Here’s one for the gamer in all of you: TeachMe is an online suite of internet math games, available for teachers, students, and parents to use inside and outside the classroom. Covering math concepts in Pre-K to 9th grade and searchable by Common Core State Standards, TeachMe also has progress reports and dashboards for parents and teachers to track individual student performance.
PARLEZ-VOUS GOOGLE? I love the Word Lens app which uses augmented reality technology that allows one to use the camera to translate words in real time. It is a great app, but it costs $5 for language.
That is why I am so excited that Google unveiled Google Translate, an app that promises to translates from a foreign language into your very own. Take a picture and Google will translate, or use Translate to have a conversation. Microsoft is offering a version of Skype with Spanish-English translation support, too. A thousand news stories popped up to translate what it all means; here’s the take of the NYTimes.
As we continue to research possible Learning management Systems (LMSs), we found the following news items very interesting. On January 12, address, Obama highlighted the Student Privacy Pledge that 75 organizations have already signed and proposed legislation–a nationwide Student Privacy Act. But who’s game for it–and who’s concerned about where the pledge and legislation might fall short?
At Mountain Lakes, we have begun to stress the use of Google Docs. Already we have purchased a first round of ChromeBooks for many of the schools. For those already comfortable with Google Drive, you may want to figure out what ELSE your Chromebook can do. That is why you should check out “Techno Rookie” educator Scott McKenzie, with 15+ Chrome extensions and tools to take your students’ creativity and productivity to the next level.
So you and your students have started using Google Drive, and you’re familiar with how to use the various tools that Google provides. What can you do next with Chromebooks? iPads have given students opportunities to really start to develop creative thinking skills, as well as critical thinking skills. My focus here is apps that allow students to develop creative and critical thinking skills on Chromebooks.
One of the first things you want to do, is change where the student saves files, pictures and other information. The default on a Chromebook is to save in Downloads which is on the Chromebook, but we want to save it in Google Drive. To do so they have to switch it in settings. Here is where you go to do so.
Students love all the creation opportunities that are available with iPads. They’re also a lot of creativity apps available on Chromebooks as well.
1. Sadly Minecraft is not currently available on Chromebooks, so here’s another option. You can use the Build with Lego Chromebook app to have the students build and create in a 3-D virtual environment.
2. Another similar tool is Lego builder which is also a Chromebook app.
For those who received a new e-book device this December, check out this OpenCulture post on how to fill it up with FREE classics, textbooks & even courses!
Santa left a new Kindle, iPad, Kindle Fire or other media player under your tree. He did his job. Now we’ll do ours. We’ll tell you how to fill those devices with free intelligent media — great books, movies, courses, and all of the rest. And if you didn’t get a new gadget, fear not. You can access all of these materials on the good old fashioned computer. Here we go:
Free eBooks: You have always wanted to read the great works. And now is your chance. When you dive into our Free eBooks collection you will find 700 great works by some classic writers (Dickens, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare and Tolstoy) and contemporary writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut). The collection also gives you access to the 51-volume Harvard Classics.
If you’re an iPad/iPhone user, the download process is super easy. Just click the “iPad/iPhone” links and you’re good to go. Kindle and Nook users will generally want to click the “Kindle + Other Formats links” to download ebook files, but we’d suggest watching these instructional videos (Kindle – Nook) beforehand.
Free Audio Books: What better way to spend your free time than listening to some of the greatest books ever written? This page contains a vast number of free audio books — 630 works in total — including texts by Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell and more recent writers — Italo Calvino, Vladimir Nabokov, Raymond Carver, etc. You can download these classic books straight to your gadgets, then listen as you go.
[Note: If you’re looking for a contemporary book, you can download one free audio book from Audible.com. Find details on Audible’s no-strings-attached deal here.]
Free Online Courses: This list brings together over 1100 free online courses from leading universities, including Stanford, Yale, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford and beyond.
These full-fledged courses range across all disciplines — history, physics, philosophy, psychology, business, and beyond. Most all of these courses are available in audio, and roughly 75% are available in video. You can’t receive credits or certificates for these courses (click here for courses that do offer certificates). But the amount of personal enrichment you will derive is immeasurable.
Free Movies: With a click of a mouse, or a tap of your touch screen, you will have access to 700 great movies. The collection hosts many classics, westerns, indies, documentaries, silent films and film noir favorites. It features work by some of our great directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Jean-Luc Godard and David Lynch) and performances by cinema legends: John Wayne, Jack Nicholson, Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin, and beyond. On this one page, you will find thousands of hours of cinema bliss.
