Showing posts with label Online Classrooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Online Classrooms. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

GrammarFlip - Online Grammar Lessons for Students

GrammarFlip is a free service that offers an extensive set of grammar lessons. The basic format of the lessons in GrammarFlip is a video and slideshow followed by a couple of review exercises. The content of the video is based on the slideshow. The video in the lesson is essentially a narration of the slides. The review exercises in GrammarFlip lessons are a mix of multiple choice questions and fill-in-the-blank questions.


Applications for Education
Teachers can register on GrammarFlip and create online classrooms. Once you have created a classroom on GrammarFlip students can join it by entering an access code that you assign to the room. Within your GrammarFlip classroom you can distribute lessons and track your students' progress on the lessons that you have assigned to them.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How to Create an Online Course on Versal

Disclosure: Versal is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Versal is service that you can use to create online classes that are bit more robust than your average flipped lessons. On Versal you can build online courses that incorporate text documents, images, videos, maps, slideshows, and more. When you build a course in Versal you build it lesson-by-lesson in an easy-to-follow outline. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to get started building your first course on Versal.


Google Docs users can embed content from their Google Drive accounts into their Versal courses. Take a look at the process in the video below.


Microsoft OneDrive users can embed content into Versal courses too. The video embedded below will show you how.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tips for Teaching Online

My ISTE 2010 roommate Cory Plough teaches all of his high school social studies courses online. If you're just starting out teaching online or you're considering doing it in the future, Cory has just written a post that you must read. Cory's latest post on his blog The Next Step points out some things that people new to teaching online might not think about when designing and conducting online courses. Read 4 Tips for Teaching a Course Online.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Big Blue Button - An Open Source Video Conferencing Platform

Big Blue Button is an open source project that has developed a video conferencing system similar to the commercial offerings of Adobe Connect and Elluminate. Big Blue Button was created for the purpose of teaching online. Just as Adobe and Elluminate do, Big Blue Button allows you to present slides, chat via text, talk with presentation participants via VOIP, and share screens. Watch the demo videos here to see Big Blue Button in action.

Applications for Education
Big Blue Button is not a hosted solution so you will need to have server space dedicated to it and you'll probably need a person willing to invest some time in learning about Big Blue Button. For those reasons Big Blue Button is being marketed (although "marketed" is not really the right term for an open source project) to colleges and universities where there are more technical and human resources available as compared to K-12 public schools. That said, if you have the technical and human resources in place to implement it, Big Blue Button could represent a cost-effective way to offer online classes to middle school and high school students.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching is a book, authored by Jeff Stanford, that I've been slowly working my way through since the beginning of the year. Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching could really be described as two books in one. Because of the extensive directions provided throughout the book, even if you've never used Moodle, you can utilize the strategies described in the book. As a case in point, the second chapter of the book is 72 pages long and is dedicated to teaching teachers everything they need to know in order to create a quality online learning environment for their second language students.

Chapters three through eight of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching offer a combined fifty-five concrete examples of activities for teaching second language skills through a Moodle environment. Each of these teaching activities is outlined with detailed directions for making them work in Moodle. Directions are easily identified in each chapter by the heading "here's how to do it." Attention is given in the directions to pointing out common pit-falls and how to avoid them. I was really impressed by chapter 8 of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching. Chapter 8 offers seven listening activities that can be done in Moodle. It may be because I've never taught second language learners, but I had never thought of creating listening activities in Moodle.

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching wraps up with a chapter on assessment and a chapter on extended activities. Included in these chapters are directions for creating assessments in Moodle and record-keeping in Moodle. Also included in the final chapter are ideas for student e-portfolios in Moodle.

Overall, Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teachingis a very good resource for second language teachers who are looking to build an online learning environments for their students. The "here's how to do it" section included with each activity make it possible for new Moodle users to confidently try online teaching activities.

One last note before you run out and buy this book, it's important to note that the book assumes that you already have Moodle installed on a network that you can access. The book shows end-users (classroom teachers) how to use Moodle, but does not give directions for installing Moodle on a network. If you're in need of Moodle hosting, Global Classroom is one of many good Moodle hosting services. If you're not sure if Moodle is going to be "your thing" or not Global Classroom offers a free plan that will accommodate up to 50 students. I have a free account that I use for testing out different Moodle tools.

