Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Does Your Thyroid Do? - A TED-Ed Lesson

How does the thyroid manage your metabolism? is the question driving a TED-Ed lesson about the importance of the thyroid in the human body. The short video provides a good definition of metabolism then goes on to explain how the thyroid influences metabolism. Explanations of and examples of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism conclude the lesson. The complete lesson and guiding questions can be found here.


Applications for Education
I've added this video to a playlist of five other TED-Ed lessons about how the human body works. The playlist could be helpful as introductory material for a middle school or high school biology class.

How to Create Custom QR Codes

Last night I wrote about Russel Tarr's QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator. That is one fun way to use QR codes in your classroom. Regina Schantz shared this picture (embedded in the Tweet below) of her students on a QR code treasure hunt.


A treasure hunt is just one of many uses of QR codes in classrooms. If your students use iPads or other mobile devices in your classroom QR codes make it easy for you to get every student to a webpage. A QR code can be used to distribute Google Documents, to distribute notes, contact information, and even a calendar event. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to use QR Droid Zapper to create custom QR codes.

Free Webinar This Evening - Backchannel and Informal Assessment Tools

This evening I am hosting free webinar on the best backchannel and informal assessment tools for teachers. This webinar is based on my popular in-person workshop of the same name. This is going to be an interactive webinar so come ready to participate. The webinar will be held at 7pm Eastern Time. Registration is limited to the first 200 people. Click here to register.

The webinar will be recorded. You do not need to email me to get the recording, it will be posted on FreeTech4Teachers.com and included in next Sunday’s Practical Ed Tech newsletter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Send Your Students on a QR Code Treasure Hunt

QR Codes are all around us today. Open a magazine, a catalog, or glance at a bulletin board and you're likely to see a QR code. QR Codes make it easy to jump to a website or download a file on your mobile device. QR codes and QR code reader apps are one of the many ways that cell phones can be used in schools for academic purposes. To that end, Russel Tarr the QR Treasure Hunt Generator.

The QR Treasure Hunt Generator provides you with all of the things you need to get started creating your own QR codes and using them in your classroom. To use the QR Treasure Hunt Generator type out a series of questions and answers, generate the QR codes using the tool Russel Tarr provides, then print and display the codes around your classroom or school. Click here to view a sample QR Treasure Hunt.

If you're looking for a QR code reader app, I use and recommend QR Droid for Android devices. For iOS devices take a look at QR Scanner or QR Code Reader.

Applications for Education
Creating QR Treasure Hunts could be a great way to get students moving and learning at the same time. With a QR Treasure Hunt a quest for information can become a physical exercise as well as an intellectual exercise.

Meeting Words - A Free Tool for Collaborative Notes and Discussion

MeetingWords is a free service for creating an online notepad and chat room. Through MeetingWords you can quickly create an online place to collaboratively create documents with one or more partners. You do not need to register in order to use the service. You can chat in real-time while creating a document. Every person contributing to the documents you build is assigned a highlight color so that you can easily track who wrote what in the document.

People who have used EtherPad (now offline) or TitanPad will notice that MeetingWords is very similar to those tools. The similarity is due to the fact that they use the same code.

Applications for Education
Google Documents is great for collaborative writing, but not everyone has Google Documents. Google Documents also requires sign-in in order to track changes. When you want to quickly collaboratively create a set of notes, MeetingWords is a good option to try.