Monday, June 15, 2015

Riddle Adds New Features for Building Image-based Quizzes

Last month I started using a new quiz and survey tool called Riddle. The surveys and quizzes that you create in Riddle can be image-based or simply text-based. The developer of Riddle has been responsive to input from teachers and other users. An example of that is found in the most recent update to Riddle. You can now add links to your Riddle quizzes and surveys. Those links could be to sources of information, to videos, or to an online audio recording like those you can find on SoundCloud.

In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to use Riddle to create a quiz.


Applications for Education
Riddle's format of using images as response choices could make it a good option for giving informal quizzes on topics that require a lot of visuals. For example, a quiz on fractions might use pictures which represent various fractions. A quiz on art history might use Riddle to showcase works of art of answer choices.

Smithsonian Launches a New Animated Video Series, But I'm Not Sure Who It's For

Last week I received a notice from the Smithsonian Science Education Center about a new series of animated videos that they were planning to release today. The series, titled Good Thinking, is now live on YouTube.

Good Thinking is a set of animated videos featuring a teacher demonstrating and explaining teaching methods. The topics of the videos are Conceptual Change, Learning Styles, and Common Misconceptions About Natural Selection. I watched the videos an I cannot tell who Smithsonian is trying to reach with them. As an adult I didn't find the videos engaging or enlightening. I'm also having a hard time picturing students watching the videos and understanding them. I've embedded the videos below so that you can judge for yourself.


Here's the text of the press release I received about the series. Perhaps you can tell me who Smithsonian is trying to reach with these videos:
“Good Thinking! The Science of Teaching Science” -- a free, engaging and entertaining new web series designed to support science educators and addresses the need for accessible professional development tools that help teachers break down barriers to understanding scientific principles and increase their classroom skills.

A first-of-its-kind series, “Good Thinking!” comprises short, animated videos that explore pedagogical ideas across a range of subject-matter topics like energy, cells, and gravity as well as cognitive research findings on topics like student motivation or the myth of left- and right-brained people. “Good Thinking!” shines a light on the classroom and pedagogical challenges teachers face, and provides solid, science-based ideas that keep their teaching on track. The series enhances K-8 science education and deepens understanding of STEM topics, for teachers and students alike.

Identifying Birds - A Fun Summer Learning Activity

A couple of months ago when the birds started to return to my neighborhood I wrote a post containing resources for learning about birds. This morning through Lifehacker I learned about another neat app for learning about birds.

Merlin Bird ID is a free iPhone and Android app that helps you identify birds that you see in North America. To help you identify a bird you've see Merlin Bird ID asks you a few questions about the color of the bird, its size, where you saw it, and when you saw it. Merlin Bird ID will suggest which bird you saw based on your answers to the identification questions.The suggestion will come with pictures of the bird and some information about it. In some cases you will be able to listen to a recording of the bird's call.

Applications for Education
A fun summer learning activity could be built around using Merlin Bird ID. You could take students on nature walks to make observations about birds. Challenge them to try to identify as many different birds as possible.

Bird ID can be used without entering an email address. It can also be used without enabling location services. If you don't enable location services you will have to enter the zip code of where you made your bird observation.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Explore the World's Fair on Your iPad

The New York Public Library’s Biblion: World’s Fair app puts the wonder of the 1939-1940 World’s Fair on your iPad. Through the app you can view images, videos, and documents all about the World’s Fair. All of the media in the app is arranged into thematic stories. These stories showcase the innovations that were on display in 1940 as well as the predictions for the future. Plenty of historical context is provided through the stories to help readers understand why the innovations on display were significant.

Applications for Education
One of the fun things that you could do with this app with your students is to have them look at the stories that feature predictions for the future. Then have you students see which of those predictions were accurate, which weren’t, and which became part of our world today.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from sunny Woodstock, Maine where Max has illustrated that it is a perfect day for lounging in the sun. Yes, my dogs are spoiled and have it made.

This week I hosted webinars on three nights. On Tuesday evening the second meeting of Getting Going With GAFE was well attended. On Wednesday and Thursday I hosted Blogger Jumpstart which had a smaller audience, but was still a lot of fun to teach. Next week I'll be visiting Wa-Nee Community Schools in Indiana. Thank you to everyone who has joined one of the webinars an invited me to your schools. The opportunity to teach is always energizing.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. My Five Favorite Classtools.net Tools
2. An Interactive Infographic About Designing Infographics
3. Use Your Phone to Control Google Slides Remotely
4. Three Good Resources from the Lawrence Hall of Science
5. A Glossary of Blogging Terminology - A PDF Handout
6. 5 TED-Ed Lessons on How the Human Body Works
7. Student Blogging Activities and Tools That Don't Rely on Text

Summer PD Opportunities With Me.
Teaching History With Technology begins in July.
Getting Going With GAFE is offered in June and July.
Blogs & Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is offered in July.

Would you like to have me visit your school? Click here to learn about my PD services.

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.