Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Week in Review - Last-Minute Projects

Good morning from Maine where we have frost on the ground outside of the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters (AKA my house). The frost is a visual reminder that I have some outdoor projects that I need to finish before the snow flies. As soon as those chores are done I'm going for a walk in the woods with my dogs. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you make time to balance work with something fun too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. My Favorite Tools for Creating Screencast Videos - Updated
2. Draw and Tell: Create Animated Screencasts with Elementary Students
3. Electoral Decoder Shows Students the Math of Presidential Elections
4. GameOn World - A Fun Geography Game
5. MySimpleShow Adds a Convenient New Way to Create Flipped Video Lessons
6. CS First - Lesson Plans for Teaching Computer Science
7. Four Social Studies Lessons You Can Update With Comics

Need a keynote for your conference? 
Click here to learn about my keynotes and workshops.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Pixton provides a great way to create comics. 
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
SeeSaw is the best platform for creating digital portfolios with K-8 students. 
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.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Four Halloween-themed Lessons from SciShow Kids

SciShow Kids is a YouTube channel produced by the same folks behind the massively popular SciShow. SciShow Kids offers short video lessons on a variety of topics from animals, to space, to fun science experiments that could be done with a parent or teacher.

Recently, SciShow Kids organized a playlist of videos covering topics that are frequently connected to symbols of Halloween. Those topics are bats, spiders, skeletons, and the changing colors of leaves.

In the video about bats students learn how bats use sound to find their way at night, how and why bats hang upside down, and how they rear their offspring. In the video on spiders students learn about the role of spiders in controlling flying insect populations and how spiders create webs. In the video about the human skeleton students can learn about the functions of the skeleton as well as how bones grow and heal over time. Finally, in the video on leaves students learn about the correlation between chlorophyll, sunlight, and leaf color.

All four videos are included in the playlist embedded below.

TinyTap Courses - Create Interactive Lessons for iPad & Android

TinyTap is an excellent tool for creating your own educational games that your students can play on their iPads, Android tablets, or in the web browser on their laptops. I have been demonstrating the platform in workshops for elementary schools for a few years. It has been a hit every time I show it off.

This week TinyTap introduced a new feature called TinyTap Courses. TinyTap Courses lets you organize your games into thematically-aligned units. You can also include games made by other TinyTap users who have publicly shared their games.

You can create TinyTap games by importing or taking pictures then highlighting parts of the images to serve as answer choices. Another way to create games is to include text that students have to correct or complete in a fill-in-the-blank and or multiple choice fashion.

Applications for Education
In their announcement of the courses feature, TinyTap gives the example of creating a unit of study about grammar. TinyTap's example is, "when teaching students about grammar, they can include separate activities for nouns, verbs, and sentence structure, allowing students to process related subject matter."

Kudoboard - Create Digital Group Greetings

Kudoboard is a platform designed to help you create and send digital greetings from a group of people. Kudoboard will remind some people of Padlet in that you're provided with a blank canvas on which you place digital sticky notes. Kudoboard lets you include pictures and videos in your notes. Just like Padlet you can invite others to write notes on the wall with you. What makes Kudoboard different from using Padlet is that you can specify a time to send your wall of notes to a recipient.

Applications for Education
Kudoboard could be a nice tool to use to have your students send a get well note to a classmate.

Ingredients - A New Series About the "Stuff Inside Your Stuff"

Ingredients is the title of a new National Geographic video series about the ingredients that go into creating common products like toothpaste, nail polish, and chewing gum. The videos feature George Zaidan examining and explaining the functions of the ingredients. After the explanation of the ingredients George attempts to create the product himself in a kitchen laboratory.

Applications for Education
The episodes of Ingredients conclude with a call to make suggestions for improvement to the recipe the George Zaidan used. Developing improvements to the recipes could be a fun, hands-on science lesson.