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What it is: Take a Video Tour of Planet Earth with the combination of Discovery channel “Planet Earth” and Google Earth.  Witness animal behaviors, dive into the deepest cave on the planet, and come eye to eye with a 30-ton humpback whale in this interactive tour.  Explore the earth through...

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Dragon Box: a game for students to learn algebra…secretly

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Download, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 22-04-2013

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      Dragon Box

 

What it is: Dragon Box has got to be the most brilliant game for teaching a new concept I have seen in a LONG time.  I am SO impressed with this app, I can’t say enough about it!  This is a math game that teaches algebra without you really realizing that it is a math game teaching you algebra.  It feels more like a logic card game than anything else.  There are 200 puzzles that secretly teach kids to solve equations.  They unlock each level by figuring out how to balance an equation (you have to isolate the dragon on one side of the board in order for him to emerge). After each level, he grows a little until he is full-grown.  Students learn concepts such as elimination, fractions and isolating variables throughout the game.  This is the best math app I’ve seen. It is NOT a drill/skill type app. It is actually teaching students to think like mathematicians instead of just asking them to solve a bunch of problems.

How to integrate Dragon Box+ into the classroom: I cannot say enough about this app.  The way that it gets kids thinking is completely fantastic.  Students learn algebra and how to think like mathematicians without even realizing it.  The game gives minimal direction, and invites students to explore and try new things to isolate the dragon.  The best way to use this app in this classroom: just let students start playing with it!  I love that this app could be played by students as young as six years old successfully, but also used by high school students where they would get those “aha” moments of understanding how algebra works that they may have missed along the way.

Put your students in teams, or let them explore Dragon Box independently.  Dragon Box allows for multiple logins, so you could even use it as a classroom center rotation.

Because you can download Dragon Box on multiple device types, you could even use this on a classroom computer connected to an interactive whiteboard or a projector and take turns playing as a class.  There are plenty of levels for every child to participate multiple times.

Price: $5.99

Devices: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPod Touch (3rd-5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS4.0 or later

Tips:  Dragon Box is also available on the Mac App Store, Google Play, PC shop, Amazon Appstore for Android, and Windows Store.  Even if you don’t have iDevices, your students can play with Dragon Box!

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Dragon Box in your classroom.

Maxwell for Google SketchUp

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 21-11-2011

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What it is:  If you aren’t familiar with Google SketchUp-you should probably start here and here.   SketchUp is an incredibly powerful, FREE 3D modeling software that lets your students create impressive 3D models.  Maxwell takes SketchUp to a WHOLE new level.  Maxwell for Google SketchUp brings students advanced rendering in an easy-to-use package for free.  The best part: Maxwell is fully integrated so that you don’t have to export or use an external application to render an image. Rendering happens in “real-time” so as your students are adjusting their SketchUp models, they can see the changes in Maxwell.  Maxwell is compatible with Windows and OSX!  With Maxwell students can create materials, set lights and cameras and render 3D scenes.  These are incredibly powerful tools…I cannot believe that they are free (I’m a little nervous to say that too loud in case they decide to change their minds!).

How to integrate Maxwell for Google SketchUp into the classroom: Maxwell takes student work in Google SketchUp and polishes it up to a professional level.  Truly, the results are akin to what the professionals turn out!  The SketchUp/Maxwell combination are wonderful for graphic art classes, math and geometry modeling, advertising lessons, engineering classes, architecture, science models, etc.

Don’t let the impressive results fool you, I’ve had 3rd grade students who made some amazing models using SketchUp.  I look forward to introducing them to the Maxwell plugin so that students can see their work come to life in ways that they couldn’t do before.

At Anastasis Academy, we have several students from 2nd through 8th grade who are extremely interested and passionate about architecture.  Google SketchUp is where I send them!  Students can plan, create and build.  Maxwell will allow them to visualize their creations in totally new ways.

I don’t understand why more schools don’t put these types of tools in the hands of students more often.  Exposing students to tools like this, gives them the opportunity to explore their passions and interests.  The tools are getting easier and easier to use and the number of tutorials is astonishing.  You (the teacher) don’t have to know how to use these tools inside and out, your job is to let your students know they exist, and help them find the resources to use them.  No excuses!

Tips: Using rendering tools teaches students about materials, light sources, shadows, etc.  Use Maxwell to teach students these science concepts!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Maxwell for Google SketchUp in  your classroom!

Moglue: Create interactive ebooks and release as apps!

