Monday, January 9, 2012

Take a Look at the New OLPC XO 3.0 Tablet

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is happening this week in Las Vegas. This week is when the some of the biggest companies in the tech industry unveil new gadgets and software. One product of interest to some educators is OLPC's new XO 3.0 tablet. Tekzilla's Veronica Belmont interviewed OLPC's CTO and got the skinny on OLPC's newest offering. Watch the video here or as embedded below.

Lit Charts - Color Coded Printable Outlines of Classic Literature

LitCharts is a service that provides condensed outlines and summaries of classic literature. The outlines and summaries are far shorter than those you would find in Sparknotes or Cliffnotes. Most of the outlines and summaries are ten pages, give or take a page or two. What I like about LitCharts is that they color code the themes addressed and symbolism within a particular work. The color coding makes it easy to quickly pick out the themes and symbols in each chapter of a book. LitCharts can be viewed online, downloaded as PDFs, or accessed through their iPhone app.

Applications for Education
LitCharts provides nice outlines and summaries but doesn't provide so much information that a student can avoid actually reading the books you've assigned to them. In this way LitCharts could be useful study aids for students. 

Book Reviews for Kids, By Kids

When it comes to children's and young adult literature no one knows what they like and dislike better than the children and young adults themselves. Scholastic has a great service called Share What You're Reading that students can use to create and read book reviews online. Scholastic provides a simple form on which students can write and submit their book reviews. Students do not have to create an account to use the book review service.

Applications for Education
Scholastic's Share What You're Reading service is very easy for students to use and for teachers to incorporate into the classroom. The advantage of using the Scholastic service over a creating a wiki for the class is that the Scholastic service saves teachers time. The Scholastic service does not require users to create an account prior to writing a review. In fact, the only information they ever ask for is the student's first name, grade, and state.

Create a Mobile Language Lesson With QR Voice

I've seen QR Voice mentioned by a few other bloggers recently so I had to check it out for myself. QR Voice is a free tool that allows you to create QR codes that when scanned will play a short audio message. To create your message and QR code you can record a voice message by clicking the microphone icon on QR Voice or you can type in your message. Either way you're limited to 100 characters. QR Voice is offered in Spanish, English, Japanese, and Portuguese.

I initially had trouble getting my messages to play back correctly, but after clearing the cache on my tablet's browser QR Voice worked as it should. The app that I'm using to scan and decode QR codes is QR Droid.

Applications for Education
Teachers could use QR Voice to create QR codes that they then print and attach to objects in their classrooms or schools. Then have students try to identify those objects in the language that they're trying to learn. To check their answers students can scan the QR code and hear the correct answer on their phones or tablets.

Photo Pin - Royalty-free Image Search

Photo Pin is a new website offering images that can be re-used for blog entries, video productions, slideshows, and print media. Photo Pin uses a combination of Flickr's API for Creative Commons search and Fotolia's image library to serve-up royalty-free images. The search results page on Photo Pin clearly delineates between images that are free to use and images that you have to purchase.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a new way to find Creative Commons-licensed images for yourself or your students, Photo Pin could be a good option for you. I like that Photo Pin offers a clear reminder to users that they must correctly link to the sources of the images that they choose to use.

H/T to TechCrunch.

Math Measurement Word Wall Posters

This is a decidedly low-tech resource, but I'm sure that there are some elementary school teachers who will like these measurement word wall posters from Mary at Guided Math. The set of ten posters illustrate units of measurement in terms that students can understand. For example, the poster for millimeters depicts a dime and states that one millimeter equals the thickness of a dime. You can find the posters on Guided Math and on Scribd.
Math Measurement Word Wall

H/T to Kelly Hines.