Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thinking Blocks - Model Math Problems on iPads, Interactive Whiteboards, and in Your Browser

Thinking Blocks is a nice site for elementary and middle school mathematics teachers. Thinking Blocks provides interactive templates in which students use brightly colored blocks to model and solve problems. As students work through the problems they are provided with feedback as to whether or not they are using the correct sequence to solve each problem. There are templates and problems for addition, multiplication, fractions, and ratios. You can also develop your own problems using the modeling tool.

Applications for Education
I originally learned about Thinking Blocks a few years ago when James Hollis posted about it at Teachers Love SMARTBoards. James suggested that Thinking Blocks could be good site for helping students see how algebraic reasoning works. And, of course, if James is writing about it, it must be well suited to use on interactive whiteboards.

Thinking Blocks is also available as a set of four free iPad apps.

How to Review and Manage 3rd Party Apps Accessing Your Google Account

Many apps and services make it easy to sign up and sign in by using your Google Account. While this is convenient, I use the option a lot, there are always risks associated with giving a third party permission to utilize your Google Account. The biggest risk being that if the third party's security is compromised, log-in to your Google Account could also be compromised (to clarify, Google does have measures in place to limit this risk, but it's still a risk). What I do to minimize this risk is to revoke third party access to my Google Account for any service or app that I don't use on a regular basis.

The directions below walk you through how to manage the permissions that third party services have on your Google Account.

Step 1: Go to (sign into your Google Account if you aren't logged in).

Step 2: At the top of the page select the "security" tab then under "account permissions" select "view all."
Click the picture to view full size. 

Step 3: Click on any of the applications listed to view permissions and to revoke access.
Click the picture to view full size.