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Download, Geography, History, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources | Posted on 26-10-2011

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What it is:  Moglue is an interactive ebook builder that helps students create and share their stories on mobile devices as an app.  This download desktop platform makes it a snap for students to create interactive ebooks and release them as apps for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Android tablets and Android phones.  Students only need to build the content once and Moglue makes it compatible with each user interface seamlessly.  No programming is required, this is a great creation platform for all classrooms!  Using a simple drag and drop interface, students can make their stories come to life.  Every child is enabled to be an artist now.

How to integrate Moglue into the classroom:  I think tools that make content creation simple are absolute genius.  As much as I would love for every student (and myself) to know how to program, it takes quite a bit of know-how before students can make their stories and ideas come to life.  The intuitive interface of tools like Moglue let students focus on breathing life into their creations and not on the technology tools used to build them.  Tools like Moglue are wonderful for the classroom where students are often short on time and resources (someone to teach them programming).  Because the interface is so easy to use, students can focus on telling a story, releasing their inner artist, and letting their creativity shine.

Students (or classes) can use Moglue to:

  • Tell a fractured fairy tale
  • Create a choose your own adventure story
  • Demonstrate science concepts in an interactive “glossary”
  • Create a class dictionary of math, science, economics or geography words
  • Write creatively
  • Create an interactive “textbook”
  • Create an illustrated dictionary for a second language
  • Create an interactive “travel-the-world” geography book
This is a neat way for students to publish their work and share with others!

Tips: The Moglue builder can be downloaded on Mac or Windows computers and has a great tutorial to get your students started!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Moglue in  your classroom!

34 Free Productivity Tools That Will Help You Eliminate Expensive Software

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 04-11-2010

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Today I am sharing a guest post that I wrote for Inspired Classroom: 34 Free Productivity Tools That Will Help You Eliminate Expensive Software.  These are my favorite free productivity tools to use in the classroom.  Here is the first paragraph, hopefully it will convince you to go take a look at the full article :)

Software can be an expensive burden for schools to carry year after year.  This expense can result in a decreased use of technology because schools can’t purchase the tools that make the technology worthwhile.  Lack of budget doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks.  There are thousands of free technology resources and online tools that will keep your students learning even without a large software budget.  Below are a few of my favorite free online productivity tools that offer excellent alternatives to their expensive software counterparts.

To view the rest of the article click here.

Aviary Education

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 25-06-2010

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Great news! Aviary has come out with a special education edition!  In the Education version, teachers can create private student accounts, manage assignments and projects, use the image editor, vector editor, audio editor, and music creator.  All content and images will be 100% school safe!  Right now the Education site is in Beta, you can request an invitation to test the site with your students.  If you aren’t familiar with the Aviary tools, check out my previous posts HERE. Aviary is a fabulous online alternative to those expensive Adobe creativity suites.

Ollie’s World

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Fun & Games, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 08-04-2010

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What it is: Earth Day is April 22nd, Ollie’s World is a fantastic place to begin the celebration early.  Here students will learn about the 4 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink as they apply to the 5 action issues of waste, water, energy, air, and biodiversity.  The site is packed full of games, puzzles, information and projects.  Students can create web pages using a free (downloadable) version of WebEasy.  The information section has kid-friendly reading about the 4 R’s and 5 action issues.  In Ollie’s clubhouse, students can play games and work on puzzles.  Students can also watch the Mis-adventures of Ollie, 3 animated videos about Ollie and his friends, dealing with issues of sustainability (currently there is only 1 video available).  In the movie section, students can watch short flash movies about important environmental issues.  This site is loaded with information, games, and video.

How to integrate Ollie’s World into the classroom: Ollie’s World is a nice introduction for students learning about their ecological footprint.  Starting out in info, students can read about the 4 R’s and how they apply to the 5 action issues.  Students can watch videos and play games that reinforce the lessons they are learning.  You can use the videos as discussion starters in your classroom.   Download WebEasy to your classroom computers where students can build a webpage about their new learning.

Tips: Check out the educators section of Ollie’s World for professional development opportunities, lesson ideas, and project instructions.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Ollie’s World in your classroom.

Tangram House

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Websites | Posted on 05-08-2009

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Tangram

What it is: I love tangram puzzles, so when I found Tangram House I was thrilled.  This online version of the Chinese puzzle lets students select a puzzle to complete and work with 7 tans (shapes) to fill the puzzle.  The tans can be rotated, flipped, and dragged into place.  The puzzles can be completed online or downloaded for free as an offline game.

