Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: web 2.0

48 Ultra-Cool Summer Sites for Kids and Teachers

Cross-posted @ Edutopia

A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2011-2012 school year and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here is a list of great sites for kids and teachers to keep you happily productive and learning this summer. These are in no way in any order of personal preference or coolness.

Happy summer!

1. Magic Tree House

If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on any of the 45+ MTH books.

2. Toporopa

Can’t afford that summer vacation schlepping around Europe? No worries, just pull up Toporopa on your nearest browser and learn all about the geographical, political, historical and economical aspects of the wonderful continent.

3. ReadWriteThink Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.

4. Spell With Flickr

Spell With Flickr is a simple site that allows you to enter any word and it will create a photo representation of that word using pictures from Flickr.

5. Freeology

Freeology is a fantastic resource for teachers to download pre-made, or create a plethora of free graphic organizersformscalendarscertificatesworksheets, and more!

6. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a Wordle-esque site that allows students to create beautiful word clouds. The great thing about Tagxedo that in my opinion is where Wordle falls short is the ability for users to save their creations (without logging in) as either a jpeg or png.

7. Learn Your Tables

Learn Your Tables is a nice interactive site that allows students to practice their multiplication times tables. Learn Your Tables is ideal for introducing topics on an interactive whiteboard (not that you’ll have one over summer, but it’s good for thinking about next school year), and for extension material on individual computers or in a lab.

8. Virtual Sistine Chapel


Virtual Sistine Chapel is an amazing 360 degree interactive view of the Sistine Chapel brought to you by your friends at the Vatican. You can fly around the amazing artwork and zoom into the frescoes at a pretty decent level. This site would be great for art history and religious studies.

9. Cool Math

Probably one of my favorite math sites, Cool Math is “designed for the pure enjoyment of mathematics.” This interactive site features a plethora of fun games, puzzles, calculators, and lesson plans.

10. Science Bob

Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).

11. Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.

12. Math Live

Math Live is a fantastic site to use for upper elementary students that has a plethora of cartoon math tutorials on subjects like fractions, multiplication, area and perimeter, tessellations, probability, and a variety of other topics. The glossary section is an amazing collection of math concepts animated for more solid understanding.

13. Animal Diversity Web

From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, the Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Students can browse the information on individual creatures from the Kingdom Animalia and find 1000s of pictures on specific animals. What’s great about the Animal Diversity Web is that students can sign up to become contributors to the website. To do this, teachers must submit a request form.

14. PDF to Word

PDF to Word is a fantastically simple site that allows you to do just what the url suggests: Convert PDF documents to fully editable Word documents. You simply go to the site, upload your pdf, select either .doc or .rtf, enter your email and click convert. PDF to Word then emails you the word file upon completion. There is no sign up necessary and the turn-around time is approximately 10 minutes.

15. E-Learning For Kids

e-Learning For Kids is a great site with some wonderful interactive learning games that are engaging and fun. Students click on their grade and then a list of games divided into subjects comes up.

16. Rhymes.net

Rhymes.net is a simple search site that returns rhyming words to whatever you enter in the search field. The rhyming words are divided into syllables for ease of use and there is a list of photos of whichever word you search for. Even better, Rhymes.net automatically generates citations for bibliographies.

17. NeoK12

NeoK12 is a fantastic collection of videos arranged by subject that have been individually reviewed by K-12 teachers. The videos are all (at least the ones I’ve seen) via YouTube and all the adds have been stripped and related videos removed which, as an educator, is a great thing! There are also quizzes, games and puzzles as well as a cool presentation creator that helps teachers or students create presentations within the site. Also cool is the How it Works Section.

18. SweetSearch

SweetSearch is a safe searching site for students. Most search engines search billions of Web sites and return tens of millions of results; some are from reliable Web sites, some are not.  SweetSearch searches only 35,000 Web sites that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts at Dulcinea Media, and its librarian and teacher consultants.