FTC Disclosure: I did receive a free review copy of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Learning.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alight Learning - Discovery Together in Fall 09

As I've previously mentioned, one of the highlights of NECC 2009 is meeting new people in the educational technology world. At the EduBloggerCon meet-up hosted by Wikispaces on Saturday night, I met Andy Pethan from Alight Learning. Andy and his partners are college students in Massachusetts. They are developing a suite of free services for the purposes of collaborative online learning. Andy's purpose at NECC was to talk to teachers about what they think are essential tools for online learning. When the Alight Learning goes live in the fall it will include an environment for real-time instruction, a platform for hosting and sharing lessons, and the opportunity for teachers to network.

Applications for Education
Alight Learning is using a great approach to their product design by asking teachers for their input. If you're interested in being one of the first to use their products and want to be alerted when they go live, sign up on their site now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Write With - Improved Collaborative Word Processing

Write With takes the cloud computing functionality of Google Docs then adds improved collaborator communication. What makes Write With different from Google Docs is the layout of the user interface and the communication features. Write With does all of the things that an online word processor should, things like importing and exporting documents and being able to invite others to work with you.

Write With allows you to communicate with others without having to change screens or exit from your document. Write With displays your document on the right hand side of the screen and on the left side of the screen a list of people with whom you're collaborating is displayed. This layout allows you to send a message to your collaborators while editing your document. You can send a task reminder, ask your collaborators a question, and see the latest revisions all without ever closing your document.

The video below demonstrates Write With in action.


Applications for Education
Write With could be a good tool for teachers that teach writing in an online environment. The ability to communicate with a student while having the document in front of both of you could make the editing and revising process more fluid than it would be if you had to toggle between two screens.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Networked Student - Video

Alec Couros posted this great video on his blog, Open Thinking & Digital Pedagogy. If you aren't subscribed to Alec's blog, I highly recommend reading it and subscribing to it. Every time he posts something, I learn something new about teaching in our digital age.



Applications for Education
This video could be a great aid for teachers trying to convince school administrators to open up access to the Internet from school. The explanation of how students can learn through connections is straight-forward and hard to argue against. The video should also open some eyes to the concepts of connected learning.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Free Stanford University Political Science Course

Dan Colman at Open Culture and some of his colleagues have developed a free course presented by Stanford University. The course will explore the geography of US Elections and explore the idea of "Red States" versus "Blue States." The course starts October 15th and runs for five weeks to include reflection on the outcome of the 2008 election. Professor Martin Lewis will be the moderator of discussions. You can read more about the course here or watch the introductory video below.



Applications for Education
If you're a high school teacher looking for a way to challenge students interested in the 2008 US Presidential Election or your looking for some professional development for yourself this free Stanford Course may be for you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Best Video on Viddler

Today, I found the best video on Viddler. I actually didn't find it on Viddler, it's hosted on Viddler, I found it on Blogging on the Bay. This is a video of an awesome presentation given by Chris Lehmann about the things that schools need to change in order to help students learn in today's world. I strongly encourage you to watch this five minute video and comment on the things that Mr. Lehmann has to say. I've already inserted a comment and I would love to see what other teachers have to say. (In case you're unfamiliar with Viddler, Viddler's comment system allows you to insert comments directly into the video stream). Below the video are my five favorite quotes from Mr. Lehmann's presentation.



Here are some of things Mr. Lehmann said that caught my attention.
1. "Technology needs to be like oxygen."
2. "Good data costs a lot more than we want to spend. Good data is the work kids do every single day, it's not the answers they get on a test."
3. "We teach kids, not subjects."
4. "You want to see what kids have learned, give them a project."
5. "We have one thing left to teach and that is... wisdom."

What are your thoughts about Mr. Lehmann's presentation? Leave a comment on this blog or better yet, register for a Viddler account and comment directly on the video for the whole world to see (as opposed to just the visitors to this blog). I want to see that video loaded with comments from teachers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Picking a Web Resource for Your Class

There are so many new web resources made available to teachers and students everyday that it is impossible to even try to use all of them in a classroom. There so many options available to the teacher that wants to integrate technology into his or her classroom that we must devise criteria for choosing which web resources we are actually going to introduce to students. There are four requirements for any web resource that I introduce to students.

