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Monday, November 2, 2015

How Hard Drives Work

How Do Hard Drives Work? is a new TED-Ed lesson about a piece of technology that students utilize every day, but often don't understand. The lesson begins with an explanation of the physical components of a hard drive. The lesson then progresses to explain how data is stored. The explanation of bits and bytes is the part of the lesson that students will probably hear and think, "oh, that's what that means."

Besides the explanation of how hard drives work, this lesson does a good job of illustrating how technology improves over time and what that means for future technology development and use.

VocApp - Create Multimedia Vocabulary Flashcards

VocApp is a free service for creating and studying multimedia flashcards. You can use VocApp in your web browser or in their free iPad and Android apps. The purpose of the service is to help students learn a new language.

To create flashcards on VocApp you need to create an account and sign-in. Once you're signed-in you can click "create flashcards" and begin writing out a list of words. Choose the language that you want to learn and VocApp will automatically translate words from English to the language you've selected. On the flashcard creation screen you can add an image to represent the words you're entering into your flashcards. The case of common words, VocApp will automatically add images to your flashcards. To help students learn how to pronounce words, VocApp offers audio support.

VocApp does offer some pre-made flashcard sets for sale, but you don't have to purchase anything in order to use the service to create and study your own flashcards. There is also a large gallery of public flashcards created by other users and made available for free.

Applications for Education
There is certainly not a shortage of flashcard services on the web. That doesn't mean we should ignore it when a new one comes around.  I like to give students a few options and let them choose. Some students may prefer the interface of VocApp over that of similar services. The ability to use VocApp in a web browser as well as on an Android tablet or iPad makes it a good option for BYOD settings.

Use Sketches to Outline a Story on Storyboard Maker

This post originally appeared on one of my other blogs, Android4Schools.com.

Storyboard Maker is a free Android app for outlining a story. In the app you can outline story scenes by sketching frames then writing text to outline action and dialogue in each scene. Here’s how it works; tap the picture field in a Storyboard Maker scene template and a drawing pad appears on your screen. After making your sketch, tap the save icon. Complete the template fields for writing your story’s action and dialogue after your sketch is saved. If you don’t think that a sketch is necessary, you can use the Storyboard Maker templates without adding sketches.

Storyboard Maker is completely free and does not require users to register. Your work is saved directly to your tablet or phone’s camera roll.

Applications for Education
Storyboard Maker could be a good app for students to use during the planning process of a video project. Outlining the dialogue and action before attempting to make the video can help students focus on the most important element of any video project, the story.