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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Android Apps to Watch TED on the Go

The more time I spend traveling the more time I spend consuming content on my Android devices. Two days ago, thanks to David Andrade I discovered the TED Talks Android Apps. I gave them all a try and settled on the TED Air app as my favorite for Android. The TED Air app allows you to view, favorite, and download TED Talks on your Android device. Using TED Air you can search for talks by title, speaker, tag, and theme. If you're not sure what you're looking for I recommend browsing by theme to find educational and entertaining content. That's how I found this enjoyable talk by Jack Horner: Building a Dinosaur from a Chicken.



TED also offers an iPad and iPhone app. I have not had time to try those apps yet.

Have Students Send Video Greeting Cards This Year

One of the things that I remember doing at this time of year in elementary school is creating greeting cards (complete with glitter and lots of glue) for family members. I'm sure my mother still has those in a box somewhere. Fast forward 25 years (yikes!) and I'm sure young students still make glittery, gluey greeting cards. But now they also have digital greeting card options.

As they have in previous years Animoto has a selection of holiday themes for creating video greeting cards. Most of these themes are part of Animoto's "pro version" but as an Animoto for Education user you and your students can access them without additional cost. I've included my sample greeting card below. If your students are creating greeting cards you might encourage them to use pictures of their families, neat school projects, and a title slide with a greeting for mom, dad, and other family members.

How to Make a Movie - Directions from Students

Next Vista for Learning recently wrapped up another student video contest. The theme of the latest Next Vista contest was Creative Compositions. There were more than 100 videos submitted. I recently spent some time watching some of the videos and came across this great video, How to Make a Movie Not an Animation. The short video explains how to make simple stop motion movies using iMovie and PowerPoint. 

Applications for Education
I encourage you to check out the list of Creative Compositions submissions in the Next Vista video contest. Going through the list could give you some ideas for video projects that your students can undertake. And in case you're not familiar with Next Vista, the purpose of the site is to have students and teachers share short lessons with each other. All videos are reviewed before appearing on the site.

What's New at Watch Know Learn

I was recently contacted by the good folks at Watch Know, a great alternative to YouTube, with some updates about their services. The first change I noticed was that Watch Know is now rebranded as Watch Know Learn.

Watch Know Learn is available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Watch Know Learn has aligned more than 6,000 videos to Common Core standards. And Watch Know Learn is open to editing of pages by registered users. As a confirmed register user you can add videos to grade level and subject area pages.

The most promising new aspect of Watch Know Learn is Watch Know Learn Classrooms. Watch Know Learn Classrooms will allow teachers to create their own classroom pages of videos. Teachers can pick their own subdomains for Watch Know Learn Classrooms. For example, I could create a Watch Know Learn Classroom at mrbyrne.watchknowlearn.org and send my students to that page to watch the educational videos I've selected for them. You can see an example of a Watch Know Learn Classroom here. Watch Know Learn Classrooms should be a great tool for teachers, however I was unable to create a classroom when I  tried early this morning. I even resorted to following the directions in their tutorial video and I couldn't get my classroom going. Hopefully, that issue is resolved quickly.

Learn more about Watch Know Learn in the video below.


Applications for Education
Watch Know Learn is already used by thousands of educators everyday. The best part of Watch Know Learn right now is the organization of the catalog of videos. Rather than randomly searching a video sharing site, you can quickly select a subject and grade level to find videos appropriate for your classroom. And many of the videos on Watch Know Learn are not from YouTube so if you work in a school that blocks YouTube, you can still access useful online videos.

Month in Review - November's Most Popular Posts

Well it's almost hard to believe that another month has passed and December is here. It seems like just yesterday the new school year was starting (here in the US anyway) and now the end of the first semester feels like it's just around the corner. I hope the fall semester has been good to all of you.

As I do every month, I've compiled a list of the most popular (by pageviews) posts of the month. Here are the most popular posts on Free Technology for Teachers for the month of November, 2011.

1. 9 Tools Students Can Use to Create Music Online
2. A Visualization of Punctuation's Importance
3. KinderTown - Find Apps for Pre-K Students
4. What You Want to Know About iPads in Education
5. Simple Science Videos
6. Cite This For Me - A Reference List Generator
7. iStoryBooks - A Great Storybook App for Tablets
8. Ten Search Tools and Tactics Teachers and Students Need to Know
9. Science Video Portal and Interactives
10. Planes Overhead and Other Cool Wolfram Alpha Things

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ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
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