Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PBworks Summer Camp

Would you like to learn how to improve your use of wikis in your classroom? Do you know someone who would like to learn about using wikis in his or her classroom? If you answered yes, PBworks Summer Camp may be for you.

PBworks Summer Camp is a four week program being run by PBworks for teachers. In the Summer Camp participants will learn the ins and outs of using PBworks in their classrooms. There is a structured syllabus with weekly assignments for participants. Each week there is a webinar about that week's topic(s). Some of the course's topics include setting up a wiki, using interactive media, security settings, and using classroom accounts. You can read the full syllabus and course details here.

Applications for Education
PB Works Summer Camp is a good opportunity for teachers to learn tips and techniques for enhancing their use of wikis in their classrooms.

eMathematics - Interactive Mathematics Exercises looks like it could be a very good online learning resource for mathematics students and teachers. On eMathematics students can learn and practice mathematics skills. Students can create an account to keep a record of the exercise they successfully completed.

Teachers can create eMathematics accounts for their students. By creating an account teachers can use eMathematics to monitor their students' progress to identify their students' strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can also use eMathematics to communicate with students through email.

eMathematics offers lessons and practice excercises for pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonmetry.

Applications for Education
eMathematics looks like a good resource for students to get supplemental mathematics instruction online. As summer approaches (in the northern hemisphere) and students leave school for two months, eMathematics may be a good resource for students to use to keep their mathematics skills sharp.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
StatPlot - Graphs for Sports
Kids Numbers - Learning Math Step by Step
Free Math Worksheets
A Great Collection of K-8 Math Resources

The Congo's Other War

This month's issue of The Atlantic has a good article titled As Go the Hippos... The article is about damage to the Congo's ecosystem as a result of the civil war there. The online version of the article is accompanied by a five minute video slideshow narrated by the author, Delphine Schrank. The video is embedded below.

RSS Readers may need to click through to view the video.

Applications for Education
This video and article could be good for getting high school students to think about the unintended consequences of war.

Animoto Makes Improvements

Animoto has been featured on Free Technology for Teachers many times over the last year and is included in Twelve Essentials for Technology Integration. And just when I think Animoto has reached the zenith of awesomeness, they make more improvements. In an email that I received today from Animoto I learned that they have made infrastructure improvements that will improve upload times and decrease buffering times. These improvements should make for a better user experience at times of peak activity on the site. The Animoto video player has also been improved for ease of use.

Applications for Education
For some ideas about using Animoto in your classroom please read any of the blog posts listed below.
Animoto in the Special Education Classroom
Using Animoto (and Glogster and Wordle) to LEARN
Where I Live... Another Use for Animoto
New Use for a Favorite Resource
Animoto for Education - The End of Boring Slide Shows

Google and Bing Side by Side

The tech blog-o-sphere was buzzing about Microsoft's revamped search engine named Bing. Yesterday, I tweeted about Bing with a few people and in general we didn't get what all the hype was about. When I tested Bing I didn't see anything that makes Bing significantly better than Google search. (Perhaps if Microsoft took Seth Godin's advice to spend less on marketing and more on development, they would have created a game-changer). The one thing that Bing has going for it, as do most alternatives to Google, is that it does serve up search results in a slightly different order than Google does. This is useful for students because it can, in some cases, reveal to them links that they might not have seen had they used just one search engine. But running the same search on multiple search engines is time-consuming and really not all that productive. Fortunately, there are smart people who develop tools to display search engine results side by side.

Today, TechCrunch posted a short piece about a tool created by Paul Savage which allows you to run searches on Google and Bing simultaneously. Results are displayed side by side for easy comparison of results. Try it here for yourself.

Applications for Education
For now I'll put Bing and the Google v. Bing comparison search engine into the category of a simple way to get students to look at more than the first couple of pages of Google links. I don't think Bing is a game-changer in the search world, but it's always nice to offer students alternatives.