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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers This Week

Good morning from sunny Greenwood, Maine. I know that for a lot of you this may be the last weekend of the summer before school starts. I hope that wherever you are the weather is nice and you can get outside to take advantage of it. My dogs and I have already walked a few miles and soon I'm going mountain biking. But before I get out on my bike (yes, Mom, I will wear my helmet), I have this week's list of the most popular posts of the week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In School
2. How to Introduce Educlipper to Students and Teachers
3. Active Textbook - Turn PDFs Into Multimedia Documents
4. 15 Things You Can Do With Edmodo and How to Get Started
5. A Lesson In Overcoming Obstacles
6. Unsplash - Another Good Source of Free Images
7. Submrge - Ideas for Teaching With Games

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Remind 101 offers a free tool for sending text message reminders to students.
WidBook is a great platform for writing multimedia books.
Storyboard That offers a great tool for planning stories.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

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5 Free iPad Apps Students Can Use to Take Notes

Cross-posted from iPadApps4School.com

One of the things that I love about the start of the new school year is that so many students have goals for making “this year the year they…” For many students that blank is filled in with “stay organized” or “take better notes.” If your students are going to be using iPads in your classroom this year, here are five free iPad apps they can try for taking notes and keeping those notes organized.

Penultimate provides a place for you to hand-write notes on your iPad. The app allows you to create multiple notebooks with multiple pages in each. You can change the color and size of the pen strokes that are created when you write in your notebooks. Each page in your notebook can include pictures that you have stored on your iPad or pictures that you take through the Penultimate app. The app provides the option to change the look of the virtual paper on which you write. You can copy and paste content from one page to another and from one notebook to another. This is my go-to app for writing notes. 

inClass is a fantastic free iPad app that students can use to take and keep track of the notes they record in all of their courses. inClass allows students to organize notebooks for each of their courses. Within each notebook students can include typed notes, audio notes, video notes, and pictures. The ability to store those four types of notes makes inClass a great app for students to use in a science lab where they might want to have a little video clip of an experiment along with their own typed notes about the lab experiment.

Evernote is the Swiss Army knife of iPad apps. Students can use Evernote for a little bit of everything from bookmarking websites to dictating notes to themselves. The app will automatically sync with students online Evernote accounts so that they can access my notes, bookmarks, and saved files from any computer or device that is connected to the web.

Fetchnotes is a service for creating and organizing notes for yourself. Organizing your notes on Fetchnotes is quite simple. When you write a note, just use a hashtag to label your note. Then whenever you want to search for a note just enter a hashtag. For example, if I was a student taking notes in a history course I might use the hashtag “#revolution” for all notes related to revolutions. Then I could go back and read all of my notes about revolution by just searching for that hashtag. Fetchnotes lets you create groups of people with whom you share notes. When you want to share a note with someone else in your group just add @ before that person’s name to have the task appear on your list and his or her list. In addition to being available through the free iPad app, Fetchnotes can be used in your web browser. Fetchnotes also offers a free Android app.

Last but not least is Google Drive for iPad. While not nearly as robust as the browser-based version of Google Drive, Google Drive for iPad can be used by students to create notes documents. If your school is using Google Apps for Education, your students are probably already familiar with how to use Google Drive. Of course, their notes will sync to their Google Drive accounts so that they can access their notes through any Internet-connected device. Click here for a short (13 page PDF) guide to using Google Drive for iPad.

Fun DIY Projects for Kids

Thanks to Patty Eyer for reminding me about this great resource. DIY.org is a neat website on which kids can find dozens of DIY projects that they can do on their own or with their parents. DIY.org provides videos and instructions on how to do the projects. After going through the directions kids then try to complete the project. When they've completed the project they can take a picture and upload it to their DIY.org portfolios. Kids can share examples of their projects through DIY.org.

Kids cannot register on DIY.org without a parent's permission. Parents have their own DIY.org dashboards that they can use to track the activities of their children. Children registered on DIY.org have aliases and cartoon avatar pictures.

Applications for Education
DIY.org could be a great source of project ideas for parents and their children to work on together. Through the project challenges students can learn about biology, electricity, music, computer science, physics, geography, and more. 

The Science of Macaroni Salad

The Science of Macaroni Salad is a fun two-part TED-Ed lesson through which students can learn about chemical mixtures, solutions, and bonds The videos use macaroni salad as the context for the lessons, but the lessons could certainly be applied to many other substances. Both videos are embedded below.




Applications for Education 
Videos like The Science of Macaroni Salad interest me as introductory lessons. Videos like these put chemistry into a context that a lot of students can relate to. Start with these videos before diving deeper into the concepts that the videos introduce. 

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