Sunday, March 13, 2016

AC/DC and Other Lessons on Electricity

This evening I watched another episode of American Genius on Netflix. The episode that I watched tonight was about the work of Thomas Edison to develop systems to deliver direct current and Nikola Tesla's work to develop alternating current power distribution. After watching the episode I headed to YouTube to find a short video about the differences between direct current and alternating current. What I found was the following lesson from Derek Owens.

An interesting TED-Ed lesson on The Science of Static Electricity.

Brain Stuff has a video that offers a good explanation of why we hear a buzzing sound coming from fluorescent lights found in many schools and office buildings. The video is embedded below.

Minute Physics offers a short video explaining how modern light bulbs work and how light bulb design has changed over the last 100+ years.The video also includes explanations of the different types of modern light bulbs and their applications. The video is embedded below.

Hydro to Home is an interactive story of hydro-electric power from raindrops to homes. The story walks visitors through each step of the process of generating hydro-electric power and delivering to consumers' homes. The story is narrated and along the way there are interactive images that visitors can click on to learn even more information about hydro-electric power.

The Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits is a neat series of interactive animations designed to help students of elementary and middle school age learn how electric circuits work. There are five sections to the series. Each sections builds upon the lessons of the previous section. The series starts with the basics of what makes a circuit complete and concludes with diagramming and building circuits. Each section in the series has a few short lessons and is followed by an animated interactive activity to which students can apply what they have just learned.

60 Second Adventures in Thought - An Open University Course

60 Second Adventures in Thought is a series of videos produced by The Open University in which six famous thought experiments are explained. The entire playlist is embedded below.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Literature Map Helps You Find Authors You Might Like

Finding books that kids will like can be a difficult task. Literature Map is a tool that might make that process easier. Literature Map provides a web of authors you might like based on authors that you already enjoy reading. To use Literature Map just type an author's name into the search box and webbed list of authors will be displayed. The authors' names closest to the author whose name you entered are the authors whose work you're most likely to enjoy.

Applications for Education
Literature Map could be useful for students who have read all their favorite author's books and are looking for other good books to read.

New Playback Options Added to Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is my favorite alternative to using PowerPoint or Google Slides to create presentations. Haiku Deck's themes, templates, and integrated Creative Commons image search tool have made it a popular tool in schools. This week Haiku Deck added some more features that teachers and students will probably appreciate.

Now in Haiku Deck you can set timing for automatic advancing of your slides. As was suggested in the Haiku Deck blog, this could be a good option to use during Pecha Kucha or Ignite style events.

Sometimes it is easier to organize your ideas when you see them laid out in a grid format. Haiku Deck offers a grid format for your slides.

In case you missed the news late last year, Haiku Deck offers a "share to Google Classroom" option.

Subscribers to one of Haiku Deck's premium plans now have the option to use an integrated YouTube video search tool. 

The Week in Review - A New Family Member

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. It's a beautiful late winter morning here. The sun is shining and the temperature is climbing. In other words, it's a great day to play with the newest member of my family. Mason is a nine year old German Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix that I adopted last Sunday. He came from the same shelter as his new brother Max and my old dog Morrison who passed away in September. As you can see in the picture, Mason is settling in nicely. Soon Mason will have his own email address of

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. My Favorite Internet Search Tips for Teachers & Students
2. Travel the Iditarod Race in Google Street View
3. Five Tools for Sharing Portions of Videos
4. Three Tools Students Can Use to Add Annotations to Videos
5. Perspecs Shows Students Three Sides to Every Story
6. 3 Google Docs Options First Time Users Often Ask About
7. The Contest for Human Flight - Interactive Timeline

Professional Development Opportunities!
There will be two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps this year. There will be one tailored to schools that have 1:1 Chromebook programs and one for everyone else. Both Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps will be held in July. You can learn more about them here. Discounted early registration is available now. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp has sold out every year for the last three years.

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development 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. 
Cloudschool is a great online LMS and course creation tool. 
Google Forms in the Classroom is a good book on all things Google Forms. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
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.