Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Week in Review - Splashing in the Pond

Good morning from Greenwood, Maine. This week I had the opportunity to work with teachers at Bridgton Academy just a few miles down the road from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters (AKA, my house). It was a great day from both a learning standpoint and weather standpoint. In fact, it was so nice that I didn't even change out of my work clothes before taking my dogs to splash in the pond. Days like that one remind me that the end of the school year isn't too far away. I know that for many of you this coming week is the last week of your school year. I hope it's a great one for you!

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Life On Minimum Wage - A Hands-on Economics Lesson
2. Video - How to Insert Images Into Google Forms
3. Use Clips of Seinfeld to Teach Economics
4. The Ten Blogs I Read First
5. Play Games or Create Your Own Through YoYo Games
6. Depression Quest - An Interactive Story About Depression
7. What My Dog Can Teach Us About Managing 1:1 Classrooms

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Saylor Foundation Launches Independent "Courses" for K-12

The Saylor Foundation recently announced the launch of one of their new initiatives, independent courses. In the title of this post I put quotation marks around courses because it's a stretch to say that they're actually courses. Rather they're more like big outlines for independent study. The outlines include alignment to Common Core standards, suggested learning activities, and collections of tutorials and reading materials. The Saylor Foundation's courses currently include geometry, calculus, algebra, American Literature, and SAT prep.

Applications for Education
I wouldn't set students off to use The Saylor Foundation's new courses as a replacement for direct instruction. I would feel comfortable having students consult the courses for independent review after going through lessons with a teacher.

Register to be One Of the First To Know When Google Play for Education Goes Live

Earlier this week Google announced that they will be launching Google Play for Education this summer. Google Play for Education promises to provide many of the features that teachers have wanted to have available through Android for a long time now. If you want to be one of the first to know when Google Play for Education is available, sign up here on the Google in Education page.

I think that the best part of Google Play for Education will be the ability for teachers (or administrators) to purchase apps and push them out to all of the devices in their schools. If the entire school is too big of a group, the option to create smaller groups of devices will be available too. Teachers will also be able to use Google Play for Education to push video and documents out to all of the devices in a group.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Design Squad - Engage Kids in Hands-on Engineering Projects

Design Squad from PBS Kids features a great collection of hands-on activities for elementary and middle school students. The activities are designed to help students explore engineering concepts. The collection of activities is divided into ten categories. The categories are technology, structures, sports, space, sound, simple machines, health, green, energy, and electricity. Each activity contains a materials list and directions. Some of the activities also have demonstration videos.

Applications for Education
Having students try the Design Squad activities could be a fun way to get kids interested in engineering.

In addition to the hands-on activities, Design Squad has animations that you can download to use in your engineering lessons.

Still the Best Presentation on Copyright for Educators

In my previous post I shared Copyright on Campus which is a six minute overview of what copyright means for teachers. For a much more in-depth exploration of what copyright means for educators I highly recommend Dr. Wes Fryer's presentation Copyright for Educators. I've shared his presentation many times over the last four years. I still think it's the best online presentation that you can find on the topic.