Monday, April 7, 2014

Padlet Introduces Usernames to Replace Email Sign-in

Over the weekend Padlet announced the introduction of usernames to replace email sign-in for your Padlet account. Along with this change Padlet is introducing two related features that should prove to be helpful to teachers and students. First, all of your walls will be moved to a special URL containing your username. This should make it easier to direct students to the Padlet walls you are using in your classroom. Second, Padlet announced that soon you will get a public page containing your username and all your public walls will be shown there.

Applications for Education
Padlet is one of my favorite tools for hosting brainstorming sessions, collecting exit ticket information, and creating collaborative KWL charts. In the guide embedded below I outline how to use in your classroom. You can download the guide here and view it as embedded below.

Next Vista Announces Educational Videos of the Year

Last week Next Vista for Learning announced the finalists for their educational videos of the year contest. Over the weekend the winners were announced. Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners. The winning videos are embedded below.

Student video: The Breathing System


Teacher video: We Are Bullied


Teacher/ Student collaboration: Allow Us to Illustrate


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Science Games and an Interactive Periodic Table

Glaxo Smith Kline's Active Science offers fifteen interactive games covering a range of science topics. There are games appropriate for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. The games for younger students appear at the top of the Active Science list and the games for older students are at the bottom of the list.

The Interactive Periodic Table is a game designed to help chemistry students practice identification of the elements. To play the game students are given some clues about an element's properties. Using those clues the student has to place the element in the correct place on the table.

Applications for Education
Active Science is a nice collection of games that unlike a lot of games are not simple drill activities.

Exploring the Volcanoes of Yellowstone

The USGS in partnership with the University of Utah produces the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory records and publishes data about volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park. Much of the material on the site is very scientific in nature, but the Observatory website does offer some educational materials accessible to the non-scientist. The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory offers three videos about the volcanoes of Yellowstone. The Observatory also offers photographic tours of Yellowstone.

Some other good resources for learning about Yellowstone National Park can be found in Google Earth. Turn on the National Geographic and Streetview layers to some excellent images from within the park.

Applications for Education
Yellowstone National Park is known for its natural wonders. The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory provides some resources for high school science teachers to use in teaching about the geology of Yellowstone.

Lesson Plans for Teaching Computational Thinking

Google offers dozens of lessons for exploring computational thinking through the use of Python programming. Now if you're wondering, "what the heck does that mean?" don't worry, I wondered the same. Exploring computational thinking through Python is a series of lessons in which middle school and high school students use the Python programming language to try to put mathematics and science concepts to use.

Applications for Education
Exploring Computational Thinking is a series of lessons for designed to help middle school and high school students explore mathematics and science concepts. Google developed these lessons to use Python. As Google states in their Teacher's Guide Introduction to Python, the reason for using Python is, "A computer program gives students the opportunity to directly apply the algorithms they learn in class and provides them with a tangible reason for using variables rather than specific numbers in math."