Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Week In Review - Winter Fun!

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. By the time that many of you read this I will on my way to Tomhegan Wilderness Camps for my annual ice fishing trip with a group of teachers from my school district. This is the beginning of a vacation week or at least a long weekend for many teachers. If that is the case for you, I hope that you have a great vacation.

Regular posts will continue to appear while I'm on my trip as I have scheduled posts for the next four days.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. ScreenCastify - A Screencasting Option That Works on Chromebooks
2. Find Science Lesson Plans, Videos, and Animations on BioInteractive
3. Why Visuals Matter In Storytelling
4. Word Tamer - An Interactive Journey in Creative Writing
5. 26 Videos About the Science of the Winter Olympics
6. AirPano - Gorgeous 360 Degree Virtual Tours of the World
7. Fun With Bad Math In Pictures

Would you like to come learn with me in Maine this summer?
Click here to learn more about the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

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 offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
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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The Science of Nervousness and Stage Fright

We all experience nervousness in some aspect of our lives. For some people standing on stage makes them nervous and for others the thought of making small talk at a social event makes them nervous. What makes us nervous? And what happens to our bodies when we're nervous? The following video from ASAP Science answers those questions and more.


Applications for Education
After watching the ASAP Science video on nervousness, continue the lesson with this TED-Ed lesson on stage fright and how to deal with it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Use Google as a Countdown Timer

I've featured a bunch of countdown timers over the years. This one might be the simplest one yet. As The Next Web reported yesterday, you can now simply type into Google search "set timer" followed by an amount of time and a countdown timer is displayed. An alarm beeps when time is up. You can make the timer appear full screen without advertisements by clicking a little box icon to the right of the timer. You can see this feature in action in the video below.


Applications for Education
Whenever I have long blocks of instructional time I like to break it up with short breaks and or timed hands-on activities. One tool that can help to prevent the students and me from stretching the "break times" is to use a countdown timer like this one.

Hemingway Helps You Analyze Your Writing

In my previous post about curating the web I mentioned that I rarely Google to find new-to-me sites and apps. One of the places that I do search is the Diigo community for "hot bookmarks." Hemingway was one of the hot bookmarks that I found yesterday.

Hemingway is a free tool designed to help you analyze your writing. Hemingway offers a bunch of information about the passage you've written or copied and pasted into the site. Hemingway highlights the parts of your writing that use passive voice, adverbs, and overly complex sentences. All of those factors are accounted for in generating a general readability score for your passage.

Applications for Education
Hemingway is the kind of tool that I like to have students use before exchanging papers with classmates for peer editing. Hemingway acts as a kind of "virtual peer" before the peer editing process. I would also have students use Hemingway before turning in their final drafts for a grade.

StoryToolz offers a tool similar to Hemingway that you may also want to check out.

Conversations About Curating the Web

On Tuesday evening I was a guest on Open Online Experience's Google+ Hangout about curating the web. The Hangout began with a short presentation from me followed by a question and answer period in which I talked about my workflow as it relates to finding and sharing content for Free Technology for Teachers. The video of the hangout and my slides are embedded below.