Saturday, September 29, 2012

Silk Slides - An Easy Way to Share & Discuss Slides

Silk Slides is a new service for easily sharing and discussing slideshows. It is very easy to use the service. To get started just upload your slides (Keynote files didn't work for me) then enter your email address. When your upload is complete you can share your slides by sending the URL assigned to your slides to anyone you like.

Silk Slides allows commenting on each slide in your slideshow. To post a comment you have to enter your name (or nickname) and an email address.

Applications for Education
Silk Slides could be a good platform for students to use to ask questions about slides that you share with them. You could use Silk Slides to offer feedback to your students about the design and content of their slides too.

Weekend Project - Apply for the Google Teacher Academy

The deadline to apply for the next Google Teacher Academy is on October 4 next week. I'm sure that there are people who will be working on their applications this weekend. The hardest part of the application for most people is the video submission. To give you some ideas for your video I've embedded a sampling of videos from applicants who were accepted into past Google Teacher Academies.

And just so you don't think that all submissions have a high production quality I've included my video below. Even though I was accepted I recommend making your video look a little better than mine.

Week in Review - 50,000 Subscribers!

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters on Alcohol Mary Road in Greenwood, Maine. My road is a small dirt road in a town of 600 people. I share the details of where I live because it is amazing to me that one person writing from a small house in the woods can reach more than 50,000 subscribers. This week Free Technology for Teachers crossed the 50,000 subscriber mark! I can't thank you all enough for helping to expand the reach of this blog.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 17 Free Tools for Creating Screen Capture Images and Videos
2. 7 Places to Find & Watch Documentaries Online
3. Create Beautiful Presentations with Haiku Deck for iPad
4. A Digital Citizenship Guide from Edmodo and Common Sense Media
5. Play the Election - Games for Learning About the U.S. Presidential Election
6. United Classrooms - Connect Your Classroom with the World
7. Problem Attic - Quickly Create Practice Assessments

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
Class DoJo is a great student behavior recording keeping service.
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Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
The College of St. Scholastica offers M. Ed courses.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. 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 and is hosting iPad Summit USA in November. Register now for an early bird discount.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

ScootPad - Students Practice Skills from Any Device and Teachers Get Instant Feedback Too

ScootPad is a free service offering mathematics and reading practice activities to elementary school students and their teachers. ScootPad activities can be played on just about any device including iPads, Android tablets, and Chromebooks.

ScootPad offers a lot of features, but at it's core is practice activities aligned to Common Core standards. Teachers can create classroom accounts in which they can manage all aspects of their students' accounts including password resets. The best part is ScootPad allows teachers to monitor how their students are doing on each concept in the practice activities.

The ScootPad teacher panel allows you to assign homework to your students. You can set activation and deactivation dates for the homework activities. To complete the homework assignments students sign into their accounts to complete the activities anytime during the open window. Their results are instantly visible in your teacher panel. The homework panel also includes a reading log that students and or their parents update.

Each class that you create on ScootPad has its own class wall where students and teachers can post messages for each other. It could be a good place to post reminders and encouragements for students.

Applications for Education
ScootPad could be a great tool for providing students with practice activities targeted to the areas in which they need the most practice. The reports are quite specific which can be helpful not only for you, but also for parents who want to know which skills their children need to practice the most.

State of Flux - Images of Our Changing Planet

NASA's State of Flux image collection features before and after pictures  of more than 200 locations worldwide. The satellite images show the effects of climate change, natural disasters, and land use on places all over the globe. For some examples from the State of Flux collection take a look at the impacts of dam building in Brazil, drought along the Mississippi River, or volcanic activity in Iceland. You can browse for images by clicking placemarks on the State of Flux Google Map or by scrolling through the image gallery.

Applications for Education
If you're teaching lessons on climate change and human impact on the landscape, State of Flux could be a handy resource. Along with each set of images there is a caption about the area and the significance of the images. You could show some of the images to students without revealing the captions and ask them to propose ideas accounting for the causes of the changes they're seeing.