Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where we welcome the snow that is currently falling from the sky. Last night I barbecued in the snow and today, after some shoveling, I'll be snowshoeing with my dogs. Wherever you are and whatever the weather is, I hope that you have some fun things planned for the weekend too. Readers in a snowy climate might be interested in these fun things to do with kids.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 11 Free Mind Mapping Tools Compared In One Chart
2. Three Google Drive Updates to Note This Week
3. 50 Interactive Activities to Embed Into Elementary School Blogs
4. 5 Activities to Kick-start Brainstorming Sessions
5. Autodesk's Design Software is Now Free for Students and Teachers
6. Try EDpuzzle's Chrome Extension to Save Videos for Flipped Lessons
7. 5 Timeline Creation Tools Compared - Chart

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.
HelloTalk connects students with native speakers to help them learn a new language.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
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.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting iPad Summit San Diego in February.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
BoomWriter and WordWriter are fantastic tools that help students develop their writing skills.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Two Free iPad Apps for Creating Visual Representations of Data

This afternoon I received an email from a reader who was looking for a recommendation for iPad-friendly tools for creating visual representations of data. I had two recommendations for her. My recommendations were Canva and iVisual Info Touch.

The Canva iPad app allows you to create infographics, slides, and photo collages in much the same way as the web version of the service. To create a graphic on Canva s tart by selecting a template then dragging and dropping into place background designs, pictures, clip art, and text boxes. Canva offers a huge library of clip art and photographs to use in your designs (some of the clip art is free, some is not). You can also import your own images to use in your graphics. Your completed Canva projects can be saved as PDF and PNG files. You can also simply link to your online graphic.

iVisual Info Touch is an iPad app that you can use to create relatively simple infographics. The app makes it easy to create your infographics. It is not necessary to create an account in order to use iVisual Info Touch. To get started just open the app and select a background for your infographic. After choosing your background you can add clip art and text. When you are finished designing your infographic, you can save it directly to your iPad’s camera roll. iVisual Info Touch is available in a free version and in a paid version ($2.99). The paid version includes more clip art, more backgrounds, and allows you to import and insert your own images.

HelloTalk Offers a Handful of Helpful Tools for Learning a Language

Disclosure: HelloTalk is running an ad campaign this month.

HelloTalk is a service designed to help students learn a new language. The service operates through free Android and iOS apps. On the HelloTalk apps you can find flashcards, text to speech tools to help you understand how words should be pronounced, speech to text tools to practice your pronunciations, and translation tools are included in the app. HelloTalk currently supports seventeen languages.

HelloTalk provides a social network component that allows users to connect with native speakers of the languages that they are trying to learn. The connection with native speakers is intended to help learners develop an understanding of a new language in a conversational setting. I was concerned about students under 18 being contacted by adults through the HelloTalk network so I asked the developer about measures taken to prevent this. Here's what he said,
  • "anyone above 18 can't search anyone below 18 (you can verify this by looking at HelloTalk account Settings/Who Can Find Me or Custom Search. Users under 18 can only search for users up to age 22. We deliberately set these rule to protect teenagers."
Nik Peachey, whose work I have long respected, is speaking in an upcoming webinar in which HelloTalk will be featured in the context of "the significant impact of mobile learning and peer to peer language exchange sites on language learning." The webinar will be held on December 18 at 7pm Central European Time. - Another Good Source of Creative Commons-licensed Pictures

It is not a secret that Pixabay is my favorite place to find pictures for slideshows and blog posts. As good as Pixabay is, sometimes I need to branch in my quest for quality images. is a new-to-me place to find Creative Commons-licensed images. According to's homepage, all of the images are hand-chosen from Flickr's library of Creative Commons-licensed images. The images are arranged into five categories; nature, landscape, food, urban, and a generic "stuff" category. You can also use the search box to locate images.

Applications for Education
The manual curation of images makes a good alternative to having students search on Flickr. Remember that the images on have Creative Commons licenses so you will need to remind students to give proper attribution to the owners of the images that they download.

Thanks to Aaron Robb for sending me an email about

Three Ways for Students to Learn About Life in the International Space Station

Most of our students will never experience life in the International Space Station, but that doesn't mean they cannot take a tour of it. The following resources are designed to help students learn about life in space.

NASA's ISS Interactive Reference provides students with a guided virtual tour of the International Space Station. The reference is divided into three parts; How it Works, 360 tour, and How the Crew Lives. The How it Works section explains how the ISS was built, how it is powered, and how it and the crew are supported. The 360 tour features interactive images of the inside and outside of the ISS. Finally, How the Crew Lives features videos on how crew members eat, sleep, and exercise in space.

To learn more about how the crew lives aboard the International Space Station, take a look at the following 25 minute video in which a former commander of the International Space Station, Sunita Williams takes viewers on an in-depth tour of the International Space Station. In the video you'll get the answers to almost everything you may have wondered about regarding living in space for weeks or months at a time. Williams shows us the laboratories, the space suits for space walks, the kitchen, and the sleeping quarters. Williams even shows us the space station's "outhouse" and goes so far as to explain the different types of toilet paper on the space station.

Spacewalk is a multiplayer game in which players explore the International Space Station. Spacewalk players take on the roles of astronauts in the International Space Station. You can download the game to use on Windows, Mac, or Linux computers. If you're a Windows user you can control your player with an Xbox 360 controller. Other players will have to use the their keyboards to control their players.

H/T to Tech & Learning Magazine for the ISS Interactive Reference.