19. Cells Alive

CELLS Alive! represents 30 years of capturing film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms for education and medical research. The site has been available continuously and updated annually since May of 1994 by Jim Sullivan and now hosts over 4 million visitors a year.

20. Catch the Science Bug

The educational goals of Catch the Science Bug are to increase science literacy and raise environmental consciousness by adhering to national standards and guidelines for content and use different teaching methods to engage all types of learners, and encourage life-long learning by featuring scientists who model this behavior.

21. SafeShare

Safeshare is a great site for showing YouTube videos without distractions. You simply enter the url of a YouTube video and Safeshare removes all the distracting related links and comments from the initial viewing page.

22. ABCya!

ABCya! is a great site for lots of great games and activities. There is a nice word cloud generator very similar to Wordle that creates nice looking word clouds. The one-up ABCya! has over Wordle is that you may directly save your word cloud as a jpg without any registration.

23. Ribbon Hero 2

Ribbon Hero is an add-on for Microsoft Office that allows you to play a game within the office application (ie Word) that teaches some of the unique features of the program. Users playing Ribbon Hero earn points for doing different tasks within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

24. Invention at Play

Invention at Play is a fantastic interactive website from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. When asked what inspired them to become inventors, many adults tell stories about playing as children. The Invention Playhouse takes this fact and offers up great activities to increase problem solving ability, visual thinking, collaboration, and exploration.

25. Virtual Piano

As a computer teacher, I can see this site as having huge potential. Virtual Piano is a beautifully sounding piano that you play by typing on your keyboard. You can play Für Elise by following the key-pattern available. As this is in beta version, I’m guessing that over time, there will be more song choices and hopefully more learning connectivity with the computer keyboard.

26. Story Jumper

Story Jumper is a wonderful site that allows children to create their very own books. You can create cover pages, add text, upload drawings or photos to illustrate your story, and you can use the StoryJumper clipart gallery, too. One of the best things about Storyjumper is that it is easy for teachers to create and assign student accounts.

27. Google Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students – and Google has listened to educators saying that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom. The Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

28. Kubbu

Kubbu is an e-learning tool designed to facilitate teachers’ work and enhance the learning process. Teachers can create games, quizzes, or crosswords; make them available online for students, and then view and analyze the results.

29. Merriam-Webster Word Games

Merriam-Webster Word Games is a nice collection of games that gets students thinking and improving their lexicon. There are crosswords, cryptograms, word searches, jumbles, and a plethora of other brainy games.

30. Questionaut

Questionaut is a Math, English, and Science game from the BBC. The premise of the game is your standard question/answer delivery, but what I really like about this game is twofold. One, the artwork, created by Amanita Design, is amazing. You could get lost in just looking at all the beautiful details. The second thing that really brings this educational game to a higher level in my book, is that students will have to work and explore to be given the questions. Within each level, the player will need to complete a series of clicks to release the questions, adding a very subtle think-out-of-the-box element to the game.

31. Games for Change

I’m a big fan of quality educational games, and this site takes it to the next level. Games for Change is a non-profit organization which seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human rights, global conflict and climate change. As of this writing, there are quite a few dead links to the games (Balance of the Planet, ElectroCity, Globaloria), but I have high hopes that updates come soon as I really like the idea of this site.

32. Who Pooped?

You know with a name like Who Pooped this will be popular with the younger students. Who Pooped is a science site created by the Minnesota Zoo to help students to begin thinking like scientists. One way scientists learn about animals is by studying their poop — also called “scat” or “dung.” Who Pooped allows students to investigate various types of scat and try to match the scat with its creator. A very interactive site which would pair well with IWBs.

