgue File is more than just a source for free images. The Morgue File also features a "classroom" where visitors can learn photography techniques and get tips about image editing.

Wylio is an image search engine designed to help bloggers and others quickly find, cite, and use Creative Commons licensed images. Wylio results only return images that are listed with a Creative Commons license. Wylio makes it easy to give proper attribution to the creator of the image by providing you with html code that includes attribution. All you have to do is copy the code and paste it into your blog post or webpage.

William Vann's EduPic Graphical Resource provides free photographs and drawings for teachers and students to use in their classrooms. Mr. Vann is an amateur photograph (a good one at that) and a teacher. Mr. Vann gives permission to teachers and students to use the images in any manner needed for instructional and learning purposes.

The World Images Kiosk hosted by San Jose State Universityoffers more than 75,000 images that teachers and students can use in their academic projects. All of the images can be used under a Creative Commons license that requires you to give proper attribution when necessary. You can find images by using the search box or you can browse through more than 800 portfolios and groups organized by subject.

ImageBase is a personal project of professional photographer David Niblack. ImageBase contains more than one hundred pages of images that Mr. Niblack has released for free reuse and redistribution. In fact, the top of the ImageBase site says "treat like public domain." In addition to the hundreds of images that are available, ImageBase also offers nearly one hundred free PowerPoint templates.

Photos 8 is a great place to find thousands of images that are in the public domain. These images can be used in any way that you and your students see fit. There are twenty-two categories of images of which the largest collections are of animals, birds, and sunsets.

To find images that can be reused and remixed use Google's Advanced Image search options. To use the usage rights filter option, select "advanced image search" on the main Google Images page. Once in the "advanced image search" page, you will find the usage rights options at the bottom of the page. In the usage rights menu you can select one of four options; "labeled for reuse," "labeled for commercial reuse," "labeled for reuse with modification," or "labeled for commercial reuse with modification."

Yahoo Images has an option similar to Google's for finding Creative Commons licensed images. 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.

Animal Photos is a great source of Creative Commons licensed photos of animals. All of the photos are categorized by animal. Each image indicates the type of Creative Commons license associated with the picture. Animal Photos also offers advice on giving attribution for each photo.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Notes.io - Quickly Take and Share Notes

Notes.io is a new service that offers a simple platform for taking and sharing notes. To use Notes.io just go to the site and start typing your notes. When you want to share your notes just click "short" to have a shortened url created for sharing on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever else you like. It really couldn't be any simpler to use. And while not available yet, they do have plans for enabling file attachments and enabling a printer friendly option.

Applications for Education
Notes.io could be a nice tool for students to use to quickly record and share ideas with each other. If the file attachment option becomes a reality it could make it easy to share documents with each other too.

Show Me App Now Available - Create & Share Lessons on an iPad

Show Me is an iPad app that I initially wrote about in April. At that time the app wasn't available to everyone, today it is. Show Me is an app for creating and sharing whiteboard-style lessons on your iPad. To support teachers, the Show Me website is building a gallery of lessons developed and shared by teachers. Each day there is a "Show Me of the Day" that is added to the gallery of lessons. Click here to download the app from iTunes.

Watch a video overview of Show Me below.

ShowMe iPad App from San Kim on Vimeo.

Watch today's "Show Me of the Day" embedded below.


Applications for Education
For those of you who work in schools that are providing iPads to students, this app could be used to not only deliver short lessons to students, but to have students develop and share short lessons with each other and you.

For those of us who lean toward Android devices, let's hope that Show Me develops an app for us soon. Or for the really ambitions you could try to develop a similar app with the Android App Inventor.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Desmos - A Graphing Calculator in Your Browser

Desmos is a new company that has created a fully functional, browser-based  graphing calculator. The calculator performs all of the functions you would expect to see in a graphing calculator with a couple of extras that you don't find in typical graphing calculators. Desmos allows you to share your equations and graphs through a Bit.ly link. Desmos graphs your equations as you type them and redraws them as you alter your equations. Watch the video below to learn more about the Desmos calculator.

Read TechCrunch's post about Desmos to learn more about the company and some of their plans for the future.

Applications for Education
Desmos could be the replacement for those expensive TI calculators that sometimes disappear from schools. I like that you can share your work via shortened Bit.ly links. I could see teachers modeling with Desmos and sharing. I could also see students sharing to do collaborative problem solving. The one thing holding Desmos back is that it's Flash-based and not ready for the iPad yet.