How to integrate Tangram House into the classroom: The format of this website would be appropriate for an interactive whiteboard activity.  Split students into teams that will take turns at the board forming the tangrams.  Encourage the students who are not at the board to help out with good directions and clues for the student working on the puzzle.  This is a good way for kids to practice giving and receiving quality instructions and descriptions.  Tangram House could also be used on classroom computers as a math learning center or individually in a computer lab setting.

Tips: Play online or download for free and play offline.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Tangram House in your classroom.

GeoEdu

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Software, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 22-06-2009

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What it is:  GeoEdu is a free software download for both Macs and PC’s.  The software contains two parts, the first is an atlas with interactive maps and details for each country including the capital, flag, land and water borders, length of the coasts, the population, official languages, internet and country code, currency, international organization membership, and more.  The second part of the software is a game offering more than 100,000 geography questions about worldwide geography.  The game lets players give an answer or choose to answer with clues or multiple choice.  After answering a question, students can view their score and look at detailed data for the territory.

 

How to integrate GeoEdu into the classroom:   I’m not sure why school supply stores still sell the pull down atlas, with all of the amazing atlas and map tools available for free, buying a map seems so last century!  GeoEdu is a bright and colorful interactive atlas with great details for each country.  This free software is perfect for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector.  The game included is a great way to increase student geography knowledge.  Play the game as a class during geography or any time you have a few extra minutes.  Keep a running score going throughout the year that can be added to easily.  GeoEdu is also a great download for classroom and library computers.  Use GeoEdu as a geography/atlas center where students can stop by and interact with maps and play the game.

 

Tips:   This site does require a download so be sure to add it to your wish list before the start of school.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using GeoEdu in your classroom.

Stretch Break for Kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, PE, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 16-06-2009

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What it is:  As computers and one to one environments become more prevalent in schools, it is important to remember proper ergonomics.  Stretch Break is a free software that is downloadable for both Mac and PC platforms.  The software is designed to help prevent computer related strain injuries by reminding students to take breaks while using the computer.  Every 30 minutes the software asks students if they would like to stretch.  Full animated figures lead students through simple stretches.  Then the software returns students to the task they were working on.  Teachers can designate how long to wait between stretch sessions and how many stretches to lead students through in a session.  Stretch Break for Kids was designed by a team of health care professionals.  The stretches focus on the neck, arms, hands, back, legs, and wrists.  The software also includes some important eye exercises.  There are 20 stretches total, many that focus on prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

How to integrate Stretch Break for Kids into the classroom:  Stretch Break for Kids is a must for every computer lab.  Any time that students are using a lab computer they should be reminded of proper ergonomics and learn how to properly stretch for health.  Load Stretch Break for Kids on classroom computers and even on the computer that is connected with the Interactive Whiteboard.  Throughout the day (you determine how often and how long) set Stretch Break to pop up and encourage students to stretch as a class.  Even if they aren’t working at the computer all day, these stretches will help them get some blood flowing and release tension that can build up while they are doing their school work.  This is a great one to download to your own computer, you need to be reminded to stretch too! 

 

Tips:   Stretch Break for Kids contains Ergo hints for healthier computing in addition to the stretches.  Spend some time teaching your kids healthy computing habits, as technology becomes more and more available in the classroom, these healthy habits become more important.  The free Stretch Break for Kids software is network compatible.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Stretch Break for Kids in your classroom.

Collection of Math Flash Games

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Websites | Posted on 10-06-2009

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What it is:  This collection of Math Flash Games is free to download or use the source code to embed the games on your website.  The collection of Math Flash Games includes Maths Hangman where students guess the math words before kicking the bucket, Mathionaire where students play the popular TV game with math questions, Higher or Lower where students use knowledge of probability, Countdown-a popular number and letter game, Numbers and Letters- another version of countdown with extra classroom controls, Maths Word Search where students hunt for hidden math words, Decanting puzzle -the classic jugs problem, Broken Calculator which challenges students to solve a problem with a broken calculator, Matching Game- memory matching up geometric shape and their names, and Hexagons where students put seven hexagons together like dominoes.

How to integrate Collection of Math Flash Games into the classroom:  This collection of Math Flash Games is perfect for use with an interactive whiteboard, set up as a classroom math center, or played individually by students in a computer lab setting.  The games will emphasize math vocabulary, problem solving skills, and several math concepts.  Split students into teams and play games as a whole class using the interactive whiteboard.  Embed games in your classroom website for students to play at school and at home.  Hold a math challenge once a week where students can compete and play these Math Flash Games.

 

Tips:  All of the games in the Math Flash Games collection are free to download and play.  Every game requires a flash player.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Collection of Math Flash Games in your classroom.