Monday, August 5, 2013

Two iPad Apps to Help Students Learn About a New School

The first few days at a new school can be an overwhelming for some students. From meeting new people to simply knowing their way around a new building there is a lot to take in all at once. If you have iPads in classroom, there are a couple of apps that could help you help your students get familiar with the people and places within your school.

TinyTap allows you to create simple iPad games based on the pictures that you take with your iPad. To create a game on TinyTap you upload pictures or take new pictures and arrange them into a set. Then select each image to create questions about it. To create your question press the record button and start talking. When you have finished talking select a portion of your picture to serve as the answer. You could use TinyTap to take pictures of hallways and rooms in your school then turn those pictures into identification games.

ThingLink's iPad app allows you to import pictures from your iPad's camera roll and or take new pictures to turn into interactive images. Use the app to take pictures of your important places in your school and put interactive labels on them through ThingLink. After creating your interactive images you can post them on your classroom blog and or share them directly to your students. (This activity can also be done by using instead of the iPad app).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Smart Kit - School-Safe Games and Puzzles

Smart Kit offers a large collection of games, puzzles, and riddles for students of all ages. The content of the collection ranges from simple drilling-style games to challenging word puzzles. Smart Kit offers fifteen categories of games. The categories of most interest to educators are probably the math puzzles, physics games, and word puzzles categories.

Applications for Education
In addition to the online games, Smart Kit offers a selection of games and puzzles that can be printed for offline use. The printables collection could make Smart Kit a good resource for teachers whose students have limited access to the computers in their classrooms.

Combine These Strategies To Help Students Find Appropriate Reading Materials

On Google's advanced search page there is a tool for refining searches according to reading level. This tool on its own can be very helpful in helping students locate materials that are appropriate for their reading abilities. It can also be helpful to combine use of the reading level refinement tool with a domain level refinement. For example, if my students are studying the American Civil War they might search for materials hosted on a "" domain and refine that search according to reading level. See the screenshots below for examples.

Click to view full size.

Click to view full size.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Greenwood, Maine. Now that August has arrived those who aren't already back in school are starting to think about it. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be featuring some "back to school" specific posts, I hope that you will find them useful.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Geology Hikes - A Model for Blogging and Mapping
2. Wildfires and Climate Change - Video
3. Is Your Message Clear? Have Someone Else Illustrate or Animate It
4. 7 Ways to Create and Deliver Quizzes Online
5. Three Responses to "But I Don't Have Time To Blog"
6. The Difficulty With "Best" and "Must Use" In Professional Development
7. Lessons In Computational Thinking

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Remind 101 offers a free tool for sending text message reminders to students.
WidBook is a great platform for writing multimedia books.
Storyboard That offers a great tool for planning stories.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
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.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

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Science 360 - A Good Collection of Science Videos

Science 360 is an educational video site hosted by the National Science Foundation. Visitors to Science 360 can search for videos according to topic. Science 360 also gives you the option to browse for videos according to series. Some of the series that visitors will find on Science 360 include climate change, sustainability, engineering, and the science of sports. A sample video from Science 360 is embedded below.

Thanks to Jo Villis for the link.