Monday, June 11, 2012

500 Free Online Courses To Take This Summer

If you're looking to learn something new or brush-up on your content area knowledge, Open Culture probably has a course listing for you.  The latest update to their list of free and open online courses brought the total offerings up to 500. The course content is hosted on a variety of platforms including iTunes, YouTube, and Vimeo. The courses come from notable universities including Stanford, Harvard, and Yale. And thankfully, the list is organized by subject area.

Applications for Education
The Open Culture course listings could be good not only for teachers but also for students who want to get a jump on AP courses that they may be taking in the fall.

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

The National Human Genome Research Institute has a great talking glossary of genetic terms for students. The glossary is available online and as a free iPad app. The Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms features scientists explaining each term. Most terms are accompanied by an illustration and some terms are accompanied by 3D animations.

Applications for Education
After reviewing terms in the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms students can test their knowledge by taking the Test Your Gene Knowledge quiz. The glossary on its own is a good review resource to link to your course blog or website.

Build Your Own Silicate Minerals

The University of Kentucky's College of Arts and Sciences has a nice interactive activity about silicate minerals. The activity has an overview section in which students read about the structure of silicate minerals before moving to attempt to create silicate mineral models. There are three models for students to try to construct.

Applications for Education 
This isn't a particularly fancy or complex activity, but it could be a good addition to a science teacher's collection of online activities for students. Makes Image Cropping Easy is a beautifully simple web tool for quickly cropping your images. is a little different than a lot of the other services in this market. What makes different is its smart auto-crop option. If you choose this option, will auto-detect the focal point of your images and crop accordingly. allows you to upload and crop up to five images at the same time. You can crop your images to one of nine predefined sizes or you can specify a custom size.

Applications for Education could be a good tool for students to use when they need to resize and center images to use in their slideshows and videos. As I learned from Ken Shelton, proper image cropping and centering can make a world of difference in the visual quality of slideshows. does not require you to register in order to use the service.

H/T to Lifehacker.

50+ Summer Learning Activities for Kids

Thanks to a blog post by Kevin Hodgson over the weekend I learned that Common Sense Media has produced a 16 page guide to summer learning activities. The  guide is a review of apps and games. The reviews are organized into three categories for young kids, older kids, and teenagers. Each app and game is rated according to the level of learning potential that it offers. You can download the guide here.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some summer learning activities to recommend to parents, take a look at Camp Virtual from Common Sense Media. You could link to it on your classroom blog or print out a section to send home with students. And if you're working at a summer camp this summer, Camp Virtual offers some good rainy day activities.

Quipper - Build & Take Quizzes on Android and iOS

Quipper is a free tool for creating quizzes to be taken on iPhones, on Android tablets, and on Android phones. Quipper quizzes are multiple choice activities created by the community of users. As a Quipper quiz creator you can make your quizzes public or private.

When you create a quiz on Quipper you can include explanations for each answer. To create a quiz you can write each question and answer choice manually or you can import a spreadsheet of questions and answers. If you decide to try Quipper, keep in mind that quiz publishing isn't instantaneous.

Applications for Education
Quipper could be a good tool for creating practice quizzes for your students to take on their Android and iOS devices. Quipper allows you to save your place in a quiz and to review quizzes that you've previously taken. Those options could make it a good review tool for students.

Thanks to David Kapuler for sharing Quipper on his blog last week.