Monday, January 27, 2014

A Great Message from a Student About Autism Awareness

My friend Rushton Hurley recently sent me a video that a student had posted on Next Vista for Learning. The video, embedded below, features a student named Michael and story of living with autism. I encourage you to read the story about the video after watching it.


Click here if you're viewing this in email or RSS and cannot see the video.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nature Sound Map - Listen to the Sounds of Nature All Over the World

Nature Sound Map provides a wonderful way to explore the soundscape of the natural world. On the Nature Sound Map you will find placemarks containing recordings of nature. The recordings have been added to the project by professional sound recordists. Some of the recordings you will find feature the sounds of just one animal, the sounds of a jungle, sounds of a marsh, sounds of a storm, or sounds of oceans and rivers.

Applications for Education
In science courses the sound map offers a nice way for students to hear the sounds of animals that they're learning about in different regions of the world. In some cases the sound recordings combined with Street View imagery could give students a more complete picture of what it is like to be at ground level in a place.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

In Praise of Instagram

One of the benefits of Instagram that I think gets overlooked by students and teachers is that by Instagramming you're building a library of pictures that you own and can re-use whenever and wherever you want. I find that since I installed Instagram on my phone in 2012 I've taken pictures far more often than I ever did before installing it. These pictures often end up in blog posts and presentations.

Applications for Education
Instagram supports hashtags just like Twitter does. If you want to build a library of pictures with your students ask them to use a hashtag that you all agree to use to share pictures that can be re-used during the course of the semester or year. By doing this you and your students will build a gallery of b-roll pictures and videos. And if Instagram doesn't appeal to you, consider creating some of the other methods I've shared for creating a shared media gallery.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Easyclass - A Free Multilingual Online Course Management System

Easyclass is a newer entry into the online course management market. When it comes to user interface, Easyclass lives up to its name by being quite easy to use. I was able to create a course in Easyclass in less than five minutes and at no point in that time was I wondering what to do next.

On Easyclass you can host classroom discussions, post assignments, post resources for students, and deliver online quizzes to your students. To get started on Easyclass you create a class and either invite members or tell all of your students to visit the site and enter a class ID code. As you are viewing your class in Easyclass select "discussions," "quizzes," or "assignments" to share with your students.

Easyclass discussions and assignments allow you to post notes to the whole class. Assignment notes include due dates. Discussion notes don't include due dates. Both types of notes can include file attachments and links.

Through the quizzes option in Easyclass, you can create multiple choice, true/ false, or essay quizzes. Pictures can be included with your quiz questions. You can make instant feedback available to students at the end of the quiz (except for essay questions). Quiz scores can be sent directly to your Easyclass gradebook.


Applications for Education
If you don't currently have your course materials online and or don't have an online discussion component to your courses, give Easyclass a try. I'm particularly impressed by the ease of use for first-time users.

Easyclass is available in six languages; English, French, Turkish, Italian, Romanian, and Arabic. I spoke to one of the developers at BETT this week and asked him about the translations. He said that they are not using the Google Translate API to offer Easyclass in six languages. Rather they are having six versions of the service coded by native speakers.

The video below provides an overview of some of the best features for teachers and students.

The Week In Review - Lost In London

Good morning from London where I have spent the last two days at BETT and TeachMeet BETT. The TeachMeet event was the highlight of the two days. During the TeachMeet a dozen or more teachers gave mini-presentations about the interesting ways they're using technology in their classrooms. I sat in the front row and gleaned some great ideas from the presentations. I'll share a bit more of that experience in some new posts next week.

Now I'm off to see the British Museum. I got lost yesterday trying to find the right tube station, so I'm sure it will happen again today. But that's part of the fun of learning about a new place. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have something fun planned too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Teachit Timer - A Slick Classroom Activity Timer
2. Wellcome Images Releases 100,000 Images Under Creative Commons Licensing
3. Read Write Think Timeline - A Timeline Tool for Almost All Devices
4. An Interactive Timeline of Music Genre Popularity 1950 to Now
5. Activities for Practicing Listening and Speaking Skills
6. How to Develop Web Search Challenges for Students
7. How to Create Contact Groups to Make Sharing Google Documents Easier

Would you like to have me visit your school this year?
Click here to learn more about my professional development offerings.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com 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.
EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
Classmint offers a nice multimedia flashcard service.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
Fresno Pacific University offers a wide variety of technology courses for teachers.

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