Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fun DIY Projects To Complete With Your Kids

DIY.org is a neat website on which kids can find dozens of DIY projects that they can do on their own or with their parents. DIY.org provides videos and instructions on how to do the projects. After going through the directions kids then try to complete the project. When they've completed the project they can take a picture and upload it to their DIY.org portfolios. Kids can share examples of their projects through DIY.org.

Kids cannot register on DIY.org without a parent's permission. Parents have their own DIY.org dashboards that they can use to track the activities of their children. Children registered on DIY.org have aliases and cartoon avatar pictures.

Applications for Education
DIY.org could be a great source of project ideas for parents and their children to work on together. Through the project challenges students can learn about biology, electricity, music, computer science, physics, geography, and more.

Have a Teenager Still Looking for a Summer Job? - Take a Look at These Options

One of the talks that I give from time to time is titled Preparing Students to Work and Learn Independently. The focus of the talk is to help people understand the learning and employment opportunities that exist today that didn't exist 10-15 years ago. One part of the talk includes examples of the kinds of self-employment opportunities that are available to students today that didn't exist 10-15 years ago. Here are five of those opportunities.

1. Tee-shirt design and sales. There are plenty of online services that let students design and sell tee-shirts without any start-up costs. SunFrog is a service that I have personally used for that purpose.

2. Drone piloting. Students who have drones might offer their skills for sale to real estate agents. I know one realtor in my area who has hired students to fly drones to photograph the properties they are listing for sale.

3. YouTube publishing. YouTube allows you to monetize your videos through the use of their ad network, AdSense. Students could publish tutorial videos for their favorite games, demonstrate DIY projects, or publish videos about any other topic that strikes their fancy. It takes a lot of video views to make significant money this way, but it's  not unrealistic for a teenager to make $50-100/month.

4. Design and sell 3D printed objects. I've seen students create cell phone cases and speakers with 3D printers. A simple e-junkie or eBay store is a fine platform for resale of those items.

5. Virtual tech help. This has been an in-person option for years, but free tools like Skype, Zoom, and Google+ Hangouts make it possible for students to offer tech help remotely.

Disclaimer: Most online stores and advertising programs require people to be 18 or older. Therefore, students will need to have their parents register and let their teens manage the materials sold. Depending upon how much students earn, there may be tax implications to consider. 

A Random Name Picker for Your Classroom

Name Picker Ninja is free tool for quickly randomly selecting a name from a list. Using Name Picker Ninja is a simple matter of pasting or typing a list of names into the "add names" field in Name Picker Ninja and then clicking "go!" The names in your list will scroll and stop on a randomly selected name. Once a name has been selected you can remove it from the list or keep it in the rotation. In the video embedded below I provide a short demonstration of Name Picker Ninja.

Applications for Education
Name Picker Ninja is useful for choosing students for all kinds of classroom activities. In elementary school you might use it to pick your line leaders for the day. In middle school or high school you might use it to choose the order in which students make presentations to their classmates.

If you want to put a random name selector in your blog or website, watch the video here to learn how to do that.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Newspapers, Timers, and Name Pickers

Every month I take a look at how people find Free Technology for Teachers and what they search for when they land on the blog. "Google Newspaper Archive," "classroom timer," and "random name picker" were the most frequently searched terms on Free Technology for Teachers during the month of June.

The Google News Newspaper archive offers a large selection of newspapers both in terms of years and geography. In the Google News Newspaper archive you can search for a specific newspaper, search for article titles, or as demonstrated below you can search for a topic.

The Random Name Picker from Russel Tarr's Classtools.net  is one of those tools that can be used in almost every classroom setting. You can use it as a stand-alone tool or you can embed it directly into a page on your classroom blog. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to embed a random name picker into your classroom blog.

Zero Noise Classroom is a free Chrome App that lets you simultaneously display a countdown timer and a noise meter to your students. The directions about how to use Zero Noise Classroom are kind of hidden in the app so I made the following short video to demonstrate how to adjust the settings in the app.

An Interactive Display of the Declaration of Independence

The Digital Declaration of Independence is a fantastic website on which students can learn about the Declaration of Independence and the men who signed it. The Digital Declaration of Independence is an interactive display of John Trumbull's painting Declaration of Independence, a scan of the text of the Declaration of Independence, and a map of the hometowns of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

When viewing the Digital Declaration of Independence you will see that each person's head has been highlighted. Click on a highlighted head to be taken to that person's name, to see that person's hometown on the map, and to view a short biography of the person.

Applications for Education
The Digital Declaration of Independence could be a good reference for students to learn about some of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. Aside from that, the Digital Declaration of Independence is a great model of what can be done with the Neatline mapping and timeline tool.