Wednesday, June 2, 2010

100 Ways to Use VoiceThread in Education

100 Ways to Use VoiceThread in EDU is the title of a collaborative effort to gather educators' ideas for using VoiceThread in the classroom. Watch, read, and listen below. I learned about this project from Sarah Sutter, thanks Sarah.

Mathematics Blog Carnival - Call for Submissions

In late March I discovered the Mathematics and Multimedia blog and shared it here on April 1. Mathematics and Multimedia impressed me with its depth of tutorials for teaching mathematics with Google Sketchup and GeoGebra. Now the author of Mathematics and Multimedia, Guillermo Bautista, is organizing a mathematics blog carnival. Topics to addressed in blog carnival submissions include integration of technology in teaching mathematics, connections among different topics and mathematics as well as connections of mathematics to other fields, and pedagogy and teaching mathematics. Click here to read more about the mathematics blog carnival and to make submissions.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
A Maths Dictionary for Kids
Five Sources of Fun Mathematics Games
Ten Problem Solving Games for K-8 Students

More than 100 Webcam Resources from Simple K12

Back in April I announced on this blog a partnership with Simple K12. This is not a financial relationship, we simply swapped advertising space on each other's blogs. For the last two months Simple K12 offered a virtual field trip kit through Free Technology for Teachers. This month, Simple K12 is offering their free Web Cam Toolkit. Simple K12's Web Cam Toolkit has two parts; a guide for using webcams and a list of more than 100 live webcams from around the world. The webcams include views of natural features like geysers, animals in their natural habitats, and cityscapes. If you're looking to bring some live visuals into your classroom check out the resources offered in Simple K12's Web Cam Toolkit.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
8 Wonders of the Solar System - Interactive Tour
Tour the Sistine Chapel Online
Explore and Tour Presidential Log Cabins

Reading Rewards - Track Time Spent Reading

Reading Rewards is a free service that allows parents and teachers to track the amount of time their students spend reading. Students create goals in Reading Rewards then parents and teachers can reward them for reaching their goals. Every minute students read equals one Reading Reward (RR) mile. Parents and teachers can determine what the rewards will be and how many RR miles students need to earn to receive a reward.

If Reading Rewards was simply a tool for tracking student reading, I might not have written about it. What got me to write about Reading Rewards is the student networking aspect of the site. Students can connect to other students and share book recommendations. I think giving students the opportunity to share book recommendations could be a very valuable aspect of Reading Rewards. As teachers we can suggest all of the books we want and tell kids that other students like them liked a particular book, but hearing that from a peer could be much more influential in a student's decision to read a particular book.

Learn more about Reading Rewards in the Google Docs Presentation below.

Applications for Education
Reading Rewards can be used on an individual basis or parents or on a group basis for teachers. Teachers can manage an entire class or students from one account. If a teacher creates a class each student can have individual goals or group goals can be established.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Barnes & Noble Passport to Summer Reading
Word Ahead Vocabulary Videos
WeboWord - Vocabulary Visualized

Willie Nelson and What the Web Can Answer Today

It seems that whenever I go somewhere to give a presentation about teaching with technology, there is someone in the audience who will say something to the effect of "this is great, but all of those sites are blocked in my school." This then leads to conversation about strategies for convincing administrators to relax strict filtering policies. One of the places I usually direct people to in those conversations is Unmasking the Digital Truth created by Wes Fryer. Yesterday, I had an experience that led me to drafting an activity that could possibly help critics of open access to the web to understand how valuable the web can be in education.

Yesterday, as I was listening to Willie Nelson I got the urge to look up some information on the web about the hole that appears in his guitar. This led me to thinking about the number of questions that pop into my head every day and how many of those questions would have either gone unanswered or taken a long time to research before the advent of easy Internet access.

Here's my activity idea:
1. Have a person opposed to open Internet access in schools record the number and type of questions they encounter in a given school day or week.
2. Have that person then record the number of those questions that can be answered by resources located in five minutes or less without Internet access.
3. Have that person then record how many of those same questions could be answered by resources found in five minutes of less with Internet access.
4. Compare answers to #2 and #3.

Yes, it's a simple activity that has some holes and plenty of room for "yeah, buts," but the purpose is not to answer all of those "yeah, buts" it's to demonstrate how much more students can discover in a day today than they could just ten years ago.

Image credit: Bob Tilden