Thursday, January 15, 2015

10 Charts Comparing Popular Ed Tech Tools

Over the last six weeks of 2014 I published a series of charts comparing popular ed tech tools. Judging by the number of visits to those posts, the charts were popular. Someone asked me this week if I had put them all together in one place. I hadn't until now. In this Google Drive folder you will find ten charts comparing popular ed tech tools.

The charts in the folder cover the following categories of tools:
  • Alternatives to Google Image Search
  • Backchannel and informal assessment tools
  • Building classroom websites
  • Building classroom blogs
  • Creating multimedia textbooks
  • Creating multimedia quizzes
  • Audio editing tools
  • Multimedia timeline tools
  • Mind-mapping tools
  • Mobile video creation apps

ClassDojo Releases a Streamlined New App - Now You Can Send Pictures Too

Earlier this week I had a Google+ Hangout with Manoj Lamba from ClassDojo. He gave me an overview of the new ClassDojo iOS and Android apps that were released today. The new apps streamline workflow and communication for teachers. Now instead of having to use one app for messaging and one app for recording information about your students, you can do both from the one ClassDojo mobile app. On the parent and student side of things they can now check individual reports and use the messaging service from one app.

The other big update to ClassDojo's mobile apps is the ability to send pictures in messages. Teachers can send pictures of events that are happening in school. Sending pictures could also be a good way to show parents something their children created in school.

Applications for Education
ClassDojo's redesigned mobile app should make it easier than ever for teachers to keep parents informed about their students' progress. Of course, the messaging feature still hides the personal contact information of the teacher and the of the parents. Parents have to opt-in to receive messages from the teacher. Teachers can still send messages to groups or to individual parents.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Google Launches Google Classroom Mobile Apps

Just a few hours ago Google announced the launch of Google Classroom mobile apps for students. The new Google Classroom iOS and Android apps enable students to take pictures and attach them to the assignments that they submit to you. This could be a great option for math students who have trouble typing responses to mathematics problems as they now can write on paper and submit assignments to you by taking a picture of their papers.

The Google Classroom iOS and Android apps allow students to share material from other mobile apps like Docs and Gmail.

Today, Google also announced new desktop features for teachers. You can now archive your classes when you're done with them at the end of a semester or school year. Archived classes will become "read only" so you and your students can still go back at look at the content, but not change the content. The other new desktop feature is a new teacher assignments page where you can see all of your students' assignments and mark assignments as reviewed.

RefME Helps Students Create Bibliographies

A couple of days ago on I wrote about RefME's iPad app. You don't have to have an iPad to take advantage of the service RefME offers. RefME is a service designed to help students create citations and organize bibliographies.

The free RefME iPad and Android apps enable students to scan the barcode on a book, periodical, CD cases, and many other media cases to have a citation formatted for that item. RefME provides more than 6,500 citation and bibliography formats for students to use. If your students don't have an iPad or Android device, they can still take advantage of RefME's service by simply logging into the website and performing a search for the book, periodical, or website that they need to cite. If RefME finds the item, a citation will be created that students can import into their accounts.

If your students do have iPads or Android devices they can take advantage of the barcode scanning capability of the RefME apps. After creating a RefME account students create their first projects in RefME. A project is essentially a folder for the citations that students are going to create for a paper. Students select a project name then add a reference to it by scanning the barcode on a book or periodical. When they have finished scanning all of their references (they can also add references manually) student can export their lists of citations to Evernote, email the list, or create a Word document of citations on the RefME website.

Applications for Education
RefME could be a great tool for students to use to keep track of their reference materials as they put together research projects. The option to manage multiple projects could be helpful to students who are working on multiple research projects at the same time.

Plate Tectonics - Video and a Google Earth Lesson Plan

MinuteEarth recently published a new animated video about plate tectonics. The videos does a nice job of explaining how the movement of tectonic plates is measured. The video also illustrate the forces that cause tectonic plates to move. The video is embedded below.

After your students watch the video above you might want to use one of the featured projects on the Google Earth educator's page about plate tectonics. The lesson was developed by Cheryl Davis for 5th and 6th grade students. The lesson uses Google Earth to help students understand plate boundaries and plate subduction.