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Quicklyst: Note taking web app created by student

What it is: Senior in high school Shantanu Bala emailed me yesterday with a link to a new web application he built called Quicklyst. Quicklyst is a web application for note taking. Shantanu created Quicklyst to make taking and studying notes easier.  Quicklyst makes it easy to take notes, deliver notes to a Kindle device, look up topics in Wikipedia, and define words within notes automatically using the Merriam Webster Dictionary.  It is free and easy to use from any web connected computer. Students can quickly organize their notes into study guides and even create a study queue for important notes.  Notes can be searched by topic or subject.  Quicklysts can be delivered to a Kindle, printed, or downloaded as text files.  There is no need to register to create a Quicklyst, to save a Quicklyst, students will need to create a username (could be email address but doesn’t have to be) and password. While students take notes, they can instantly include definitions and search information in their notes.  Type a question mark followed by the word you want searched and Quicklyst will automatically add information from Wikipedia and DuckDuckGo. Type a colon followed by the word you want defined and Quicklyst will automatically insert the definition into the notes. Students can click on the + sign next to their notes to add the notes to their Study Queue.  The study queue is a place for students to save notes that they want to reference and study later. How to integrate Quicklyst into the classroom: Quicklyst is a great addition to any student (or teacher) tool box. It makes note taking a breeze, quickly importing definitions and search information into the notes. In a one to one setting (where every student has access to a computer) Quicklyst could be used by students to take notes during discussion, lecture, or any type of whole class learning activity.  In the one or two computer classroom, Quicklyst could be assigned as a student job in your classroom. During the class, the student assigned can take notes that can later be downloaded and sent to students, or printed as a study guide.  The class job should be rotated so that each student has an opportunity to be class recorder. Quicklyst is also excellent for teachers taking notes in staff meetings, professional development, or conferences.  It is such a simple tool to use and has just the right amount of extras (instant definitions) to make it really useful! Use Quicklyst with younger students to create KWL (know, want to know, learn) type notes with students.  Using a projector-connected computer, interactive whiteboard, or classroom computer, students can begin the chart and fill it in as they learn more.  The simple built in search and definition make it ideal for this type of use. Tips: Quicklyst is a fantastic example of student innovation, it once again begs the question are we providing opportunities for this kind of creativity in schools?  Shantanu created Quicklyst in his free time for fun, amazing! I asked Shantuanu where the idea for Quicklyst came about and how he learned how to program, here is his response: Mainly, notes were something I always had a problem with. I’d either lose them or forget them, or just use a textbook since my notes weren’t very good. Although my school doesn’t have laptops for every student, schools are slowly getting more and more computers for use directly in the classroom. I realized it might be interesting to create something that stores a person’s notes online and allows a person to search his or her notes easily. That solved my first problem of losing and forgetting my notes. But there was one thing I found missing when looking through some of my notes: structure. I’d try to continue my notes chronologically, but sometimes there’s a gap when a teacher stops teaching one subject and jumps to something else that’s more urgent. Other times, I’d miss a lesson, and I’d forget to copy someone else’s notes. On a computer, this process is much easier, and copying/moving things around can happen in a couple seconds. I also realized that notes feel very disconnected — there’s a wealth of information available online, and there’s only so much a teacher can fit into a class period that’s less than an hour. Providing that information to a student while they take their notes in class seems like the right direction. It encourages active learning by allowing a student to ask a lot of questions and find answers themselves. Part of the reason I am really excited about the amount of information available online (and the quality of the information) is because I was able to teach myself how to code in the 6th grade. I just followed some tutorials online, and whenever I was confused I just asked a question on a forum and I’d get an answer pretty quickly. There are a ton of people who write excellent materials and answer questions completely in their free time. It’s really amazing. Once I got into high school, I found out that I could get credit by taking some community college courses in programming, so I took Java and C++ classes. But my favorite programming language is really the one I learned first — Python. Thank you Shantanu for creating such a useful application and sharing it with all of us! Leave a comment and share how you are using Quicklyst in your classroom.

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Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media

Posted by admin | Posted in For Teachers, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 28-06-2013

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What it is:  Summer time always seems to be a much-anticipated time for a little rest and relaxation.  Over the years I’ve heard from hundreds of parents how much they enjoy the summer months with their kids…until they reach July.  This is when the “I don’t know what to do” sets in and boredom can take over.  Common Sense Media is here to help with those in-between moments when it is too hot to play outside and you prefer that they do something more meaningful than plop in front of the TV for a few hours.  Send them to virtual camp!  The virtual camp is a library of apps, games and websites that will help your kids retain all of the skills they built up over the school year and even build some new ones in anticipation of the new school year.  Recommendations are broken up by age (2-17) and have been further divided by categories including: Outdoor Exploration, Scavenger Hunt, Arts and Crafts, Campfire Friends, Indoor Activities, and Talent Show.  Each recommendation is rated with books.  You are looking for 3 books for an engaging, exceptional learning activity!

How to integrate Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media into the classroom: Camp Virtual is a great way to keep kids learning throughout the summer.  Parents will be extra appreciative of the recommendations for worth-while and safe places for their kids to play while they are at home.  Each activity includes a learner rating and gives a great description of the activity as well as the learning that is tied to it.

Camp Virtual has a guide that can be downloaded and sent home with students at the end of the school year.  Too late for that?  Send a “hope you are having a wonderful summer” email with the guide and a link to the site.

When the weather is nice, I am a HUGE fan of kids getting out and enjoying experiential learning.  However; I know that like all of us, they hit the point of no return when they are hot, tired, crabby and just need a change of activity in a cooler location.  These recommendations of games and activities is a great reprieve for those moments!

Tips:  I love that at the bottom of each page there are some recommendations for parents to continue the learning beyond the game or activity.  Things like “Encourage kids to come up with as many different solutions as they can with each game. Ask them which solutions are most efficient.”

Are you using Camp Virtual?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Comments (6)

I believe that it’s important to keep up your childs learning during the summer.

However, this doesn’t mean shoving books down their throats and telling them to study, I believe that this means engaging them in something that really excites them, that they love doing.

I’m a teacher on http://www.chalksy.com and teach Spanish, and I encourage my high school students to take up online classes in topics that really interest them.

That’s how we created a brilliant generation of young minds!

Sounds like a great resource, thanks for sharing!

[...] “Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media” @ktenkely ilearntechnology.com/?p=5036 [...]

[...] website that I can encourage my students to learn over the summer! The blog post is named, “Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media.” Basically, the author pointed out that she was tired of hearing parents complain that their [...]

Completely agree. Last summer I wanted my kids to learn something new and found http://www.learnbycam.com – My son decided to take online guitar lessons with them and my daughter chose French classes. I must admit this works really well. I am able to supervise the lessons as they take place via Skype and dont have to worry. Importantly they are learning from great teachers. Would recommend to any parents wanting to help their children learn more.

That is fantastic Matt! What fun!

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