Sunday, January 23, 2011

Easel - Algebra & SAT Tutoring on Your iPad

Easel is an educational iPad App that was recently recognized at TechCrunch's Crunchies Awards. Easel provides a canvas for working on Algebra and SAT practice problems. Select a problem type from the menu and you're provided with a blank canvas to write and draw on in the same way that you would use scratch paper. If you get stuck, you can tap the "show me" button to get help. Easel has free and paid versions of an app for SAT prep and an app for Algebra.

Watch the video below to see Easel in action.

Easel iPad Getting Started from San Kim on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
What I like about Easel is that it is not a simple "drill and kill" math game or test prep application. Easel gives students the option to work through problems on their own before requesting help. If your school is issuing iPads to students, Easel is an application worth considering adding to those machines. 

What's in a Surname? - A Map of Names

The February issue of National Geographic includes a neat mapped display of surnames across the United States. Titled What's in a Surname? the map displays which surnames are most common in different regions of the US. The larger the surname appears, the more common it is in that region. For example, in Maine Pelletier is a common surname therefore it appears larger on the map than other surnames do. You can zoom in and out on the map and scroll around to examine the map.
Applications for Education
When I saw What's in a Surname? I immediately thought that it could be useful as part of a lesson on patterns of immigration to the United States. Students could trace the origins of a surname and try identify when people with that surname started immigrating to the US. Students could then research why people with that surname settled where they did.