Friday, January 4, 2013

XtraMath Helps Teachers and Parents Help Students Learn Basic Mathematics

XtraMath is a free service designed to help teachers and parents help their students learn basic mathematics. The service provides an online environment in which students complete practice activities that are recorded and shared with teachers and parents. Teachers can create classroom accounts in which each child has his or her own log-in credentials. Parents can also be given log-in credentials to see how their children are progressing. Learn more about XtraMath in the videos below.

XtraMath Overview from XtraMath on Vimeo.

XtraMath in the Classroom from XtraMath on Vimeo.

Applications for Education 
XtraMath does not remove the need for students to learn directly from teachers and parents. It's not trying to be like Khan Academy. The purpose of XtraMath is to help teachers and parents monitor the progress that their students are making and prepare lessons that meet students where they are.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Story of Exploration in Four Minutes

Through one of Kevin Hodgson's recent posts I learned about Dara O Briain's Science Club series on the BBC. The series currently has six episodes investigating the science of things like music and space. The full episodes cannot be watched in the U.S. (at least not through my ISP) but some short clips can be found on the BBC's YouTube channel. I am fond of the following four minute explanation of the science and story of exploration through time.

And here's the video that Kevin shared and prompted me to explore Dara O Briain's Science Club.

Clean Print Helps You Save Ink and Paper

Clean Print is a free browser add-on for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari (including Safari on the iPad). The purpose of Clean Print is to help you save ink and paper when printing articles from the Internet. Clean Print allows you to remove images and advertisements from pages before printing and article. Clean Print also gives you the option to increase or decrease font size before printing an article. Learn more about Clean Print in the video below.

Applications for Education
If you use it and you can get others in your school to use it, Clean Print can help you maximize your school's printing supplies budget. If Clean Print isn't for you, give one of these other ink saving tools a try.

Timer Pop - A Handy Classroom Timer

I've written about a bunch of timer websites and apps in the past (here's a list of five). Today, I found another nice timer tool that teachers may find handy. Timer Pop allows you to create and save multiple timer settings. For example, if I want to have a count down that lasts for five minutes, a count down of fifteen minutes, and a count down of three minutes I can save them all. Then when I need one of them I'll just click on it to start the count down.

Applications for Education
Whenever I have long blocks of instructional time I like to break it up with short breaks and or timed hands-on activities. One tool that can help to prevent the students and me from stretching the "break times" is to use a countdown timer like Timer Pop.

Take an Automatically Guided Google Street View Trip

Over the short vacation that I took last week the Google Maps Streetview Player received high marks in reviews by Larry Ferlazzo and Keir Clarke so I had to try it for myself. The Google Maps Streetview Player was developed by Brian Folts. The purpose of the player is to allow you to plan a route on Google Maps and watch it carried out in Street View without having to click along the route. To use the Google Maps Streetview Player just enter a starting point and an ending point then press play. When you press play the Streetview Player will take you along the route. You can pause, rewind, and fast-forward at any time. There is also an experimental option to download a video of the route as it is played out.

Applications for Education
Use your school as the starting point and ask your students to pick interesting destinations. Then have your students guess which landmarks might be spotted along a route that you choose as a class. To see if their guesses were correct or not play the tour in the Google Maps Streetview Player. This could be a review activity in an elementary school or middle school geography lesson.

The Google Maps Streetview Player could also be helpful to students who may have difficulty clicking through a Street View route using a mouse.