33. Number Gossip

Number Gossip is a simple search box where you enter any number and receive back “everything you wanted to know about the number but were afraid to ask.” For example, I entered the number 38 and got these facts:  38 is the magic constant in the only possible magic hexagon (which utilizes all the natural integers up to and including 19); XXXVIII (=38) is lexicographically the last string which represents a valid Roman numeral; 38 is the largest even number which cannot be written as the sum of two odd composite numbers

34. Illuminations: Dynamic Paper

Need a pentagonal pyramid that’s six inches tall? Or a number line that goes from ‑18 to 32 by 5′s? Or a set of pattern blocks where all shapes have one-inch sides? You can create all those things and more with the Dynamic Paper tool. Place the images you want, then export it as a PDF activity sheet for your students or as a JPEG image for use in other applications or on the web.

35. Shelfari

Even though Shelfari has been taken over by Amazon, it’s still my favorite book review site and would make for a great summer project for parents and students. Shelfari is dubbed as the “premiere site for people who love books,” and the concept is to create a virtual bookshelf of all the books you’ve read or are reading. You can then add a rating (1-5 stars)  as well as a written review of the book and when you are done, Shelfari gives suggestions on what you might want to read next.

36. Vocab Ahead

Vocab Ahead is a collection of short videos that give definitions, usages, pictures associated with interesting vocabulary words.  You may subscribe to receive a vocab video of the day and there is also a section of videos by students that are fantastic.

37. Science With Me

Kids love hands-on projects and Science With Me is chalk-full of fun science projects. You’ll also find science movies, songs, coloring sheets, worksheets, and stories to help kids learn scientific principles and science in a fun way.

38. MathRun

Fun site for practice basic math facts.  Mathrun is a simple idea (math problems float up the screen and you have to tell whether they are correct or incorrect) and I love simplicity. There is no registration required and no advertisements – I love this too. Mathrun rates your brain speed (I got mine up to 140 mph before having to get back to work) and keeps a running total of how many problems you solved correctly. Great site to use independent practice.

39. Academic Skill Builders

Academic Skill Builders is a research-based and standards-aligned free educational math games and language arts games website that will engage, motivate, and help students improve their academic skills. There are many interactive games to choose from and they’re all pretty fun, have decent graphics/sound effects, and offer great practice to specific skills.

40. 100 Coolest Science Experiments on YouTube

Stellar resource for science teachers that has, as the title suggests, links to 100 cool science experiments. If your district has YouTube blocked, you can download any of the videos using 3outube. There are some really cool videos here and it’s well worth a gander.

41. MathTV

Math TV is an amazing collection of how-to videos in a variety of math subjects. Checking it out, I watched a video on how to multiply fractions and I (a teacher) learned a new method.  Imagine what your students can learn. This site is free, but it does require you to register to be able to view the videos.

42. Books Should be Free

Books Should be Free (formally Audio Owl) makes the world’s public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and easily searchable way. You can search for a specific title, or use the genre list to visually scan through hundreds of titles. Books may be previewed directly on the site, or you may download them directly into iTunes, or as zipped mp3 files. The downloads are broken into chapters, which is useful for teachers using this as a listening station.

43. Arts Alive

Arts Alive is a performing arts educational website developed by the National Arts Centre of Canada. There are sections for studentsteachers, and parents to learn more about the performing arts and ways to discover a greater appreciation of music, theater, and dance.

44. Search-Cube

One of my 4th grade students was using this site while researching for a biography assignment. Search-Cube is a visual search engine that presents web search results in a unique, three-dimensional cube interface. It shows previews of up to ninety-six websites, videos and images.

45. CoSketch

CoSketch is a collaborative drawing site which requires no joining, logging in or registration. Perfect for elementary classes. It’s a no frills tool, so there are not a lot of extras, but for simple drawing and text, it works great. Users just go to the site, click on create a sketch, and begin drawing. To add more people, you just send them the url. There’s also a nice chat feature. I could see using this to collaboratively solve math problems, play hangman using vocab words, exploring maps (there is a built-in Google Maps support), and a variety of other applications. Finished drawings can be embedded into blogs or websites.

