Monday, January 19, 2015

Germ Blaster - An iPad Game for Learning About Germs

Parts of this post originally appeared on my other blog,

Rice University offers a number of web and iPad-based educational science activities for students of all ages. Germ Blaster is one of their free iPad games that is appropriate for students in elementary school.

Germ Blaster is a fun iPad game through which students learn about six types of pathogens and the “weapons” used to fight them. Before starting the game students review each pathogen and what makes it different from the others. Then they review the methods used to fight those pathogens. In the Germ Blaster game students fight off the pathogens by selecting the appropriate weapon to kill the approaching pathogens. If they get stuck and can’t remember which weapons fight which pathogens, students can pause the game to look up information about the pathogens.

Applications for Education
Playing Germ Blaster won't replace the need for lessons taught by you, but it could be a fun way for students to review after a lesson that you have taught.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Differences Between Colds and the Flu

For the last four days I've been knocked down by the flu. This experience has reminded me of a few videos about the flu and colds.

What is the difference between having a cold and having the flu? DNews has a relatively concise explanation in the video embedded below.

How is a cold or flu passed from person to person and what exactly is it doing to your body? NPR answers those questions in the following animated video.

If you wanted to use either or both of these videos in a flipped lesson, EduCanon and are good platforms for doing that. The videos embedded below will show you how to use those tools to create flipped lessons.

Week in Review - In Bed With the Flu

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where I have been in bed or on the couch trying to get over the flu for the last four days. This is the first time since early Thursday morning that I've had the energy to open my laptop and even think about blog posts. But it's not all doom and gloom here. The Patriots are in the AFC Championship game tomorrow night. So I do have something fun to look forward to. I hope that all of you are in better health than me this weekend and have fun things in your future too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Google Launches Google Classroom Mobile Apps
2. Three Efficient Ways to Keep Parents Informed About Your Class and Their Children
3. Chromebook Creation: Slides, ThingLink, & Snagit
4. 10 Charts Comparing Popular Ed Tech Tools
5. Explore the World with the Google Cultural Institute
6. How to Create Flipped Lessons on eduCanon
7. Create, Share, and Find Online Courses on Versal

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference this year? Click here to learn more about professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Versal is a great tool for building interactive online course components.
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.

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.

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