Showing posts with label Classroom Instruction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classroom Instruction. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Classroom Management Discussion and Assignment Management Tools

The first days of each school year are filled with administrative tasks like collecting emergency forms, distributing schedules, and practicing fire drills. These first days are also when teachers discuss expectations for student behavior. In this week's episode of the Wicked Decent Learning podcast Jeff and Dan discuss their expectations for student behavior and general classroom management practices. Jeff and Dan are both high school teachers so their ideas come from that perspective. It would be very interesting to hear a comparison of elementary school teachers' behavior management styles compared to the behavior management styles of high school teachers.

Later in the podcast Jeff reviews some free web tools designed to help students and parents manage homework assignments. A few of those services are Notely, Grade Fix, and For Later. Listen to the podcast or visit the Wicked Decent Learning blog to find the rest of services Jeff reviewed.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Making Classroom Wikis Just Got Easier

A major classroom logistics problem that teachers run into when having students create wikis is students forgetting their login credentials and then having to establish a new account or wait for an email to reset their passwords. PB Wiki has eliminated that problem for teachers by giving teachers the option of quickly and easily creating and managing student login credentials. Watch the short video below to learn how teachers can quickly and easily create student login credentials.

Classroom Accounts from PBwikiWebinars on Vimeo.

PB Wiki
has announced a Back to School Challenge through which teachers can win premium upgrades or a $1000 dollar school supply shopping spree.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Free Classroom Supplies, Get Them While They Last

Corporate Express is giving away free Crayola dry erase markers and free 2008-2009 school year wall calendars. There does not appear to be any conditions of the offer other than entering your school's name. You can request your free markers here and request your free wall calendar here.

Corporate Express also hosts a nice Today in History website although they don't appear to offer a RSS feed which would make it better.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Virtual Frog Dissection offers for sale to teachers a full array of lesson plans and assessment tools for a variety of virtual animal dissections. If you don't want to purchase the program (which is reasonably priced) you can still use the free virtual frog dissection activity. The virtual frog dissection activity walks users through the process of frog dissection. Using the mouse visitors virtually dissect a frog by selecting the appropriate pins, scalpel, or scissors. Click here to get started on virtually dissecting a frog.

Applications for Education
For schools that have stopped doing dissection activities because of budget cuts or other concerns this virtual activity from Froguts may be suitable replacement. As I did the dissection today I was taken back to the memories of being in my high school biology class waiting for instructions on what to do with the frog in front of me.

Thanks to hwjohnson on Twitter for sharing this great free activity.

Update 4/23/09
It appears that the free version has changed. They've changed to a shorter free demo (the link is in the upper-right hand corner of the page). Unfortunately, it's not nearly as good as the original free demo.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Website Translation from Google - Great for ESL

Google Translate is another great, free, tool from Google that educators might find useful. I learned about Google Translate from Terrie Byrne (we're not related that I know of) at Learn Perfect English. There are two options for using Google Translate. Option one is to copy and paste chunks of text from a website into the translate text box provided by Google then select the languages you wish to translate from and to. The second option is to copy and paste a website's url into the url box provided by Google Translate then select the languages you wish to have the content translated from and to. It's a simple system and is still in beta, but it worked well for the few websites I tested it with today.

The image below shows what the Google Translate system looks like.

Applications for Education
Google Translate should be a useful tool for ESL students and teachers. Google Translate will also be useful for foreign language students to practice and check their translations of vocabulary. One way that a foreign language teacher might use Google Translate is to have students search the Internet for a current events story (either hard news or entertainment news) then translate it into the language they're learning. Using Google Translate students will be able to check their work individually which allows the teacher more flexibilty in differentiating classroom instruction.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More Street Views for Virtual Tours

On Monday Google announced on their LatLong Blog, the addition of more cities to their collection of street views for Google Maps/ Google Earth. Now you can take a street level look at cities in Japan and Australia. Google also announced the addition of more US cities to the collection of street view options including Colorado Springs, Baton Rouge, Savannah, El Paso, Wichita, and New Orleans.

Below is a look down a busy street in Tokyo.

View Larger Map

Applications for Education
Google Maps and Google Earth are great tools for students to use to create their own virtual tours of places and regions. Google Maps are also great for students to go on virtual tours of places that they might not have a chance to visit in person. The addition of more street view options makes more accurate virtual tours available to students and teachers.

