Monday, April 21, 2014

OpenStudy Launches a Mobile App for Making Studying Social

OpenStudy is a free service that allows students to create online study groups. Students can create groups to share notes and ask each other questions. OpenStudy currently claims more than one million users. MIT OpenCourseWare has named OpenStudy its official study help partner. Last week OpenStudy released an iOS app for students to use to participate in study groups on the go.


At its most basic Open Study is a message board for students in search of help answering difficult questions. Students could use it just for that purpose, but Open Study provides more than that. Open Study offers students the option to create or join online study groups, subscribe to other students' updates, and provides students with a place to record their notes online. Students can register for Open Study using their email addresses or connect to Open Study with their Facebook accounts.

How Not to Cite an Image

This morning one of my Facebook friends posted one of those "ten signs you're from..." Buzzfeed-like articles that sucked me in. As I looked through the article I noticed something strange about the image credits. In fact, they really were not image credits at all. The caption below the images simply reads, "Source: Google Images." Besides not naming the owner of the image, the author of the article didn't link to the source nor indicated that it was used by permission. I took a screenshot and added a comment to it. You can see my screenshot below. 
Click the screenshot to view it in full screen.

(Yes, you can use this screenshot if you want to share it with your students). 

Applications for Education
Between great public domain image sources like Pixabay (click here for other options) and Creative Commons image search tools there are few occasions when students should have to resort to claiming fair use to use a copyrighted image. If they do end up at that step, they should at least give proper credit to the owner of the image.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Multilingual Lessons for Pre-K through Second Grade Students

The Early Childhood Education Network's Literacy Center provides young students with online learning activities in four languages. The Literacy Center provides tutorials and games in English, Spanish, German, and French. The tutorials and games are designed to teach students the alphabet, writing the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, phonics, and basic spelling.

Each section begins with a tutorial before moving on to ask students to apply their new knowledge to an activity. For example, in the alphabet section students first hear and see each letter before being asked to form the letters. See the screen captures below for a demonstration of the sequence.

Alphabet activity 1.


















Alphabet activity 2 - Student constructs letter.

















Applications for Education
In addition to the online learning activities for students, The Early Childhood Education Network's Literacy Center in collaboration with Read Today offers hundreds of free printable resources for teaching early literacy skills.

Dozens of Virtual Tours and Webcams On One Google Map

Angela Hamblen is a high school school Social Studies teacher in Kentucky that I've had the pleasure of meeting at ISTE conferences and presenting with at EdTechTeacher.org events. Through her blog Angela has shared some great ideas and resources for teaching history, civics, and geography. One of the neat resources that Angela shared a few years ago that I still revisit from time to time is a Google Map containing placemarks for dozens of webcams and virtual tours. Click any placemark on the map to find a link to a virtual tour or webcam for that location. The map is embedded below.


View Virtual Tours & Webcams in a larger map

Applications for Education
When I saw this map I immediately thought that it would be a great resource for teachers of geography, history, and world studies. The map of virtual tours and webcams could also be useful for literature teachers to give their students a real-life look at places mentioned in the books they read.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Portland, Maine where I'm waiting for a plane to take me to see my grandfather for Easter. Before I board the plane, I'd like to share a quick update about Free Technology for Teachers. Writing this blog for the past seven years has given me opportunities that I never imagined. Speaking at conferences and leading workshops in schools is an absolute joy for which I am very grateful. Organizing my own professional development events is something that I never thought I would do, but now I am doing it. None of this would be possible without all of you who have supported Free Technology for Teachers over the years by sharing posts with your colleagues, emailing me, calling me to help at your schools, and enrolling in my professional development workshops. Thank you!

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Tools That Help Students Organize Research and Create Bibliographies
2. Poetica - Edit Documents Online as if You Were Writing on Paper
3. How to Find and Use Report Card Templates in Google Drive
4. Booktrack - Create and Listen to Soundtracks for Books
5. 14 Educational Resources for Earth Day 2014
6. Doctopus Is Now Easier to Use Than Ever Before - Automate Workflow in Google Drive
7. Five Visual Dictionaries and Thesauri for Students

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.
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.
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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