Monday, May 26, 2014

Create Interesting KMZ Files on the Thematic Mapping Engine

Thematic Mapping Engine provides users with a very simple way to create Google Earth kmz files. Thematic Mapping draws on data provided by the United Nations to create maps depicting all types of development data and environmental science data. Users select a statistical indicator category, select a year or range of years, and the manner in which they would like the data displayed in Google Earth. If you're using a Windows computer you can preview your files before downloading them. Below is an image of the KMZ file I created using the Thematic Mapping Engine.

Applications for Education
Thematic Mapping could be used in Social Studies, Math, or Environmental Science courses. A map depicting GDP Per Capita would be useful in math if students are studying the differences between mean and median. The same map would also be useful in a Social Studies course where students are studying the distribution of wealth. There are a number of environmental science indicators available from Thematic Mapping one that may be particular useful for Environmental Science students is the CO2 Emissions Per Capita theme.

Thematic Mapping Engine recommends using Firefox as your web browser.

ExamTime Introduces New Options for Tracking Your Own Study Habits

ExamTime is a neat service that students can use to create flashcards, mind maps, and practice quizzes to help them study. Recently, ExamTime added some helpful new features.

The most significant of the new ExamTime features is the new performance tracking option. Performance tracking allows students to keep track of how they scored on practice quizzes, monitor which flashcards they know and which they need to spend more time with, and track their comprehension of nodes of their mind maps. That last option provides students with "tick boxes" that they can check when they feel like they have mastered the topics depicted on mind maps that they have created.

ExamTime's other new features include an improved, expanded flashcard display and a new resource "pinning" option. As all study materials created on ExamTime can be shared publicly, there is a large gallery of study materials for students to access. Pinning a resource from the public gallery is a way for students to quickly add review resources to their libraries of study aids.




ContextU - A Great Site for Exploring the Context of the Civil War

Ken Halla, the blogger behind the US History Teachers Blog, has been working on an excellent new site for students of US History. The new site is called ContextU and its purpose is to help students see the greater context for significant events in history. The first iteration of ContextU is focused on the American Civil War.

On ContextU students select from a table of contents an event, piece of legislation, or theme to see it in the context of other events, pieces of legislation, and themes leading to the start of the Civil War. Through timelines, Google Maps, diagrams, flow charts, timelines, and text ContextU provides context for each chosen event, piece of legislation, or theme. Students can jump from event to event or from theme to theme by following the hyperlinks within each diagram.

Applications for Education
ContextU is still in development, but what is available now is already quite good. The advantage of ContextU over a textbook as well as many other websites is the ease with which students can see how an event fits into the larger context of the causes of the American Civil War.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Week In Review - Thank You Guest Bloggers

Good evening from Keflavik, Iceland where I am waiting for a flight home after a week in Iceland's western fjords. This week while I was traveling I ran posts from guest writers along with a handful of posts of my own. Next week I will be back to my regular posting schedule.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Google Chrome Extensions to Help Your School Save Ink & Paper
2. Guided Reading in Google Apps for Education
3. Four Ways for Students to Create Multimedia Magazines
4. Stay Focused - A Chrome Extension to Help You Stop Wasting Time
5. Good Chrome Extensions for Students with Disabilities
6. Good Ideas for Using Augmented Reality in Elementary School Math and Reading
7. Quill - Writing Worksheets Made Interactive

Seven seats are left at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Click here for discounted registration.

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.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Friday, May 23, 2014

7 Ideas for Implementing Technology For A Purpose

This week I am giving some guest bloggers a chance to share their ideas with you. This is a second part of a guest post from Alicia Roberts. Part one of Alicia's post appeared on Wednesday. 

  • Recruit staff and students to beta test “free technology” - Send a quick email  ex: Hi, I thought this link to FlipQuiz would be great for end of the year review :)  You never know who will respond!


  • Set the tone - Celebrate others... “Wow! - I loved the interactive video w/questions you created using  educannon. Do you mind if I share the link with the campus?”

  • Outline, Explain and Share the Progress of your tech journey - Make sure you have a road map to share with your principal of what you are trying to accomplish.


  • Check the Impact of what you are asking students and staff to accomplish - does the work the students do carry more weight than just a grade? Find out by creating an  end of the semester survey.


  • Do what you love...and love what you do!

Alicia Roberts is the Instructional Technology Specialist at Paradise Valley Christian Prep in Phoenix, AZ and EDU Development Specialist at Grand Canyon University. For more tools and trends check out
Teach 2 Inspire.com