1. Any web resource that I introduce to students must help the students meet the objectives of my curriculum. This may seem obvious, but it's an important consideration for a technology junky like me. Often I get excited about a new web resource and think it will be a fun and exciting new tool for my students, but I have to slow down and ask myself, "will this help my students meet the objectives of the curriculum?" If the answer is no then, as much as I might not want to, I have to move on to something else.

2. Cross-browser functionality. Any web resource that I introduce to students needs to look and function the same regardless of the web browser that my students use. Today, most new websites do perform the same across all web browsers, but occasionally I do run across a new site that doesn't meet this standard.

3. Long-term stability and reliability. If a new web resource is still in the beta phase of development I tend to do quite a bit of research in the tech blog-o-sphere to try to get a sense of how stable the company is and the likelihood of it emerging from beta to become a stable product. This is an important consideration because I don't want to introduce a web resource to my students only to have it either disappear or completely change in six months.

4. Advertisement placement and advertisement content. The producers of many free web resources rely on advertising revenue to stay in business. I don't have a problem with advertising per se, but I won't use a website with students if there is poorly placed advertising or potentially offensive advertising. Poorly placed advertising is advertising that distracts students from the utility of a website. Examples of this could be advertising that is above "the jump" or "the fold," advertising that is inserted into the text of page, or pop-up advertising. Websites that have advertisements with potentially objectionable content do not get used in my classroom.

Those are my basic requirements for any web resource that I introduce to my students. What are your requirements for a web resource to meet in order to be introduced to your students?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Challenge Your Students With One of These...

The high school that I teach in is located directly across the street from a community college. Our students are lucky because the community college allows our seniors to take courses for free. This is a great way for some students to challenge themselves and get sense of what it is like to take college course. Most high schools around the world aren't located across the street from a college and therefore have to find other avenues for providing challenging curriculum to their seniors.

One way to provide challenging courses to students is to work through a college course online. Another method for challenging students would be to use the freely available curriculum and syllabuses available from universities like MIT to conduct your course for advanced high school students.

Open Culture has published a great list of free, challenging courses covering a wide range of topics from philosophy to physics. Open Culture also has a list of courses available on iTunes. If you're looking for a resource to challenge your most advanced and motivated students, check out the course lists on Open Culture.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Win a Classroom Makeover

eIntsruction, producers of hand-held student response systems called CPS, is holding a music video contest to award three classroom makeovers valued at $25,000 each. To enter the contest simply make a short music video demonstrating how you and your students use technology in the classroom or how you and your students envision using new technology in the classroom. Classroom makeovers will be awarded in three divisions K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The contest starts today and all entries must be received by October 24. For complete contest rules visit the contest page. Embedded below is last year's winning video in the K-5 division.



I do not have any affliation with eInstruction or this contest. I am simply passing along a great opportunity for teachers and students.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Zoho Docs - Chat and Edit at the Same Time

I'm a big fan of Zoho Show, in fact I use it to create all of my slide shows, and I think that Zoho Writer is a good product too. Until now if I was working in Zoho Writer and I wanted to open a slide show I had to switch over to Zoho Show to open it because each type of file was stored in a different place. Today, Zoho announced the release of Zoho Docs which will allow me to store and access my documents, slide shows, and spreadsheets in one central location. Google Docs has had this capability for quite a while so it was only a matter of time before Zoho caught up. Zoho didn't stop at catching up to Google Docs, they tried to surpass it by integrating Zoho Chat into Zoho Docs.

Applications for Education
Users have long been able to collaborate on documents in near real time using Zoho Writer or Google Docs. This is great for editing a piece of work, but not so great for commenting or communicating before making a change. Using Zoho Docs with the integrated Zoho Chat feature could be a great way for students to collaborate and comment on each other's work in real time. This could also be a useful feature for teachers to give live feedback to students that are not in the room with them. I'm thinking this could be great for teachers holding online courses.

