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On Demand Learning: Classroom Optional (Khan Academy and Academic Eart

What it is: Tonight I was talking education with a fun group that is helping me think through my school design.  As we were talking one of the participants mentioned Khan Academy…some of the teachers in attendance had never heard of it.  I sometimes forget that not everything is common knowledge and even if it is common knowledge to most, there are still those who can benefit from the mention!  Khan Academy was started by Salman Khan quite by accident.  He tutored his cousins in math and when he moved away from them, they still requested support.  Sal began making algebra videos and uploading them to YouTube for his family, it has grown to over 2,100 videos and 100 self-paced math, science, and history exercises for students.  The library is extensive and comprehensive including algebra, arithmetic, banking and money, biology, brain teasers, calculus, California standards algebra, geometry, chemistry, cosmology and astronomy, credit crisis, current economics, developmental math, differential equations, finance, history, linear algebra, organic chemistry, Paulson bailout, physics, pre-algebra, pre-calculus, probability, statistics, trigonometry, valuation and investing, venture capital, and capital markets.  It is a pretty impressive collection!  I really like these videos because they provide students with on-demand learning and present the learning in a way that appeals to the visual and auditory learner.  The experience is so much richer than a textbook can offer. It is like having your own personal tutor. Academic Earth is another extensive video library that lets students (and adults) take video courses from the worlds top scholars all in one place…for free!  The mission of Academic Earth is to give everyone access to a world class education.  Subjects covered by Academic Earth include art, architecture, astronomy, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, education, electrical engineering, engineering, entrepreneurship, environmental studies, history, international relations, law, literature, mathematics, media studies, medicine and health care, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, test prep, and writing.  Students have access to the learning happening at Berkley, Columbia, Harvard, Khan Academy, Maryland, Michigan, MIT, Norwich, NYU, Princeton, Stanford, UCLA, UNSW, USC, and Yale.  Did I mention all of that learning is free?  I know, amazing! How to integrate Khan Academy and Academic Earth into the classroom: Both Khan Academy and Academic Earth provide students with opportunities for on-demand learning in their areas of interest or their areas of weakness.  Students can use these resources to support the learning happening in the classroom and to fill any gaps that students may have in their learning.  Video is a powerful medium because it appeals to a wide range of learners and makes it easy to pause, rewind, review, and share that learning. Khan Academy would be a great tool to use for the “Fisch Flip” where the homework is to watch the lesson on video and class time is spent on working through the problems together.  Let that sink in…makes more sense doesn’t it? Students get support where they need it most, in the follow through and practice of the learning. Academic Earth provides students with the opportunity of pursuing their passions, getting a feel for what type of study they would like to pursue in a university, and support learning. Do you have students that could use additional challenge and are constantly searching for more learning? Set up an extended learning center in your classroom where students who need that challenge can self direct and extend their learning by using Khan Academy or Academic Earth. Tips: Khan Academy is a great resource to pass on to families, parents are often looking for ways to supplement and support the learning happening in the classroom.  Math in particular is a challenge as many parents did not feel successful enough in higher math themselves to help their children. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Khan Academy and Academic Earth in your classroom!

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8 alternatives to Google Reader

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, For Teachers, professional development, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 12-06-2013

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8 alternatives to Google Reader

I’ve been in mourning over Google’s decision to shut down Reader.  MOURNING.  Honestly, I love having a centralized location for all of my favorite blogs.  It is like my own customized newspaper delivered each morning.  I’ve been using Google Reader since about 2007, and in that time I’ve amassed an enormous collection of favorites.  Whenever I find something I want to remember or be able to go back and read, I Tweet it out and then immediately favorite it.  I can’t tell you how often I go to my Reader when I’m remembering something great that I favorited that I want to revisit or share.  Daily.

Google Reader is closing the door on July 1st.  I’ve been trying to pretend that this day isn’t coming.  Denial won’t stop it.  Today I decided to settle in and start going through my favorites to save them to my Pinterest boards.  I’ve found some great alternatives for Google Reader, but I have yet to find one that transfers both current RSS feeds and favorites.  I talked to Feedly on Twitter and they said that they are working on it.  I haven’t seen this feature added yet.  Not willing to lose all of those favorites, I’m going through the painstaking process of saving them elsewhere.  On the upside: I’m being reminded of the brilliance I’m surrounded by online.

If you are looking for a replacement RSS feed reader (say for your favorite blog…*ahem*) here are some great alternatives.

