Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Week In Review - The Snappy Edition

A snapping turtle crossing the
road in Norway, Maine.
Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. Earlier today while walking back to my truck after getting coffee at my favorite coffee shop, Cafe Nomad, I saw a snapping turtle trying to cross the road. I stopped to make sure he didn't get hit by traffic. The nice thing about small towns is that people have time to let turtles cross the road.

In other news, this week I wrapped-up my Practical Ed Tech webinar series, Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders. I also concluded the June offering of Getting Ready for GAFE and started the July section. Seats are still available in the August section of Getting Ready for GAFE. Click here to register.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Plickers - The Student Response System for Classrooms That Aren't 1:1
2. Gmail+1 = Student Email Addresses to Register for Online Services
3. Notezilla Helps Students Learn Classical Music
4. Mocomi Offers Hundreds of Short Video Lessons for Kids
5. Create Interactive Videos On ThingLink Video
6. Developing Good Credit Habits - A Game for Teaching Personal Financial Responsibility
7. By Request - Good Alternatives to Google Image Search

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference? Click here to learn about my keynote and workshop offerings. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.

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Maker Camp is Back for 2014 - Online Camp Starts Monday

Again this summer MAKE magazine and Google are hosting a virtual Maker Camp for teenagers (students under 13 can participate with adult supervision). The virtual camp starts on Monday, July 7th at 11am PST. Maker Camp is a series of Google+ Hangouts featuring new DIY projects that students can do at home or at school as individual projects or as group projects. A new project is posted each day. Daily Google+ Hangouts will offer tips for completing each project. Students can share their projects in the Maker Camp Google+ Community. Maker Camp runs for six weeks. Learn more in the video below or jump to the outline to read about the focus of each week of the camp.

A Complete Guide to Using Socrative 2.0

Disclosure: MasteryConnect, Socrative's new parent company, is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Last month Socrative was acquired by MasteryConnect. MasteryConnect's CEO has already said that Socrative will continue to be offered as a free service to teachers. To that end, Socrative has released an updated user guide for teachers. The updated 33 page guide walks you through everything you need to know to start using Socrative 2.0 in your classroom.

Some of the highlights of the Socrative User Guide (link opens a PDF)  include using your Google Apps account to log-in, creating and managing quizzes, aligning quizzes to Common Core standards, and running whole-class and individual response reports.

Socrative is one of a handful of back-channel and informal assessment tools that I often share with teachers. You can find a comparison of those tools in this handy chart.

Applications for Education
One of my favorite ways to use Socrative is to host a team "space race." A space race is a competitive format for quizzes. Space race can be played as a team or individual activity. Each correct answer moves a rocket ship across the screen. The first person or team to get their rocket across the screen wins. Your space race questions can be pulled from a quiz that you have stored in your Socrative account.

The most basic, yet powerful use of Socrative is found in the single response activities. These activities allow students to reply to your prompt or question without entering their names. In a single response activity you verbally pose a question or prompt to your students and they respond with a word, sentence, or multiple choice selection. The anonymous reply format is useful for surveying students when you’re asking them to submit responses to questions or prompts that they might be reluctant to share in an open format.

The Science of Bicycling and How to Wear a Helmet

The summer is a great time for kids and adults to get outside an ride a bicycle. Even though I don't do jumps and tricks like I did as a kid, I still love to ride my mountain bike. I'm sure that you have students that enjoy bicycling riding too. Here are a couple of good lesson resources to connect to your students' interest in bicycle riding.

The Science Behind the Bike is a four part video series from The Open University. The series has a total running length of 33 minutes and is a complement to a larger Open Learn course called The Science Behind Wheeled Sports. The videos and the course are designed to help students understand the physics, the physiology,  and the technology that influence the outcome of cycling events.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky offers some good resources about brain injury prevention. One of those resources is a short animated video designed to teach students about the need for wearing a helmet and how to wear helmets when biking or skateboarding. In the video students learn how to pick a helmet and how to properly fit a helmet. Watch the two minute video below.

Take or Create a Google Maps Tour of the Tour de France

The Tour de France started today. We may never ride in the race, but we can virtually tour this year's race route through Google Maps. Just as they have for the last few years, Cycling the Alps has published a Google Maps tour of the race. You can zoom in on the course, see the elevation profiles of the stages, and navigate through the stages using Streetview imagery.

Applications for Education
Rather than just viewing a tour of the Tour de France, have your students create their own virtual tours with the Google Earth Tour Builder. Students can use the Google Earth Tour Builder to create placemarks containing pictures, videos, and text about the unique aspects the towns in which stages of the Tour de France conclude. Click here for a video tutorial on using the Google Earth Tour Builder.

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