Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts of the Week

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where I am home after spending the week in Arizona with students and teachers at Paradise Valley Christian Prep and Grand Canyon University. One of the highlights of the week was meeting some people that I had conversed with online for years. Another highlight was working with a Kindergarten class to go on a virtual zoo tour on their iPads.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Seven Good Student Response Systems That Work On All Devices
2. Check Out the Education Templates in Stormboard - A New Collaborative Planning Tool
3. Three Good Tools for Building Flipped Lessons That Include Assessment Tools
4. Speech to Text and Text to Speech In Your Web Browser
5. Gen i Revolution - A Personal Finance Game for Middle School and High School Students
6. Try These Word Cloud Tools to Help Students Analyze Writing
7. Ten Good Online Tools for Creating Mind Maps

Would you like to come learn with me 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.
Class Charts provides a great way to record and analyze student behavior information.
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. 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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Friday, March 21, 2014

Geddit - Quickly Gather Feedback from Students

Geddit is a new service that allows you to quickly gather feedback from your students through any web-enabled device. Like similar services Geddit gives you the ability to push questions to your students' devices. You can create and send multiple choice and short answer questions. You can also simply ask "do you get it" at any time to check for your students' general feelings about a lesson you're conducting. The feedback that you gather from your students through Geddit can be displayed in a variety of graph and list formats. The list format that I like best shows me how each student responded to my "do you get it" question and highlights the students who responded with "no" or "kind of."

The teacher panel in Geddit does not have the most intuitive interface that I've seen in student response systems. In fact, it took me a couple of tries before I wrapped my head around the terminology that Geddit uses in the teacher panel. To get started, you first have to create at least one class then create your first "lesson." Within your lesson you have to specify a topic then in a separate screen you finally write your questions. Questions can include pictures. Students can join your class by using a class code or you can add them to your class manually.

Applications for Education
The aspect of Geddit that makes it different than some other student response systems is the variety of data collection formats available to you. The data from each of your activities can be saved in your account or downloaded as a spreadsheet.

Mobento - Another Place to Search for Educational Videos

It seems like every month or so a new site pops-up that is trying to make it easier to find educational videos. The latest such site that I've seen is Mobento. Mobento's take on searching for educational videos allows you to search by category, organization producing the video, speakers, and length of video. You can refine your search by combining selections from each of those menus.

Applications for Education
Mobento won't change the way that you use videos with your students, but it could be helpful in finding a good video to use in a flipped lesson. Once you find a video you might want to try a service like EduCanon to create a flipped lesson that requires students to answer questions while watching the video.

Three Good Web Search Tutorials for Students

One of the first things that I do with any group of new-to-me students is talk with them about research strategies. The following tutorials don't cover everything that I cover with students, but they do reinforce some of the basic skills that students should develop.

Vaughn Memorial Library at Acadia University hosts a series of four free animated tutorials designed to teach students lessons on web research strategies. The four tutorials are Credible Sources Count, Research It Right, Searching With Success, and You Quote It, You Note It. In Credible Sources Count students learn how to recognize the validity of information on the Internet. It's a good tutorial except for a strong emphasis on using domain names for determining validity. Research It Right walks students through the process of forming a research question through the actual research steps. Searching With Success shows students how search engines function. The tutorial gives clear examples and directions for altering search terms. You Quote It, You Note It shows students what plagiarism is and how to avoid accidentally plagiarizing someone's work.

The Kentucky Virtual Library hosts an interactive map of the research process for students. The map, titled How To Do Research, walks students through the research process from start to finish with every step along the way. One of the things about this map that school librarians will like is that it is not focused solely on web research. How To Do Research includes a good section about using library catalogs, books, and magazines.

A good resource that can help students understand web search strategies is Common Craft's Web Search Strategies in Plain English.

The video can be viewed online. If you would like a copy to download or embed into your blog like I have done above you will need to have a Common Craft subscription.

Disclosure: I do have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Search Science Buddies for Science Fair Project Ideas

Science Buddies is a good site for teachers and students to browse for ideas for science projects. For teachers there are free lesson plans and for there are many ideas for science fair projects as well as tips for creating a great looking science fair presentation. If students are having trouble deciding what type of science fair project to undertake, there is a topic selection wizard that will help them narrow down their list of choices.

The Science Careers section of Science Buddies offers overviews of dozens of careers in seven different areas of science. Each career profile provides an overview of what a person in that field does, links to interviews with people in that field, the minimum education requirements of the career, career growth potential, and salary information.

Applications for EducationScience Buddies covers materials for elementary school, middle school, and high school. The topic selection wizard could prove to be a valuable resource for students struggling to choose a topic for a science fair project. 

The Science Buddies Science Careers page could be a good reference for guidance counselors to bookmark. Students who enjoy science, but aren't sure of the career opportunities in science, could benefit from researching some careers through the Science Buddies Science Careers page.