Monday, September 4, 2017

Built to Last - Purdue OWL

This fall will mark the tenth anniversary of Free Technology for Teachers. Over those ten years I have reviewed thousands of free resources for teachers and students. Some of those free resources have come and gone in a blaze of glory (remember when Second Life and Nings were the cat's meow?) while others have stood the test of time. Over the next couple of months I am going to revisit some of the free resources that have endured over the majority of the last ten years. With a nod to the Grateful Dead song of the same name, I'm calling this series Built to Last.

Purdue OWL is the first entry in my Built to Last series. Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) is a resource that I have been referencing since long before I started Free Technology for Teachers. I made it required bookmarking from the first time that my students had computers to use in my classroom.

Purdue OWL offers MLA, APA, and Chicago style guides for students to consult as they are writing research papers. The style guides have been updated to reflect current standards. Not only are samples included in the guides, students can also access detailed tutorials which are referred to as "workshops" on the OWL site.

Writing recommendation letters is one of the tasks that many high school teachers find on their plates in the fall. Purdue OWL offers an excellent guide to writing recommendation letters. One of the things that I like about the guide is that it includes advice on how to politely decline writing a letter of recommendation if it doesn't feel like a good fit for you and the student.

As long as we ask students to write research papers, we will worry about plagiarism. Purdue OWL provides an extensive set of activities that you can use to help your students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. With the exception of this ten minute comparison activity, all of the OWL plagiarism lessons are at least thirty minutes long.

Purdue OWL may have a bit of a Web 1.0 look, but don't let that fool you. It is full of great resources for you and your students. Have you used any of the Purdue OWL resources? Which do you recommend? Send me an email and let me know. 

Try the Mega Seating Plan Android App

Last week I suggested using the Mega Seating Plan website as a tool for creating random and or assigned seating charts. Yesterday, I learned that Mega Seating Plan launched a free Android app. Mega Seating Plan's free Android app is a companion to the web app.

The Mega Seating Plan Android app will let you view your seating charts. The app also includes an option to randomly select students from any of your seating charts.

To use the Mega Seating Plan Android app you will have to create an account on the website and import your rosters there as well. The Android app is mostly just for the convenience of viewing plans on your mobile device and occasionally selecting students at random for group activities or participation in discussions.

Applications for Education
As I wrote last week, Mega Seating Plan could provide you with a quick way to shuffle the seating plans in your classroom. You might also use it to randomly create working groups in your classroom. To do that just arrange seats in groups then use the random assignment function to put students into working groups.

This is Your Brain on Snapchat

Do you spend a lot of time on Facebook? Do your students spend every spare minute on Snapchat? Have you wondered how this affects your mood or your students' moods? If so, KQED and PBS Learning Media have a resource that you should share with your students.

How Do Different Social Media Platforms Affect Your Mood? is a video produced by KQED. The five minute video explains the findings of some research on the correlations between social media use and moods. The correlation between mood and social media use is also explained. The video correctly points out that correlation is not necessarily indicative of causation.

Applications for Education
PBS Learning Media offers a free viewing guide to distribute to your students. The viewing guide is a set of questions that serve two purposes. First, they serve the purpose of asking students to pay attention and take notes while watching the video. Second, some of the questions are designed to prompt students to reflect on their own social media use.

Please note that there is some language in the video that may be objectionable to some students and to some teachers. I would not show the video to students younger than high school age.

Join Me Tomorrow for Quick & Powerful Video Projects

As mentioned in yesterday's post, Get to Know Free Technology for Teachers, workshops and webinars is one means through which I keep this blog running. To that end, tomorrow afternoon at 4pm EST I am hosting a webinar titled Quick & Powerful Video Projects.

In this interactive webinar you will learn how to design a video project for your students. You will learn how to use the tools you will need to conduct video creation projects in your classroom. Examples from real students and teachers will be shared during the webinar.

Five things you will learn in this webinar:
1. How to plan a video project that will engage your students.
2. How to safely share videos in K-12 environments.
3. Discover and use public domain and Creative Common licensed media.
4. How to build a classroom media gallery.
5. Ideas for assessing students’ videos.

Register today for the live event on September 5th at 4pm Eastern Time.

The cost of this webinar is $20. The registration includes access to the live webinar with Q&A, a copy of the recording of the webinar, handouts, and a PD certificate for attending the live event.

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