46. Interactive Simulations

From the University of Colorado at Bolder comes some fantastic java-based interactive simulations. From Glaciers, to Natural Selection, to Circuit Construction; these simulations really show students how things work.

47. Active Science

Active Science has 15 different scientific modules, each with interactive games and activities. Great for use with IWB.

48. Kerpoof

Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles and pictures.  Educators are able to sign up for a class account which allows an entire class to login simultaneously using the assigned nickname and password created by the teacher. There are no adds or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.  Great site for story creating!

Advertisements

Cool Tools for Math

This is part II of a series of posts dedicated to free, online math sites to help students learn their basic facts, and to help teachers help their students. You can view part I here.

Create a Graph

Create A Graph helps students graph all sorts of data in either a bar, line, area, pie, or xy graph. To create a graph, you choose a type of graph you want to produce, enter your data, change the font and colors (optional) and then either print or save after previewing it. Students are able to save in a variety of formats including pdf, jpg, png, and others. I use this site to help my students graph data they gather when we are researching about developing countries. You can read about this unit here.

You can also download this step-by-step guide to help you along:

Cool Math for Kids

I couldn’t have a post called “Cool Math Tools” without including Cool Math for Kids.  This site has so many great games, activities, lessons, and even flash cards for math learners ages 3-12 (older students can check out Coolmath.com). There is a Teacher Section with ideas on how to use the site in your classroom, as well as continued education, resources, and a few extras.

Multiplication.com

Multiplication.com has some really fun games to help students master their basic facts. Most of the games would go well with IWBs or stand-alone computer stations, so they would be good to use as individual or group practice.  Some of my favorites include:  Math Wash Up, Space Race, Flight of the KnightSketch’s World, Castle Quests, and Grand Prix, but there are tons more on the site, so check it out!

Spelling City in the Classroom

I recently revisited Spelling City and thought it deserved another post. The layout and simplicity of Spelling City has greatly improved, and with the additions of a teacher resource section and forum, there is a lot of help for those who want to turn their students into better spellers. You begin by entering your words that you want to work on.  You can enter the words individually, in groups of 5 or 10, or you can batch import by simply doing a copy/paste from Word.

Take a Test

In the “Take a Test” section, once the words are entered, you can take a test, where each word is read and used in a sentence. You type it out, hit enter, and go on to the next word.  The site checks your answers and lets you know if you are correct.

Teach Me

Another option is to use the “Teach Me” section, where the Spelling City teacher says the word, spells it, and uses it in a sentence. Note: the computer voice is not perfect and occasionally mispronounces words.

Spelling Games

The game section of Spelling City contains nearly 2 dozen games which incorporate your words that you entered in your initial word list.  7 of these games are only for premium subscribers ($24.99/yr for a family $49.99/yr for a classroom Learn more), but there are plenty of free games to keep students busy learning their words.

Conclusion

All in all, Spelling City is a great resource to use in the classroom as part of a spelling program, or for students to use for home learning.  The site is clear, concise, engaging, and will help students learn words in a fun way.

Khan Academy

If you haven’t visited the Khan Academy or used the videos to help enhance your math lessons, watch this recent Ted Talks video.

The idea that Salman Kahn discusses about flipping the classroom is fascinating and echoes ideas that Alan November mentioned when he came to our school last fall.

5th Graders Interview History Experts Via Skype

This past Wednesday one of my 5th grade classes took part in a fantastic learning experience. Two history experts who work at the Singapore Ministry of Education were kind enough to Skype in and answer a series of 12 questions that the students came up with.  Here’s a video of what took place:

Cool Tools for Writing – Part V

This is part V in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here, part II here, part III here, and part IV here.

