Friday, May 21, 2021

Catchy Words - A Fun Augmented Reality App for Spelling Practice

My daughters recently became very interested in a PBS Kids show called Word World. In each episode of the show the characters build a new word. As I was watching Word World with them this morning I was reminded of a fun augmented reality app called Catchy Words AR.

Catchy Words AR is an augmented reality app that provides a fun and active way for students to practice their spelling skills. The app is available for iPad/ iPhone and it is available in an Android version. The app works the same way in both versions. 

In Catchy Words AR students will see letters "floating" on the screen. Students have to catch the letters by moving their tablets or phones. The movement often requires students to get up and move out of their seats. When they catch a letter students then have to bring it back to place it into one of a sequence of floating boxes. The object is to spell a word by catching the letters and putting them into the boxes. Take a look at my screenshot below to see how a completed word appears on a phone or tablet screen (please excuse my messy desk in the background). 


Applications for Education

Catchy Words AR can be a fun way for some students to practice their spelling skills while getting up and out of their seats. The app doesn't require any kind of registration or login which makes it good for classrooms in which students share iPads. The shortcoming of Catchy Words AR is that you can't assign a word list to your students nor can you see which words they've spelled unless you look at their tablets or phones while they're using the app.

More augmented reality and virtual reality apps and their classroom applications will be featured as part of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. Get an early bird discount when you register in the next ten days.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and TodayHeadline. Feature screenshot captured by Richard Byrne.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

A Math and Map Challenge

This evening while recording Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff I was reminded of a neat math and map challenge activity from Mathigon. Here's what I wrote about it last year. 

Mathigon's map coloring challenge is to use as few colors as possible to color in all 50 U.S. states without the same color touching two states at the same time. For example, if I color New Hampshire purple, I can't use purple on Vermont, Maine, New York, or Massachusetts but I could use purple on Pennsylvania.

Mathigon's map coloring challenge can be completed online where they offer the same challenge for coloring maps of South America, England, and Germany. But if you send your students to that page they'll be able to quickly click to see the solution to the challenge. So what I'd do instead is print a blank map from a site like Printable World Map then have students try the challenge. Another option would be to upload an outline map to a service like Google's Jamboard to color the map online. Watch my video below to learn how that process works.




This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and TodayHeadline.

Three Short Lessons About Algorithms That I Used This Week

This week in my Computer Science Principles course we're talking about algorithms. We started the week with an introduction answering the question, "what is an algorithm?" Then we looked at examples of algorithms that students encounter on a daily basis (YouTube suggestions being the one they related to the most). Today, my students wrote their own algorithms for automating processes of their choosing. 

As long-time followers of my blog know, I'm a proponent of using short videos and or sections of videos to provide students with an alternative to my explanations of concepts. This week I used three short videos to help my students understand what algorithms are and how they're used. 

What is an algorithm?

There were two videos about that question that I shared with my students. First, I shared a TED-Ed lesson titled What's an Algorithm? in my course's Google Classroom. Second, in class I played GCF Learn Free's two minute video Computer Science Basics: Algorithms.






How to Write a Trading Algorithm
This morning I played part of this video for my students. My point in doing so was to show them how algorithms can be written for all kinds of purposes including attempts at "outsmarting" the stock market. The other point was to show them that algorithms can be written in any language.



This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and TodayHeadline. Feature graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

How to Make a Backup Copy of Your Blog

Last Friday evening a portion of the blogging community got a bit nervous when Blogger (Google's blogging platform) started throwing up lots of error messages. In some cases people reported having blog posts completely disappear. Fortunately, everything was corrected fairly quickly, but it was a nervous hour or so for some bloggers. 

Blogger's hiccup last Friday was a good reminder that you should be in the habit of making regular backup copies of work that is important to you. In the case of blogging, creating backup copies of Blogger, Edublogs, and WordPress blogs is pretty easy to do. You just need to remember to do it on a regular basis (I run my backup when I write my week-in-review posts). 

You can create a backup copy of a Blogger blog from the settings menu in your dashboard. You'll find "Back up content" under the "Manage blog" section of the settings. 

To create a backup copy of a WordPress or Edublogs blog, go to the tools menu in your dashboard and then choose "export." 

In all three platforms the backup copy will be in the form of an XML file. XML files can be imported into WordPress, Edublogs, and Blogger if you need to restore any content that was lost. It can also be used to move between blogging services. 

In the following short video I demonstrate how to make backup copies of your WordPress, Edublogs, or Blogger blog


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and TodayHeadline.

Twelve Good Tools for End-of-Year Review and Practice

The end of the school year is quickly approaching. At this time of the year I start to get a lot of requests for suggestions for tools to create review activities. I shared some ideas in this week's Practical Ed Tech Newsletter including what I'm doing in my classes. If you're looking for some more ideas for review activities, take a look at the small slideshow I've embedded below. You'll notice that the slideshow includes a handful of tutorial videos.



Here's a link to the slideshow for those who may not be able to see the embedded version above.

How to create your own games and apps is one of the things I'll cover during the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. There's still time to register at the early bird rate!