Thursday, August 27, 2009

ABCya - Fun, Educational Games for K-5

ABCya is a great place to find all kinds of free educational computer games for elementary school students. The games do not require any special plug-ins or downloads in order to play. ABCya also does not ask for users to register. ABCya is divided into grade levels (K-5) then subdivided based on subject area. The categorization system ABCya uses makes it quick and easy to find an activity appropriate for each student.

Applications for Education
ABCya's games reinforce basic academic skills and are fun to use. Games that reinforce academic skills are useful for meeting the needs of different students. Each student can practice and develop the skills that they need to focus on.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
HeyZap - Strategy Games for Your Class Website
Think About History Trivia Game
200+ Free Games for Your Class Blog or Website

Disclosure: ABCya is a paying advertiser for July - September 2010

Shmoop Adds Civics and Biographies

Shmoop is a great provider of online study guides, content summaries, and vocabulary lists. I was impressed with Shmoop when it launched and it has continued to impress by adding more quality content. The latest rounds of updates include a section for civics and a section of biographies.

Shmoop's biography section offers brief biographies and study guides of famous authors and former US Presidents. The new Shmoop Civics section offers charts, explanations, and key-point lists about the branches of US Government. The civics section also includes discussion guides and background sheets about civil rights topics.

Shmoop offers more than just summaries of information. If students create an account and log-in, they can use the integrated dictionary to find the meaning of any word in the content they're reading. Students can also create folders where they can store sticky notes of information they record while reading a Shmoop article.

Applications for Education
In literature courses Shmoop is a good reference to supplement the reading that students do for your courses. Shmoop's summaries are not nearly long enough to be a replacement for students to soly rely on instead of doing the assigned reading. As a frame of reference, Shmoop's summaries are far shorter than those found in Cliffs Notes or Spark Notes.

Shmoop's history and civics sections are good places to locate fact sheets and charts to use in class or for students to study on their own.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Build Your Own Review Games
Cramberry - Studying Made Easier With Flashcards
Flashcard Flash - Search for Flashcard Sets

Google Docs Integrates 42 Translation Options

Google Docs, my preferred word processing tool, just improved again. Today, on the Google Docs blog Google announced the integration of Google Translate into Google Docs. You can now translate any document in Google Docs into your choice of forty-two different languages. To use the new translation feature, just select the "translate" option under the "tools" drop-down menu. The screen capture below shows where to find the translation option.

Applications for Education
If you have students that live in homes where English is not the primary language, the new Google Docs translation option could be very useful. Now when you need to send a letter home, you can easily print it out in multiple languages.