Story Starters is a fun activity to inspire students to write. They first spin the story starter wheel (they can then spin individual wheels to adjust their story starter), choose a format (notebook, letter, newspaper, postcard) and then begin writing. There are options to print and draw a picture as well. There is a nice teacher section that lists objectives for the lesson as well as several ideas for integrating the activity into your current RLA focus. Being that students can’t save their work, I often just have them spin the wheels to create a starter and then simply have them write their stories in Word.  This would also be a good site to have projected on the screen (or on a classroom computer station) first thing in the morning. Each day a new student can spin the wheel and you could have a quick morning creative writing session, comparing and sharing stories.

My Storymaker allows students to create a story book with fun characters and settings. When complete, you can print, or save to the public gallery which allows you to download the file as a pdf. I recently introduced this to a 5th grade class and it went extremely well. The students created epic and creative stories and had a really fun time writing! The one drawback I found is that there is no option to save and come back to edit, so students have to start and complete their story within one class period. One idea I’ve come up with is to have the first session be an explore session where the students learn about the site, the characters, setting, etc. Then, they can write out a rough draft before the second session so that when they access the site the second time, they are ready to roll, and time is not as much of a factor.

The Super Sentence Machine helps kids develop sentence writing abilities and improve their voice and writing expression. This would be a good site to use as a whole-class activity to show students how to write more grammatically complex sentences.

Cool Tools for Writing – Part IV

This is part IV in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here, part II here, and part III here.

1. Writing With Writers

Part of the larger Scholastic site, Writing With Writers provides an excellent resource for writing. There is an excellent section for kids called, Computer Lab Favorites (Teacher View Here | Student View Here), that has a variety of writing tools like Story StartersMyth Brainstorming Machine, and Poetry Idea Engine; as well as learning games like, It’s Greek to Me (great for Real Spelling connections), and Fish Up Word Endings. Along with all the great writing tools and activities, there are also sections for MathScienceSocial Studies, and Spanish that require no prep and can be completed in 15-30 minutes.

2. Zoo Burst

Zoo Burst is a digital storytelling tool that allows you to create lively 3-d pop-up books with sounds and actual pop-up effects when you turn the page.  You first create a free account, and then use the simple interface and tools to begin creating your book.

3. Bitstrips

My favorite comic creator, Bitstrips allows students to create fun comics on any topic of their (or your) choice. Students can use Bitstrips for free, but the $78 annual subscription allows teachers to create a classroom with individual student accounts and create assignments that students submit to you when they are finished. EdTechIdeas: I’ve had classes recreate scenes and plot lines from books, show understanding of rainforest layers, desert environments, and historical events, teach math concepts… The possibilities are endless.

Google Art Project

A month ago, Google released the ambitions Google Art Project which uses street-view technology to allow users to virtually move around some of the world’s greatest museums and browse famous works of art. I finally had some time to sit down and give it a tour, and it’s quite impressive. With the featured artworks, you can zoom in to view the paintings at high resolution (I hoped that the mouse scroll-wheel would work for zooming, but it does not), learn about the artwork and the artist, find more works from the artists, and watch related YouTube videos produced by the museums.  Users can also create their own collections of artwork, comment on each piece, and share the entire collection with others. As of this writing, the participating museums include:

  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
  • The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
  • Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
  • Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
  • National Gallery, London – UK
  • Palace of Versailles – France
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
  • The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
  • Tate Britain, London – UK
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands

EdTechIdeas: Google Art Project is an art teachers dream, or any teacher, for that matter, who wants to expose their students to artistic culture. Teachers could send students on virtual field trips where students “collect” specific pieces of art and further explore the artist of their choice.  You could create a classroom collection of artwork and have each student research an artist. Leave a comment below on a way you would use Google Art Project in your classroom.

Cool Tools for Writing III

This is part III in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here and part II here.

1. Learn Something Every Day

Learn Something Every Day is a fun, simple site that is great for a morning opening activity.  In the classroom you could have this site up on the projector every morning to generate discussion or as writing prompts.

2. Grammar Blast

The Houghton Mifflin Company produces Grammar Blast. Grammar Blast offers 35 interactive grammar activities for students in grades two through five.

