Monday, July 18, 2016

Teach Your Monster to Read

Another question that appeared on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page over the weekend read,

Hello Richard, I love your blog and thanks for sharing . Do you know a good free site for preschoolers to practise phonics?

My suggestion for that reader was to take a look at Teach Your Monster to Read. Teach Your Monster to Read is a great series of online games designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters and sounds. The website gets its name from the friendly monster avatars that students help learn to read through the course of the games.

The Teach Your Monster to Read games are designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters, sounds, and word. The games have eight levels (or islands as they're called in the game) each containing four activities. Students play the game as a friendly monster avatar. On each island students can earn prizes for their monsters and customize the look of their monsters.

Getting Started With Kaizena - Voice Commenting on Google Docs

Over the weekend a reader posted the following message on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page,

Hey Richard, would you be able to recommend a free site for audio feedack to students? I want to record my feedback on essays and have kids listen. Don't know where to start. Is it an audio file that can be emailed? They have to log on somewhere and listen? Thoughts? Thanks for any help.

My suggestion was to try Kaizena for adding voice comments to students documents. Kaizena can be used in your web browser or as an iPad app. Kaizena's YouTube channel has some helpful tutorials including the three embedded in the playlist below.

How to Track Changes to Google Sites

This afternoon during the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp Beth Still and I shared some ways to use Google Sites with students. One of the features that I showed was using page level permissions (this video shows you how to enable those) to have students manage individual pages within a site. That raised the question of how to keep track of updates that students make to their pages. There is a simple way to do that by subscribing to page changes. Watch my video below to learn how to track changes to Google Sites.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Digital Dialects - Games for Learning a New Language

Digital Dialects offers a nice selection of educational games and activities for learning more than 50 different languages. Most of the games are designed to learn and practice the basics of each of the languages listed on the Digital Dialects homepage.

Another good website for learning and practicing language basics is Literacy Center.net. Literacy Center offers games for learning and practicing French, Spanish, German, and English. The Literacy Center is a 501c non-profit with a contract from the US Department of Education.

Applications for EducationThe educational games and activities found on Digital Dialects and Literacy Center are great for students just beginning to learn a new language. The games provide instant feedback to students and parents so that they can monitor progress and choose a skill or set of vocabulary terms to practice. 

Quick Current Events Activities from KQED Education

KQED Public Media's website has a small section of its Ed Space pages dedicated to short current events-based Do Now activities that teachers can use in their classrooms. These weekly Do Now activities present a current events topic, some background information (both text and video), and a couple of discussion prompts. New Do Now activities are posted on Fridays although it is currently on hiatus until August.

Applications of Education
KQED's Do Now activities aren't terribly in-depth, but they could be good lesson starters. For more in-depth lesson ideas you should explore KQED's curriculum bank where you can search for lessons by subject and grade level.