Thursday, May 30, 2013

Create Infographics With Piktochart

It seems like every day I find a new infographic on at least one of the blogs that I follow. This is because a good infographic can deliver a lot of information in an easy-to-understand format. If you would like to have your students try their hands at creating infographics, Piktochart is a good tool to use.

Piktochart provides seven free infographic templates. Each template can be customized by changing the colors, fonts, icons, and charts on each template. If you need more space on the template, you can add more fields at the bottom of the templates. If you need less space, you can remove fields from the templates.

Applications for Education
Piktochart could be an excellent tool for your students to use to create infographics based upon data that they research or gather on their own. Some student infographic projects that I've seen include comparing development data and community demographic data.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Room Recess - Educational Games for Kids

Room Recess is a free and advertising-free educational games sites developed by an elementary school teacher. The site currently features fourteen games. Room Recess offers seven math games and seven word games. Some of the games are one player games while others are two player games. All of the games can be played without creating an account on the site.
Applications for Education
The games on Room Recess aren't going to teach students any new skills, but they could be fun review and practice activities for elementary school students. One of the games that I like on the site are "Fool's Gold" in which students try to separate irregular verbs from regular verbs. Another game that I can see students liking is "Snowball Fight" in which students throw virtual snowballs at the correct answers to math problems.

Go On a Virtual Trek to Everest and Learn About Glaciers

Glacier Works, Microsoft, and David Breashears have collaborated to develop a great new site called Everest: Rivers of Ice. Everest: Rivers of Ice is an interactive site that takes visitors on a virtual trek to Mount Everest base camp. There are eight stops along the way to base camp. At each stop viewers can explore panoramic images of valleys and glaciers. After completing the virtual trek to base camp viewers can compare the size of Himalayan glaciers in the 1920's to the size of those same glaciers today.

Applications for Education
As David Breashears says in the opening video, Everest: Rivers of Ice is designed to raise awareness of the shrinking glaciers of the Himalaya. Those glaciers provide water to nearly two billion people. Everest: Rivers of Ice could be used as part of lesson in which students learn about the formation of glaciers and rivers.

Gooru Adds a Common Core Standards-Based Search Tool

This morning I was a guest on NCompass Live. During my appearance I talked about Gooru. Gooru is a great place to find and or create collections of educational videos, texts, and images. This afternoon I learned that Gooru's new interface includes the option to search for materials according to ELA Common Core standards.

Another new feature of the revamped Gooru interface is dragging and dropping items from your search results to your collections. Now you can also create quizzes to go along with each of your collections.

Applications for Education
The option to create quizzes to include in your collections is probably the best feature of Gooru at the moment. To help your students review a topic you could create a collection of resources and include short quiz items that they can use to test themselves. Your students could also create their own collections to share with each other.

If your students are using iPads, Gooru has a free iPad app that you may want to try.  I reviewed the app here.

22 Frames - News Videos for ESL Students

Last week I published 5 Good Places for Students To Learn About the News. In response to that post I received a few emails from people looking for news sources that are accessible to ELL/ ESL students. The resource that I recommended in my replies to those emails is 22 Frames.

22 Frames is a service that provides a central location for locating captioned videos for learning English and for Internet users who have hearing impairments. 22 Frames provides more than just captioned videos. Along with the videos 22 Frames provides a list of idioms, slang words, and commonly mispronounced words in each video. Viewers can click on any of the words in the lists provided by 22 Frames to find a definition for each word and to find pronunciation tips.

Applications for Education
22 Frames could be a great resource for ESL/ EFL teachers and students. The videos found on 22 Frames range from current news stories to videos from popular culture. Using a current news video on 22 Frames could be a good way to combine an English lesson with a social studies lesson.