Thursday, June 14, 2012

Joy Tunes - Learn Music Through Games

Joy Tunes is a neat web and iPad application for learning to play the recorder and the piano. Joy Tunes presents students with games to play with a recorder or a piano.

The recorder game from Joy Tunes is available for iPad and the web. To play the game you have to play the correct notes on your recorder. When you play the correct notes you can move forward in the game. The notes that are played on the recorder are picked up by the microphone on your iPad and on computer.

The piano game from Joy Tunes is available for iPads only right now. The concept is the same as for the recorder game. Play the notes on your piano or keyboard and your iPad picks up the sounds to give you feedback in the game.

Applications for Education
Playing the Joy Tunes games could be a good way to mix up music practice. I wouldn't replace practicing scales and other time-tested methods with playing these games, but playing the games could throw a new fun element into practice.

H/T to TechCrunch

7 Good Resources for Learning a New Language

Yesterday, after publishing my post about BBC Quick Fix, I received a few emails asking me for other resources that can be used to learn a new language. Those emails prompted me to round up a selection of the language learning resources that I have reviewed over the years. What follows is a list of 7 good resources for learning a new language.

Learn a Language offers flashcards and games for learning eight different languages. Learn a Language offers activities in Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, French, Japanese, Chinese, and English. The format for Learn a Language is the same for all eight languages. Users select a language then choose if they want to study individual words or phrases. Whichever they choose the format that follows is the same. Users can study flashcards then play a game called Lingo Dingo. Lingo Dingo requires players to accurately type a word or phrase before it disappears. The object of the game is to construct a dingo by earning points for correctly typed words and phrases.

iMendi is a nice little site for practicing vocabulary in the languages you're trying to learn. iMendi offers support for nine languages. You can now practice vocabulary in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Russian, Arabic, and Czech. To use iMendi just select the language you speak and select the language you want to learn. iMendi then gives you the choice of choosing a lesson (level 1, level 2, etc) or trying a randomly chosen lesson. The "lessons" are really just simple vocabulary matching exercises with a score and the correct answers revealed at the end.

Hello World provides games and activities for students to develop their knowledge of foreign languages. Hello World has games and activities in nine languages including Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese. Not all of the games and activities are free, but enough of them are free to warrant listing as a good place for free learning activities.

Verbs Online provides foreign language students with a good selection of activities for practicing verb conjugations. Practice activities are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. The practice activities deal with the past, present, and future tenses of regular and irregular verbs. Students can choose to do the activities in sets of ten through fifty practice items.

LangMedia, produced by Five Colleges Incorporated, provides resources for learning languages less-commonly offered by high schools and colleges in the US. Some of the languages for which LangMedia offers educational resources are Arabic, Bulgarian, Persian, Thai, and Urdu. For these languages LangMedia provides course outlines, practice dialogues, and lists of resources necessary for completing the requirements of each course. In addition to resources for learning languages, LangMedia offers a section called Culture Talk. LangMedia Culture Talk is a collection of video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries, of different ages and from different walks of life. The videos are intended to give viewers insight into the cultures of peoples around the globe. Some of the videos feature English speakers while other videos do not. Those videos that are not in English are accompanied by a written English transcript.

Study Stream is a service for learning to read and speak Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Study Stream takes an interesting approach to helping people learn these languages. The centerpiece of the Study Stream system is a collection of videos and articles in the language that you're trying to learn. The videos and articles are accompanied by side-by-side translations to help you follow along. From each video or article you can select words and phrases that you want to study through the study exercises provided by Study Stream.

BBC Quick Fix offers a selection of essential phrases for forty languages. The list of phrases varies slightly for each language, but they all include greetings and other essential polite phrases like "I'm sorry I don't speak Icelandic." All lists can be printed. You can also hear all of the phrases pronounced. The pronunciations can be downloaded as MP3 files to take with you on your iPod or phone.

An Interactive Mind Map Made With Thinglink

This morning I saw a Tweet from Thinglink Edu about an interactive image of examples of uses of Thinglink in education. One of the examples was this interactive mind map created by Phillipe Packu. The mind map is a  drawing that was uploaded to Thinglink then pinned with videos, images, audio files, and links to example each part of the mind map. I've embedded the mind map below.

