Monday, October 7, 2013

Display Your Instagram Account or a Hashtag on Your Blog

Last night I Tweeted about a WordPress plug-in that displays my Instagram feed on a new blog I'm developing (more about that in a week or so). Shortly after sending that Tweet Rafranz Davis replied with the suggestion of trying SnapWidget which will work on any blog platform.

SnapWidget is a free widget that you can customize to display the pictures from your personal Instagram account or the pictures tagged with a hashtag that you've specified. You can choose how many pictures you want the widget to display, how big the picture previews should be, and customize the borders around the widget. You can see my SnapWidget widget below.

Applications for Education
SnapWidget could be a neat addition to a school or classroom blog. A lot of homecomings are happening at this time of year. If you have students and alumni use the same hashtag for the pictures they take during homecoming activities, those pictures can quickly be displayed on a section of your school's website. In fact, I'm going to suggest this to the alumni coordinator at my alma mater which is hosting homecoming this coming weekend.

Slow Motion Chemistry

The Periodic Table of Videos is produced by The University of Nottingham. The table features a video demonstration of the characteristics of each element in the table. Each element in the Periodic Table displayed on the home page is linked to a video.

This afternoon I explored the Periodic Table of Videos YouTube channel and found a playlist titled Slow Motion Chemistry. Slow Motion Chemistry contains ten videos that capture chemical reactions in slow motion. Some of the things that students can see in the Slow Motion Chemistry videos are a hydrogen explosions, muskets firing, and copper sulfate interacting with ammonia.

Applications for Education
As you can see in the video above the Slow Motion Chemistry videos offer more than just slow motion footage of chemical reactions. A short explanation of what is happening is included in each video. That could make Slow Motion Chemistry a good resource to bookmark and share with your students as part of a flipped lesson or to post on a course website as review material.

QuizSlides Leaves Beta But Subscription Fees Are Coming Soon

QuizSlides is a service whose purpose is to help you build quizzes based upon your slides. I reviewed the service back in May of 2012 when it was in beta. Today, QuizSlides sent out an email announcing that they are removing the beta label. Along with that announcement was the news that QuizSlides will be a fee-based service starting in 2014. You can continue to use the service for the rest of 2013 for free.

QuizSlides allows you to upload PPT or PPTX files containing questions then add answer choices to create an instant-feedback quiz. The quiz can be set to allow students to try answers until they get the correct answer or the quiz can be set to allow only one try per question.

Five Visual Dictionaries and Thesauri for Students

Like all teachers I have found that the right visual aids can make all the difference between students understanding a term or walking away shaking their heads. This pattern is carries over to learning new vocabulary words and or seeing the connections between similar words. Here are five visual dictionaries and thesauri that can help your students learn new vocabulary words.

Got Brainy is a site that I've used since it launched a few years ago. Got Brainy features two sections; Brainy Flix and Brainy Pics. Brainy Pics is comprised of images that demonstrate the meaning of a word. Most of the pictures are submitted by students. Brainy Flix is comprised of short videos that illustrate the meaning of words. Just like with Brainy Pics, most of the videos are submitted by students. This resource has gone offline.

Snappy Words is a free visual dictionary and thesaurus. Enter any word or phrase into the Snappy Words search box and it will create a web of related words, phrases, and definitions. Hover your cursor over any word or phrase in the web to read its definition. Click and drag any node to explore other branches of the web. Double click on a node and it will generate new web branches.

Image Dictionary is a Chrome extension that enables users to right-click on a word and quickly find an image that is representative of that word. To use the Image Dictionary extension just highlight a word on a webpage, right-click, and select "image search." The images that are shown come from Wikipedia. Image Dictionary could be a handy little extension to use when you want to quickly find an image to represent a plant, animal, or perhaps a broad topic.

Word Sense is a neat little service that is one part dictionary and one part thesaurus. When you enter a word into Word Sense it will show you the definition(s) for the word as well as the connections to associated and similar words. You can see any of the definitions of the connected words by simply clicking on them to pop-up a definition. This resource has gone offline.

Visuwords uses a web design to show users the definitions of words and the connections between words. To use Visuwords just type a word into the search box and Visuwords will generate a web of related words. Place your cursor over any of the words and the definition appears. Use the color-coded key to understand the connections between the words in any web.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Create Flashcards from Google Spreadsheets

If you browse through the Google Docs Template Gallery you will find a bunch of templates for creating flashcards in Google Spreadsheets. There is also a flashcard script available in the script gallery (open the insert menu in a spreadsheet to search for the script). None of those templates nor the script is as easy to use as Flippity.

Flippity is a free tool for creating flashcards from data in a Google Spreadsheet. Flippity provides clear directions for the simple steps to take to create your flashcards. To create your flashcards use the Flippity template, enter your data, publish the spreadsheet to the web, then grab your Flippity link. Your Flippity link will take you to a Flippity page on which you and your students can flip through your flashcards. Flippity includes a shuffle function and an option to remove cards from your deck of flashcards as you flip through them.

Applications for Education
Flippity is a good tool that you and or your students can use to create flashcards for any number of topics. I learned about Flippity from Steve Fortna who is a Spanish teacher.