Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Boston's Logan International Airport. This month I have had the good fortune to be able to accept invitations to speak at three different conferences. Today, I'm headed to Florida where I will be working with social studies teachers from the Florida Virtual School and the National Council for History Education. I have to say thank you not only to the great organizations that have invited me, but also to my employer MSAD 17 who has graciously granted me the time to travel this month. And I also have to thank all of you who have helped to grow the reach of my work here on Free Technology for Teachers. This week we surpassed the 40,000 subscriber mark.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Writing a Blog Isn't About Numbers
2. Using Wall Wisher in the Classroom
3. Mathematics in Movies
4. 60 Second Science Lessons
5. Help Students Create Strong Passwords
6. BioDigital Human - 3D Platform for Understanding Anatomy and Physiology
7. Graph Words - Create a Visual Thesaurus


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Friday, October 21, 2011

Friends With Brainefits - Study With Your Facebook Friends

Study Blue, a collaborative studying tool that I reviewed a couple of years ago, recently launched a new service called Friends with Brainefits. Friends with Brainefits is an application that works within Facebook to help students help each other study. The basic idea is that a student will select a topic (or topics) from which a new vocabulary term will be selected. That term is then posted on the student's wall for his or her friends to add a definition or example to for the purpose of helping each other remember the vocabulary terms. The Slideshare presentation offers an overview of Friends with Brainefits.

Buzz Years - Websites, Gradebooks, and More for Schools

Buzz Years is a new set of digital services for schools that I learned about this week. Buzz Years offers tools for creating class websites, lesson planning, record keeping, and communicating with parents. When teachers create accounts on Buzz Years they can create and use one or all of the services available. From your profile page you can branch out to develop your class website, use your digital storage locker, use the gradebook, or post messages to the members of your community.

Applications for Education
I'm not exactly sure how Buzz Years plans to support itself as I didn't see any advertising or subscription options on the site. If it can support itself, Buzz Years could be a great service to build your online hub of educational activities for you and your students.

Picfull - Free and Easy Online Image Editing

Picfull is a free online photo editing service that I just learned about last night. To use the service just upload a picture and select an effect to add to it.  Picfull offers eighteen basic sets of effects. After you select an effect you can customize it to your liking. When you're finished altering your photo you can download or share it via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Applications for Education
Picfull could be useful for students who have taken their own pictures to alter them to match the theme or purpose of a multimedia presentation that they create.

Timely Teachable Videos - Occupy Wall Street and More

What is the Occupy Wall Street movement all about? What are people hoping to accomplish through it? How did it start? C-Span Classroom has answers to those questions and more in this week's round-up of Timely Teaching Videos. I've embedded one of the videos below.



Applications for Education
While these videos might not be the most exciting things you have students watch this year, they are quite informative. In fact, in terms of depth of information they're a big step above what you typically find on programs like CNN Student News. If you're a member of the C-Span Classroom community (it's free to sign-up) you can explore the discussion forums to discover how other social studies teachers are teaching about the topics in these Timely Teachable Videos.