Friday, March 10, 2017

Trace the Evolution of Phones - A Search Challenge for Students

A couple of days ago Alexander Graham Bell's drawing for his telephone patents was the featured document in the Today's Document feed from the National Archives. Take a look at that drawing and you might start wondering, like I did, about how many changes and improvements to that design have been made since 1876. The patent search option in Google Scholar can be used to help us find out how many subsequent, related patents have been filed since Bell's 1876 patent. In the following video I demonstrate how your students can use Google Scholar to trace product development through patent research.


Applications for Education
Using the patent search function in Google Scholar can be a good way for students to attempt to trace product developments over time. In this case the challenge for students would be to find the major, subsequent innovations in telephone technology. Of course, the concept can be applied to almost any product that has been patented at some point in time. Read more about the strategy and application here.

More Than 13,000 People Get Their Ed Tech Tips This Way

A few years ago I realized that while many people like to get ed tech news and tips every day, there are just as many people who would prefer to get to get that information at a slower pace. That's why I created the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. Once per week I share via email my favorite tip of the week and a short list of links to the week's most popular posts from FreeTech4Teachers.com.

More than 13,000 people are now subscribed to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. Subscribe to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter today and you'll receive the first tip this coming Sunday evening or Monday morning (depending upon your timezone).

There is also a Practical Ed Tech Facebook page that you can follow for slightly more frequent updates including posts from other authors.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Create Comic Strips in Google Slides

Yesterday I was asked for a recommendation for a completely free way for students to create comic strips online. Two options immediately came to mind. The first was Make Beliefs Comix. The second was to use Google Slides to create comic strips. In the following video I demonstrate how to create comic strips in Google Slides.

Zero Noise Classroom - A Timer and Noise Meter in One

Over the years I've shared classroom countdown timers and I've shared noise meters, but until today I haven't found timer and noise meter in one package. Zero Noise Classroom provides a countdown timer and a noise meter into one convenient Chrome app.

When you launch Zero Noise Classroom you can set the countdown timer and adjust the goal for the volume of noise in your classroom. You will also set a goal for a percentage of the time that can exceed the maximum volume. When the countdown timer expires a chime sounds and the percentage of time above the volume limit is displayed.

Applications for Education
The idea behind Zero Noise Classroom is to give your students a specific amount of time during which you want the noise in the classroom to be below a certain level. This could be for silent reading time in your classroom or just a silent minute for everyone to think before responding to a question. You could also use it to just time an activity and not worry about the noise level at all.

Take a Look at the Iditarod in Street View

When the annual Iditarod sled dog race started in Alaska last weekend I shared a few resources for learning about the race and the dogs. Another way to learn a bit about the race and about Alaska is to view parts of the race in Google Street View. The imagery takes viewers from the start in Anchorage, along the trail, into pit stops, and eventually to the finish line in Nome. All of the imagery can be found here.

Please note that the imagery in the collection was taken in 2015. The course is slightly different this year, but the major checkpoints in the race are the same. The official Iditarod Facebook page has current imagery from out on the course.