Monday, February 26, 2018

Ancient Rome 101 and Life as a Roman Teenager

National Geographic has a great series of YouTube videos called National Geographic 101. The most recent addition to that series is Ancient Rome 101. The video provides an excellent introduction to the origin, rise, and fall of the Roman Empire. The length and substance of the video makes it an ideal candidate for inclusion in an EDpuzzle lesson.


TED-Ed has a good lesson that you can use as a follow-up to Ancient Rome 101. A Glimpse of Teenage Life in Ancient Rome is a TED-Ed lesson developed by Ray Laurence from the University of Kent. The video and its associated questions feature the story of seventeen year old Lucius Popidius Secundus.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ptable - Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

There are lots of websites offering interactive or dynamic periodic tables. One that has been around for many years now is Ptable. Ptable is an interactive display of the Periodic Table of Elements. Place your mouse pointer over an element to access the basic information about it. Click on an element to open a Wikipedia article about that element. The article opens within a dialogue box within Ptable so that you don't have to leave the site and then come back to use the table again.

Applications for Education
Ptable is not going to revolutionize the way that students learn the Periodic Table, but it is another example of making academic information more accessible than in the past. Students don't need to lug around a big chemistry text when they can simply access resources like Ptable to get much of the same information from their Internet-connected devices.

My Top Six Sources of Public Domain Media

One of the questions that readers ask me on regular basis is, "where can I find images that my students can use in their projects?" Less frequently, but still fairly often I'm asked the same question about audio and video clips. In fact, I just answered those questions again on Friday. Therefore, I've made an updated list of my top sources of public domain media.

Public Domain Images
For years Pixabay has been my go-to source of public domain images. But lately I've started to shift toward Unsplash as my first place to search for public domain images. Unsplash offers a huge library of images that are either in the public domain or have a Creative Common license. Unsplash's layout is a little less confusing for new users than Pixabay's layout is. That combined with Unsplash's Google Slides Add-on is why I've been using it more than Pixabay lately.

Pixabay is still a great place to find and download quality public domain images. You can search on Pixabay by using keywords or you can simply browse through the library of images. When you find an image you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Registered users do not have to enter a captcha code to download images. Users who do not register can download images, but they do have to enter a captcha code before downloading each picture. There is a safe search mode in Pixabay that you should use in classroom settings.



Public Domain Videos
The Internet Archive is the first place that comes to mind when I am asked for a source of Public Domain media. The Moving Image Archive within the Internet Archive is an index of more than 1.7 million video clips. Most of what you will find in the Moving Image Archive can be downloaded in a variety of file formats. You can search the archive by keyword or browse through the many categories and thematic collections in the archive. One important thing to note about the Internet Archive is that you probably don't want students to search it without supervision. In fact, I'd probably just create a folder of footage from archive that I share with my students.

The Public Domain Review is a website that features collections of images, books, essays, audio recordings, and films that are in the public domain. Choose any of the collections to search for materials according to date, style, genre, and rights. Directions for downloading and saving media is included along with each collection of media.

Public Domain Audio
The Free Music Archive provides free, high-quality, music in a wide range of genres. The content on Free Music Archive is used under various creative commons licenses and some public domain licensing. FMA seeks to maintain a high-quality resource through the use of selected curators who approve or deny all submissions to the collection. Anyone can download music from FMA for use in podcasts, videos, and other digital presentation formats. The music collections can be searched by genre or by curator.

Sound Bible is a resource for finding and downloading free sound clips, sound effects, and sound bites. All of the sounds on Sound Bible are either public domain or labeled with a Creative Commons license. You can find sounds for use in podcasts, videos, slideshows, or other multimedia creations.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

ClassPulse - Gather Feedback from Students

ClassPulse is a new entry into the crowded market of polling and messaging apps for schools. I learned about the app through Audrey Watters' weekly round-up of education news and then I gave the app a try on my Android phone.

Audrey described the ClassPulse as "another classroom feedback tool" and that's exactly what it is. It has the core features found in every other app like it. You can create classrooms that your students join through an assigned join code. Once students have joined your classroom you can start posting messages for them to read and you can post poll questions for them to vote on. Like most other classroom feedback tools, ClassPulse gives you the option to let students post anonymous feedback.

In my testing of ClassPulse I found it easy to set-up a classroom and to post messages for students to reply to. However, when it came to setting-up polls I ran into a little snag that was only resolved by quitting the app and trying again. That snag was that when I tapped on the "poll" option ClassPulse didn't recognize my classroom as being created and instead prompted me to create another classroom. That little annoyance was resolved by quitting the app.

Applications for Education
Feedback tools like ClassPulse have been around for years. They're useful for getting some feedback from your students about how a lesson is going for them, they're understanding of a topic, or just what they would like you to review with them.

If you haven't tried a classroom feedback/ polling tool or you're looking to try a new one, ClassPulse could be for you. That said, there are other tools like it that are bit more developed. Poll Everywhere, Remind, and even Google Classroom have similar capabilities.

Science, Wikispaces, and Timelines - The Week in Review

Good morning from the almost completely renovated Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Paris, Maine. If you have followed my week-in-review posts since last fall you know that I have been converting some space in a barn into office space. I'm in the home stretch now as I just have bit more painting to finish up. In fact, I'll be doing that right after I finish writing this post.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. If You Teach Science, You Need Science Netlinks
2. Wikispaces is Closing - Here Are Some Alternatives
3. 10 Good Resources for Math Teachers and Students
4. How to Use Flipgrid - A Guide for Getting Started
5. Pixabay Now Has an Office Plug-in
6. Three Tools for Combining Maps With Timelines
7. The Built-in Google Docs Features Starter Pack

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