Saturday, July 23, 2022

PhET Virtual Workshops for Teachers

PhET is one of my top resource recommendations for math and science teachers. PhET offers more than one hundred online, interactive simulations for teaching concepts in mathematics, physics, chemistry, earth science, and biology. Those simulations can be used on PhET's website and they can be embedded into your website for your students to use

If you're a math or science teacher who wants to take a deep dive into how to best utilize PhET's interactive simulations in your classroom, you may want to work through PhET's virtual workshops. The workshops include videos recorded at in-person PhET workshops along with practice activities and resource handouts for teachers. 

PhET offers a workshop specifically for math teachers who have computers for every student in their classroom. That workshop is roughly five hours long. There is another workshop that provides a comprehensive overview of everything that PhET offers and the ways in which the simulations can be used in your classroom. That workshop is roughly twenty-one hours long.

Friday, July 22, 2022

BeTimeful Hides Social Media Distractions

BeTimeful is a browser extension that is designed to hide social media distractions during your working hours. There are similar browser extensions that block your access to social media sites during working hours. What makes BeTimeful different is that instead of entirely blocking your access to social media sites, BeTimeful hides all distracting content like "related," "recommended," and "trending," content. What that means is you can post on social media with BeTimeful installed, but you can can't see anything other than your own updates. 

When you install BeTimeful you can set working hours for yourself (it imports your Google Calendar settings to do that). Outside of working hours BeTimeful won't hide or block anything. During working hours BeTimeful hides all social media distractions. 

BeTimeful can work in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. It will work on your laptop, desktop, phone, and tablet. 

Watch this short video to see how BeTimeful works. 

Applications for Education
BeTimeful could be helpful to college or high school students who need a little help staying focused on their work while writing or researching.

Search Strategies Students Need to Know

The next webinar in my Practical Ed Tech summer series is Search Strategies Students Need to Know. This is the most popular webinar that I host every year and I'm hosting it next Wednesday at 11am ET. I’ve updated it with new activities you can do to help your students get beyond the first page of search results.  

If you have ever had a student say, "Google has nothing on this," this webinar is for you!

In the webinar you'll learn how to get your students to look beyond the first page of Google search results and dive deeper into the online research process.

Highlights of the webinar:
  • Creating search lessons.
  • Search strategies for all students.
  • Handouts to guide students through the search process.

Register here to join the live webinar on July 27th at 11am ET!

Recordings will be available for those who register in advance but cannot attend the live session. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Arts, Culture, and Geography Games to Share in Google Classroom

One of Larry Ferlazzo's recent blog posts about Ideas That Changed the World prompted me to spend time playing around with some of the games on the Google Arts & Culture site this morning. 

Play with Arts & Culture offers more than a dozen interactive games for students to play to test their knowledge and to learn about the connections between art, culture, and geography. The collection of games includes things like jigsaw puzzles to reassemble famous works of art, timeline-based games about cultural events, crosswords, online coloring activities, and location identification games. Some of the games can be played collaboratively and all of the games can be shared directly into Google Classroom as announcements and or assignments. 

Watch Art, Culture, and Geography Games to learn more about how to play the games in Play with Arts & Culture

On a related note, it is possible to share any of the stories in Google Arts & Culture with your students through Google Classroom. That process is demonstrated in this short video.

Offline Google Arts & Culture Activities
In addition to all of the online games, Google Arts & Culture offers a PDF of activities for students. This free PDF includes coloring pages, mazes, and connect-the-dots games for students. 

Pictures as Math Problem Prompts

A couple of days ago I read one of Terry Freedman's latest Substack articles. The article is titled A Conversation I Had Which I Still Don't Understand. It's a short dialogue between Terry and the representative of a cab company who can't explain why there's a price difference for two journeys of the same length. 

Reading Terry's story reminded me of a Flickr group that Danny Nicholson created more than a decade ago. That group is called Bad Maths. The Bad Maths Flickr group contains lots of examples of bad math spotted in stores and other public places.

The Bad Maths Flickr group could be a good place to find some images that contain simple mathematics problems for your students to solve. For example, ask students to find the flaw in the math of this grocery store offer or this offer for cat food.

On a similar note to the Bad Maths group, seven years ago I took the picture that you see below. Almost as soon as it appeared in my Facebook feed via Instagram, my friend Kelly commented with, "shouldn't they be more concerned about weight than the number of people?" Kelly is a middle school math teacher so this picture was right in her wheelhouse of math prompts.