Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Subscription Option

Thank you to everyone who subscribes to the RSS feed for this blog and reads the blog. Today, I've added a subscribe by email option. Use the link in the top right corner of the blog to receive the newest content from this blog delivered to your email.

Wow! Ask Kids is Very Impressive

Wow! The recently redesigned Ask Kids search engine is very very impressive! Ask Kids is the kid friendly, kid safe version of the popular search engine The first thing that new visitors to Ask Kids will notice is the notebook paper theme and five search categories. Then visitors will notice the drawing tools in the lower right hand corner of the home page. The drawing tools don't seem to have much purpose other than just providing tools to customize the Ask Kids homepage (clearing cookies resets the homepage). On the other hand, the five search categories are very useful and easy to navigate.

Ask Kids is divided into five categories of which one is a general search option. The five categories are School House, movies, games, images, and video. The School House category provides students with suggested topics and links to resources for those topics. The School House also serves as a general search tool. In the other search categories Ask Kids makes suggestions for search refinement. A great aspect of the search results that Ask Kids provides is the option to refine searches based on a student's age.

Applications for Education
Ask Kids is a great search tool for elementary school and middle school students. The suggested search refinements are a great model for teaching students how to alter their Internet search terms to find the information for which they are looking. The "filter by age" option is useful for parents trying to help their child find information appropriate for their grade level.

Classroom Management Discussion and Assignment Management Tools

The first days of each school year are filled with administrative tasks like collecting emergency forms, distributing schedules, and practicing fire drills. These first days are also when teachers discuss expectations for student behavior. In this week's episode of the Wicked Decent Learning podcast Jeff and Dan discuss their expectations for student behavior and general classroom management practices. Jeff and Dan are both high school teachers so their ideas come from that perspective. It would be very interesting to hear a comparison of elementary school teachers' behavior management styles compared to the behavior management styles of high school teachers.

Later in the podcast Jeff reviews some free web tools designed to help students and parents manage homework assignments. A few of those services are Notely, Grade Fix, and For Later. Listen to the podcast or visit the Wicked Decent Learning blog to find the rest of services Jeff reviewed.