Friday, December 4, 2009

Week In Review - The Most Popular Items

It's Friday evening in Maine (not nearly as cold as it should be) and time for another Free Technology for Teachers week in review. As I do every week, I'd like to welcome all of the new subscribers and say thank you to everyone that has helped Free Technology for Teachers reach a wider audience. Also as I do every week, I've compiled a list of the most popular items of the last week.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online
2. Video - What Kids Learn When They With Digital Media
3. The Teacher Chronicles - Web of Web 2.0 for Schools
4. Most Teachers Have or Will Download YouTube Videos (please note, I've closed comments for this post).
5. 3 Great Common Craft-style Videos Made by Kids
6. K12 Online Conference Starts Monday
7. European Virtual Museum - 3D, Interactive Artifacts

The list above is based on item clicks and views. If you ever miss the week in review post, you can always check out the Post Rank widget embedded in the right column of the blog. Post Rank displays the most popular blog entries at any given time.

If you're new to Free Technology for Teachers, welcome, I'm glad you've found this blog. If you like what you see in the links above, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS or email.
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We Seed - A Fun & Safe Way to try the Stock Market

We Seed is a free service that allows adults and students to try their hands at investing in the stock market. We Seed provides users with fake money to conduct fake trades of real stocks. For example, I used my fake money to buy 15 fake shares of Google stock. We Seed does more than just give you an allocation of fake money to make fake transactions. We Seed provides a series of market analysis tools that you can use to determine if you want to buy, sell, or hold your stocks. We Seed also keeps you updated on the performance of your portfolio.

We Seed offers teachers the option to create private classroom groups through which they can monitor their students portfolios. We Seed also offers teachers free lesson plans for teaching stock market analysis and investment.

Applications for Education
We Seed could be a great resource for anyone that teaches business and or economics courses. You could create a We Seed classroom group and create an investment contest within your classroom.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
From Common Craft - Stock Markets in Plain English
Interactive Timeline of the 08/09 Financial Crisis
Financial Glossary for Students

Try TodaysMeet for Back-channel Chat Without Distraction

TodaysMeet is a free chat service that can be used for holding a back-channel discussion with students and colleagues. If you're not sure what a back-channel chat with students would look like, I encourage you to read Silvia Tolisano's post about using back-channels with elementary school students. Silvia's blog is where I first learned about TodaysMeet.

TodaysMeet is completely free to use. Setting up a chat area in TodaysMeet is very simple. To set up your chat area just select a name for your room (that name becomes the url for your chat area), how long you want your room to exist, and select an optional Twitter hashtag for your chat area. To invite people to your chat area send them the url.

What makes TodaysMeet different from services like Tiny Chat is that TodaysMeet doesn't have a public gallery of chat rooms containing questionable content. TodaysMeet also doesn't place inappropriate advertising on your chat area.

Applications for Education
I had been thinking about about trying back-channel chat in my classroom since the summer, but after reading Silvia's post and after my school's wireless network finally started handling the traffic load I've recently started experimenting with the use of back-channel chats with my 11th and 12th grade students. What I've done is post my slideshows (which are basically lecture outlines) on the classroom blog two days (we only meet every other day) prior to discussing that content in class. Then in class we discuss the content of the slideshows and I add "spice" to the slideshow content. While this discussion is going on, my students write questions and comments as they pop into their heads. So far this has enabled more students to ask more questions and share more comments than if they all had to raise their hands and wait to be called on. I've done this in limited doses so far, but I'm confident that this does increase my students' engagement during class discussion.

The Week in Rap - Fun News Summaries

The Week in Rap is produced by the same people that produce Flocabulary. Each Friday The Week In Rap posts a weekly news summary in the form of a rap music video. The videos cover stories from national and international politics as well as sports and entertainment news. I've embedded this week's video below.

Magnetic Waves Visualized

Open Culture has once again discovered a great video on YouTube that has educational value. Magnetic Movie features the visualizations of magnetic fields. The narrators of the video are scientists at NASA's Space Science Laboratory.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Northern Lights Time Lapse Video
NASA Images - Embed Galleries of Images and Videos