Applications for Education
I've written about Thinglink a bunch of times because I think that it can be a very useful tool for students to tag and identify important elements in images. In my most recent post about Thinglink I shared a presentation of 26+ Ways to Use Thinglink in the Classroom.

Try Aviary's Awesome New Mobile Image Editor

Last night I received an email from Aviary announcing their new mobile image editing tool. Aviary's new mobile image editor is available as a free iPad app and as a free Android app. I installed it on my Android tablet this morning and gave it a try. Overall, the new Aviary Photo Editor is impressive.

Using the Aviary mobile image editor you can add Instagram-like filters to your images. There are twelve free filters to pick from. The Aviary mobile image editor allows you to crop your images, adjust color saturation, adjust image brightness, adjust the contrast, and flip the orientation of your images. The free app also gives you free tools for drawing on your images, adding text to your images, and adding stickers to your images. When you have finished editing your images you can save on your device, send them out as emails, or share them to Evernote, Google+, Twitter, Picassa, Facebook, and many other social networks.

Applications for Education
The Aviary mobile image editor is a great tool that students can use to crop and enhance images that they want to use in slideshows and videos. I always encourage the use of your own images in presentations, especially presentations that will be shared online, to avoid any worries about attribution.  The drawing and typing tools in the Aviary mobile image editor could also be used by students to create and enhance simple picture stories.

Click here for the free Aviary iPad app.
Click here for the free Aviary Android app.

Free Printable Flashcards and a Free Flashcard Creator is a new advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. hosts free printable flashcards for reviewing math, science, geography, and language arts facts. The site also has free printable sets of flashcards for use in early childhood settings and flashcards for music lessons. More importantly, has an easy to use template for creating your own printable flash cards. When you have completed the template a printable PDF is generated for you.

Here's how the creator of describes the site:
I know there are a lot of other flash card sites - many have thousands and thousands of card sets. But most of them aren't useful to you or anyone other than the person who created them. (e.g. Mr. SeƱor's Spanish test, chapter 3) We only publish card sets that are of general use to everyone. But anyone can make themselves a set of flash cards, no matter now specific their need, using the awesome flash card maker. It's handy if the ready made card sets don't have exactly what you want.

Guests Welcome - Do You Want to Write a Guest Post?

Back in February I opened up some time for guest bloggers to contribute to Free Technology for Teachers. In a few weeks I hope to run a week of guest posts again. I'm going on a mountain biking vacation during the first week of July and would love to have some new voices share their advice and experiences here.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on Free Technology for Teachers during the week of July 1-7 here are the details on what I'm looking for:

1. I'm looking for people who have not written guest posts for me before. I want to give new people a chance to have their voices heard. 
2. I'm looking for people who are willing to share examples of how they have used technology in their schools as a teacher, teacher-librarian, media specialist, or administrator. 
3. I'm not looking for list style posts like this one, I've got that covered. 
4. If you're a paid representative of a company, thank you for your interest, but this is not an opportunity for you to promote your product or service. Click here if advertising is what you're after. 
5. People who can heed this advice from Darren Rowse about guest blogging.

What you can get out of this:
1. Exposure to an audience of more than 46,000 subscribers. Past guest bloggers have reported seeing significant upturns in visits to their blogs and or Twitter profiles after guest posting here. Even if you're just starting to blog or be active in social media, please don't let that discourage you.
2. My undying gratitude. 
3. If we meet up at a conference, I'll buy you the beverage of your choice.

If you've read all of the above information and are interested in guest posting, please complete the form below. I will close this form once I have filled all of the guest posting slots. I'm looking for 20-25 posts for the week. Last time I opened up to guest posts I had more than 50 submissions in 12 hours and took the form down after 24 hours. If the form is up, I'm still accepting submissions. Please don't email me with guest post proposals.

Update: I took down the form at 9am on June 16. There was a great response and today I am making contact with everyone who submitted a proposal.