3. Grammar Practice Park

Grammar Practice Park, produced by Harcourt School Publishers provides 12 games for students in grades three, four, and five.

Cool Tools for Writing II

This is part II in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here.

Vocab Ahead is a collection of short videos that give definitions, usages, and pictures associated with interesting vocabulary words.  You may subscribe to receive a vocab video of the day and there is also a section of videos by students that are fantastic.

Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles, and pictures.  Educators are able to sign up for a class account and assign usernames and passwords for each student to have their own individual accounts. There are no ads or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.

One Word reminds me of a writing warm-up activity I used to do with my third grade class. The kids would choose a word and then have 1 minute to write as much as they could on that topic. We called the activity Speed Writing. They would then choose a second word and write on that, and so on. We would do this 3 or 4 times, and each time they would count their words and I would graph the results. Every time, they would write more (I would purposely give them a couple of extra seconds more each round… shhh!). My mantra during this activity was, “The more you write, the more you write.”  One Word works the same way. After clicking on Go students write as much as they can. After the minute is up, they enter their name and email and they can see what they wrote, as well as what others have written on the same topic.

Cool Tools for Writing

This is part I in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part II here.

1. Storyjumper

Storyjumper allows you to create online books using a plethora of characters, scenes, and props. Teachers can, for free, create classes to register students so they each have their own account. As of this writing, there does not seem to be a limit as to how many student accounts you can create.

2. Read Write Think Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing.

3. Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.

EdTechIdeas: These 3 sites can be great tools to help struggling writers, as well as kids who love to write.  I’ve seen my students so excited about story writing with StoryJumper. The Printing Press makes it quick and easy for elementary kids to create nice looking publications, and learning about grammar and the parts of speech has never been more fun than with Grammaropolis.

Paragons of the Week – Super Teacher Tools, EdHeads, Kineticcity

Episode 37 >> Previous Paragons

1. Super Teacher Tools

Super Teacher Tools has a bunch of great teaching tools that allow teachers and students to create games, quizzes, charts and a variety of other useful things for your classroom. The most popular is a Jeopardy Review Game that you can create custom Jeopardy games for your students. EdTechIdeas: I use this site to have my students create review games for other students to play. They must first research a given topic, come up with questions and answers, and then use those facts to create a game.

2. EdHeads

EdHeads helps students learn through educational games and activities designed to meet state and national standards (US). EdTechIdeas: Students can learn about simple and compound machines, how to predict the weather,  perform virtual knee surgery, and even create a stem cell line.

3. Kineticcity

Kineticcity boasts that they have “the most amazing collection of science experiments, games, activities, challenges, and more.” Along with a pretty solid set of science related games, there are also have hands on games and activities, mind games, and activities for creative writing and art. Kids will really dig the interface. EdTechIdeas: Kineticcity is a production of The American Association for the Advancement of Science, with support from The National Science Foundation, and therefore, all of the content is US standards-based.  There is an educator section with ideas on how to start Kinetic City Club, and also an area to print out forms and leader guides. This would make a nice addition to your current science program or be a great program to start as an after school extension.

Google Body Browser

Google’s latest 3d venture, body browser, allows you to tour the inner-workings of the human body.  You can zoom in to see the muscular and skeletal systems, fly around the organs, and go inside the brain. Take a look at the video below to see how it works.
Note: As body browser is still in beta, you need to have the latest version of Google Chrome, or Firefox 4.0b1

EdTechIdeas: My 5th grade classes are currently studying human growth and development, and this will make an excellent resource for the kids to get a deeper understanding about how our bodies work.

