Saturday, July 26, 2014

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. It's a perfect summer morning for going out for a bike ride. Wherever you are this morning, I hope you have fun things planned for the day too. Before I head out on my bike ride, I have this week's list of the most popular posts of the week.



Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Ten Resources for Helping Students Learn to Code and Program
2. The New Classtools Countdown Timer Offers Multiple Timers Set to Music
3. How to Use Google Slides to Organize Research
4. Finally! TodaysMeet Now Offers Chat Moderation for Teachers
5. 7 Free Edmodo Apps to Try This Summer
6. Climate Kids - Online and Hands-on Activities for Learning About Climate Change
7. FluencyTutor for Google - Students Listen and Practice Reading Aloud

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference? Click here to learn about my keynote and workshop offerings. 

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.
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, Chicago, and Atlanta.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.

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QuadBlogging Will Help You Find an Audience for Your Students' Blog Posts

The challenge teachers face when starting new classroom blogs is getting enough comments on students' posts to keep them excited about writing blog posts. QuadBlogging can help teachers tackle that challenge.

QuadBlogging is a free service that matches four classrooms together to follow and comment on blog posts. Register your class for QuadBlogging and you will be matched with three other similar classrooms. After being matched, it is up to you and other teachers in your quad to continue the blogging relationship for as long as you would like. Learn more about the QuadBlogging concept in the video below.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Try Using ThingLink to Create Visual Prompts for Blog Comments

ThingLink is one of my favorite tools for playing with media. ThingLink allows you to add links, text, videos, and audio recordings to images. If you embed a ThingLink image into a blog post and allow editing you can have anyone add comments to the image. The comments can include links, text, videos, and audio recordings.

One of the things that I often do to spark students' curiosities and questions about a topic is to present them in an interesting image. To allow students to comment directly on the image I will put it into ThingLink then embed the ThingLink image into a blog post. See the example below.



By using ThingLink in this way I can have students and more than just text comments in response to the visual prompt. To extend the activity I can have students look for YouTube videos and or websites that will help to explain answers to the questions generated by looking at the featured image.

Helpful guides to using ThingLink in your classroom.
Thinglink Edu - Your Students Can Use Thinglink Without Email Addresses, Here's How
How to Embed Interactive ThingLink Images Into a Blog Post
ThingLink Remix - Share One Image and Let Your Whole Class Make It Interactive

Why Is It Hot Underground? - A Short Video Lesson

Why Is It Hot Underground? is a short video lesson recently released by MinuteEarth. The video examines the accurate and inaccurate aspects of Lord Kelvin's theory of why the center of the Earth is hot.

FutureLearn Offers a Wide Range of Free Online Courses

FutureLearn, a subsidiary of The Open University, offers a wide range of free online courses. FutureLearn offers online courses on academic topics in history, science, literature, and political science. You will also find FutureLearn courses on topics like public speaking, developing a resume, and digital marketing. Courses range in length from two weeks to eight weeks. Some of the courses, like this public speaking course, require you to submit assignments to participate.

One of the FutureLearn courses that I am interested in taking is this six week course on Hadrian's Wall. The complete list of scheduled courses is available here.

Applications for Education
FutureLearn could be a good place to find a course to help you meet your professional development needs. For example, the Hadrian's Wall course will help me further my knowledge in that area which in turn should help me develop better lessons for my students.

FutureLearn could also be a good place to find courses for students who have an interest in a topic that your school doesn't offer courses in.