Monday, October 13, 2014

Wiki Summarizer Can Help Students Start Their Research Projects

Wiki Summarizer is a site that allows you to search Wikipedia, have articles summarized by key points, and provides lists of articles that are related to your original search. Wiki Summarizer also offers expandable webs of related articles. For example, I searched for "Maine" and a web of related terms was created. Clicking on the "+" symbol next to each term opens a new element of the web. The final summary aspect of the Wiki Summarizer is the hyperlinked word clouds for every Wikipedia article. You can click on any word in the word clouds to jump to the corresponding Wikipedia article.

Applications for Education
Wiki Summarizer could be a good tool for students who are just starting a research assignment and are not quite sure what terms to use or what topics to explore. By using the Wiki Summarizer web view or word cloud view students will be able to find some terms and topics that could help them alter and or direct their searches. In other words, Wiki Summarizer could help students who have a very broad research topic narrow down their searches.

15 Second Vocabulary Videos - A NY Times Learning Network Contest

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo this morning I learned about a neat contest that The New York Times Learning Network is hosting. The 15-Second Vocabulary Contest asks students to create a short video in which they pronounce, define, and illustrate (animation, drawing, acting, claymation, stop-motion) the meaning of one of the words from this list of the Learning Network's Words of the Day.

The contest is open to students worldwide between the ages of 13 and 19. Submissions are due by November 11. Complete contest rules are available here.

A winning video from last year's contest is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Even if your students don't enter the contest, the concept of creating 15 second vocabulary videos is one that you can incorporate into your language arts lessons. If you want to create a gallery of vocabulary videos that your students make, consider using Google Drive to make a private gallery of videos.

Have Older Google Forms? They Will Soon Be Updated Automatically

If you have been using Google Forms for more than 20 months, you may have some Forms that were created with the old version of Google Forms. If those Forms were created in a Google Apps for Education account your old Forms will soon be automatically updated to the current version of Google Forms. Updated Forms will include all of the latest features of Forms like randomizing questions to your old Google Forms.

According to Google the automatic updating of Forms will begin on October 20th.

Reminder - You Can Use Remind Worldwide

This week's tip of the week featured Remind (formerly Remind 101) tutorials. After I posted those tutorials I had a few people reply that they wish Remind was available outside of the United States. One of the many updates that Remind made this summer included expanding the service to users outside of North America. You can now use Remind worldwide through the free Remind Android, iOS, and Chrome apps.

One of the other updates that Remind made this summer was the addition of voice greetings and feedback stamps. You can use the mobile apps or Remind website to create short audio messages to send to students and their parents. Messages can be up to fifteen seconds long. Voice messages can be sent to individuals or to groups.

Stamps is the new feedback mechanism available through Remind. Students and their parents can now reply to your Remind messages by selecting one of four stamps to indicate that they have received your message and their thoughts about your message. For example, a student can use a question mark stamp to indicate that they don't feel prepared for an upcoming quiz.

123D Catch Turns Pictures Into 3D Models

This post is a combination of cross-posts from my other blogs and

123D Catch is a free iPad and Android app. The app makes it possible to turn your pictures into a 3D model that you can manipulate on your iPad or on your Android tablet.

To create a model with 123D Catch select a physical object that you can photograph with your tablet or phone. Then take a series of pictures of that object as you either walk around it or rotate it slowly as you take pictures of it. Then select the best images from those that you took (20+ images works best) to let Autodesk process and turn into a 3D model for you. Your completed 3D models can be shared to the Autodesk community where others can view and use them.

Applications for Education
123D Catch could be a great app for creating virtual manipulatives to use in a math or science lesson. The app could also be used to create 3D models of interesting landmarks that you visit during a vacation, but that your students would otherwise only see in 2D pictures. Finally, all of the models that you create with 123D Catch can be edited in Meshmixer and printed with a 3D printer.