Monday, January 14, 2013

A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS

One of last week's most popular posts was about Crunchzilla's Code Monster that students can use to learn Javascript programming. And I've previously featured some other good resources that students can use to learn to code on their own. Today, I found another resource to add to that list.

A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS is a nice resource developed by Shay Howe whose resume reveals that he works on the user interface for Groupon among other projects. There are currently ten text-based lessons for beginners. Once you've mastered the beginner lessons you can try your hand at the advanced lessons. Three advanced lessons are currently available and seven more are slated for publication between now and March 4, 2013. And according to this Tweet from Shay Howe, a print version of these lessons may be available in the future.

Applications for Education
Using a WYSIWYG platform like Blogger or Google Sites to create a blog or website is more than adequate for most teachers and students. But at some point you might want to beyond the limitations of WYSIWYG. It's then that you'll want know how to write and edit HTML yourself. A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS could be a good way for you and your students to learn together.

H/T to Lifehacker.

Turn Your Blog Into an eBook With Ebook Glue

Ebook Glue is a neat service that I discovered on Lifehacker this evening. Ebook Glue allows you to create an ebook from your blog posts. To use the service just enter your blog's RSS Feed or your blog's URL if you don't know the address of your feed and Ebook Glue will turn your posts into an ePub and Mobi files for you to download, read, and distribute.

I gave Ebook Glue a try with my new iPad Apps for School blog's feed and it did exactly what it advertises. I was able to type in my blog's URL, select ePub, and then download an ePub of the blog entries. Then to read the ePub on my iPad I just uploaded it to my account and opened it on my iPad.

Applications for Education 
If you have your students blogging on a fairly regular basis they may not even notice how much good content they have written over the course of a semester or a year. Turning their blogs into ebooks could be a good way to show them how much they have done. In a high school journalism class you could have students write their articles on a blog then use Ebook Glue to make the content available for distribution in ebook format too.

Hey Kids! It's Time to Doodle for Google Again

Google announced the sixth annual Doodle 4 Google contest today. The theme for this year's contest is "My Best Day Ever..." The contest is open to K-12 students in the United States. The winner will receive a $30,000 scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Entries must be received by March 22, 2013. The complete contest rules can be found on the Doodle 4 Google contest page.

Protecting Your Google Account in Two Steps

This afternoon I sat in a meeting about Google Sites and having multiple faculty members maintaining a Google Site for their school. One of the concerns that came up was making sure that everyone who had editing rights was very protective of their Google Account passwords. The suggestion made in the meeting was to ask everyone to use two-step authentication. Here are the directions for using two-step authentication with your Google Account. (Note, if you're in a Google Apps for Education domain, your domain administrator will have to allow two-step authentication if he or she hasn't already done so).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Simple Machines - Fun Game for Learning About Physics

Earlier this week I wrote about Code Fred from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. Code Fred is a fun game for learning about the human respiratory system. This afternoon I had a bit of fun playing Simple Machines which is another game from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

Simple Machines is a game that is designed to help students learn about the basic physics principles involved in the use of levels, pulleys, planes, axles, and wheels. The object of the game is to help a robot character named Twitch gather the pieces needed to make a simple machine. In order to gather the pieces students have to help Twitch climb over objects using inclined planes, roll to objects as efficiently as possible, and lift objects by using pulleys and levers.

Applications for Education
Simple Machines could be a fun game to use as the introduction to an elementary school lesson about levers, pulleys, and basic physics principles. At the end of each section of the game students can read a short lesson about the planes, levers, pulleys, wheels, and axles.