Common Core Standards on Your Mobile Device

Mastery Connect recently launched a free app for Android and iOS that is designed to help educators quickly locate the common core standards for mathematics and language arts. To locate standards through the app just select the content you teach and the grade level you teach. The app will pull up the standards based on your selections. Get the Android app here and get the iOS app here.

Applications for Education
The Common Core app isn't going to revolutionize the way you teach, but it certainly will make it convenient to find the standards that you need to know.

Disclosure: Mastery Connect is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers

Friday, June 24, 2011

Experience Some of ISTE Without Being There

If, like me, you're not attending the annual ISTE Conference this year you can still experience and participate in some of it through ISTE Unplugged. Organized by Steve Hargadon, ISTE Unplugged is a series of presentations that happen at ISTE and are streamed live through Elluminate. You can watch and participate through the Elluminate stream for free. In 2009 and 2010 Sue Waters and I hosted half hour discussions about blogging and had a great time answering questions from participants all over the world. If you would like to experience ISTE Unplugged, the schedule of events and directions for participating are available at ISTEunplugged.com.

Video - Man as Industrial Palace

In Man as Industrial Palace Henning Lederer brings this famous drawing to life. In the two minute video viewers will see how the human body's internal systems work together to process food and produce life. The video is embedded below.


Der Mensch als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace] from Henning Lederer on Vimeo.

See the image Man as Industrial Palace below. (If you're viewing this in RSS you might need to click through to see the image).


Applications for Education
While the depth of explanation isn't great in this video, it could be a nice little introduction or overview video for biology teachers. To kick-off an assignment have students watch the video then research and explain each part of the processes shown in the video.

H/T to Open Culture for the video.

Anatomy of a Computer Virus

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus is a narrated and illustrated explanation of the Stuxnet virus. The does a good job of explaining how the virus was created, spread, and the problems it could potentially cause. The video is embedded below.

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.

If you're considering using Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus in your classroom, you might also want to take a look at some of Common Craft's videos that can help viewers understand how computer viruses can spread. Computer Viruses and Threats is the obvious choice from Common Craft to complement the video above.

The World Wide Web in Plain English explains how the web works. This video could aid students' understanding of Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus. (If you're reading this in RSS you might need to click through to see the video).


H/T to Cool Infographics for the Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus video. 

From the Tallest Mountains to the Deepest Ocean Trenches

Our Amazing Planet recently published a large infographic featuring the highest and lowest places on Earth. The infographic shows the heights at which airliners fly to depths of the Mariana Trench. I learned about this infographic on the Google Earth Blog where they linked to the Google Earth locations for all of the places in the infographic.

Applications for Education
Reading the Google Earth Blog's post about this infographic with the links to the Google Earth locations gave me the idea for a geography scavenger hunt on Google Earth. Distribute the infographic to students then have them try to location each of the places on Google Earth. To take it a step further ask students to find some interesting facts about each of the locations. For example, ask them to find out how many people have climbed Mount Everest or who is Mount McKinley named after and why.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Juice Defender - A Battery Preservation App

Between yesterday and today I spent nineteen hours in airplanes and airports (that's why no new blog posts appeared yesterday). During those nineteen hours I found myself searching for a place to power-up my Android phone. When data sync is activated on my phone the battery drains relatively  quickly. This evening I installed an app that will hopefully allow me to have fewer "outlet quests" in the future.

Juice Defender is an Android App (free and premium versions are available) that manages and monitors power consumption on your phone. The app monitors data consumption and WiFi settings. To save power the app will enable or disable settings to conserve power. Learn more about Juice Defender in the video below.


Applications for Education
If your school is using Android devices as part of a 1:1 program, Juice Defender could be a useful app for making sure that students can use those devices without having to frequently plug them into chargers. I've just installed the app on my phone and I'll report back here when I have more information about the battery power savings.

7 Tips for ISTE Newbies

A couple of years ago I received the good fortune to attend NECC (now called ISTE) as the NECC Newbie. NECC/ISTE Newbie was an experiment in using social media to raise money. Beth Still organized the whole thing and you can read all about it on Beth's blog.

I won't be attending ISTE this year (my schedule is just too full with other engagements), but that won't stop me from sharing my advice with those of you attending for the first time.

