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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Three Examples of Students Creating Real-World Products to Solve Problems That Mattered to Them

In many of my presentations I try to make the point that "real world" problems are whatever problems that matter to students. That problem could be figuring out how to get into college, how to earn some money, or how to better prepare for an exam that feels important to them. In my presentation Leading Students In a Hyper-connected World I share some examples of students who have identified real world problems and then done something about them.

Vocabulist is a free tool that was developed by a high school student named Ahan Malhotra. He built Vocabulist to help him and other students more easily create vocabulary review exercises. The tool allows students to upload documents and have vocabulary words extracted from them. Vocabulist then matches definitions to the words. The matched words and definitions can be shared to Quizlet to study as flashcards. Watch my video below to see how Vocabulist works. Read more of Ahan's story here.


George Burgess developed the Gojimo app as a teenager to help him prepare for geography exams. Three years later Gojimo has expanded to offer review activities for geography, history, mathematics, and language arts. Gojimo also offers ACT and SAT prep. Though only an iPad app at first, it is now available as an Android app and as a web app. Read more of George's story here.

Chow Checker was developed by students was developed by Christina Winsor DiMicelli's students at Hampstead Academy in New Hampshire. The app was submitted to and won Verizon's Innovative App Challenge in 2013. Chow Checker is a free Android app that anyone can use to search for foods and discover which allergens may be in them. Chow Checker users can create profiles of their own allergens to help them keep track of the foods that contain allergens that can affect them. You don't have to create a profile in order to use the app. You can simply enter a food's name or part of the name ("trail" instead of "trail mix" for example) and view the common allergens that it contains.

Resources from #TCEA16

Over the last two days I had the privilege to give six presentations at the TCEA conference in Austin, Texas. As I always do, I put the slides and other resources from my presentations online at Practical Ed Tech. The six presentations that I gave were:

  • Classroom Uses for Google Books
  • Ten Common Challenges Facing Educators
  • Mind mapping, timelines, and collaborative brainstorming 
  • Discovery, Discussion, Demonstration 
  • 24/7 Learning
  • Leading Students In a Hyper-connected World.
When you land on my TCEA resources page you may be greeted by a pop-up offering the opportunity to subscribe to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. That is a free newsletter that I send out every Sunday evening and only on Sunday evening. In the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter I share my favorite tip of the week along with a list of the most popular posts of the week from Free Technology for Teachers