Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Conceptua Math Offers Holiday Fractions Fun

Conceptua Math is a service that I've featured in the past. They offer interactive visual mathematics lessons, primarily focused on fractions. Conceptua Math's offerings are a mix of free and premium (paid) tools. For the holiday season they've released some new "holiday themed" fractions activities. Through these activities students can learn about fractions while creating drawings of snowmen, elves, and wreaths.

Applications for Education
Conceptua Math's interactive tools for teaching fractions could be used by students independently or on an interactive whiteboard as a classroom activity.

OpenStax College - Free Textbooks for Students

OpenStax College is an initiative whose purpose is to create and distribute free and low-cost college textbooks. The initiative is led by Rice University. Currently, on OpenStax College students can find six free textbooks on the subjects of biology, statistics, sociology, and physics. The books can be downloaded as PDF and ePub files, viewed online, or downloaded through Apple's iBookstore (the iBook version is not free).

Six textbooks are currently available through OpenStax College and more are in development. For now the books are covering topics at an introductory level.

Envelopes for Google Drive

Envelopes for Google Drive is a handy Google Chrome Web App that I used earlier today. The app is actually a Drive Script that when launched creates an envelope template that you can save and access through your Google Drive account. Once the template is in your Google Drive account you can type addresses on the envelope for standard mailing.

Envelopes for Google Drive isn't something I'm going to use often, but I do need to address an envelope using this app beats the heck out of my chicken scratch handwriting on the envelope.

All About Explorers - Challenge Your Students' Historical Thinking

All About Explorers is a site that Russel Tarr tipped me off to this morning. The site, developed by Gerald Aungst and Lauren Zucker, was designed to help students develop their skills in identifying valid information found on the Internet. On All About Explorers students find fake biographies of famous explorers. The biographies do contain information that is in part based on facts, the content is intentionally written to be inaccurate.

Applications for Education
Teachers who want to use All About Explorers to teach their students to be discerning consumers of information should take a look at the All About Explorers lessons and treasure hunts. The treasure hunts are short activities in which students compare information from multiple sources on the web.

The lesson plans are a series of five activities designed to introduce students to web research strategies discerning the quality of information found online. My only criticism of the lesson plans is that lesson four perpetuates the myth that .org domains are generally non-profit organizations and that they somehow have more credibility than .com or .net domains. (A quick glance at martinlutherking.org or dhmo.org will dispel those myths).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Card Kiwi - Create and Study Flashcards Online

Card Kiwi is a new entry into the online flashcard market. Card Kiwi's appeal is in its simplicity. Flashcards on Card Kiwi are text only. As you flip through your flashcards you rate your understanding by simply clicking thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs sideways. Card Kiwi will show you the cards that you rate with a thumbs down or thumbs sideways more often than the others until you're using the thumbs up on every card in your set.

Applications for Education
For some students Card Kiwi's simple interface will be exactly what they want in a flashcard service. Card Kiwi does have the option to browse for flashcards that are related to a book. You can search for sets of cards related to books by entering a book's title or ISBN.