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Zoodles: a kid safe mode for every device

What it is: Zoodles makes it possible to have a “kid safe” mode on every device: Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android.  Zoodles includes wonderful features for technology use in the classroom and at home.  With Zoodles every child has their own “playground” space (login) that they access by clicking on their picture.  A parent dashboard lets teachers (or parents) customize Zoodles to meet the needs of students. Parents and teachers can clearly see where a student spends their time, what their interests are, and what subjects they have been practicing.  Every game in Zoodles has been previewed by experts and is rated based on it’s educational merit.  Parent play-along mode makes it possible for parents or teachers to guide the learning experience.  The interface is focused on kids and is extremely intuitive.  There are no distracting “extras” in the navigation or URLs where students can get sidetracked or lost.  The content in Zoodles adapts to each child’s age and ability level so they are constantly being challenged and engaged. There are thousands of educational games built into Zoodles…students always have something new and challenging to interact with.  Zoodles also gives students access to fun educational videos.  Zoodles is geared for toddler to third grade (8 year old) students.  You can peruse the games included in Zoodles by clicking on the “Games” tab on the site.  There are games for: cognitive development, creative development, life skills, math, reading, science, and social studies. The games and videos in Zoodles are pulled from several places on the Internet.  What makes Zoodles a great tool is the ability to guide students in their learning, easily find quality educational content, scale as a student is ready, and keep ads blocked and hidden. How to integrate Zoodles into the classroom: Zoodles is great for classroom computers and devices in the primary classroom.  It provides students with access to quality learning games and content from the Internet without having to sort through the Internet to get to it.  Zoodles is perfect for classroom computers that are used as learning centers.  For the classroom, create 3-5 different accounts.  Instead of basing the accounts on individual students, the accounts can be based on a learning level.  Through the dashboard, teachers can guide the learning that happens in each account.  This keeps your students on task, learning at their level, and engaged in meaningful activities.  Even if you don’t use the Zoodles interface on your computers for students, it is definitely worth a download as a teacher.  The games and videos are broken up into subject areas and age groups.  This makes it easy to find an activity for any learning that you are doing in the classroom.  Use Zoodles as your guide to find great activities and learning games on the web. Tips: I found Zoodles when searching for a solution for one of the families I teach.  They were looking for a way that all of their kids (2 years old to 8 years old) could use the family computer for fun, safe learning experiences.  This is a great app to recommend to parents who don’t know what they don’t know, but want to provide their kids with virtual learning experiences.  Be sure to recommend it to your students families!  There are premium features that families will LOVE! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zoodles!

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NASA’s 50th Anniversary Flash Feature-best website ever!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 19-04-2011

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Have I mentioned lately that I have the most AWESOME readers?  No?  Well it is true, you all are awesome and you keep me going even when I am running on low.  Thank you for that!  I’m currently working on starting a school (actually 3) in the next 2 years.  This is proving to be an exciting and, oh yeah, exhausting task.  Then I get encouraging emails and site suggestions from you all and it puts some major pep back in my step.  Thank you!  This website is one such recommendation.  You know you are a true geek when getting a cool website in your inbox revives you :)  Thank you Ryan!

What it is: NASA’s 50th Anniversary Flash feature is a website that is absolutely not to be missed.  Seriously, it won’t even hurt my feelings if you skip reading my post and just head right on over to dig in and check it out yourselves!  This interactive timeline highlights each decade in our space program from 1950 to 2000.  Until we get time travel sorted out, this is a pretty good substitute! The site encourages exploration and discovery as students move decade by decade through the site.  I love that this site goes so far beyond just space exploration.  While students explore, they will hear music representing each decade, see animations, listen to virtual radio broadcasts of actual news headlines (including NASA news and other news from the decade), original video, listen to speeches of the decade and even launch rockets.  I can’t tell you how happy it made me to hear Johnny Cash mixed in as I was playing on this site (in the upper left corner of the site you will be able to change songs on the jukebox, record, tape, CD or mp3 player).  First thing I heard when I clicked on the 80′s “Tonight on Dallas find out who shot J.R.”. *LOVE THIS SITE!*  This blog post took me about 2 hours because I got sucked right into exploring and playing.  The site reminds me of Epcot’s Tomorrow Land, complete with robot guide.  This is what online learning should look like, when I close my eyes and dream, this is the experience I imagine for kids.  Can you imagine if there was a site like this for history? How cool would that be?!

How to integrate NASA’s 50th Anniversary Flash Feature into the classroom: This is one of those sites that you could let kids loose on just for exploration.  Without any guidance from you they will learn plenty!  Ideally kids would explore this site in partners or on their own in a one to one computer lab setting.  If each student has a computer, headphones will be a necessity.  If individual exploration just isn’t in the cards, visit the site as a class with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computers.  Invite students up to the computer (whiteboard) to take turns guiding the class.  The site has plenty of interactive content to give each student a chance at the computer (whiteboard).  Unless you have a good chunk of time dedicated to the site, this is one that I would stretch out over a week.  Each day students can explore a new decade.

The space exploration component of this site is amazing and could keep everyone plenty busy with learning.  With older students, discuss what the music of the decade reveals about that time in history.  What does the music tell them about people, community, values, events of the day?  Take it one step further and ask students to dig into other historical events in each decade, discussing their impact on space exploration, culture and where we are today.  One thing that I missed out on in history was all of the stories that make it so rich.  For me, history was reduced to names, dates and places.  Give your students the opportunity to put themselves into history and learn about how the events influenced each other.

NASA’s 50th Anniversary Flash Feature would be a great one to use in connection with We Choose the Moon.  If your students are like mine, they can’t get enough of this stuff!  Obviously I can’t get enough of it either.  Full disclosure, I have always loved space exploration.  When I was a kid I spent many summers at Black Rock Desert at LDRS (Large Dangerous Rockets) with my dad.  My dad built wooden model rockets- first wooden rocket on record to break sound barrier!  In answer to your next question: yes, I have always been a complete and total nerd. :P

Tips: What? Your still here? Go on, visit the site! (channeling my inner Ferris Bueller today).

Please leave a comment and share how you are using NASA’s 50th Anniversary Flash Feature thesauruses in your classroom!

Comments (3)

[...] site is a great one to use in connection with the NASA 50th Anniversary site I shared [...]

[...] launch.  Using a projector-connected computer or an interactive whiteboard, launch one of the shuttles here.  When you “land” on the moon, let students explore the surface together by [...]

[...] 8. NASA’s 50th Anniversary Flash Feature- Best. Website. Ever. An incredible interactive timeline that highlights each decade in the United States space program from 1950 to 2000. [...]

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