Monday, March 14, 2011

AP Calculus Video Lessons

Last week I shared Salman Khan's TED Talk about using video as an instructional tool that can give teachers more classroom time for helping students work through problems. I already knew of some teachers like Karl Fisch who were putting that idea into practice. This weekend I learned of another teacher do the same.

Stacey Roshan is recording video lessons for her AP Calculus students. She has put all of her video lessons online for students and teachers to access. The videos can be found in iTunes, in Ms. Roshan's Screencast library, and on Ms. Roshan's school website. The video lessons are based on Stewart's Calculus: Concepts and Contexts.

Popplet - Collaborative Mind Maps and Sticky Notes

Popplet is a new service that combines the best of online sticky note services like Wallwisher with collaborative mind mapping functions. Popplet allows you to create a wall of multimedia sticky notes that you can share with others. Your stickies can include videos and images that you pull from other online services. You can also upload media from your desktop to your sticky notes. Popplet offers a browser bookmarklet that you can use to add content from other webpages to your Popplet pages. Invite others via email to collaborate on your wall of sticky notes.

The mind mapping element of Popplet is the option to connect your notes. To do this just click one of the small circles that hovers near your note (Popplet calls them "Popples") while you're editing. Click those small circles will launch a connected blank note that you can edit.

You can create as many Popplet walls as you like within your account. Each Popplet that you make public can be embedded into your blog or website.

Applications for Education
Popplet could be a great way for students to create multimedia collages of information they find about a particular topic. That collage could be transformed into a mind map by using Popples that are connected to each. For visual learners this could be a good way to outline an essay by using a combination of their own notes with images and videos they find on the web.

CNN Student News Is All About Japan

Today's episode of CNN Student News, which I had my students watch this morning, is all about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The ten minute episode provides a jargon-free explanation of the cause of the tsunami, the effects of the earthquake and tsunami, and the concerns regarding Japan's nuclear energy facilities. If you're in need of some viewing and discussion questions to use with the video, CNN Student News offers those here.
Watch the video below.

Google to Unveil New Blogger Editor

Blogger, Google's popular and easy-to-use blogging platform, is soon to get a make-over. Google announced today that soon all Blogger users will be switched over to a new post editor. The new editor looks a lot like the Google Docs document editor. It's not clear from Google's announcement what the benefit of this change is, but I'm guessing that it will enable easier editing of posts that contain multiple media elements. I think the most important thing about this announcement is, as Robin Wauters at TechCrunch pointed out, that this indicates that Google hasn't forgotten about Blogger or is going to let it fade away like Google has done with other services in the past. (Some of us still aren't over the demise of Google Notebook).

The video below is an overview of all of the updates to Blogger that have occurred in the last year.

Toasted Cheese - A Daily Writing Prompts Calendar

Image Credit
Toasted Cheese is a daily writing prompt site that publishes prompts on a monthly calendar. The whole month is laid out for you with a different prompt each day. Don't see anything you like on the current calendar? That's okay, click through the previous months to find old prompts. Periodically, Toasted Cheese holds writing contests which you can learn about by clicking on the links on the calendar. The writing contests are based on one or more of the prompts from the calendar.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some ideas to stimulate creative writing by your students, check out Toasted Cheese. The option to go back to previous months' prompts gives you plenty of options for finding a prompt appropriate for your classroom.