Thursday, February 3, 2011

Socratica Offers Free Educational Android Apps

Recently, while browsing the free education apps section of the Android Market I came across a nice little selection of games and apps from Socratica. Socratica offers seven free games and apps for Android users. The free apps and games offered by Socratica are Periodic Table, Countries of the World, US Presidents, 50 States, Words Words Words, Alphabets, and Pi (this app doesn't do much other than help you remember the digits of Pi).

The Periodic Table app offers reference information about each element. The app offers audio clips to help users learn pronunciations of the names of the elements. The app also includes a quiz mode.

Countries of the World and 50 States are geography apps for learning country and state locations and capitals respectively. The apps also offer some background information like population, flags, state mottos, and postal codes. An online version of 50 States also exists on the Socratica website.

The US Presidents app quizzes players about the presidents, their birthplace, years in office, and their vice presidents.

Words Words Words is a vocabulary and grammar app containing 1,000 words with audio pronunciations. The app quizzes players on the proper uses the words.

The Alphabets app is designed as a quiz to help you learn Greek, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, and English. (I should note that some user reviews noted that the Hebrew and Arabic characters didn't display correctly on their phones).

A Collaborative, On-going Writing Project

In my last post I briefly mentioned a collaborative project that my Global Studies students are working on. As promised, here's the follow-up to that post.

Last week marked the start of a new semester at my school. For me that meant the start of a new Global Studies course that I'm really excited about guiding my students through. (I refrained from saying "teaching" because as this course focuses on current events around the globe, we're learning together). Just as the new semester began, almost as if on que, the demonstrations began in Egypt. So I developed the first project of the semester around studying what is happening in Egypt.

The Project
The first project of the new semester is to work in groups of four to create an interactive booklet about Egypt. My students are using Google Docs Presentation to create their booklets. We're using Google Docs Presentation because it offers the option to embed videos which isn't an option if you're just making a standard document in Google Docs. All of the students in each group are collaborators on the project. I'm also a collaborator on each project so that I can see what they're doing and suggest edits as needed. Students are using text, images, and videos to tell the story of what is happening in Egypt right now.

Each group is responsible for including in their projects; background information about Egypt's history from the 20th Century through today, cultural information, details on the causes of the current demonstrations, and global responses to the current events. The students also have to form predictions as to what will happen over the next few weeks. The great thing about this project is that predictions will continue to change as more events unfold and more information becomes available. When we're done, I'll be sure to link the projects to this post.

A Lesson in Propaganda Through Protests in Egypt

I have to credit one of the students (Brandon) in my Global Studies class for finding this video today. We had our fourth class meeting today and as I do at the beginning of most courses I teach, we've been talking about identifying bias and propaganda in the media. We've been doing this through the context of the current events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. Today, during a part of class when the students were working on a collaborative assignment (more on that in my next post) Brandon showed me the following video about Nile TV reporter Shahira Amin quitting her job because she didn't want to continue to be a part of a propaganda machine in Egypt. Watch the video below.

Applications for Education
If you're planning to teach a lesson on propaganda, through this video students can see and hear of real-life uses of propaganda being used to influence a population's perception of events.

Copyright & Creative Commons Webinar Today

I realize it's late notice, but I just remembered this myself and have to pass it along. MLTI (the overseers of Maine's 1:1 program) is running two webinars this afternoon and evening about Copyright and Creative Commons.

The 3:15pm (EST) webinar will feature Creative Commons Policy Coordinator Tim Vollmer discussing Creative Commons from an educator's point of view. Time is reserved in the 3:15 webinar for a Q&A with the audience.

The 7:15pm (EST) webinar is designed to introduce educators to Copyright, Fair Use, Public Domain, and Creative Commons topics in layman's terms.

You can learn more about the webinars here. You can also register for the webinars (they're free) by clicking here then clicking on the time slot in the schedule. If the webinar is less than 30 minutes away you'll be redirected to join the webinar without registering.