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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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Popcorn Maker: Mashup video with images, articles, text, maps, etc.

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 23-01-2013

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What it is: Popcorn Maker is a super cool site that I learned about from Michael Zimmer’s blog, The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness.  Popcorn Maker is an online video mashup tool that makes it easy to integrate several different forms of online media into a video.  A clip from YouTube can be enhanced with article clips, images, text, audio, maps, other live feeds and social media content. Add some “bling” to any video clip…interactive is better! Videos can be mashed without logging in.  Creating a user profile let’s you save and share the finished project.

How to integrate Popcorn Maker into the classroom: Popcorn Maker is a great way to enhance videos.  Teachers can use Popcorn Maker to mashup media for students to engage with.  This could be adding a map to an historical video so that students can better visualize where an event is taking place, adding a wikipedia article to expand on an idea that a video touches on, adding a live social media feed with student comments as a “backchannel” video, etc.  This type of use is great for expanding on Kahn academy type instructional videos (which can be a bit boring/dry), educational videos, etc.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a real-life example pop up during a Kahn academy instructional video?  Students can connect number sense and computation.  (What a novel concept!)  For young students, create a video with embedded directions (audio or text) and next steps for learning.  This would make for a great learning center for completing a science experiment, multi-step directions, or next steps of learning.

Students can use Popcorn Maker to enhance videos that they have created, to further expand on an idea, to help explain a researched topic to the rest of the class, or to share reflections on a video with others.  Because students can add text, it is easy for them to add their “blogged” reflections directly in a video to be shared with others.  So often our students start their research with a video search.  Ask them to create a mashup of all of their research using Popcorn Maker.  This will help them to dig beyond the video for other relevant content that adds to their understanding.

In the “flipped” classroom, Popcorn Maker takes the videos to the next level.  Popcorn Maker could be a great way to help apprentice students in the art of learning.  Students can see the way that connections are made among different media types and are led through how to think and expand on an interesting topic.  After students have viewed a few mashups, ask them to create their own.  This could be really helpful in discovering misunderstandings in learning, gaps in the way research is being completed, or difficulties in making connections.

Tips: The tutorial on the first page is really useful. I recommend it before beginning a project!

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

Comments (2)

We used this briefly for a mobile journalism course and I found it to be great in regards to layout, easy accessibility and immediacy of outcome. This is a great journalistic tool

I think the Popcorn Maker is a very smart invention! I remember when I was younger and I would get so tired of just listening to my teacher talk, but now teachers can really make a lecture interesting! It can also increase your knowledge about something by explaining it in different ways! Assigning it to be used by students can also improve the knowledge of things because they have to research all different types of resources and combine them. I’m very glad that I read this article and I may even start using the Popcorn Maker when I become a teacher!

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