Friday, October 25, 2013

Figure This - Math Challenges for Families

Figure This is a website produced by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The site presents viewers with a series of math problems designed to spark discussion and collaboration between parents and their children. The problems are based around objects and situations with which most students will be familiar. For example, there are questions about how movies make money, how far a paper airplane can fly, and when to buy block ice instead of crushed ice.

Applications for Education
Figure This could be a good resource for mathematics problems that you can send home with your elementary school students to discuss with their parents. Some of the challenges include a physical element that could be used in a fun classroom lesson.

Create and Reserve Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

One of the advantages of using Google Apps for Education rather than a generic, commercial Google account is that GAFE users have access to some settings and features that others cannot access. One example of this is found in Google Calendar. In Google Calendar, Google Apps for Education users can create appointment slots. The appointment slots can be used to show people when you are available and allow them to sign-up to meet with you. The Google Guru video below provides an overview of the process.


Applications for Education
This is the time of year when a lot of schools start to schedule parent-teacher conferences. If you're using Google Calendar inside GAFE, the appointment slots option could be a great way to have parents register for meetings. Another use case is showing parents when there is a need for a "room parent" volunteer.

Add Voice Comments to Google Documents With Kaizena

Back in May I shared a handy tool for adding voice comments to Google Documents. That tool was called 121 Writing. Over the summer 121 Writing was renamed as Kaizena. Whatever you call it, it's a good tool for giving audio feedback to your students.

To use Kaizena you do have to authorize it to access your Google Account. With the authorization step completed you can open any document, highlight a selection of text, and record your comments for students to listen to. John Hardison offers a good overview of the process in the video below.


Applications for Education
I showed Kaizena to a group of teachers today. The conclusion that a few of us came to is that Kaizena may not save you time in giving feedback to students. However, for students who need audio support Kaizena could be an excellent way to provide that support to students while giving them feedback on their written work.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Notegraphy - Write, Style, and Share Text

Notegraphy is a new service that was described on Lifehacker as "the Instagram of words." Notegraphy is a free service for stylizing small pieces of text and sharing them with your friends (or keeping the private if you wish). The service can be used in your web browser or as an iOS app. The video below offers a short overview of the service.


Applications for Education
At first I didn't think much of Notegraphy. Then I tried it out and realized that it could be a neat tool for students to use to highlight their favorite parts of poem or a short story they've read for your class.

Create Virtual Chemical Reactions on Your iPad or Android Tablet

goREACT is a free iPad and Android app from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. This free iPad app allows students to virtually create chemical reactions. To create the reactions students simply drag elements from the periodic table to the “reaction area.” The app features suggested reactions to help students get started. In all there are nearly 300 chemical reactions supported on the app. The app includes pictures and videos related to the reactions that students can virtually create on goREACT.

Applications for Education
goREACT could be a great app to use in a science classroom in which you cannot access (for good reasons in some cases) some of the materials needed to make chemical reactions. And because the app is available for Android and iPad, it is a good option for BYOD environments.

Android version here.
iPad version here.