Sunday, June 17, 2012

Encalc - A Free Scientific Calculator

Encalc is a free online scientific calculator that I initially tried more than four years ago. I revisited it this evening and discovered that some more features have been added to it. The two biggest enhancements to note are the addition of a graphing function and the addition of embed codes that you can use to put the calculator on your website. Try Encalc as embedded below.


Applications for Education
Scientific calculators don't come cheap. Some schools have the students buy them other schools provide them and sign them out just like a textbook. Either way someone is absorbing a large cost. Fortunately, for schools and students facing budget crunches, there are web tools like Encalc available for free.

K12 Guide to Going Google

This morning I received an email from a reader who was looking for a template for deploying Google Apps for Education across her school. While I have guides like this one for Google Drive and Docs that is geared toward teachers, I haven't written one from a deployment perspective. Fortunately, I don't have to write that one because Google already has.

Google's K12 Guide to Going Google contains six very detailed sections on deployment of Google Apps for Edu. The guide covers technical integration, outreach, professional development, promotion, launch, and staying up to date. There are step-by-step plans outlined in the technical integration, outreach, and professional development sections. The promotion and launch sections provide templates for your use. The staying up to date section refers administrators to the new Google Apps What's New? site.

Applications for Education
If your school is going Google, the K12 Guide to Going Google is obviously a great resource. But if your school is still gathering information before making a decision about whether or not to "go Google," the K12 Guide to Going Google will give you a good sense of what the process entails.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Week in Review - A Moose Comes to Visit

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Greenwood, Maine. Something that still amazes me about the web is that I can live in the woods where moose can walk up to my house, as one did yesterday, but still reach out to educators all over the world.

These are the most popular posts of the week:
1. 15 Free Tools for Storing and Sharing Files
2. You Graduated! Now What? Lessons for Grads
3. 500 Free Online Courses to Take This Summer
4. 21 Map Creation Tools for Students and Teachers
5. Animation Desk - Create Short, Animated Videos
6. MapFab is a Fabulous Map Creation Tool
7. 7 Good Resources for Learning a New Language

This week Academic Pub became a new financial sponsor of Free Technology for Teachers. Academic Pub is a service for creating custom etextbooks.

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
LearnBoost provides a free online gradebook service for teachers.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
Printable Flash Cards offers free flashcards and flashcard creation templates.
Academic Pub is a service for creating custom etextbooks.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Ed Tech Teacher offers professional development services for schools. I will be conducting a series of workshops with them this summer. Please visit their site for the schedule.


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Friday, June 15, 2012

Three Free Tools for Creating infographics

This afternoon my friend Ken Shelton asked me in a Google+ post about tools for creating infographics. Ken's question prompted this post. I have reviewed a few tools for creating infographics this year and here they are.

Easel.ly provides a canvas on which you can build your own infographic by dragging and dropping pre-made design elements. You can use a blank canvas or build upon one of Easel.ly's themes. If Easel.ly doesn't have enough pre-made elements for you, you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic. Your completed infographic can be exported and saved as PNG, JPG, PDG, and SVG files. Watch the video below for an overview of Easel.ly.




Infogr.am is an online tool for creating interactive charts and graphs. Soon you will be able to create interactive infographic posters on Infogr.am too. There are four basic chart types that you can create on Infogr.am; bar, pie, line, and matrix. Each chart type can be edited to use any spreadsheet information that you want to upload to your Infogr.am account. The information in that spreadsheet will be displayed in your customized chart. When you place your cursor over your completed chart the spreadsheet information will appear in small pop-up window. Your Infogr.am charts can be embedded into your blog, website, or wiki.

Visual.ly makes it easy to make your own Infographics from Twitter hashtags. To create an infographic with Visual.ly just sign-in with your Twitter ID, enter a hashtag that you want to see visualized, and select an infographic template.

The Natural iPad

A few weeks ago I wrote 10 Things You Can Do To Make Yourself an Ed Tech Star This Summer. One of the things on the list was, "try a tablet only weekend." I made this suggestion because I think that if we're going to suggest that iPads or Android tablets become the preferred 1:1 device in schools, that we should try to use them for a weekend, a week, or longer in order to really understand to how they work, their features, and their flaws. And if your school isn't going to provide teachers and students with keyboards and other accessories, don't use them yourself during your tablet-only time. In other words, try using an iPad or Android tablet in its "natural state."