An edublog about integrating technology into the classroom.
National Geographic Kids Animal Jam Virtual World
What it is: National Geographic Kids is a constant source of excellent activities but their new Animal Jam virtual world is above and beyond my favorite. My students love virtual worlds, they enjoy being immersed in a story, sent on a mission, and interacting with each other to complete adventures...
Today @lancefinkbeiner shared this video with me. It is too good not to share! Now…how to make this the reality of what learning is really about in schools. I can’t tell you how often in education that the answer for why something is done is, “we are preparing kids for…” For example, we give 3 hours of homework to elementary students because we are “preparing them for middle school.” In middle school we give additional homework and weekly tests because we are “preparing them for high school.” High school has it’s own set of ridiculous standards in preparation for college.
My question: when are we preparing kids for life? When are we preparing them to engage in the world around them? When are we preparing them for healthy relationships with others? When are we preparing them to ask good questions and seek answers? When are we preparing them for what to do with failure?
The problem for preparing kids for the next system they will encounter is that the next system isn’t really the goal. That goal is this imaginary place we call “success” and “perfection”. Neither exist. How do we prepare kids to live honest, meaningful lives? THAT is what I am interested in preparing for.
What it is: Study Blue is a very handy study tool for high-school and college students that works the way they do. Students can use it to store notes and create flashcards. Study materials are then accessible anywhere that students have an internet connection and even from their phone. Best of all, it is free to sign up and get started! Study Blue helps students study more efficiently by keeping track of what students have already mastered, and what they still need work on. This makes studying focused and productive. Students can easily create flashcards based on their notes and use those flashcards to study online or from their phone. Study Blue is logically organized (by class) making keeping track of study materials easy. Students can invite classmates to add to the notes or study materials from within Study Blue. Students can even upload notes they have taken outside of Study Blue. As students are creating flashcards and notes, they can enter text, audio recordings, and images. Even better, Study Blue has a library of special characters that can be inserted into notes and flashcards-perfect for math and language studying.
How to integrate Study Blue into the classroom: What makes Study Blue so brilliant, is the way that it works for students. The features within Study Blue are robust enough to stay up with students needs, but simple enough that it will get used often. Study Blue is a must-recommend to students. I love the way that Study Blue pays attention to what has already been mastered, and works with students to strengthen study habits. The ability to share within Study Blue means that students can work together to share resources, collaborate, and tackle their studying. It may be worth creating a teacher account to share lecture notes with students via Study Blue. Study Blue is a great way to help your students stay organized, and make the most of their study time in a way that makes sense for them. It is flexible enough to work for any student!
Tips: Students will need an email address to sign up for an account on Study Blue. Study Blue is a free service to use, they also have an upgrade version that lets students compare notes with others, print notes, combine flash card decks, etc.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Study Blue in your classroom
What it is: HippoCampus is a website with incredible vision. The goal is to provide high-quality multimedia content on general subjects to high school and college students free of charge. Subjects on HippoCampus include algebra, American government, biology, calculus, environmental science, physics, psychology, religions, statistics, and US history. Each of the subject has a large library of multimedia content from students to learn from. HippoCampus was designed as part of the Open Education Resources, a worldwide effort to make education available equitably to everyone. Each lesson includes multimedia lessons, the text of the lesson, and related resources. I believe the HippoCampus model will be the textbook of the future. Students are able to learn at their own pace, pausing, reviewing, and receiving instruction on demand.
How to integrate Hippo Campus into the classroom: HippoCampus has an incredible library of content for teaching and learning. Use the multimedia lessons in place of traditional textbooks or as a supplement to your current curriculum. Teachers can build their own HippoCampus homepage where students can access specific lessons targeted for them. You can even create custom announcements to be displayed to students. Although HippoCampus was designed with high school and college students in mind, many of the multimedia presentations could be used to teach middle school students as well.
Tips: HippoCampus uses Adobe Flash and QuickTime. Make sure that you have each on your computers before using HippoCampus.
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using HippoCampus in your classroom.
Some school years start out much bumpier than others. This year has definitely been a bumpy one for me. Nothing seems to be working the way it should, the kids are disappointed that in the first 4 weeks of school they have not had computers available in computer class. I am feeling frustrated at the lost teaching time (so many things to fit into a 35 min. once a week class!) This weekend one of my professors from my college (Colorado Christian University) days spoke at church. Sid Buzzel was/is one of the most influential educators in my life and one the I deeply respect. He came to teach about education. It was exactly what I needed, I loved hearing his passion for education and his explanation to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children why he is an educator. He reminded me of why I am an educator. I miss being taught on a regular basis by Sid. The church recorded Sid’s inspirationalwords. I highly recommend this podcast. I’m sure it won’t take long to figure out why this man made such an impact on me and my teaching career. I’m ready to press on through the problems and teach my students…with or without computers! Take a break, put your feet up and get renewed. Let me know what you think and tell us about the influential educators in your world.
What it is: I’m not generally one to get excited about math especially algebra, geometry, and *uggh* calculus. But, I think if I had access to a tool like GeoGebra I might have enjoyed them (or at least understood them) more. GeoGebra is a free dynamic geometry system that lets students complete constructions with points, vectors, segments, lines, conic sections, and functions and change them dynamically afterward. Equations and coordinates can also be entered directly; this means thatGeoGebra has the ability to deal with variables for numbers, vectors and points, finds derivatives and integrals of functions and offers commands like Root or Extremum. (If you didn’t catch that you are not a high school math teacher *wink*). If you are a high school or college math teacher or know someone who is…that description just made you feel a little excited. GeoGebra is a free multi-platform download.
How to integrate GeoGebra into your curriculum: Use GeoGebra to help your students understand complicated or abstract math concepts. This software is amazing for your visual learners…again a reason this should have existed when I was in school! Allow your students to explore math concepts with this software and to practice their learning. You can also use GeoGebra to create dynamic math worksheets for your students. Very cool!
Tips: Make sure to check out the examples section for some great GeoGebra uses. You can also attend free online workshops to learn how to use GeoGebra. For some great ideas and further explanation of GeoGebra check them out on Wikipedia.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using GeoGebra in your classroom.