Free Language Lessons: Perhaps learning a new language is high on your list of New Year’s resolutions. Well, here is a great way to do it. Take your pick of 46 languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin,English, Russian, Dutch, even Finnish, Yiddish and Esperanto. These lessons are all free and ready to download.
Free Textbooks: And one last item for the lifelong learners among you. We have scoured the web and pulled together a list of 200 Free Textbooks. It’s a great resource particularly if you’re looking to learn math, computer science or physics on your own. There might be a diamond in the rough here for you.
Thank Santa, maybe thank us, and enjoy that new device….
Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us onFacebook, Twitter and Google Plus and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.
Every week, EDsurge’s educator-specific INSTRUCT newsletter contains a section called “S’Cool Tools,” where they list either popular or up-and-coming edtech tools. And throughout the 2014 year alone, they showcased over 340 edtech tools in their S’Cool Tools section.
Certain tools get more clicks than others, and they recently posted the most popular S’Cool Tools of 2014. Enjoy this top ten countdown, from #10 all the way to the coveted #1 spot.
10. BrainRush – Free! Looking to gamify your classroom? BrainRush has lots of options for a wide variety of classes, on topics from Greek Gods and Goddesses to World War II to the Water Cycle. Its games are reactive and adaptive to help students stay challenged and engaged, and prompt students to review concepts after play.
9. Office Mix – Free! It’s time to get in the mix, so to speak. Here at EdSurge, we received a number of emails over the months from teachers about including Office Mix in our list of S’Cool Tools, so here we go! Office Mix is, as one teacher put it, “PowerPoint on steroids.” The platform allows you to turn PPTs into interactive online lessons or presentations, with digital annotations, quizzes, and interactive apps with exercises and lessons from the likes of Khan Academy and CK-12 Foundation. Just keep in mind: Mix requires Office 2013 SP1 to work on your device.
8. EduCanon – Free! EduCanon lets you take any video content from YouTube, Vimeo, or TeacherTube and transform it into an interactive experience by embedding questions that students engage with as the video progresses. Still curious? These eduCanon users give their two cents on the product.
7. ReadWorks – Free! Literacy skills aren’t limited to ELA classrooms. Using ReadWorks, you can help your students develop their reading comprehension across all subject areas. The nonprofit offers hundreds of K-6 units ranging from “Drawing Conclusions” to “Author’s Purpose” to Bridge to Terabithia, developed by researchers at the National Reading Panel and teachers across the country..
6. SlideRule- Free! Grow your teacher skill set with SlideRule! Not just another set of videos, SlideRule is an “online learning hub” that provides teachers with curated, sequenced “learning paths” (i.e. granular material, down to a specific lesson or problem set in an online course) that leaves users with a skill set at the end. While not all courses are for the faint of heart (a web development course takes a cool 86 hours), the variety of content is undeniable. Brush up on PowerPoint, learn how to use a classroom iPad, and explore tips for college admission. (One caveat: SlideRule is free, but many of the courses aren’t.)
5. Scholastic’s “50 Awesome Apps” – Free! Can’t get enough S’Cool Tools? Check out Scholastic’s list of 50 tools for teachers, covering material from grammar to earth science, offering activities from graphic novel creation to music-reading competitions. (Note: While Scholastic’s list is free to view, some–but not all–of the tools are free.)
4. Eduvee – Freemium! Eduvee is a personalized learning platform covering Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Attempting to address the frustration students feel when working through online study materials, it atomizes content–both OER and publisher-created–into manageable chunks of interactive learning that students can more easily navigate. Over time, Eduvee provides students a more personalized experience, presenting those content and media formats that have produced the best results on previous assessments. Though eventually planning to launch premium content for a fee, all Eduvee offerings are currently free.
3. Coggle – Free! Are your students having a hard time drawing connections between various concepts or events? Try Coggle–this platform helps you (or your students) create information-rich webs of images and links about anything from the digestive system to the events leading up to the War of 1812. Students can use it for big concept reviews for those December finals!
2. HSTRY – Free! Online tool HSTRY isn’t just for history teachers. This website offers interactive timeline creation tools–think audio, video, and quizzes–that are relevant in any class. Use material from the HSTRY team, create your own timelines or use the site as a jump off point for student assignments, whether you want them to create a first-person account of Paul Revere’s midnight ride or how a plant goes through photosynthesis or Harry Potter’s adventures.
