Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Presentation Planning Explained by Common Craft

Planning a presentation of any length can feel like a daunting task. For some people the difficulty is in figuring out what to say. For others the trouble is thinking about standing in front of an audience. Either way, having a solid plan for your presentation can make things easier. In their latest video, Presentation Planning, Common Craft explains a fantastic method of planning and organizing presentations. The method involves sticky notes. Share this video with your students before they embark on their next presentation assignments.

How Does the Electoral College Work? - And Election Outcomes Explained

The United States will choose a new president this year. Students often ask why the process is not as simple just having everyone show up to vote on a given day in November, counting the votes, and declaring a winner. Here are some resources to help students understand the process of choosing a new President of the United States.

Primaries & Caucuses:
In the video below Keith Hughes explains the differences between a primary and caucus. Most importantly he explains how a caucus works.

CGP Grey explains primary elections in the video below.

The electoral college:
This TED-Ed lesson offers a short explanation of the Electoral College by answering the question, "does your vote count?" The video for the lesson is embedded below.

Common Craft offers The Electoral College in Plain English.

Who won? - Outcomes explained.
The outcome of every election since 1900 is explained in this series of lessons created by Keith Hughes.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Three Free iOS Apps for Test Prep

Last week my post about the test prep app Gojimo was one of the most popular posts of the week. This morning someone emailed me looking for a simple app in which students could create their own review materials. The following three apps let students create their own review flashcards that include explanations for questions.

Through the Quizlet iPad app students can access their own sets of flashcards or search for those created and shared by others. Through the app students can access their flashcards used even when they don’t have an internet connection. Quizlet flashcards can include audio elements in eighteen languages. Audio support is available for Quizlet flashcards. To access the audio option students simply tap the speaker icon to hear the contents of their flashcards read aloud. Quizlet’s iPad app offers four review modes. “Cards” mode is your standard flipping of flashcards from question side to answer side. “Study” mode is just the a question with its answer displayed next to it. “Match” mode is a Memory-style game in which students look for matching cards. “Learn” mode is a Jeopardy-style activity in which students are shown a term and they have to type in a question.

StudyBlue is a service for creating and sharing flashcard sets. The free StudyBlue iPad app allows you to create flashcards in three ways. You can enter text, take a picture, or speak into the app. The app can be used by students to review their flashcards in a quiz style or by just flipping through their flashcards. And students can use the app to search for public sets of flashcards in the StudyBlue gallery. StudyBlue will track usage statistics in order to help students identify which flashcards a student has mastered and which ones they need to spend more time on. Students can study their flashcards without an Internet connection, but they do need an Internet connection in order to create new flashcards and search for other users’ flashcards.

GoConqr is a service for creating and sharing flashcards, building mind maps, and tracking your study habits. The GoConqr iPad app lets students take their materials with them wherever they go. Performance tracking in the app allows students to keep track of how they scored on practice quizzes, monitor which flashcards they know and which they need to spend more time with, and track their comprehension of nodes of their mind maps. That last option provides students with "tick boxes" that they can check when they feel like they have mastered the topics depicted on mind maps that they have created.

A Math Review App in English and Spanish

Math Vocabulary Cards is a free iPad app designed for elementary school students. The app offers exactly what its name implies, a series of flashcards of mathematics vocabulary terms. Each card contains a term, a diagram, and a definition. By default the term is hidden and students have to guess the term based on the definition and diagram. Students can also use the cards with the definitions hidden and the terms revealed. Math Vocabulary Cards can be used in Spanish or English. Simply select a language at the bottom of each card. Students can browse through the entire gallery of flashcards or choose a specific category of terms to study.

Applications for Education
For many students a visual glossary of mathematics terms is the little extra help that they need to understand a math problem. An app like Math Vocabulary Cards could provide the glossary that a student needs.

The bilingual aspect of Math Vocabulary Cards could make it a good choice for students who live in homes in which English is not the first language.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dragontape - Remix YouTube Clips

At last night's TeachMeet BETT Martin Burrett reminded me of a neat tool for remixing clips of YouTube videos. That tool is called Dragontape.

If you made mix tapes in the 80's, the concept of Dragontape will be familiar to you. Dragontaape makes it easy to string together a series of YouTube videos and or sections of YouTube videos. Create your mix tape of videos just launch the Dragontape editor, enter a search term for videos, then drag videos on to the Dragontape timeline. You enter searches and drag videos as many times as you like. To trim video timings and string videos together just match them up on the timeline editor. Dragontape allows you to collaborate with others on a mix.

Applications for Education
Dragontape could be a good tool for creating video of news story highlights. As a social studies teacher I would use Dragontape to have students assemble a "week in review" of news stories.

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