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Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Use Google as a Countdown Timer

I've featured a bunch of countdown timers over the years. This one might be the simplest one yet. As The Next Web reported yesterday, you can now simply type into Google search "set timer" followed by an amount of time and a countdown timer is displayed. An alarm beeps when time is up. You can make the timer appear full screen without advertisements by clicking a little box icon to the right of the timer. You can see this feature in action in the video below.


Applications for Education
Whenever I have long blocks of instructional time I like to break it up with short breaks and or timed hands-on activities. One tool that can help to prevent the students and me from stretching the "break times" is to use a countdown timer like this one.

Hemingway Helps You Analyze Your Writing

In my previous post about curating the web I mentioned that I rarely Google to find new-to-me sites and apps. One of the places that I do search is the Diigo community for "hot bookmarks." Hemingway was one of the hot bookmarks that I found yesterday.

Hemingway is a free tool designed to help you analyze your writing. Hemingway offers a bunch of information about the passage you've written or copied and pasted into the site. Hemingway highlights the parts of your writing that use passive voice, adverbs, and overly complex sentences. All of those factors are accounted for in generating a general readability score for your passage.

Applications for Education
Hemingway is the kind of tool that I like to have students use before exchanging papers with classmates for peer editing. Hemingway acts as a kind of "virtual peer" before the peer editing process. I would also have students use Hemingway before turning in their final drafts for a grade.

StoryToolz offers a tool similar to Hemingway that you may also want to check out.

Conversations About Curating the Web

On Tuesday evening I was a guest on Open Online Experience's Google+ Hangout about curating the web. The Hangout began with a short presentation from me followed by a question and answer period in which I talked about my workflow as it relates to finding and sharing content for Free Technology for Teachers. The video of the hangout and my slides are embedded below.


The Science of Snow

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where we have roughly ten inches of new snow on the ground. The fresh snow combined with the approaching full moon reminded me of a couple of neat videos about snow and the moon.

The episode of Bytesize Science embedded below explains how snowflakes are created.


One of my favorite things about the combination of fresh snow and a full moon is that it is so bright at night that I don't have to wear a headlamp to see my dogs in the yard at night. In the following Minute Physics video we learn why the full moon appears brighter in the winter.

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