Thursday, March 1, 2012

iPad Apps to Meet 14 Learning Objectives

This evening Greg Kulowiec shared with me an excellent iPad project that he and Beth Holland recently published for Ed Tech Teacher. iPad As... is a large selection of high-quality iPad-apps designed to meet fourteen different learning objectives.

When you visit iPad As... you can click on any of the objectives to be taken to a grid of free and paid apps that can be used to meet that objective. For example, if I want my students to create digital stories on their iPads, I would click on that objective and instantly see a list of the apps that my students could use for that purpose. Each app is accompanied by a description, price, and ease-of-use rating.

Applications for Education
If your school is using iPads now or is considering getting iPads, but you're not sure what apps are out there for your learning objectives, iPad As... could be a great reference for you to bookmark and share with your colleagues.

Disclosure: I occasionally work for Ed Tech Teacher and they are an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers

Try the Microsoft Flight Simulator for Free

When I was a kid a friend of mine had Microsoft's flight simulator on his computer (he was also the only friend I had that had a computer at home) and he played on it for hours. All I remember about it is that it had a lot of disks. Fast forward twenty or so years and now Microsoft Flight doesn't require any disks and, as I learned today from Jen Deyenberg, it can be downloaded for free. Check out the promo video below.

Microsoft Flight is what we call a freemium game. The basic game is free to download and play, but there are some upgrades that you can purchase from the Microsoft Marketplace.

Applications for Education
I downloaded Microsoft Flight but haven't played with it for more than ten minutes yet, but my initial thought is that it might be a fun way for some students to experiment with some basic aerospace physics. On a related note, Google Earth has a flight simulator which you can activate by going to the tools menu and selecting "activate flight simulator" or by press "ctrl+alt+a.

Vintage Travel Films and Posters

On Monday, Brain Pickings had an article featuring this collection of vintage travel posters available through the Boston Public Library's Flickr collection. The posters advertise travel opportunities all over the world in the 20th Century. The collection reminded me of The Travel Film Archive.

The Travel Film Archive is a collection of hundreds of travel films recorded between 1900 and 1970. The films were originally recorded to promote various places around the world as tourist destinations. In the archives you will find films about US National Parks, cities across the globe, and cultural events from around the world. The videos are available on The Travel Film Archive website and on YouTube.

Applications for Education
The posters and videos could be good to use in a Glogster project about places that your students study in their history and geography lessons. You could also use the posters in Thinglink to have students create interactive historical travel posters.

7 Useful YouTube Channels for Science Students and Teachers

Last month I posted a list of useful YouTube channels for history teachers and students. That list proved to be popular so I thought I'd follow-up with a list of useful YouTube channels, not named Khan Academy, for science teachers and students.

The Periodic Table of Videos is a YouTube channel produced by The University of Nottingham. One of the more useful playlists in the channel is The Elements. The table features a video demonstration of the characteristics of elements in the Periodic Table of Elements. In all there are 390 videos divided into 24 playlists about the work of chemists at the university.

Science Bob is a helpful website featuring science fair project ideas for elementary school and middle school students. Science Bob also has a YouTube channel that offers some demonstrations of science experiments and science lessons.

I covered this a couple of weeks ago, but it's worth mentioning again. The Spangler Effect is a new YouTube channel from Steve Spangler Science. Unlike his popular Sick Science videos which are no more than short demonstrations of science experiments students and parents can do at home, The Spangler Effect videos offer longer (15 minutes or so) explanations of science experiments. The Spangler Effect videos explain the science of do-it-yourself experiments and how you can recreate those experiments at home or in your classroom.

Science/Math Concepts with Mr. P is a teacher-produced channel of more than 600 video lessons organized into 40 playlists. You can learn more about Mr. P at Chemistry PapaPodcasts. Don't let the name fool you, the channel is more than just chemistry lessons.

Bright Storm is a company that I've covered before when writing about online mathematics help. Bright Storm's YouTube channel offers video lessons for biology, chemistry, and physics. The videos are nothing more than an instructor lecturing with a whiteboard for a few minutes which could be adequate if a student just needs a refresher on a science topic.

NASA has a few different YouTube channels, but the one that has the most universal utility for teachers and students is NASA eClips. NASA eClips is organized according to grade level with playlists intended for elementary school, middle school, and high school. I've embedded one of the eClips below.

The Open University another resource that I've previously written about in other contexts. Most recently I wrote about their free Frozen Planet feature on the arctic and antarctic regions. The Open University YouTube channel contains many playlists on a wide variety of topics in science. Here's one of their science playlists about DNA and RNA.

Do you have a favorite YouTube channel that should be added to this list? If so, please leave a comment. 

Oh The Things You Will See - Five Planets With the Naked Eye

I'm not much of a star-gazer, but I can pick out a few constellations and planets when I look up at night (living in a town devoid of street lights really makes the stars pop too). According to this National Geographic article, this week many of us should be able to see five planets in the night sky without the aid of a telescope. Reading the article reminded me of some resources for teaching and learning about space that I've reviewed in the past.

Eight good resources for space science lessons.
A Planetarium for Your Browser
Use Google Sky to Know What You're Looking at Tonight
Real World Math has lessons that use the Moon, Mars, and Sky view in Google Earth.