Below is a short video introduction to Zoho Docs.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Applying Chemistry Concepts to Real-World Scenarios

Creating lesson plans that make students apply academic knowledge to real-world situations can be difficult. Fortunately, for today's teachers there are websites like The Chem Collective that provide great ideas and resources for applying academic knowledge to real-life scenarios. The Chem Collective is a project designed by the Chemistry department at Carnegie Mellon University.

Applications for Education
The Chem Collective is designed for teachers and students at the high school and college level. The instructor page provides teachers with seven interactive activities requiring students to apply academic knowledge to a real-world scenario like detecting arsenic in drinking water. Teachers will also find on the instructor page tests, course modules, simulations, and virtual lab problems. The pages designed for students contain interactive tutorials, online simulations, and practice tests.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Global Lesson Plans

Tina Coffey at Teaching With Technology has posted a great list of online projects designed to connect classrooms across the world. One of the projects that I really like is the "A Room With a View" project designed by and hosted by Jennifer Wagner. The objective of the project is to have students around the world take pictures from their classroom windows and write stories about what they see outside their windows. The project is designed for pre-K through 6th grade students, but I think that the concept could definitely be used with older students. You can find more information about the "A Room With a View" project at the "A Room With a View" wiki.

Check out Tina Coffey's full list of online projects.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Capitalize on Your Students' Myspace Skills - Try Neetz

Last week during my presentation at the MLTI Student Tech Team Conference, I used the phrase "capitalize on your students' Myspace skills." In the future that might be a better title than "Blogs and Wikis and File Sharing, Oh MY!" for my presentation. What the phrase "capitalize on your students' Myspace skills" means is that today's student comes to your classroom knowing how to do a lot of things online. While a student may not have ever made a wiki page before they came to your classroom or written a blog entry before they came to your classroom, if they have a Myspace or Facebook profile they have all the skills needed to make a wiki or blog. As a classroom teacher I try to capitalize on those skills my students bring with them from their Myspace and Facebook worlds. With only a few minutes of instruction a class of students can be building multimedia blogs and wikis about any topic a teacher assigns.

Continuing on the idea of capitalizing on Myspace skills, capitalize on your students' Myspace interests by building a social network for your classes. Ning and a new service called Neetz are white label social network builders. On Neeetz teachers can create a social network built around their class(es). Teachers can use the homepage of their Neeetz network to link to assignments and resources, post video and image files, and create discussion forums for their students. Students can build their own Neeetz profile page that is linked to the network created by their teacher. Neeetz allows network creators to determine the privacy setting for their network. Networks can be made public, semi-public (membership must be approved), or private (only those invited by the creator can join).

Applications for Education
Neeetz and Ning can be used to create a central, online, location for assignments, resources, and discussion related to your classes. Having students create a profile page (they can customize the page in numerous ways) could be a great "getting to know each other" tool for the beginning of the school year or semester.

Neeetz and Ning networks could also be expanded to include parents. If you're a sports coach, extra-curricular club advisor, or PTA member building a Neeetz or Ning network could be a good way to foster communication and build community around common interests.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Learn Hub

Learn Hub is online learning and tutoring meets social networking. Learn Hub is a resource for students to find free tutoring (or paid tutoring if you're so inclined), study activities, and online classes. Students can join a community of learners to share or borrow studying tips.

Applications for Educators
Teachers can use Learn Hub to create online classes, online study activities, or offer tutoring (both free and paid). Teachers can join communities and share lesson plans with other Learn Hub users.

If you're looking for a fun and educational game to play, Learn Hub has some fun trivia games you can play.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Claroline.net - Make Your Own Online Classroom










Claroline.net is an open source program that gives users the freedom to create their own online classroom. With Claroline teachers can produce assessment activities, post and collect assignments, build a wiki, monitor student activities, and create chat rooms or discussion forums. Claroline is available as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. Claroline can be installed on individual computers or installed on a server.

Applications for Educators
If you've been looking for an online classroom environment that is different from the "cookie cutter" websites, then Claroline could be the application for you. The creative freedom that Claroline users have means that teachers can customize activities for any grade level or content area.