Paragons of the Week – Collaborative Revision w/Google Docs, Learning Science, Story Home

Episode 36 >> Previous Paragons

1. Teach Collaborative Revision with Google Docs

Google Docs has recently partnered with Weekly Reader to come up with ways to help teachers teach collaborative writing to students. Two of the many features of Google Docs is the ability to have multiple people working on the same document simultaneously, and also, the intuitive ability to insert comments into a document. If you are new to Google Docs, they’ve broken this process down into four steps:

  1. Download a step-by-step tutorial [pdf] for Google Docs.
  2. Learn about the comments and revision features of Google Docs [pdf].
  3. Download, print, and share the following articles [pdf] with your students:
  4. Download the Educators Guide: Teaching Revision with Google Docs

EdTechIdeas: Google Docs is great for students to write collaborative poems, stories, book reports, movie scripts, essays, and more. Students can “hand in” their writing and the teacher can make comments and “pass it back” to the student for corrections and improvements. The nice thing about using comments is that editors can see who added what, as a time and date stamp, along with the users name is displayed along with each comment. Going further, a revision history can be accessed for any document to see who did what when.

2. Motion and Forces (Learning Science)

Part of Learningscience.org, this is great place to find games and activities that help students learn about and develop understanding of the fundamental concepts of principles of motions and forces.  There are 17 different activities listed here with explanations about what each learning tool teaches. EdTechIdeas: With high interest games like Simple Machines, Energy Skate Park (very cool), Galileo Drops the Ball, and Projectile Motion (Blast a Buick out of a canon – who wouldn’t like that?), Motion and Forces really come alive and are made understandable for students.

3. The Story Home

The Story Home is a site where students can go to hear free audio stories of original and classic tales. You can search for specific stories, or choose from the many different categories (animal stories, fairy tales, holiday stories, and a bunch more).   EdTechIdeas: The Story Home would be a great listening center. If you’re lacking in computers, subscribe to the podcast, put some stories on an iPod, add one of these, and you’re good to go. Have students write in their own words what they listened to. Re-write the ending to a story. After listening to a few stories, have your students record their own stories (original or classic) and turn them into podcasts for all to enjoy.


Paragons of the Week: Mapeas, Sight Words with Samson, Qwiki

Episode 35 >> Previous Paragons

1. Mapeas

Mapeas is a Google Maps mash-up that shows news happenings from around the world. The hot-spots are divided into categories: Business, Entertainment, General, Science and Sport, so you can select which one you’d like to see, or simply see all of them at once. Each dot on the map represents a story and the numbers indicate how many stories from that particular area there are. When you click on a dot it opens up a quick description of the news event along with a video that can be played directly in the site. EdTechIdeas Social Studies teachers can use Mapeas when learning about current events and also help students understand world geography at the same time.

2. Sight Words with Samson

Sight Words with Samson allows students to learn and practice word spelling and pronunciation in a fun, easy to use way. In a four-step process students are challenged to learn words, build words, identify words, and finally, take a quiz about everything they have learned. Within each step there are 4 different levels of difficulty that contain 7 lists of high-frequency words.  EdTechIdeas: Sight Words with Samson is a fantastic site for English language learners and students in lower elementary. It could be used as a center activity as it is a very intuitive site.

3. Qwiki

Qwiki is an impressive new website that just recently rolled out their alpha phase, which means they are still in testing mode, working out some bugs. Currently, you can request access via email and they’ll send you login credentials within a day or two. What Qwiki is, is this: Do you remember the scene from Wall-e where the captain asks the computer to, “define earth?” The computer then displays tons of pictures, videos and maps while spewing out (in a pleasant sounding voice) various facts and information regarding Earth. This, in a nut shell, is what Qwiki is aiming to do, and they do it pretty nicely. Users simply enter a word into the search form and a 2-3 minute “information experience” is displayed. EdTechIdeas: Once this is out of Alpha, Qwiki will be a great research resource for quick and easy information for students studying a variety of subjects. This would also be a great example for students to mimic. Make a “Quiki” assignment where students create a short film about any given subject, pulling in a wealth of facts and media and create their own “information experience.” Below is a quick demonstration of how Qwiki works.


%d bloggers like this: