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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lingua.ly Moves to a Website-based Model for Learning a Language

Lingua.ly is a free service that is designed to help its users learn a new language while browsing the web. The service initially launched as a Chrome extension then added an Android app. The latest update to the service moves the service into a website-based model.

While using the Lingua.ly Chrome extension anytime that you come across a new word you can double-click on it to hear it pronounced, read a translation, and read a definition. The words that you double-click are added to your Lingua.ly account where you can review them in a quiz format.

The new Lingua.ly web app gives you the option add words from reading suggestions or manually enter words to study. The web app contains a game aspect that features weekly leader boards and points for different behaviors. Users can earn points for things like for looking up a word from a reading suggestions and for successful practice completion.

Watch a short overview of Lingualy in the video below.

Any.do Offers Collaborative Task Management On Any Device

Any.DO is a nice task management tool that originally launched as an Android app then as an iOS app and now is available to use in any modern web browser on your desktop or mobile device.

Any.DO is designed for creating to-do lists and sharing them with your friends and colleagues. On Any.DO you can type out a list of tasks or enter tasks by speaking into your phone. Once you've entered your task you can assign it to a day and time for completion. After assigning a completion deadline you can share that task with anyone in your contacts list even that person doesn't have the Any.DO app installed on his or her phone.

Any.DO also gives you the option to attach notes to your tasks, set reminders for your tasks, and put notes into folders that you've created. For example, if I have notes of a personal nature like my grocery shopping list I can put that list into my "personal" folder instead of my "work" folder.

Applications for Education
Any.DO could be a great app for students to use to keep track of assignments and due dates. I like the option for adding notes through voice messages instead of typing them out. One of the impediments to some students' successful use of task management tools is taking the time to write down the tasks they need to do. By using the voice recorder that impediment is removed.

Progressive Phonics - Free eBooks for Teachers, Parents, and Students

Progressive Phonics is a free series of ebooks that teachers and parents can use to help their students learn to read and write. Progressive Phonics offers free ebooks that cover everything from learning the alphabet to learning to write to learning the construction of words and sentences. As the name implies, Progressive Phonics arranges the series of free ebooks to build upon each other. Progressive Phonics has removed the requirement to register on the site before using the free ebooks.

Applications for Education
Progressive Phonics could be an excellent free resource for anyone tasked with teaching children how to read and write. The directions for the activities in the books that I downloaded appear to be very clear so as to very accessible to young learners. 

Videos and Guides to Copyright & Creative Commons

In my previous post I shared the copyright flowchart created by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano and Meryl Zeidenberg. I am planning to share that chart along with the following videos and guides in a video creation workshop that I am facilitating on Wednesday morning.

Copyright and Creative Commons Explained by Common Craft tells the story of a photographer who uses Creative Commons licensing on her images. (Note, Common Craft does require a license to download and embed videos as I have done here).


The following video does a nice job of explaining many of the nuances of copyright as it applies to educators. While the explanations are given for a collegiate setting they could be applied to K-12 too. The video is embedded below.


Copyright on Campus was produced by the Copyright Clearance Center which is a for-profit organization. That is probably why the video lacks a balanced discussion of section 107 of Title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States. Rather than making you go look it up, I've pasted the content of section 107 below.

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

The Copyright Foundation offers a thirteen page guide (link opens PDF) to Copyright for Educators. Included in the guide is a glossary of important terms. At the end of the guide you will also find some lesson plans that are available on the Copyright Foundation's curriculum pages.

For helping students learn about Copyright Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is a use resource produced by the Library of Congress. Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is intended to help elementary school students understand the purposes and functions of copyright.

YouTube's Copyright School is a four minute video with a few multiple choice questions at the end.

Confused About Copyright? Check This Chart

Determining whether or not you can re-use media found on the web can be a tricky process. Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano and Meryl Zeidenberg have created a nice flowchart that you can follow to determine if you can re-use a work that you have found on the web. The chart includes some good explanations of fair use cases. My favorite aspect of the chart is the explanation of fair use as it relates to putting copyrighted content onto a classroom or school website. Click here to view and download the whole chart to use in your classroom (follow the Creative Commons license guidelines) or preview it below.

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