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Today we’re thrilled to launch our new, free SlideRocket EDU offering available exclusively through Google Apps!
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by Dian Schaffhauser
"A program introduced in November 2013 to put 3D printers into classrooms has already attracted 1,000 schools. The latest is California's Oakland High School, which is receiving its first MakerBot Replicator 2 this week, a result of participation in MakerBot's Academy program.
"The program invites teachers to post their request onto DonorsChoose to pursue contributions for an "academy bundle." The bundle includes the printer, a technical support program and three spools of non-toxic filament. Support comes from America Makes, a national public-private collaboration working on research and innovation in additive manufacturing and 3D printing."
Read more at http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/11/makerbot-academy-promotes-3d-printers-in-the-classroom.aspx#jT2fhQgRr64Bh2Rv.99
he program invites teachers to post their request onto DonorsChoose to pursue contributions for an "academy bundle." The bundle includes the printer, a technical support program and three spools of non-toxic filament. Support comes from America Makes, a national public-private collaboration working on research and innovation in additive manufacturing and 3D printing."
by Lauren Orsini
"The makers of Raspberry Pi have just released a sound card designed especially for the tiny, $35 Linux-based computer.
"The Wolfson Audio Card is being produced by Farnell Element 14, the same UK company that also manufactures the Raspberry Pi. At $33, the card costs nearly as much as a Raspberry Pi, and it's even almost the same size.
"The audio add-on board fits directly onto the Raspberry Pi’s P5 pins. It features an onboard microphone and a Wolfson audio processor that supports high-res audio up to 24-bit / 192KHz. The board also hosts four 3.5 mm jacks—one for a headset/boom mic combination, one for mic input, one for connecting to devices like iPods and phones, and one for connection to amps or speakers.
"But the most important feature of the new sound card is that it processes sound itself. External sound processing takes the load off the tiny Raspberry Pi processor and makes it sound better, opening up new DIY capabilities for the Pi."
by Dani Fankhauser
"Sometimes you don't want to become a full-fledged designer — you simply want to create party invitations for a friend's bachelorette party. And if you work in social media marketing, you know concise copywriting is only one piece of your job — you also need attention-grabbing images forPinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
"A site called Canva, launched in August, is a bit of a shortcut for anyone who needs good imagery but doesn't want to tackle Photoshop. The application lives in a browser and is free to use, so you don't need to download anything or worry about compatibility with your computer. It isn't meant to be a pro's tool; but if you're looking to make an image to augment a blog post, it can be done in about two seconds."
Jim Lerman's insight:
This seems to be about the simplest way to download (or extract) the audio from any online video, YouTube or otherwise. The tutorial was created by a 12 or 13 year old young man. The video part is right on, some of the audio is a little hard to fully understand. All in all however, after I viewed half a dozen different tutorials on this topic, this was the easiest and least complicated way to do it.
by Jeff Mummert
"Through my interest in the digital humanities, I’ve had the great joy of participating in THATCamps from time to time (one of which is specifically organized around the subject of games). What I discovered early on in my discussions with digital humanists in general was an interest in the use of games “as text.”
"I simply had never thought of games this way. I thought that in order to more effectively integrate play into our K12 curricula, we needed to make better educational games. An incredible number of my K12 colleagues presently feel the same way. These games would need to somehow keep up with the levels of development of the games rolling out to the XBoxes, PCs and mobile devices to keep up student interest. While I’m aware of a growing success in this strategy, I can see more benefit in the integration of commercial, “off the shelf” games in the K12 classroom."
I tried this out on some longish pieces...1000 words or more. The tool did a very good job of reducing several articles by about 50-60% in size, while preserving very well the meaning of the selection. I did this about 4 times and was quite impressed with the quality of the summaries. This could prove quite useful for students of all ages, as well as busy educators.
This is so full of win ... great tool if you're having trouble editing yourself!
by John Rice
"Thankfully, digital content has come a long way in the decades since I sat in fifth grade. The market has vastly improved in terms of curricular alignment, actionable data for teachers, and content quality. But if we don’t curate content judiciously, we run the risk of creating classrooms full of children skilled in digital gaming instead of children reading, writing, and understanding math proficiently. To help, I’ve outlined four guiding principles as you choose digital content."
by Philip Guo
"The optimal video length is 6 minutes or shorter -- students watched most of the way through these short videos. In fact, the average engagement time of any video maxes out at 6 minutes, regardless of its length. And engagement times decrease as videos lengthen: For instance, on average students spent around 3 minutes on videos that are longer than 12 minutes, which means that they engaged with less than a quarter of the content. Finally, certificate-earning students engaged more with videos, presumably because they had greater motivation to learn the material. (These findings appeared in a recent Wall Street Journal article, An Early Report Card on Massive Open Online Courses and itsaccompanying infographic.)
"The take-home message for instructors is that, to maximize student engagement, they should work with instructional designers and video producers to break up their lectures into small, bite-sized pieces."