1. Make sure you charge your phone, tablet, laptop every night. Power outlets constitute prime real estate and you might not always be able to find an outlet when you need it. That said, bringing a power strip and sharing it is a great way to meet new people.

2. Say hi to the people you think you recognize from Twitter, Classroom 2.0, and other networks. You might feel stalkerish doing it at first, I know that I did, but trust me no one thinks you're a stalker. Along the same lines, say hello to people next to you in the sessions you attend. Part of the ISTE experience is connecting with other educators to share ideas and learn from each other.

3. Take a lap through vendor showroom, but don't spend too long there. Companies spend thousands to be on the showroom floor and are good at showing off their shiniest newest products. Just ask yourself before you sit down for a half-hour sales pitch, "will I benefit from spending my time here?" For a lot of classroom teachers the answer is probably not.

4.  Don't underestimate the importance of good shoes. You could end up doing a lot of walking during the day. Go for comfort over style.

5. Attend all of the formal sessions you want and can get into, but if you find yourself in a session that doesn't "do it" for you, it's okay to leave early.

6. If you want to see samples of what teachers and students are really doing in their classrooms, go to the poster sessions. I've found those displays to be the source of some great ideas.

7. If you're a cheapskate like me you can fill yourself on appetizers at vendor-sponsored evening meet-ups. See #3 above to find out where and when they are happening. Also see #1 and #2 to make connections and find out when and where meet-ups are happening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Use Google Bookmarks

One of the parts of the Google Across the Curriculum workshop that I ran today was about using Google Bookmarks. For most of the participants in today's workshop using a web-based bookmarking service instead of a browser-based service was a new and welcome concept. The slides below were the basis for the hand-outs that today's participants received. For more more Google tools tutorials like this one, check out my Google Tutorials page.



If you're wondering about the benefits of using a social bookmarking service, watch Common Craft's explanation below.

If you're reading this in RSS you may need to click through to see the video.

Folder Boy - Capture, Share, and Organize Ideas

Folder Boy is a new service for recording, sharing, and organizing ideas with a team. At its most basic Folder Boy helps you organize your thoughts through an expandable outline format. You can create folders for each series of thoughts. Within each folder you can lists and sub-lists of typed thoughts. Folder Boy can be shared with anyone you like through email invitations. Once accepted those people you invite can collaborate with you. A feature currently in beta is uploading files to accompany your ideas.

Learn more about Folder Boy in the video below.


Applications for Education
Folder Boy could be a good tool for students to use to outline research projects and plan the construction of other long-term projects.

Cleopatra's Alexandria an Interactive Map

This month's National Geographic cover story is all about Cleopatra. This month NGM.com has some nice resources to support the print article. Cleopatra's Alexandria is an interactive map recreating what Alexandria may have looked like during Cleopatra's reign. Cleopatra in Pop Culture is a ten question quiz about references to Cleopatra in pop culture over the years. The video below, simply titled Cleopatra, is a four minute biography of Cleopatra.



If you're viewing this in RSS you may need to click through to see the video.

Mr. Printables - Flashcards and More for K-2

Mr. Printables is a nice little resource for locating printable flashcards, games, puzzles, coloring pages, calendars, and more. The flashcards are designed for use with young students learning things like the alphabet, basic vocabulary, shapes, and basic mathematics. The flashcards include pictures intended to help students recall the content on the flashcards. All of the materials are available as PDFs that you can download and reuse for non-commercial purposes.

Applications for Education
Pre-K and early elementary school teachers should find Mr. Printables to be a handy little resource. Even if you don't use the resources in your classroom, you might want to consider referring parents to the site to find materials to use at home with their children.

What an Astronaut's Camera Sees

What an Astronaut's Camera Sees is an impressive narrated video of images of Earth as captured from space. The video is narrated by Dr. Justin Wilkinson from NASA. The video includes images of deserts in Africa, Sicily, the Kamchatka Peninsula, China, the Zagros Mountains, Australia, the Great Salt Lake, and the Andes Mountains. The video is embedded below.


You can read the transcript of the narration below the video on YouTube. This video is part of YouTube user SpaceRip's channel. Explore SpaceRip's channel to find more excellent space videos.

