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Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Couple of Graphing Calculators for Your Chrome Browser

A few days ago I wrote about the new graphing calculator Android app offered by Desmos. In that post I neglected to mention that Desmos also offers a Chrome app. The Chrome app version of Desmos works like the web version. Along with all of the graphing functions Desmos allows you to share your equations and graphs. Desmos graphs your equations as you type them and redraws them as you alter your equations.

Graph.tk is a free online graphing utility that is also available in the Google Chrome Web StoreGraph.tk allows you to plot multiple functions through its dynamically re-sizing grid. To graph an equation on Graph.tk just click the "+" symbol to enter a new equation. One thing that isn't clear the first time you use Graph.tk is that you need to delete the existing default equations before you start.

Applications for Education
If your school has gone 1:1 with Chromebooks, Desmos and to a lesser degree Graph.tk could be good alternatives to trying to keep track of TI-84's or other graphing calculators.

Now Open - Duolingo for Schools

Last week the popular language learning service Duolingo announced that they were launching a version just for schools. Today, I received their press release announcing that Duolingo for Schools is now open to everyone. I planned to write a longer review of it, but Larry Ferlazzo wrote one earlier that is better than what I had to say. Larry is using the service with his students so I encourage you to read his review.

Duolingo is a platform that offers activities for learning Spanish, English, French, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, German, and Portuguese. The service works in your web browser and is available as an app on Android, iPad, and Windows 8. Duolingo for Schools allows teachers to assign activities and monitor students' progress.

How to Assign and Manage Group Writing Projects Through ProjectWriter

Disclosure: BoomWriter is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Last month when I met with the founders of BoomWriter they gave me a preview of their new service called ProjectWriter. I teased it a bit last month. Today, ProjectWriter went live for everyone to use.

Through Project Writer you can create writing assignments for students to complete in groups that you organize. Students log into their BoomWriter accounts (you can manage those accounts) and select the ProjectWriter tab to see their group and the assignment. You can include a list of key terms that you want students to include in their writing assignments. The sample project that I developed has key terms that I want students to use in their essays about causes of the Civil War. Ken Haynes, BoomWriter's COO and a former middle school teacher, showed me a sample science writing project in which he asked students to include key vocabulary about the water cycle.

One of the nice things about ProjectWriter and BoomWriter is that your students do not need to have email accounts in order to use the services. As a teacher you can create and manage your students' accounts.

In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to create a project in ProjectWriter.


The video above was added to my playlist of more than 40 practical ed tech tips.