Sunday, August 7, 2016

Develop Mobile Language Lessons With QR Voice

QR Voice is a free tool that allows you to create QR codes that when scanned will play a short audio message. To create your message and QR code you can record a voice message by clicking the microphone icon on QR Voice or you can type in your message. Either way you're limited to 100 characters. QR Voice will play back in your choice of forty languages.

Applications for Education
Teachers could use QR Voice to create QR codes that they then print and attach to objects in their classrooms or schools. Then have students try to identify those objects in the language that they're trying to learn. To check their answers students can scan the QR code and hear the correct answer on their phones or tablets.

PAT - Free, Open Source, Portable Atlas

PAT is a free collection of maps developed by Ian Macky. The collection includes maps of every country in the world.The collection also includes maps of U.S. states, maps of Canadian provinces, Australian states, and regional maps. You can download any and all of these detailed maps for free.

Applications for Education
PAT is an excellent resource for geography and history teachers in need of some free, printable maps to use in their classrooms.

Exploring Marine Science in Google Earth

Google Earth is a great tool for exploring many aspects of geography. One of the features of Google Earth that seems to be frequently overlooked is the ocean imagery. Using Google Earth tours can be a good way for students to learn about marine life and habitats. The following organizations host excellent Google Earth files for exploring and learning about marine life.

To get started take a look at a look at this list of ocean tours featured on the Google Earth showcase. Some of these tours will also work in the Google Earth browser plug-in. Learn about protected whale areas in the tour below.



The Encyclopedia of Life offers five Google Earth tours of interest to teachers and students. One that I particularly like is the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Tour. The tour of the Artic Tern migration patterns is featured in the video below.


EOL Migration Google Earth Tour Video - The Arctic Tern from Encyclopedia of Life on Vimeo.

The Encyclopedia of Life also hosts an interesting interactive quiz using Google Earth. The Encyclopedia of Life's Google Earth Species Quiz (opens KMZ) presents players with images of an animal and the animal's name scientific name. Players then have to pick the place that the animal is from. If the correct answer is chosen, the player is zoomed to the correct location on the map.

NOAA offers dozens of Google Earth files and demos related to weather and marine life. You can find the list here.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

PrepFactory - Free SAT & ACT Prep Activities

As autumn approaches many high school students in the United States will turn their attention to college applications and the SAT or ACT exams. Some students' parents will spend lots of money on test prep materials and or tutors. But students don't have to spend money to access excellent SAT and ACT preparation materials.

PrepFactory is a free service that offers excellent SAT and ACT preparation activities. The site offers free guides to SAT and ACT strategy along with a plenty of review activities to help students sharpen their skills and knowledge before taking the ACT or SAT. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of a student's perspective of PrepFactory.


Applications for Education
One of the better ways to prepare for a test is to review small chunks frequently. PrepFactory provides students with a good review system that breaks SAT and ACT review into bite-sized modules for each of the topics on the tests; each module contains a 3-5 minute video, notes on the video, and a five question video review quiz.

The modules help to identify problem areas for students. PrepFactory also provides tools to allow teachers to manage their classes by keeping track of how many modules their students have completed, and whether or not they've mastered strategy tips and tricks related to the SAT and ACT.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where I'm having a relaxing morning while watching the Olympic cycling road race. I'm looking forward to watching the archery team matches later today too because 20 years ago I trained in that sport at the USOC training center California. Reading NBC's webpage about archery reminded me that you should always fact-check what you read on a website. NBC's page about archery is riddled with errors.

On a somber note, this week the world lost one of the true pioneers of educational technology. Dr. Seymour Papert passed away last Saturday. I never personally met Dr. Papert, but his mindstorm, Logo, introduced me to educational technology when I was an elementary school student. Dr. Gary Stager wrote a tribute that beautifully summarizes Dr. Papert's contributions to the world.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Three Good Ways to Use Word Clouds With Students
2. 10 Sites and Apps for Vocabulary and Spelling Practice
3. Evernote's Free Plan Is Almost Worthless - Here Are Two Good Alternatives
4. Owl Eyes Offers a Good Way to Guide Students Through Classic Literature
5. Handy Web Tools That Solve Three Problems for Every Classroom
6. A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs
7. Try DropItToMe to Collect Files from Students and Colleagues

I Will Come To Your School or Conference
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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.
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.
D2L offers a great LMS and they want your input to make it even better.
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.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories.