Thursday, August 27, 2015

This Wage Calculator Shows Students Salaries In Terms They Can Understand

As I've mentioned many times in the past, personal economics is one of my favorite topics to teach. Over the years I've developed games for teaching it and shared those along with other resources in posts like this one. This week on Life Hacker I discovered another resource that can help students understand the purchasing power of a salary.

Salaries in Real-Time is a simple wage calculator produced by Retale. The calculator shows you how long you would have to work in order to earn enough money to purchase hamburgers, televisions, running shoes, cars, and houses. You can view this information from the perspective of your own salary by entering it into the calculator. You can also see that information from the perspective of a surgeon, a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher, a web developer, a firefighter, a truck driver, or a construction worker. And just to put in perspective how rich they are, you can also see how long it would take Oprah or Lebron James to earn enough money to purchase one of the items on the list.

Applications for Education
Salaries in Real-Time provides a nice starting place for conversations about purchasing power. The calculator isn't without flaws. It only accounts for the time it would take to earn the money to purchase house or car if you did nothing but save 100% of the salary. I would take these numbers and ask my students to generate more realistic projections of the time it would take to earn and save enough money to buy a car or house in cash. That assignment would require them to account for taxes, cost of living, inflation, and other variables impacting earning and saving rates.

Storyboards in the Classroom - A Webinar Recording

Last night I hosted a webinar about using storyboards for a variety of purposes. The webinar was sponsored by Storyboard That. If you missed the live session, you can now watch the recording as embedded below.

Click here if you cannot see the video.

The slides from the session can be seen here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Two Good Apps for Learning Phrasal Verbs

Parts of this post originally appeared on my other blog,

One of the true challenges for English language learners is understanding the meanings of phrasal verbs. The following apps are designed to help students build an understanding of phrasal verbs.

The Phrasal Verbs Machine, developed by Cambridge University, is a free iPad app that aims to help ELL students learn the meanings of phrasal verbs. The Phrasal Verbs Machine provides students with short animations that illustrate the meanings of many common phrasal verbs. There is a written definition below each animation. Students can view the animations and definitions as many times as they like before trying their hands at the practice identification exercises. The Phrasal Verbs Machine provides definition translations in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, and Portuguese.

Phrasalstein, developed at Cambridge University, is a great iPad app and Android app designed to help students learn the meanings of phrasal verbs. The app has a practice mode and a quiz mode. In the practice mode students select a verb and a preposition combination then see a short animation demonstration of the meaning of the chosen phrase. In the quiz mode students see an animation then have to select the matching phrase. Translations of the meanings are available in Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and French.

Eight Alternatives to Google Image Search

Last fall I published a chart comparing alternatives to using Google Image search. This evening I updated that chart to reflect a couple of changes to those tools and to add a new one to it. This chart is designed to provide a quick overview and comparison of good sources of images for students' slideshows and other multimedia projects. You can download the chart through the widget below or grab a Google Docs copy here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Updated Page of Video Creation Tools and Tutorials

It was recently, and correctly, pointed out to me that the video creation resources page on was terribly outdated. This evening I began to rectify that situation by removing the old information that was on the page and replacing with updated tutorials.

On the video creation resources page you will now find a PDF outlining six types of video projects, a playlist of videos about making flipped videos, a playlist of videos about making audio slideshow videos, a playlist about WeVideo, and a webinar recording about making animated videos.

I will be updating the page again later this week when I finish the next guide that I am developing.