And, at the top of our list, in our coveted #1 spot…
1. Printable Paper – Free! If your desk supplies are as disorganized as ours are, Printable Paper might just save morale. Print out 1,300+ different (and useful!) paper templates, including budgets and graphing paper. Try out their printable history timelines, storyboards, and seating charts for your classroom. We might start using the Battleship Game paper to leave office notes–after all, blank printer paper is so last week. Kudos to Printable Paper, who captured our #1 S’Cool Tools spot in Q2 and held onto that title for the rest of the year–we salute you!
Remember 2014, when reports revealed that three states–Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming–had no girls take the 2013 A.P. Computer Science exam? Looks like there have been a few improvements, but for the most part, there’s still a lack in minority and female representation in a number of states, EdWeek reports. But there is a silver lining: of the 34 AP subject exams administered in 2014, computer science experienced the highest annual growth rate. Get more here.
Plus, there are changes to the Computer Science A Lab Requirement for 2014-15! To stay aligned with the most recent practices in the continually changing field of computer science, they have updated the lab requirement for Computer Science A. Learn more.. here!
Computer Science A Labs for 2014-15
On this blog we always like to hight resources concerning Digital Citizenship, an important topic for today’s 21st-century students. That is why I was so happy to read in this month’s Journal, an article that focuses on a baker’s dozen of awesome K-12 resources. You can find the article after the list of materials:
13 Resources To Help You Teach Digital Citizenship: These Web sites and books can guide districts in developing a comprehensive acceptable use policy that will give students the tools they need to succeed in school and beyond.
Acceptable Use Policies
Common Sense Media offers free samples, guidelines and an exhaustive list of AUP resources.
CoSN has issued a refreshed AUP guide called “Rethinking Acceptable Use Policies to Enable Digital.”
NetCitizens includes a large number of resources and articles on AUPs and online safety.
Digital Citizenship Web Sites
Common Sense Education provides teachers and schools with free research-based classroom tools to help students harness technology for learning and life.
This site run by Mike Ribble includes a number of resources, including the “9 Elements of Digital Citizenship” postulated by Ribble and Gerald Bailey.
NetFamilyNews is a free site based on the premise that informed parents and educators are key to a constructive public discussion about youth safety and well-being in digital spaces.
Safe Connects is different from other Internet safety programs because students use “straight talk” to discuss topics that are important to teens. This program has established a student-teaching-students-and-parents” model for school systems across the country.
SafeKids.com is one of the oldest and most enduring sites devoted to Internet safety. Its founder and editor, Larry Magid, is the author of the original National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s 1994 brochure, “Child Safety on the Information Highway.”
Cable Impacts offers InCtrl, a series of free standards-based lessons, originally developed by Cable in the Classroom, that teach key digital citizenship concepts. These lessons, for students in grades 4- 8, are designed to engage students through inquiry-based activities and collaborative and creative opportunities.
Digital Citizenship Books
Digital Citizenship in Schools, Second Edition by Mike Ribble starts with a basic definition of the concept of digital citizenship, then moves on to an explanation of its relevance and importance. Ribble goes on to explore the nine elements of digital citizenship and provides audit and professional development activities to help educators determine how to go about integrating digital citizenship concepts into the classroom.
In Digital Community, Digital Citizen, author, educator and futurist Jason Ohler challenges all readers to redefine their roles as citizens in today’s globally connected infosphere. His text aligns the process of teaching digital citizenship with the ISTE standards’ definition, and uses an “ideal school board” device to address fears, opportunities and the critical issues of character education.
In From Fear to Facebook: One School’s Journey, Matt Levinson shares his experience integrating a laptop program and how teachers, students and parents discovered, dealt with and overcame challenges. Honesty and insightful anecdotes make this a guide for districts looking for a path away from fear and into the future of education.
Security vs. Access: Balancing Safety and Productivity in the Digital Schoolby LeAnne Robinson, Abbie Brown and Timothy D. Green emphasizes the importance of balance in creating school environments that are safe and productive. The book provides educators, administrators and IT staff the information they need to have constructive conversations about security challenges while still making sure students receive an effective, technology-infused education. read more…
‘Tis the season for high school seniors to toil over college essays. And the best help a parent can give? Forbes columnist (and yep, Dad of a high school senior) George Anders argues that letting the kids take a peek at AdmitSee, a site where students advise each other on essay, may be better than nagging kids. (No copying though! TurnItIn.com will out plagiarists.)