Message: Optimal instructional video length to be 6 minutes or shorter.
by Kathleen Costanza
"School library might not be the most obvious place to find kids building robots. But this year, Miriam Klein, a librarian and English teacher in the Cornell School District outside of Pittsburgh, is planning to use her district’s brand new Hummingbird robotics kits in the classroom to build characters from stories her students read. Using cardboard, pipe cleaners, and whatever else they come up with, along with the equipment in the kit (motors, LED lights, digital sensors), created by Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab, the kids will bring their characters to life.
"The infectious enthusiasm Klein and hordes of teachers around the country have for hands-on projects echoes that of the maker movement, a growing network of DIY and making enthusiasts building everything from marshmallow cannons to hovercrafts in garages, at Maker Faires, and state-of-the-art makeshops. Leveraging kids’ natural inclination to tinker, the maker movement has found its way into classrooms. In Pittsburgh and around the country, educators are encouraging kids to experiment, building imperative skills in STEAM subjects and spurring lifelong interests that will hopefully one day lead to careers."
by Hollie O'Connor
summary by MiddleWeb SmartBrief
"A group of Texas fourth-graders plans to form a nonprofit to supply books to libraries at schools touched by natural disasters. The students, Woodway Elementary School's fourth-grade robotics team, got the idea while researching for this year's First Lego League competition, which is themed "Nature's Fury." They connected with schools in Galveston, Texas, to see how they can help the libraries damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008. The students have taken to social media to get the word out about their efforts to help school libraries"
by Michael Gorman
"Welcome to a series that examines the process of research. The first few posts will include that important pre-search process. In this series you are sure to find something that will fit any classroom"
There are those who believe that, because of the wealth of information available on the internet, the importance of the librarian is diminished. On the contrary, teaching digital literacy is an important role of the school librarian.
Steps in pre-search to help students develop their research questions. How often do we skip this, just give them the topic and move on for lack of time?
"Graphite was built by teachers for teachers. Our team of professional educators –- early childhood development experts, doctorates in education, and teachers with hands-on classroom experience –- rates each website, game, and app on Graphite based on our detailed rubric. Every product on Graphite is rigorously reviewed to dig deeper into what and how your students will learn with it. See more about How We Rate and Review.
We are working to help you cut through the clutter of websites, games, and apps that might be great for you and your students, if only you had the time to discover and evaluate them. Graphite’s dynamic community (and we really hope you’ll join us!) is sharing personal reviews and Field Notes about how to use specific learning products in the classroom."
Graphite is a wonderful site for busy educators and getting better all the time...very practical and informative and beautifully executed.
by Mark Ward
"I'm putting my twin, 10-year-old boys, Toby and Callum, through the Hour of Code - a campaign that seeks to ignite an interest in programming - the part we're doing using specially created web-based exercises.
"The campaign, begun in the US, has landed in the UK where it also coincides with government calls for as many children as possible to get coding.
"Programming is being pushed because in an ever more technological world it can only be a good thing to give people a peep into what goes on behind the touch screen, cash point and website.
"The Hour of Code is supposed to be the start of that journey and I, like many other parents, feel it's one my children should be embarking on. I do feel like a clock somewhere is ticking and unless they get started with this essential skill they'll be left behind.
"In the future kids are going to be doing programming," said Callum when I asked him why it was worth learning how to code. "We need to learn so we can do stuff with the computer otherwise it will be a blank page and never work."
via Technology & Learning
By Charles Arthur and Samuel Gibbs
"Apple has updated its iPhone software to version 7.1, fixing a number of issues that had frustrated users - including abrupt crashes, problems reading fingerprints and vertigo effects for some. It also refines the software’s appearance, boosts its speed on the iPhone 4, and adds options for photography and for choosing the gender of the voice of Siri, its built-in “assistant”.
"Released almost exactly six months after iOS 7.0, the update also blocks an exploit which had been used to “jailbreak” phones, and solidifies a security fix introduced in February to prevent snooping on web sessions.
"The update fixes a number of complaints that people had had around iOS 7, whose interface was completely revamped from its predecessor released in September 2012, in a crash project led by chief designer Jonathan Ive and software chief Craig Federighi following their promotion in October 2012 as chief executive Tim Cook fired Scott Forstall, who had overseen all iOS development from before the first iPhone’s launch."
"Last time we reflected on the idea of the internet being an amazing place filled with a wealth of information. I addressed what I feel are ten important pre-search strategies when beginning research with students. You can read about these strategies in the prior post. In this post, I wish to build on the steps outlined earlier. I would like to introduce some tools that can be used to help facilitate the pre-search period of time with students. By understanding the need for pre-search one can see how these tools, some of which you may already know, can be used in a different way to help students as they get ready to research. Please enjoy the tools and let me know of other that I can include in a future post."
by Sarah Perez
"...for the majority of users who just want to create a flyer, slideshow, invitation, poster, or just want to make an image to use in a blog post (ahem), Canva meets their needs. Like Google Docs (now Google Drive) was a “good enough” replacement for Microsoft Office with a simpler interface and less overwhelming feature set, Canva is aiming to be the tool that’s “good enough” for most everyday design-related tasks, too.
