Thursday, October 31, 2013

Populr - A Nice Tool for Building Simple Webpages

Populr is a service for creating simple webpages to advertise events and promotions. The service reminds me a bit of the popular Smore platform. On Populr you can quickly create a stylish webpage with pictures, text, and document uploads. Populr offers a selection of templates that you can modify or you can build your page from scratch. All of the editing (aside from typing text) is done through a drag and drop interface. See how it works in the video below.

Applications for Education
Populr, like other services that are similar to it, could be a good tool for creating promotions for school dances, club activities, or to advertise good news from your classroom.

Populr offers a variety of pricing plans. The free plan should be more than adequate for most school settings.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Short Guide to Using Google Books for Research

Google Books is one of the research tools that Google offers, but a lot of students overlook. Google Books can be a good place for students to look for books and look within books that can help them with their research projects. In the short guide below I provide updated directions for the basics of Google Book search.

For directions on publishing your own PDFs to Google Play, click here.

Why With Nye - Bill Nye Explains Jupiter and More

Why With Nye is a series of nine videos featuring Bill Nye. This series is based around NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter. In the series Bill Nye explains things like whether or not Jupiter has a core, if water can be found on Jupiter, and how Juno stays on course. I've embedded the playlist below.

Nanoogo - A Fun Creative Writing Platform for Kids

This resources has gone offline (May 11, 2015). 

Nanoogo is a newer site designed to get kids interested in creative writing projects. At first glance Nanoogo reminded me a bit of Glogster without video and audio elements. On Nanoogo students can write stories and add pictures and other clipart to their stories. The writing takes place on a blank canvas that students decorate.

Applications for Education
Nanoogo has some excellent options for teachers. On Nanoogo teachers can create class groups and distribute writing prompts to students. Teachers have the power to create student accounts, maintain student identifications on the site, and re-set passwords. Writing prompts that teachers create can have an expiration date assigned to them. Teachers can log into their accounts to see what their students have created. Watch the video below for a complete overview of teacher side of Nanoogo.

nanoogo cropped final from Nick Urrea on Vimeo.

QuizBean - Quickly Create and Distribute Online Quizzes

QuizBean (formerly known as QuizPoo) is nice platform for creating simple image-based quizzes that your students can complete online. The service recently received some updates that teachers will appreciate. First, you can now add more than two answer choices to each question. Second, you can now assign quizzes to students on a class-by-class or individual basis. Third, quiz results are automatically sent to your teacher dashboard when students have completed a quiz.

Try my sample QuizBean quiz to get a better sense of how students will see a quiz that you distribute to them. .

Applications for Education
One of the things that I like about QuizBean is that students get immediate feedback on each question that they answer. Before moving to the next question students are told if they got the previous question right or wrong. The new option of having your students' results sent directly to your dashboard will save you a lot of time grading quizzes. The option to include pictures makes QuizBean a good platform for asking questions that include diagrams and equations.