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Thursday, September 13, 2012

YouTube Launches "Star Search" for Teachers

Okay, so YouTube's not bringing Ed McMahon back to life to have teachers sing and dance on stage, but they have launched a star search of sorts. Starting today and running through October 1st, YouTube is  looking to identify ten YouTube EDU Gurus.

YouTube has partnered with Khan Academy to run this contest. The ten chosen finalists will receive $1,000 toward for video production equipment, attend a three day workshop with Khan academy staff, and have work featured on YouTube EDU. To enter you have to submit video samples and answer two short essay questions (responses limited to 200 words).

Keith Hughes is one teacher that I would love to see chosen even though his productions are already of better quality than most of the Khan Academy stuff. If you're a history teacher and you haven't seen Keith's Hip Hughes History YouTube channel, go check it out now.

Dropmark - Simple File Sharing In Your Browser and Now On Your Mac Desktop

Dropmark is a file storing and sharing service that I reviewed back in June. When I tried it then I was impressed by its slick interface and by how easily I could drag files from my desktop to my web browser to store them and or share them with colleagues.

Today, Dropmark released a free Mac app. The free Mac app allows you to upload files to your Dropmark account by just dragging them into your menu bar. Your files will sync to your Dropmark account. You can upload to your Dropmark account single files or complete folders.

Applications for Education
Shared collection folders is one of the handy features of Dropmark that I think some teachers could benefit from using. Create a folder of files that your students will need for a particular unit you're teaching. Share that folder with your students so that they can download the files when they need them. If you update the folder, your students will see the new materials in that folder too. You could also reverse this process and students create folders of their works that they then share with you. This could be a good way to collect digital assignments without cluttering your email inbox.

Storyboard That - A Good Storyboarding Tool

Storyboard That is a nice storyboarding tool that I just learned about from David Kapuler. Storyboard That provides you with three frame and six frame templates in which you can create your story. To help you create your story Storyboard That provides dozens of scenes, characters, and text bubbles to fill your storyboard's frames. Each element that you drag into your storyboard's frames can be resized, rotated, and repositioned.

Applications for Education
Storyboard That could be a good tool for students to use to create simple cartoon stories. Students can also use Storyboard That to create outlines for longer creative writing projects or to script videos they're producing.

Storyboard That's free plan allows you to save three projects per day. You do have to register on the site to save your work. There is a premium plan ($2.79/month) that allows unlimited saves per day.

Base Ten Fun with ABCya!

Base Ten Fun is a set of three educational games that elementary school students can use to practice counting and adding in units of ten. The three games are Read & Make, Listen & Make, and Count & Write.

In Read & Make students see a number on a blank canvas. Students then drag blocks of ten and individual blocks onto that blank canvas to create the number they were shown. New block designs are unlocked when students correctly complete ten problems in a row.

Listen & Make uses the same format as Read & Make but instead of reading the numbers that they need to make students hear the numbers that they need to make.

Count & Write asks students to add up the blocks appearing on the screen and enter the correct total.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some virtual mathematics manipulatives that your students can use in your classroom or at home with their parents, take a look at ABCya's Base Ten Fun and all of the other games that ABCya offers.

Disclosure: ABCya.com is a long-time advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Become a Google Power Searcher This Fall

This summer Google offered a MOOC titled Power Searching With Google. More than 150,000 people registered for the course (completion rate was 29%). This fall Google is offering the course again. The six week course will again be facilitated by Google's head of search anthropology, Dan Russell. Registration is open now and the course begins on September 24.

Applications for Education
Power Searching With Google could be a great course for teachers who want to become better users of Google search in order to teach their students better search strategies. And, of course, students can take the course on their own to learn better search strategies.

Classroom Deliberations - Current Issues Lessons

C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations is a website designed to educate students about current issues being debated in Congress. There are six issues currently featured on the site. Students visiting the site can get background information on each issue to prepare themselves for classroom activities like debates and moot courts.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some classroom activities to help your middle school or high school students understand current political issues in the United States, take a look at C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations.

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