Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Updated RSS Feed

After receiving a number of requests, I have slightly altered the RSS feed for FreeTech4Teachers. I'm now using FeedBurner. In the top, left corner of the page you should see a new "RSS- Subscribe in a Reader" icon. For those of you who would like to subscribe manually this is the feed address -

Hopefully, I didn't lose too many of you by changing the RSS feed. If, I did lose you, I apologize and hope you found your way back.

You should also notice in your RSS reader that I've expanded the content displayed in the feed.

Free Technology For Teachers: Famhoo - Family Safe Search Engine

Famhoo is another new option for kid friendly search engines. Famhoo draws on the collective results of the major search mainstream search engines like Google, AOL, and Yahoo. Famhoo simply provides a stricter family filter than the filters available on mainstream search engines.

Applications for Education
Creating Google Custom Searches is the most safe way to have students search Internet resources. Making a Google Custom Search can be time consuming if it is going to incorporate a lot of resources. Custom search engines can be limiting so sometimes it's better to let kids explore the Internet. Famhoo is a safe way for students to search the Internet.

Free Technology For Teachers: How Not to Make a Slide Show

If your students use Slide Rocket, Empressr, Key Note, or old fashioned Power Point to create visual aids for their presentations the same mistakes will appear until they're taught what makes a great presentation. I tell my students, "if you're bored by your own presentation, your audience will be bored with it too." Here is an entertaining video of how not to build a slide show presentation.

Free Technology For Teachers: Teaching Physics to Eighth Graders

Clifford Stoll has done many cool things in his life including catching a KGB spy, but the coolest thing he's done is teaching college level physics to 8th graders. What I like about Clifford Stoll is that instead of just talking about ways to teach and improve education he is actually getting on the front line and trying his ideas. (Stoll has definitely done enough things and made enough money to sit back and be a "consultant" but instead he's actually teaching, something I have tremendous respect for). In this talk he gave at TED in February 2006 Stoll talks about and demonstrates measuring the speed of sound with an 8th grade class. Stoll also makes a very profound, but somewhat obvious, statement about the future. He says, "if you want to know what the future generation will be like, ask a Kindergarten teacher."

Enjoy the show, Clifford Stoll is very energetic and engaging.

Free Technology For Teachers: Forvo - Hear Words Pronounced By Native Speakers

Forvo can best be described as an audio wiki for word pronunciations. One of the problems with learning to speak a language that is not phonetic is trying to figure out how to pronounce the words. Forvo hosts hundreds of recordings of word pronunciations by native speakers. Currently there are 177 languages supported on Forvo. Along with word pronunciations, Forvo provides some basic demographic information about each language. Forvo's content is user supported and user generated so new pronunciations are added every day.

Applications for Education
Forvo is a good complimentary resource for foreign language teachers. Students can use Forvo as a study aid when they are away from the classroom. Forvo could also be a good complimentary tool to use in independent study courses.

Free Technology For Teachers: Handipoints - Online Star Chart for Kids and Parents

Remember those "star charts" you had a kid, the ones where you earned stars for good behavior or doing your chores? Handipoints has taken the star chart concept and built a website on it. Here's how it works, parents (or teachers) create a list of items for their kids to do. The kids then check off each task as they do it. For each task or behavior goal completed the child earns points. When the child reaches their goal they can cash in their points toward playing the Handiland game. Parents/ teachers can also print the completed charts and provide offline rewards.