Applications for Education
Here's an idea for a small geography project based on this video. Show the video to students then have them try to locate the same places in Google Earth. Then have students research the unique geographic features of each of the places featured in What an Astronaut's Camera Sees.

H/T to Open Culture.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Visions of Students Today - A Video Collage

Over the weekend Michael Wesch and his students launched Visions of Students Today. Many of you may be familiar with A Vision of Students Today which Wesch released three years ago. Visions of Students Today is a video collage that was composed from hundreds of submissions from students all over the world. You can read the full story of the project's creation on Michael Wesch's blog.

Visions of Students Today is not just a video, it's a video collage. You can simply watch the video on YouTube, but if you visit VisionsofStudents.org you can interact with the video. Visions of Students Today was created using HTML5 which allows the creators to link to books, videos, and sites within the video. Go to VisionsofStudents.org and click on the elements you in the video to learn more about them.

Below is the non-interactive version of Visions of Students Today.


Applications for Education
Like A Vision of Students Today, viewing Visions of Students Today is a good way to learn or be reminded of how students act and live in their daily lives. Interacting with VisionsofStudents.org is a good way to learn more about the things that appear in the video.

Ten Marks Summer Mathematics Learning

Last fall I wrote about Ten Marks' launch of a free program for teachers called Ten Marks for Educators. Ten Marks for Educators provides educators with an online forum in which they can assign mathematics practice problems to students and track their students' progress. If a student gets stuck on a problem he or she can open a tutorial to help him or her through the problem. Ten Marks provides teachers with the option to CC parents on the assignments sent to students. The online curriculum provided by Ten Marks can be aligned to the state standards a teacher chooses.

As a follow-up to the free service that Ten Marks offered teachers this year, they are now offering a summer program for students and their parents. The summer program is designed for students in grades three through twelve. The program provides three assignments a week with video lessons to help students work through the mathematics problems.

The summer program is not free ($39 for three months per student) but the president of Ten Marks, Andrew Joseph, will give away two subscriptions to readers of Free Technology for Teachers who write comments on this post about how they have used Ten Marks in the past or plan to use Ten Marks in the future. On Thursday of this week I'll use a random selector to choose winners. If you win you can give the subscription to a deserving student.

Education Week recently published an article that included a mention of students in Indiana schools and Chicago schools using Ten Marks. In the video below there is a short testimony of 5th grade teacher's experience with Ten Marks.




Just to reiterate, the Ten Marks for Educators program remains free. The summer individual program is a fee-based service but you can win a subscription by commenting on this post.

Snag Learning Film of the Week - Lakshmi and Me

This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week is Lakshmi and Me. Lakshmi and Me takes a look at India's ancient caste system through a modern lens. Lakshmi and Me is about the relationship between a documentary film maker and the domestic worker that came to live with and work for her as a teenager. As always, Snag Learning provides discussion questions to accompany this hour long film.
Watch more free documentaries

Free Math Lessons at Free Math Help

Free Math Help, as the name implies, offers students free mathematics tutorials. Tutorials are available as text based lessons or narrated video lessons. Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, and Statistics tutorials are available for free to students. If, after watching the tutorials students have more questions, students can head over to the message boards to ask clarifying questions.

Applications for EducationFree Math Help could be a good resource for middle school, high school, and some undergraduate students to find mathematics help when you're not available. If you're a mathematics teacher, Free Math Help is a good website to link to your class blog or website. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Best of 2011 So Far - Flubaroo

Now that my school year is over I'm taking a short fly fishing vacation. The posts for the rest of the week highlight my favorite resources of 2011 so far.

Flubaroo is a free script that you can use to grade the quizzes that you administer through Google Docs. Flubaroo provides great step-by-step directions for using the script. I'll give an quick overview of how it works. First, create your multiple choice quiz using Forms in Google Docs (get directions here). Then take the quiz yourself and have students take the quiz (you can embed it in a webpage or direct students to the URL for your form). Now instead of trying to grade the spreadsheet cells you will insert the Flubaroo script by selecting it from the "insert" menu in your spreadsheet. Once the Flubaroo script is inserted just select it and it will grade the quiz for you.

Applications for Education
While multiple choice quizzes definitely don't fall into the category of authentic assessment they are still used by teachers for a variety of purposes. If you use multiple choice quizzes for any purpose, giving that quiz through Google Docs and grading it with Flubaroo could save you a lot of time that you can put to better use on other tasks.