Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Free, Open Source, Portable Atlas

PAT is a free, open source, collection of maps developed by Ian Macky. The collection includes maps of every country in the world. Regional maps were recently added to the collection. You can download any and all of these detailed maps for free.

Applications for Education
PAT is an excellent resource for geography and history teachers in need of some free, printable maps to use in their classrooms.

Play Thingdom and Learn About Genetics

Thingdom is a fun and challenging game through which students can learn about genetics. The game, produced by the London Science Museum, asks players to select a "thing" then try to find a make for that "thing" based on various traits. Players move through a progression of challenges in which they try to create "thing" offspring that have certain traits.

Applications for Education
Thingdom is part of a larger online exhibit called Who Am I? Who Am I? uses animations, videos, and text to help students learn about genetics and the human body. Playing Thingdom could be a good way for students to informally test the knowledge they gained from using the other resources in Who Am I?

Protecting Devices in 1:1 Programs

One of the causes of device damage in 1:1 programs is often simple neglect by students. If your students don't think that they devices are necessary for all of their classes, they will leave them behind when changing classrooms, put them in lockers, or leave them laying on a cafeteria table. Make bringing their laptops or iPads to every class a requirement, not an option.

I saw this first-hand when my school first rolled-out a 1:1 netbook program. Some teachers didn't make using the netbooks important in their classrooms. In fact, some didn't have students using them at all. In my classroom they were a priority and students knew that they had to have them with them for every class meeting. At the end of my classes I would often see a netbook or two left behind. When I later asked those students why they left them behind they would say things like, "I have Mrs. X's class next, we never use them there."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Haiku Deck Now Supports Speaker Notes

Since I first saw it last fall, Haiku Deck, the free iPad for creating presentations, has impressed me. The app makes it easy for anyone to design a good-looking slide presentation. The latest update to Haiku Deck allows you to add speaker notes to your slides. You can also add notes for public viewing when your presentation is shared online. Learn how to use these new features in the videos below.

Haiku Deck How-To: Notes (Overview) from Haiku Deck on Vimeo.

Haiku Deck How-To: Notes (Overview) from Haiku Deck on Vimeo.

Thanks to Jen Deyenberg for the tip.

Create Motivational Images With AutoMotivator

If you're not out of school yet, you probably will be soon. If you're looking for something to pep-up your classroom a bit for the last couple of weeks of school, consider creating your own motivational poster. AutoMotivator provides an easy way to create your own motivational signs or posters for your classroom or office. The process of using AutoMotivator is simple, upload an image from your computer or another website, select the color and style for your font, then type your motivational message. A poster that I made with a stock image is posted below.
You can buy a poster-size print of your creation or you can download the image for free then use a tool like Block Posters to print it.