"But to become the tool that makes design accessible to the masses, Canva has to help people get over their fear of design – something it does through a fast 23-second “how to” guide upon first launch. It also offers a user interface that’s simple to understand, and a price point which is not prohibitive.
"In fact, Canva is completely free to use. Instead, the company plans to generate revenue through the paid images it sells on its platform, which are offered alongside the free selection. To fill its catalog, Canva has employed some designers to build the basic components in-house, but also reached out to professional photographers, designers, and illustrators, asking them to contribute their own portfolios to the service directly."
by Justin Boyle
"A surprisingly large percentage of people have never even heard the phrase, let alone thought about how to manage theirs responsibly. Among students, the percentage is probably higher. We’ll talk about ways you can help students understand and manage their digital footprints before they get themselves in trouble.
The Definition Of A Digital Footprint
"Simply put, a digital footprint is the record or trail left by the things you do online. Your social media activity, the info on your personal website, your browsing history, your online subscriptions, any photo galleries and videos you’ve uploaded — essentially, anything on the Internet with your name on it. Digital natives like today’s students rarely think twice about putting their names on things online, so their footprints can be pretty wide.
"Luckily for us all, most of the major sources of personal information can be tweaked so we share only certain things with the general public. There are even some third-party bonus tools available to manage the parts of our digital footprints we might not know were there."
by Richard Byrne
"Make Beliefs Comix is a free multilingual comic strip creation tool that I’ve featured many times over the years on Free Technology for Teachers. Recently, Make Beliefs Comix released an updated iPad app for creating comic strips. The best feature of the app is that it supports the creation of comics in seven languages; English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Latin.
"The free Make Beliefs Comix iPad app allows students to create two, three, and four panel comic strips. To create comics in the Make Beliefs Comix iPad app you simply select the number of frames you want to use then choose the characters that you want to feature in your story. After choosing your frames and characters you can type text into speech bubbles to tell your story."
by Matt Davis
"Of course, it can be a challenge to incorporate social media into lessons. There are many grey areas for teachers to navigate, like setting guidelines for instance. But to help teachers navigate this ever-changing landscape of social media tools, here are some of the best guides on the web for four popular networks -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest."
by Tamar Lewin
"Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced on Wednesday a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong, cutting obscure vocabulary words and making the essay optional."
"The ConnectEDucators program would help educators leverage technology and data to personalize learning and improve college- and career-ready instruction, ensuring that as schools increase access to broadband Internet through the ConnectED Initiative, teachers and leaders are prepared to use these resources in a way that increases student learning and achievement. [expand/collapse]"
Who decides what the right level is in a classroom? Some of the gurus out there are not people I trust to make those decisions.
by Michael McLaughlin
"Students in Kristen Zodrow's class at Basalt Middle School in Colorado are participating in a cultural exchange with students in Pakistan through a partnership with the Global Kids Connect program. The students write letters and posters for their Pakistani pen pals, and they create videos to express their views about honor, ownership and tolerance. "The object is to improve relations and help understand we may have a lot of differences, but we also have a lot in common," said Jodi Fischer, executive director of Global Kids Connect."
by Laura Devaney
"Integrating the arts into science, technology, engineering and math programs is increasingly popular. This article includes various tips, resources and tools from advocates and educators to help effectively teach STEAM. Among them are ArtsEdge from the Kennedy Center, TeacherVision Art Activities for Math Classes, which includes lesson plans, and STEAM not STEM, which promotes the integration of arts education as the key to creativity and innovation."
The Next Generation in Student Flashcards - Cardwiki
by Eric Sheninger
"One of the reasons why Cardkiwi is so effective is because it utilizes a memory building technique known as spaced repetition. Numerous studies (Spitzer: 1939, Cepeda et al: 2008,) into human memory have shown that memory retention can be improved by spacing out your exposure to information, so that you review the information again at the optimal moment. Whilst pen and paper flashcards allow you to space out your exposure to new material, working out when would be the best time to look at the material again could be a waste of your time. Clever algorithms used by online flashcard systems mean that the flashcard app will know when to show you each flashcard for maximum effect. By allowing you to rate your understanding/memory of each specific card, the Cardkiwi app will start to show you the cards that you have a better understanding of less frequently, and the cards that you don’t understand yet, more frequently! For more information on spaced repetition, take a look HERE."
by Mike Taylor
A great demonstration of how to use PowerPoint to create highly effective graphic illustrations. Your students will definitely love to learn these terrific techniques. Be sure to watch the video -- an outstanding demonstration.