Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ecology Project International Helps Students Learn About Conservation

This post is not about technology. It's about a nonprofit program that I think deserves a little attention.

Last week I mentioned that I had the opportunity to observe some students in Costa Rica learning about sea turtle conservation. The students there were local students sponsored by Ecology Project International. Ecology Project International works to educate students about conservation issues near them. For example, in Costa Rica EPI is working to get students involved in sea turtle conservation. In talking with EPI's development director, Erin Nuzzo, I learned that 40% of the students in the program had eaten illegally harvested sea turtle eggs. EPI believes if they can educate students about the importance of conservation by getting them involved in the project then they are more apt to support conservation as adults.

Outside of Costa Rica EPI has programs in Yellowstone National Park, the Galapagos Islands, and Baja, Mexico. 

Remind 101 - Safely Text Parents and Students

I'm very happy to announce that Remind 101 has become a supporter of Free Technology for Teachers. Remind 101 is a service that I thought was a winner the first time that I saw it.

Remind 101 is a free service that allows you to send text messages to groups of students and or parents from your computer, your iPhone, or your Android phone. The benefit of using Remind 101 over Google Voice, which I used to use for this purpose, to text students and parents is that your phone number is not revealed and your students' cell phone numbers are not revealed to you. Students and parents have to opt-in if they want to be added to your text messaging list. Students and parents have to enter a confirmation code to state that they do want to be contacted by you through the service.

Remind 101 lets you schedule messages to be sent. For example, if you are planning to take your students on a field trip on Friday you can schedule a reminder message to be sent to all parents on Thursday evening. You message could contain reminders about what to pack for the field trip and an emergency contact number to use during the field trip.

Learn more about Remind 101 in the video below.

Remind101 from remind101 on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Most of us can't help but look right away when we receive text messages. Compare this to email messages that we can easily ignore and you'll know why sending text message reminders is more effective than sending email reminders.

Making Sense of Spelling

This week a new Scripps National Spelling Bee champion was crowned. The 2013 champion is Arvind Mahankali from Bayside Hills, New York. His final winning words were "tokonoma" and "knaidel." The spell check on Blogger doesn't even recognize those words. The English language is full of spelling quirks. The TED-Ed video Making Sense of Spelling explains why some words are spelled the way they are and why some words have multiple spellings. The video is embedded below.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Month In Review - The Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from hot and steamy Greenwood, Maine. Earlier this week I had the heat on in my house and this afternoon I was outside in shorts. I know that many of you are already out of school for the summer. I hope that your first days of summer have been great.

This summer I'll be visiting a number of schools as well as running the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp (two seats are left). I am looking forward to meeting many of you this summer. Thank you for inviting me to your schools.

I plan to keep blogging on my usual schedule throughout the summer. That schedule includes a week-in-review every Saturday and a month-in-review on the last day of each month. So if you're taking a break from the computer or iPad screen this summer and you miss a few days of posts, you can always check in on Saturday to quickly catch-up on the biggest stories of the week.

Here are the most popular posts from May 2013:
1. Every Stock Photo - A Search Engine for Free Images
2. eduClipper Is What Teachers Want Pinterest To Be
3. 5 Tools Students Can Use To Create Alternative Book Reports
4. 5 Good Lesson Plans for Teaching Copyright
5. Still The Best Presentation on Copyright for Educators
6. Life On Minimum Wage - A Hands-on Economics Lesson
7. Video - How to Insert Images Into Google Forms
8. Play Games or Create Your Own Through YoYo Games
9. Shakespeare Uncovered - Videos and Lesson Plans
10. Five Ways to Digitally Celebrate Your Students' Year

Would you like to have me visit your school? 
Click here for information about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
WidBook is a collaborative, multimedia publishing tool.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Fresno Pacific University offers online courses for teachers.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology. is hosting workshops in Atlanta, Chicago, and Boston this summer.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Join more than 57,000 others who subscribe via these links.
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Host and Document Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions With Realtime Board

Realtime Board is a nice tool for hosting online, collaborative brainstorming sessions. I've featured the service a couple of times since its launch last fall. The service allows to work with any information and visual content on one board individually or with the team. You can work with images, videos, PDF-files, write notes and comment everything, use colorful post-it stickers and work with files from your Google Drive. Recently, Realtime Board added a free education version. The education version provides schools with all of the features of the Pro version for free. That means you can create unlimited private and public boards, have an unlimited number of collaborators, and 3GB of storage space.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a free tool that your students can use to plan projects and create multimedia media mindmaps, Realtime Board is definitely worth giving a try. You can try it without creating an account.