Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Create Google Scholar Alerts

Google Scholar, like Google Books, is one of the research tools that high school students often overlook. Searching on Google Scholar is not like searching on or searching in any other public search engine.

Google Scholar indexes scholarly, peer-reviewed academic papers, journals, theses, books, and court opinions. These are materials that students usually won't find through, Bing, or Yahoo search. Just they can do for searches, students can create Google Scholar alerts. Google Scholar alerts notify students when new materials related to their search queries appear on Google Scholar. The screenshots below offer directions for creating Google Scholar alerts. (Click the images to view them in full size).

Step 1:

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Step 3:

Mentimeter Adds Open-ended Responses to Online Feedback Tool

Mentimeter is a free service that allows you to pose a question to your audience and get instant feedback on that question through cell phones, tablets, and any other Internet-connected device. I reviewed the service back in February of this year. Since then Mentimeter has add a new open-ended response format.

Mentimeter allows you to create an unlimited amount of questions and collect unlimited responses. The user interface is clean and simple and your students don't need to create accounts in order to respond to your questions.

A demo of Mentimeter's basics is included in the video below.

Applications for Education
Mentimeter, like Socrative and Poll Everywhere, is a good tool for collecting informal feedback from your students. You could use Mentimeter to ask students simple questions like, "do you feel ready for the quiz on Friday?" then use that information to formulate your next lesson plan. Tools like Mentimeter are also good to use as exit ticket systems at the end of a class meeting. Again, you can use the information collected through those exit tickets to influence how you design your next day's lesson plan.

Curriki Presents Six PBL Geometry Projects

Of all of the math courses that I took in high school and college, geometry was the only one that I enjoyed and aced (the others were a massive struggle for me, remember those Mom?). I attribute some of that to my teacher who in hindsight did a masterful job of making geometry interesting. Curriki has recently released a series of six PBL geometry projects that could make geometry interesting and fun for high school students.

Curriki's new geometry course features six PBL projects. Each of the projects is aligned to Common Core Standards. The course is not a self-directed course for students. The course is designed to be taught by mathematics teachers who want to incorporate PBL. The projects in the course can be used in sequence or used as stand-alone units. All materials needed for leading the projects are included available on the Curriki site. You will have to create an account and sign-in in order to access the materials. Curriki accounts are free.

In reading over the project descriptions the one that intrigues me the most is the House of the Future project. In the House of the Future students watch a short TED Talk about the future of housing then formulate their own predictions for the future of housing design. After making predictions students use geometric modeling to design a building that supports their predictions.

Populr - A Nice Tool for Building Simple Webpages

Populr is a service for creating simple webpages to advertise events and promotions. The service reminds me a bit of the popular Smore platform. On Populr you can quickly create a stylish webpage with pictures, text, and document uploads. Populr offers a selection of templates that you can modify or you can build your page from scratch. All of the editing (aside from typing text) is done through a drag and drop interface. See how it works in the video below.

Applications for Education
Populr, like other services that are similar to it, could be a good tool for creating promotions for school dances, club activities, or to advertise good news from your classroom.

Populr offers a variety of pricing plans. The free plan should be more than adequate for most school settings.