One of the ways that some history teachers have put Google Earth to work in the classroom is to have students create fly-over tours of military campaigns. Google Earth has been used in English/ Literature classrooms by teachers who have had their students create tours of the places a character in a novel visited.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Go Animate - Make Your Own Animated Film

Go Animate is a feature rich free animated movie maker. On Go Animate users can create animated movies by selected from a wide selection of customizable pre-made elements. Users can also upload their own elements like pictures or drawn images to use in their animated movies. Each frame of the animated movie can have many layers and timings. The movies that Go Animate users create can be shared in a variety of ways including email and embedding.

Below is a simple 13 second animated movie I made this morning using Go Animate.

Applications for Education
Go Animate is a great alternative to expensive proprietary animated movie making programs. Students can use Go Animate to tell stories and make presentations. Students might use Go Animate to make animated book reports. Students might also use Go Animate to illustrate a story that they have written in class.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Search Paintings Around the World is a great example of combining art and technology. Paint Map is part search engine, part artwork sharing, and part Google Map. The way Paint Map works is artists submit images of their paintings, write a description of the where the painting was made, and then plot that location on a Google Map. Paint Map offers a commenting system through which visitors and artists can interact. There is a search bar on Paint Map's homepage that visitors can use to search through the nearly 500 paintings on Paint Map.

Applications for Education
Paint Map could be a useful tool for art teachers and art students. Paint Map provides students with a global context of the paintings they view. Students can explore Paint Map to see what artists around the world are creating and the possible geographic influences of those artists. Paint Map can also give students a chance to share work their work with a global audience.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Comic Book Periodic Table of Elements

The Periodic Table of Comic Books is a neat website that I found via Mark Spahr's blog, Cooked on Education. The Periodic Table of Comic Books is a project of the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. The idea is that for every element in the Periodic Table of Elements there is a comic book reference. Clicking on an element in the periodic table displayed on the homepage will take visitors to a list and images of comic book references to that particular element. After looking at the comic book reference if visitors want more information about a particular element they can find it by using the provided link to Web Elements.

Applications for Education
The Periodic Table of Comic Books could add another element to a Chemistry teacher's bag of tricks for engaging students disinterested in Chemistry. The links to Web Elements provide students with reference materials to help them understand the significance of what they read in the comic book references.

Fun and Easy Science Experiments

Normally, I don't like to link to websites that are selling products, but in this case there is enough free stuff on the site to justify sharing it with you. Steve Spangler's Science website features videos and podcasts of simple "kitchen chemistry" experiments in action. The website also presents a variety of ideas for science fair projects. If you're so inclined you can buy the items necessary for conducting the experiments from Steve Spangler, but my guess is you can find many of the ingredients closer to home.

Here's a short video from Steve Spangler's Science website about Diet Coke, Mentos, and exploding watermelons.

Applications for Education
Steve Spangler's website is useful for elementary and middle school students and teachers looking for fun and easy science experiments. The videos provide useful visual aids to accompany the written experiment descriptions.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Two Milestones - Thank You For Reading

Last Friday while I was having lunch with Harold Shaw (we had a great conversation about blogging, web 2.0, and all things tech geek) this blog reached two milestones. First, this blog has now had more than 25,000 unique visits. Second, there are now more than 300 subscribers to the RSS feed for Free Technology 4 Teachers. Thank you to everyone who has visited, commented, subscribed, and told their colleagues about Free Technology 4 Teachers. This blog was started to share information with a local audience in my school and has grown since then. I really enjoy creating the content and I hope you continue to find useful and relevant information. If you haven't subscribed yet, please consider doing so today by clicking the "subscribe in a reader" link in the top-right corner of this page.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cartoon Explanation of the Sub-prime Mortgage Crisis

I love videos that explain complex concepts in simple terms. This cartoon video about the sub-prime mortgage crisis just aired on Current TV.

Applications for Education
Cartoons and other animated illustrations are fun and simple ways to introduce students to complex concepts. CBS features a series called Fast Draw that tackles different ideas with simple whiteboard explanations, Common Craft also uses simple whiteboard explanations to introduce viewers to technology resources.

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