Thursday, July 3, 2014

Presentation.io Is Shutting Down in September

Presentation.io is a neat service that allows you to share your slides to your audience members' mobile devices and remotely control the transitions of the slides on their devices. It is a nice way to make sure that all of your students are on the same page with you. Unfortunately, Presentation.io was recently acquired by Cisco and is going to shut down on September 1, 2014.

Nearpod is a good alternative that you might want to consider using. Nearpod is available for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Developing Good Credit Habits - A Game for Teaching Personal Financial Responsibility

Econ Ed Link hosts hundreds of lesson plans and interactive games for teaching students about a wide range of topics in economics. Teachers can search the lesson plan index by grade level, concept, standard, or length of lesson (one class period vs. multiple class periods). Most of the lessons attempt to provide "real world" context.

The interactive section of Econ Ed Link offers four pages of videos and games. The videos and games can be used as stand-alone activities or as part of lesson plan. I tested out the interactive game on developing good credit habits. Developing Good Credit Habits is a game appropriate for middle school and high school students. Students earn money by correctly answering questions about credit scores, interest rates, and spending practices. The purpose of the game is to purchase items and pay expenses without damaging your credit score.

Applications for Education
Econ Ed Link offers lesson plans appropriate for all K-12 students. Many of the lessons are designed for use not only in the classroom but in the home as well. The parent section of Econ Ed Link offers good material that you can send home with your students to get parents involved in students' learning about personal economics.

How to Register Students for Services When They Don't Have Email Addresses

This is a bit of a re-post from a couple of years ago, but it's worth revisiting as I know that many teachers can still benefit from this. Elementary school and middle school teachers often ask me how their students can use services that require email addresses when the students don't have email addresses. The solution is to use Gmail+1.

Here's how Gmail+1 works. Let's say there's a new service that I want my students to use but my students don't have email addresses that they can use to register for that service. In that case I can quickly generate Gmail addresses for my students by using the Gmail+1 strategy.

Here's how the Gmail+1 hack works:
1. Create a new Gmail account just for your class. Example mrbyrnesclass@gmail.com
2. Issue email addresses to students as follows mrbyrnesclass+1@gmail.commrbyrnesclass+2@gmail.com
3. Gmail overrides the "1" and "2" at the end of the mrbyrnesclass and sends all emails to the inbox at mrbyrnesclass@gmail.com however almost all other services that require an email for registration will recognize mrbyrnesclass+1@gmail.com as distinct from mrbyrnesclass@gmail.com
4. Students can use the "+1" emails to register for services, but I get to see all of the emails coming and going.
5. Because of #4 above I may have to confirm all of my students' registrations on a new service.

Disclaimers:
1. This hack doesn't work on every service so your mileage may vary.
2. Don't give students the password to the class email address (in the example above I would not give students the password to mrbyrnesclass@gmail.com) because if they have it they could all send and receive email from the account. The passwords that they choose on  the services that they register for should all be unique and they should not share them with each other.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Free Webinar - Using OpenEd to Create Common Core-aligned Assessments

Last week Open Ed released a new tool for creating practice assessments aligned to Common Core standards. The Open Ed assessment tools allow you to associate images and videos with specific questions. This option not only allows you to use media in your questions, but it also allows your students to see suggested review resources when they don't reach a standard on your assessment. Tomorrow, at 3:30pm Eastern Time OpenEd is hosting a free webinar on creating assessments aligned to Common Core standards. You can register for the webinar here.

(I do not know if the webinar will be recorded or not. I'm not affiliated with OpenEd, I just think that it is a good service).

Notezilla Helps Students Learn Classical Music

Notezilla is a neat service that features sheet music synchronized to recordings. As you listen the recording the sheet music scrolls along. You can choose to see a red line moving to indicate the notes being played or choose to not see the red line at all. You can select sections of a recording to hear and see in your Notezilla library.

Notezilla is available to use in your web browser or through an iPad app.

Applications for Education
For the student who is learning to play a new selection Notezilla provides an option to slow the tempo for a recording could be helpful. Students can also choose to turn on or turn off the display of sheet music for specific instruments heard in a recording. Being able to see and hear where their instruments fit into the overall score of a piece could help students be better prepared for the transition from practicing in isolation to rehearsing with a full orchestra or band.