Saturday, August 10, 2013

Room Recess Doubles In Size to Offer More Educational Games for Kids

Room Recess is a collection of free educational games sites developed by an elementary school teacher. I explored the site earlier this year and I revisited it this afternoon. Room Recess has more than doubled in size and now offers more than thirty free games. The games are arranged in four categories; math games, reading games, word games, and matching 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 reading games section of Room Recess is completely new. Those games are probably the best ones on the site in terms of helping students develop new skills. Some of 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.

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts Of the Week

Good morning from Greenwood, Maine where the sun is shining and it's going to be a great summer day. Earlier this week someone asked on the Facebook page for more pictures of my assistants Max and Morrison. Here's one that captures the difference in their personalities (or doganalities). Max is right in my face and Morrison is just chilling out in the background. They're always happy to see me return from a trip. This week I visited Gaston County, North Carolina. Next week I'll be in Granville, North Carolina. If you would like me to visit your school district, please click here for more information.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. 5 Good Places for Students to Find Public Domain Images
2. A Few Widgets to Consider Adding to Your Classroom Blog
3. Science 360 - A Good Collection of Science Videos
4. Smart Kit - School-safe Games and Puzzles
5. Why Historical Thinking Matters & Tips for Historical Thinking
6. Two iPad Apps to Help Students Learn About a New School
7. Help Students Start Stories With Word Mover

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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Friday, August 9, 2013

Two Good and Easy Ways To Expand Your PLN

The question that I am asked more often than any other in regards to building a personal/ professional learning network is, "how do I find people to connect with?" There are two methods that I recommend depending upon if you are using Twitter or Google+. By the way, I find myself spending more and more time on Google+ these days and I encourage you to try it if you haven't, here's why.

If you are using Twitter to build your PLN, search using a hashtag related to education. Cybary Man has a massive list of hashtags used by educators. Search one of those hashtags and see who is using it. Then follow some of the people that are using the hashtag(s) related to your interest(s).

If you are using Google+ to build your PLN, a quick and easy way to find other educators is to go to the Communities section and search for an open community that is centered around a topic that you're interested in. You can simply join the community or you can start to put the individual members into your Google+ circles.

Going Beyond Google With the Help of Friends

Whenever I have the opportunity to speak about personal/ professional learning networks (PLNs) one of points that I stress to the skeptical members of the audience is the idea of going beyond Google. By that I mean using social networks to discover ideas and information that you might not find if you were simply Googling for information. In essence this comes down to the idea that "together we are smarter." When you ask for help or feedback from your PLN you are potentially using the brains of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of other educators. In response to your request you may find people are willing to share things they've created or things they've discovered that you couldn't have found by Googling.

Applications for Education
Students can use this concept of "going beyond Google with the help of friends." In fact, I'd argue that they should be using whenever they're working on group projects. Use a service like Diigo or eduClipper to have students create a groups in which they share materials they've found and or created.

How to Embed a Google Calendar Into Your Blogger Blog

Earlier this week I suggested adding a Google Calendar to your classroom blog. After publishing that post I received a few questions about how to do that. In the video below I explain how to embed a Google Calendar into your Blogger blog.

Click here if you cannot see the video.