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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Test Your Geography Smarts on Smarty Pins

Smarty Pins is a new Google Maps game develop by Google. Smarty Pins presents players with a trivia question that they have to answer by placing a pin on a map. Players earn "miles" for correctly placing a pin on the map. Players can lose miles for answering incorrectly and or taking too long to answer. Games are available in five categories; arts & culture, science & geography, sports & games, entertainment, and history & current events.

Applications for Education
I tried my hand at Smarty Pins for a while and found myself hooked on the "history & current events" game. The questions in the games are random so it would be hard to use as an assignment to match a unit of study. That said, if you're looking for a fun geography game for students, Smarty Pins will fit the bill.

H/T to Glenn Wiebe and Larry Ferlazzo. 

Try Nearpod for Remotely Delivering Content to Your Students' Tablets and Laptops

In an earlier post about the closure of Presentation.io I mentioned Nearpod as an alternative option for remotely delivering content to your students. Nearpod is a service that teachers can use to create quizzes, polls, and multimedia presentations. Those materials can be shared directly to students through the Nearpod student app. The app is available on iOS, Android, Windows 8, and in your web browser. Teachers can view their students' responses individually or as a whole class. Students can reply to prompts from the teacher. Prompts can be slides, quizzes, polls, videos, and PDFs.


Applications for Education
In a 1:1 classroom Nearpod offers a great way to deliver lessons and quizzes to students. The free version of Nearpod allows you to deliver content to up to 30 students at a time. The feedback mechanisms available to students allow you to quickly get a sense of your students' comprehension of the lessons that you deliver to them.

AmericanEDtv Brings You ISTE Highlights and More

The ISTE 2014 conference wrapped-up earlier this week. I was there for a couple of days, but I couldn't stay for the whole conference. I know many of you would have liked to attend too, but couldn't for one reason or another. Fortunately, you can catch some of the conference highlights by visiting AmericanEDtv. AmericanEDtv is hosted by Dr. Rod Berger. AmericanEDtv features interviews with presenters and vendors at conferences like those hosted by ISTE, ASCD, and SXSW Edu. To get a sense of what AmericanEDtv does check out Rod's interview with me and his interview with Marc Prensky.

Plickers - The Student Response System for Classrooms That Aren't 1:1

Plickers is a neat student response system that I learned about at ISTE 2014. Plickers uses a teacher's iPad or Android tablet in conjunction with a series of QR codes to create a student response system. Students are given a set of QR codes on large index cards. The codes are assigned to students. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. When the teacher is ready to collect data, he or she uses the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards to see a bar graph of responses.

Applications for Education
Plickers could be a good student response system to use in classrooms in which students don't have laptops or tablets to use. Using Plickers to poll your students instead of asking them to raise hands to indicate if they "get it" or not allows students to reply anonymously by holding up their cards. Have all students hold up their cards at the same time, scan them, and see the results. Students won't know who said they "got it" or not because each code is unique to each student. Click here to learn more about the Plickers cards including how to create your own.

Presentation.io Is Shutting Down in September

Presentation.io is a neat service that allows you to share your slides to your audience members' mobile devices and remotely control the transitions of the slides on their devices. It is a nice way to make sure that all of your students are on the same page with you. Unfortunately, Presentation.io was recently acquired by Cisco and is going to shut down on September 1, 2014.

Nearpod is a good alternative that you might want to consider using. Nearpod is available for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices.

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