Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Science is Fun - Home Experiments, written by a University of Wisconsin chemistry professor, features twenty-five fun and safe science experiments that can be performed with household items. The experiments introduce students to basic chemistry concepts through fun, hands-on activity.

Applications for Education
The experiments on Science is Fun are probably most appropriate for use with students in the fourth through ninth grade. In addition to providing detailed directions for conducting each experiment, Science is Fun provides an explanation of the chemistry at work in each experiment. Complementing the experiments are easy-to-understand explanations
of many chemicals and elements on the periodic table.

Mathematics in the Movies

Mathematics in Movies is a website developed by Oliver Knill, a Harvard Mathematics professor. Mathematics in Movies is a collection of video clips from popular movies and television shows in which references to mathematics are made. One of the most recent clips comes from an episode of The Office in which Oscar tries to explain the concept of a budget surplus to Michael. I've embedded the episode below.

Applications for Education
The video clips from Mathematics in Movies could be a fun way to introduce a mathematics lesson. The clips might also be useful as a break from a traditional lesson plan for a day. Students can enjoy the clips while reviewing mathematics concepts.

Three Ways to Watch NOVA Online

The long-running and popular PBS series, NOVA has tons of great content for teachers to use in the classroom. What some teachers might not know is that you don't have to purchase the NOVA dvd's or video cassettes in order to show the programs in your classroom. There are more than 200 NOVA programs available for free viewing on the NOVA website. You can also catch NOVA video podcasts on iTunes. One of my favorite new services of 2008, Snag Films, also makes NOVA videos available for free online viewing. In fact, by using Snag Films I've embedded one of the videos below.

Applications for Education
NOVA's teacher resource page is one of the best found anywhere on the Internet. The page is organized by and can be searched by program title or by subject area. Almost every program has lesson plans for teachers and by teachers. Many of the programs are also accompanied by online interactive websites.

Another Plagiarism Checker

Here's another plagiarism detection resource to add to the list that I posted on Sunday. Plagiarism works just like many similar services. To use it, simply type or paste text into the search box and Plagiarism Checker will tell you if and from where something was copied.

Thanks to Matthew K. Tabor for sharing Plagiarism Checker on Twitter.

The End to Copyright Confusion

My interest in fair use, copyright, and Creative Commons has been strong lately which is why, today, I went searching on SlideShare for presentations about these topics. One of the first slide shows I came across (embedded below) was from the Media Education Lab at Temple University. The Media Education Lab and Temple University has created a number of great resources about fair use for teachers and students. Visit the Media Education Lab's website to see videos explaining fair use, lesson plans for media education, and to download a copy of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use.

Applications for Education
The Media Education Lab at Temple University helped me to get a better understanding of fair use guidelines for education. Sharing the slide show, videos, and guidelines with your colleagues should help them gain a better understanding of fair use in education.
People that teach journalism, media production, or have students creating content on the Internet should take a look at the Media Education Lab's lesson plans about fair use.

Get Backboard - Get Feedback Faster

The first time I reviewed Backboard in May it was a simple website through which you could post a document and have people leave feedback for you in a message board or comment system style. It was easy to use and free so I thought it had potential as online resource for conducting peer-review of documents. Yesterday, I received an email informing me of some updates to Backboard that make it a better product.

Backboard has recently added the capability for real-time commenting within a document which is an improvement over the previous system. Backboard now has a full-screen mode and a resizing option to allow you to work with images of almost any size. Speaking of images, Backboard now supports the inclusion of vector graphics. Finally, Backboard offers RSS feeds for your documents so that you can track comments in your favorite RSS reader.

Applications for Education
Backboard is a quick and easy way for students and teachers to peer-review documents. To upload a document, you need to create an account, but to comment you do not. So if you want to have students comment on an article or on an image you can have the class writing comments very quickly.