Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Is Beyond Textbooks?

For the next two days I’ll be at Discovery Education’s Beyond the Textbook forum. The purpose of the forum is to bring together a couple of dozen educators to discuss the next generation of textbooks or whatever is beyond textbooks. The forum is set to begin in just a few minutes from now. These are my thoughts heading into the forum. I’ll update these notes over the next couple of days.

When I hear “beyond textbooks” this is what I think of:

  • Using augmented reality applications to enhance images and diagrams and make them interactive. 
  • Embedding video and audio into digital textbooks. Granted, this can be done in webpages. 
  • Building interactive, choose-own-adventure pages into digital textbooks. Including checks for understanding that provide students with immediate feedback before moving on to a new section of the textbook. 
  • Providing a base digital textbook that teachers can quickly and easily customize the content of those textbooks to match their curricula.
What do you think of when you hear "beyond textbooks?"

Full disclosure: Discovery is paying my expenses for the trip and I am speaking at a Discovery Education event in Vermont this summer. 

Quizdini - Create Online Quizzes That Give Students Instant Feedback

Quizdini is a free tool for creating online quizzes. The best feature of Quizdini is that you can create explanations of the correct answer for your students to view immediately after trying each question in your quiz. Your explanation can include text and or links to online resources like videos and images. Quizdini quizzes can be created in a traditional linear format or in a matching format that asks students to pair answers to terms.

Learn how to create a Quizdini quiz by watching the video below.

Applications for Education
Quizdini could be an excellent tool for creating review activities for your students. Your students don't have register in order to try the practice quizzes that you share with them.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ThingLink Remix - Share One Image and Let Your Whole Class Make It Interactive

ThingLink is my favorite tool for making images interactive. I've written about it many times in the past including this post that has 26 ways to use ThingLink in the classroom. Today, ThingLink added a new option called ThingLink Remix. Remix is an optional service that allows you let other people use the images that you upload. You retain ownership of the original image and your original image isn't changed, but others can use your uploaded image to create their own interactive images.

Here's how Remix works. I can upload a picture and activate the Remix option for it. Then when you find my image you can click the "Remix" button to add the image to your account and start adding interactive pinmarks to it.

If you've never used ThingLink before, check out my short video about it below.

Applications for Education
In the post announcing the new Remix feature ThingLink suggests the following that a teacher compose a set of questions on a ThingLink image of a garden with various plants. Student can then click the Remix button, and answer the questions on his or her own version of the image.

ClassBadges Partners With Edublogs to Recognize Students' Blogging Achievements

ClassBadges and Edublogs have announced a partnership designed to recognize your students' blogging achievements. ClassBadges is a free service for tracking and recognizing students' educational achievements. EduBlogs is a popular blogging platform designed for classroom use. The new partnership between the two services allows you to award blog badges to students for things like quality comments, post quality, and completion of blogging challenges. Click here for the new blog badges.

Applications for Education
ClassBadges offers some suggestions for use in the videos below.

Monday, March 25, 2013

myHistro Offers New Ways to Share Mapped Timelines

myHistro is a timeline builder and map creation tool rolled into one nice package. On myHistro you can build a personal timeline or build a timeline about a theme or event in history. Each event that you place on your timeline can be geolocated using Google Maps. myHistro timelines can be created online or you can use the free iPad app to create events on your timeline. Today, myHistro released a some new ways to share your projects. You can now export your timelines as PDFs, KML files (Google Earth format), or as a CSV file.

The slides below show you how to create timelines in myHistro.

Applications for Education
myHistro has a collaborative aspect as you can invite people to work with you on events or entire stories. To work with you your collaborators will need to register on myHistro. For students over age 13 myHistro has great potential for create digital historical stories.