Saturday, May 16, 2015

Opinion Polls - How They Work and Why We Have Them

Turn on any cable news network in the United States right now and your're bound to hear about declared and possible candidates for the 2016 Presidential election. Over the next 18 months we're sure to hear about lots of opinion polls related to the election. When and where did modern political opinion polls start? How are they conducted? How are the results used? Those questions and more are answer in The Open University's Opinion Polls in a Nutshell. The videos are embedded below.


If you are using these videos in a civics class outside of the U.K. there are a couple of parts in the third video that you may need to explain and or modify for your students.

These videos could be turned into short flipped lessons in which you add questions for students to answer. The six tools in this list can help you do that.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where I spent the day walking my dogs and riding my bike. I hope that you had equally relaxing start to your weekend.

This week I had the privilege to give the virtual keynote for the University of South Carolina Upstate's QEP Symposium. I gave my presentation early in the day from a hotel room in Scottsdale, Arizona. Usually, when I give a virtual presentation from home I use a webcam mounted at eye level. In this case I didn't have that option so I improvised by using a three ring binder to angle my laptop's webcam to eye level. If you ever find yourself in the position of giving a virtual presentation remember to angle your webcam so that people aren't stuck with a view up your nose.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Create Rubrics and Email Grades from a Google Spreadsheet
2. By Request - Five Options for Creating Videos on Chromebooks
3. Ten Sites and Apps to Inspire Creative Writing
4. Mystery Science - Great Science Lessons for Elementary School Students
5. Story Prompts - 20 Random(ish) Pictures at a Time
6. How to Privately Share Videos Through YouTube
7. Think Kit - A New Way to Create Diagrams on Your iPad

PD Opportunities With Me
Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
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 host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Test Your Geography Knowledge With These Games

This evening I watched the finals of the National Geographic Geo Bee. I wish I could say that I answered every question correctly, but I didn't. It's time for me to brush-up on my geography knowledge. If you and your students want to brush-up on your geography skills too, take a look at these fun games.

Quizzity is a fun game that presents you with the name of a city and you have to click on the map where you think that city is in the world. Quizzity quizzes you on cities all over the world. To increase the accuracy of your guesses you should zoom-in on a region before clicking the map. Each round of Quizzity presents you with six city names. Points are awarded for accuracy and speed.

GeoGuessr shows you a Google Street View image and a clue to try to guess where in the world the imagery was captured. Playing GeoGuessr is a fun way to get students to look at all of the visual and text clues they have in order to form a good guess as to where in the world they think the imagery came from.

Capital Toss is a free geography game from ABCya. The game has a state capitals mode and a country capitals mode. In both modes of the game works the same way. The name of a state or country appears at the bottom of the screen and three rows of capital names scroll across the top. When the correct capital name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. After ten correct answers players can choose a new ball. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

Spacehopper is a game based on Google Maps Street View imagery. Spacehopper shows you a Street View image and you have to guess where in the world the image was captured. You can click the clue button to have the country identified before making a guess. After three incorrect guesses the correct answer will be revealed to you. You can play Spacehopper on a global level or you can specify that you only want to see images from a particular continent.

Smarty Pins is a Google Maps game develop by Google. Smarty Pins presents players with a trivia question that they have to answer by placing a pin on a map. Players earn "miles" for correctly placing a pin on the map. Players can lose miles for answering incorrectly and or taking too long to answer. Games are available in five categories; arts & culture, science & geography, sports & games, entertainment, and history & current events.

Where is...? is another good game geography game. This game uses a popular format for geography games; the name of a city is presented to the players and they have to click the map to guess where the city is located. Players are given immediate feedback on their accuracy in the form of a measurement, in kilometers, of the distance between their guesses and the correct answers.

National Geographic offers a daily GeoBee quiz to help students practice for the National Geographic Bee. The quiz offers ten new questions every day. Students earn points based on accuracy and speed.

Fun Brain Teasers and Trivia Games for Kids

Braingle is a host of more than 20,000 brain teasers, trivia quizzes, games, and mentalrobics (aerobics for the brain). The games section is comprised of popular games like chess, checkers, sudoku, and common word games. The Mentalrobics section of Braingle is what makes it worth mentioning. Mentalrobics includes memory tests, flashcards, and vocabulary building activities. The vocabulary builder activities require users to register for a free Braingle account. To help users practice more effectively the Braingle vocabulary builder tracks the words users know and the ones they don't.

Applications for EducationBraingle could be a good resource for students to use to practice vocabulary words. The other Braingle activities could be useful for educational fun during those few minutes of downtime that teachers sometimes find in the course of a day.

Shy? Going to a Conference? - Try These Strategies to Connect

As the summer nears some of us will be thinking about attending a conference for professional and or personal growth. I tend to think of myself as a shy person and I have to work at making connections at conferences. Nearly five years ago I got some great tips from Sacha Chua on making connections at conferences when you feel shy. If you feel the same way, review  her tips in the Slideshare presentations below.