1. The Old Reader is in beta, it was built to be a replacement for Google Reader.  It looks a whole lot like the Google Reader you know and love.  For those super geeks (own it!) you can even use the same keyboard shortcuts.  This option is free but is currently browser-based only…no mobile apps yet.  Alas, that is where I do the majority of my reading.

2. Feedly is a good RSS reader alternative.  In addition to collecting your RSS feeds for you, it has a news suggestion algorithm that will suggest other articles that you will probably find interesting.  Great unless you have a reader like I do…then it becomes an endless rabbit hole that is hard to walk away from.  Feedly also has a great social aspect that makes it easy to share with friends and post to social networks.  With Feedly you can choose what type of layout you prefer. You can easily transfer all of your current subscriptions from Google Reader to Feedly.  Feedly comes as browser extension and mobile app.

3.  News Blur is similar to Google Reader, you can share articles, save for future reading, star them or start your own daily “burblog” of news stories that you want to share with others.  It comes in mobile app format.  Now the bad news: free accounts are capped at 64 blogs and 10 stories at a time (this would never do for me). Premium users pay $24 a year to subscribe to as many sites as they want.  The worse news: currently they aren’t allowing free users to sign up.  Dang. It.

4. Pulse lets you keep up on the blogs that you subscribe to, but it primarily recommends stories it thinks you will enjoy.  Pulse looks a little more like Feedly and will also let you import your Google Reader feed (mobile version only).  Articles can be saved, shared, browsed, sorted by category.

5. NetVibes is a RSS reader and a social aggregation service.  Basic accounts are free which will do what you need to follow your feeds.  You can add widgets like weather, Twitter, and top news stories to your NetVibe dashboard.  The bad news: there aren’t any mobile apps.

6. Feed Demon is not only an RSS reader, it also lets you set up keywords to be alerted about.  If a keyword appears in a feed (whether you subscribe to it or not) it will apear in your feed.  It also lets you subscribe to podcasts, it automatically stores them in a directory and makes it easy to save them to a mobile device.

7. Flipboard recommends feeds but also lets you subscribe to RSS feeds.  The layout is beautiful and looks like a magazine.  You can also add your social networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It brings your online life together in one place.  Favorites can be saved. Flipboard is available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook.

8. Feedbin makes it easy to subscribe to new feeds by domain or by feed url. You can import your current feeds using the OPML import feature.  You can organize all of your feeds by Tags. Just like Google Reader, Feedbin has great keyboard shortcuts that will help you get through your news efficiently.  Feedbin is not free, it currently costs $2/month.  The biggest benefit (and the reason this will most likely be my choice) you can connect Feedbin to the Reeder app!!  I currently use the Reeder app to read my Google Reader feeds.  I absolutely LOVE Reeder, It is such a beautiful way to read, save, share, etc. all of my RSS feeds.  Reeder is still working out a solution for July 1st.  In the mean time, it is available for free in the iTunes app store and you can connect it to Feedbin.  Reeder is working out the ability to connect it to other readers as well.

RSS feeds are a great way to bring professional development to your fingertips ever day.  Don’t let the demise of Google Reader stop you from learning!

Comments (9)

Actually, Newsblur is letting free users sign up. Even though it says it isn’t, it does. I just created one for a friend the other day. I paid for my account. Well worth it. It is as fast as Google Reader ever was.

What about Feed Wrangler? I haven’t jumped ship on Google just yet butnthis is the service I’m considering using as a replacement. (And you’d haw to confirm this, but I thought could copy over favourites as well as feeds.)

(Sorry about dodgy iPad typing.)

I’m really happy for these guys – NOOWIT is not only an alternative to Google reader but a great app for getting news without the noise.

Try Feedspot. I really like its simplicity. I am pretty sure it imports all of your favorites too.

To lifelong learning!

I use pearltrees, it’s not a feed reader but when combined with Ifttt I get a pearl (online bookmark) of anything that I have starred in google reader. Saves me having to backup my favourites now.

Don’t forget Yoleo! (https://yoleoreader.com) :)

I feel the same as you — mourning the loss of Google Reader. For now, I’m testing out The Old Reader as I also do most of my reading on my browser. I tested out Feedly but they don’t support IE.

I love reading all of your insightful posts. Keep up the great work!

Check out http://www.hinto.co ! It’s not an RSS reader, but it’s highly visual and you can select which sites to keep up with, in real-time.

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