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Friday, February 10, 2012

Mentimeter - Poll Your Audience

Yesterday, in my Ed Tech Teacher webinar 30 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers I demonstrated Socrative. Socrative is currently my favorite tool for using cell phones, tablets, and laptops to survey an audience. After the webinar I was contacted by a company called Mentimeter who offers a similar product.

Mentimeter allows you to pose a question to your audience and get instant feedback on that question through cell phones, tablets, and any other Internet-connected device. Mentimeter doesn't have has many features as Socrative or Poll Everywhere, but it is free and very easy to use. In the video below I provide a two minute demonstration of Mentimeter.



Applications for Education
If your school has been considering purchasing one of those expensive clicker response systems give Mentimeter and these three other alternatives a try before making a purchase.

Character Scrapbook - A Tool for Student Reflections on Stories

Scholastic's Character Scrapbook provides a nice template that elementary school students can use to write about and reflect on the characters in their favorite stories. The template is quite simple to use. Students enter the name of a story and the name of their favorite character on the first page. On the next pages students list ten attributes of the character. The Character Scrapbook also allows students to create pictures of their favorite characters.

As you can see in the image above, Scholastic's Character Scrapbook doesn't limit students to human characters. Students can write about and create images of animal characters too.

Applications for Education
Scholastic's Character Scrapbook could be a great tool for getting students to think about their favorite stories. The Character Scrapbook has an easy print option so that you can print and display all of your students' works in your classroom.

Learn Chemistry - Videos, Lessons, and an Interactive Periodic Table

Learn Chemistry is a production of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The purpose of Learn Chemistry is provide educators with resources for teaching chemistry lessons to students of all ages. The database of instructional resources has more than 2700 entries organized according to topic, age of students, and media type.

 A couple of resources for middle school and high school lessons that stand out are the Faces of Chemistry video series and the Visual Elements Periodic Table. The Faces of Chemistry is a set of short videos that explain how chemistry is an integral part of three fairly common activities; hair coloring, farming, and car exhaust control. The Face of Chemistry videos are targeted toward students between eleven and fourteen years of age. The first video in the series is embedded below.


The Visual Elements Periodic Table is an interactive display of the Periodic Table of Elements. Click on any element in the table to reveal important information about that element. Many of the element information pages include short videos.

Applications for Education
Whether you teach elementary school, middle school, or high school students, Learn Chemistry seems to have something for everyone. Check out the Learn Chemistry Wiki to see materials developed by other teachers, share your own materials, and find partners for collaborative lessons.

Vocabulary.com - Extensive Lists of Vocabulary Practice Activities

I've written about a lot of vocabulary development websites in the past (here are seven good ones) so I was kind of surprised when I realized that I have never written about Vocabulary.com. Vocabulary.com offers hundreds of vocabulary practice lists and activities for students in elementary school through graduate school. In all there are more than 40,000 questions available through Vocabulary.com

When you sign up for Vocabulary.com you will be given an assessment quiz in order to give you suggested lists with which to start your practice. After completing the assessment you can use the practice lists suggested by Vocabulary.com or choose your own lists from the huge gallery of practice activities.

Vocabulary.com keeps tracks of your progress for you and, if you care for this sort of thing, gives you a virtual achievement badge.

Applications for Education
The Vocabulary.com activities that I tried reminded me very much of the SAT. The activities were a mix of fill in the blank and analogy activities. Students using Vocabulary.com receive instant feedback on each question that they attempt. Overall, Vocabulary.com could be a good site for students to use in preparation for the SAT.

Teaching Channel - Best Practice Videos and Lessons

Teaching Channel is a collection of videos of teachers demonstrating their best practices. The videos are categorized according to grade level, subject, and topic. You will find examples of classroom management techniques and examples of teachers carrying out their best lesson plans. The lesson plan videos are accompanied by documents  detailing the lessons. The classroom management videos are accompanied by tip sheets.


If you register on the Teaching Channel website you can download videos, take and save notes on each video, and take advantage of a lesson planning tool to organize your lessons.

Applications for Education
Teaching Channel could be a good place for pre-service teachers to see some good modeling of instructional methods. If you're a veteran teacher looking for some new ideas about how to teach a particular topic, the Teaching Channel could have what you need.

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