Monday, February 4, 2013

Problem Attic Now Offers 80,000+ Practice Questions in Math, Science, Social Studies, and ELA

Problem Attic is a free service that allows you to quickly create practice tests and flashcards for social studies, language arts, mathematics, and science. I reviewed the service last fall. Since then it has nearly doubled the number of practice questions that are available for teachers to use to create practice assessments and flashcards. Problem Attic now includes questions from past standardized tests of seventeen U.S. states.

Problem Attic makes it easy to create practice assessments and flashcards. To create your practice tests on Problem Attic you simply create a new document then browse through questions and pin them to your document. After you have pinned all of the questions that you want in your document you can arrange the order in which they appear in your document. Finally, before printing your document you choose and set the page formatting.

Applications for Education
One of my former department chairpersons was a big fan of using old New York Regents exam questions as essay prompts and review activities with his students. In my travels and work with teachers in other parts of the U.S. I've talked with other teachers who also like to use old exams for the same purpose. If you like to use old exam questions as review materials, Problem Attic is a service that you should try.

Is The 5-Second Rule True? And Other Interesting Science Videos

VSauce is an interesting YouTube channel that I have followed for a while now. The videos published by VSauce explain the science and math that answers all kinds of fun and interesting questions like "is the 5 second rule true?" "where is the most dangerous place on Earth?" and "will we ever visit other stars?"

Applications for Education 
Due to the PG-13 rating that I'd apply to some of the content of some VSauce videos I wouldn't turn my students loose on the whole VSauce channel, but I would use an individual video as part of a science lesson.

Guest Bloggers Wanted

In a couple of weeks I will be going away to Moosehead Lake, Maine for my annual ice fishing trip. It's the one time each year that I truly unplug from the Internet. For the last four years I've been fortunate to have some great guest bloggers share their stories while I'm unplugged. This year I'm hoping to have some more guest bloggers share their knowledge and experience on February 17 through 19. If you would like to be a guest blogger please read on and complete the form below.

I'm looking for guest bloggers who can share their experiences using technology in their schools. If you can tell the story in 600 words or less, that's a bonus. While I cannot pay you for your post, I will include links to your blog or website as well as a short bio about you. Past guest bloggers have reported still getting traffic to their blogs more than a year after their posts appeared.

If you are a representative of a company, please do not complete this form.

February 8, 2013 - The form has been closed. All who submitted responses will be contacted shortly.

Take Flight with This Student and Teacher Video Contest on Next Vista

Next Vista for Learning recently announced the launch of their spring video creation contest for students and teachers. Creative Flight is the name of this spring's contest. To enter students and teachers need to create short (90 seconds or less) videos about a concept that one might encounter in elementary, middle, or high school. The video should provide a lesson. The submission deadline is May 3, 2013. You can read the full contest details here.

For some inspiration take a look at the finalist's videos from previous contests. Previous student finalists, previous teacher finalists, and previous student/teacher collaboration finalists. Peter the Great in 90 Seconds was a recent contest winner. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

5 Uses of Augmented Reality in Education

Last week I mentioned augmented reality during a presentation and I could tell from the looks on some people's faces that augmented reality was a new thing to them. That's not uncommon. Sometimes when people hear "augmented reality" their minds drift to some vision of a science fiction world. The truth is augmented reality isn't science fiction, it's technology that is readily available now. To learn more about it, watch the short video below (if you're reading this in RSS click here for the video).

Here are five potential uses of augmented reality in education today.

Create 3D, augmented reality stories with ZooBurst. ZooBurst is an amazing service that allows you to create a short story complete with 3D augmented reality pop-ups. Students could use ZooBurst to create short summaries of books that really jump off the screen. ZooBurst offers an iPad app to complement the web-based version of the service.

The Getty Museum offers a neat way to view art through augmented reality. As employed by The Getty, augmented reality creates 3D displays of art from printed PDF codes displayed in front of a webcam. The example that The Getty provides in the video below is a 3D display of one of the cabinets of curiosities created by Albert Janszoon Vinckenbrinck. If you want to try it for yourself after watching the video, the directions are available here.

Fetch! Lunch Rush! is a neat use of augmented reality to create a mathematics lesson for young students. The free iPhone app (it also worked on my iPad 2) was developed by PBS Kids. The purpose of the app is to get kids moving about a room in search of numbers that are the correct answer to the questions posed to them on the app. Students read the arithmetic problem on the app then search out the correct answer. When they think they have found the correct answer they scan it with their iPhones or iPads to find out if they are correct or not.

Spacecraft 3D is a free iPad app produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Spacecraft 3D uses augmented reality technology to bring NASA spacecraft to life on your iPad. To get started using the app you first need to print out the spacecraft target codes. Then your students can scan those target codes with their iPads. The spacecraft then becomes a 3D model that your students can explore.

Star & Planet Finder enables you to locate the planets and stars in the night sky through your  iPhone or iPad. To use the app, select from a list the planet or constellation you want to locate. Star & Planet Finder will then give you directions to move your iPhone or iPad until you can see through the camera display the planet that you're looking for. The free version of the app only identifies planets. For $.99 each you can add lists of constellations, lists of satellites, and lists of brightest stars to the app.