The S.T.E.A.M. Train Rides Again! Learning through Design and Creativity.

STEAM Creativity

Image courtesy of Terry Williams and Thomine Wilson

Once again, I share with you all a science, a technology, an engineering, an art, and a math digital learning resources in honor of S.T.E.A.M. learning! Check out the first S.T.E.A.M. Train article to learn more about STEAM learning.

Most of the resources listed below cover the “create” section of Bloom’s Taxonomy. With these edtech tools learners will practice planning (designing) and constructing, which according to Bloom’s Taxonomy promotes higher order thinking skills. They are ideal for infusing art learning concepts into the STEM subjects. 

Without further ado, here are some edtech resources to help build your creative skills:

Science

Molecules
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What this Resource Includes: Touch-Interactive Molecular Dynamics Simulation, 348 Molecules to Interact with, Molecules Book, Video Lessons
Subjects: Chemistry
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: $13.99
What it does well: Molecules includes 14 chapters and thousands of video lessons about the many different kinds of molecules in the universe. Using this interactive app, users touch molecules and observe how they move. You can also adjust the temperature and see how the molecules react. It balances interactivity with informative video and text very well.

Technology

Trinket
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What this Resource Includes: Text Code Editor, Block Code Editor, Online Sharing Options, Teacher Lesson Resources, Blog
Subjects: Programming, Music
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners & Teachers
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Trinket allows users to write and run code on any internet browser. Students can learn about Python, HTML5, and even how to write music! There is also the option to write and run code using the coding blocks that were prominent in Scratch, great for the younger learners. Teacher resources include a few “How-to” lesson ideas that can be implemented in the classroom. The social sharing and embedding features are unique for a coding platform and can enhance learning. They can encourage students to show off their work or enable teachers to embed code snippets onto their own websites for their students to see.

Engineering

Tinkercad

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What this Resource Includes: 3-D Creation Platform, Step-by-Step Lessons
Subjects: Geometry
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Tinkercad lets users design and create 3-D objects online. Users can then take their creations to a 3-D printer and bring them to life! The site also provides learning materials to help users become experts in 3-D designers in no time! Tinkercad would be great to use in maker spaces with 3-D printers.

Art

Paper
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What this Resource Includes: Art Project Templates
Subjects: Art, Design
Grade Level: K-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Free
What it does well: Paper provides its users with a blank canvas and various art tools for creating personalized designs. The app also includes several collaborative features so users can share their work and receive feedback from other artists.

Mathematics

Geoboard
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What this Resource Includes: Interactive Peg Board, Drawing Tool
Subjects: Geometry
Grade Level: K-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based, iPhone & iPad
Price: Free
What it does well: Geoboard allows learners to create geometric shapes through rubber bands and a peg board. This is a very creative way for users to learn about geometry through exploration and experimenting. The rubber bands can be manipulated on the peg board to form a line, segments, angles, and shapes. This can be a great teaching tool for explaining geometric concepts like calculating the area of a shape, symmetry, or fractions.

Do you know of any other Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, or Math edtech resources? Share it with the rest of the class by commenting below!

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

Let the Coding Games Begin! 5 Awesome Edtech Games that Teach Programming

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Today I will share five games that teach players programming concepts through game-based learning. Some of the advantages of learning through gaming include promoting active learning and building problem-solving skills.

Playing to learn

Most video games encourage players to learn in order to advance in the game. When a player first starts a game they need to learn how to control and manipulate different elements in the game such as a character or various game pieces. Then they will need to formulate strategies to complete a goal for a level in order to move on. If a player fails to complete the level’s objective they would need to learn from their mistakes, rethink their strategy, and try again.

Once a player reaches the next level they will need to repeat the process. Every level increases in difficulty which keeps players on their toes. Players are encouraged to complete these increasingly challenging levels through internal game rewards. These rewards can include game points, new levels, or continuing the game story.

These are just some ways gaming can engage and promote learning. The educational games listed all use these game-based learning elements to make teaching programming fun and engaging.

Here are 5 Coding games to get you started:

Code Combat
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What this Resource Includes: Games Levels, Game Community Forum
Subjects: Programming
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: CodeCombat is an RPG game where players write code in order to control their characters. The game promotes learning code through writing actual strings of code! The forums are a great resource for learners who may get stuck during the game.

Doctor Who: The Doctor and the Dalek
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What this Resource Includes: Game Levels, Teacher Resources
Subjects: Programming
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPad & Android tablets
Price: Free
What it does well: Doctor Who: The Doctor and the Dalek teach programming concepts by using elements from the show. Fans of the show will definitely get excited about learning code through this game! The BBC website also includes resources for teachers to use.

My Robot Friend
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What this Resource Includes: Game Levels
Subjects: Programming, Math, Spelling
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: $3.99
What it does well: My Robot Friend is an educational game that covers multiple subjects: math, spelling, and programming. The game helps users build their problem-solving skills by using coding concepts to navigate the robot through each level. There are incentives to complete each level, some of which include achievements, ribbons, and coins to get customizations options for the robot. The game is a great way to introduce learners as young as 5-year-old to programming concepts.

Run Marco!
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What this Resource Includes: Game Levels
Subjects: Programming
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad, Android, Google Chrome Extension
Price: Free
What it does well: Run Marco is a game with an original story where players will need to complete levels in order to progress with the story. Players set off on a journey with Marco and control the character through stackable command blocks similar to the ones in Scratch. The game is able to attract an international audience because it is available in 17 languages!

Kodable
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What this Resource Includes: Games Levels, Lesson Plans, Activities, Video Tutorials, Teacher Dashboard,
Subjects: Programming, Spelling, Vocabulary
Grade Level: K-12
Audience: Learners & Teachers
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Freemium
What it does well: Kodable is a game that includes great features and resources for teachers. This game is great for young learners to start getting familiar with programming concepts. Teachers can view a student’s progress in the game through a dashboard. Through the dashboard, teachers can add multiple students, view their learning progress, and see which Common Core standards were met. Kodable 

For more edtech resources for learning how to code check out the Coding Edtech Resources Pinterest board (which will always be updated with new resources):

http://www.pinterest.com/edtechfunction/coding-edtech-resources/

Do you know of any other Coding edtech games? Share them with the rest of the class by commenting below!

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

Aprender Español! Spanish Language Edtech Resources

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Benefits of Learning a Second Language

Today I share with you all a few Spanish Language Learning Edtech websites and apps. These resources are ideal for learning enough words and phrases in Spanish to carry a basic conversation. Learning a new language can have several psychological benefits, including improved memory, multi-tasking, and even a better understanding your native language!

So if you are interested in learning some Spanish then check out these edtech resources. Here are a few that can help you get started:

Cat Spanish

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What this Resource Includes: Learning Vocabulary through Visual Representation, Adaptive Testing
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Freemium (First 3 levels are free)
What it does well: Cat Spanish teaches Spanish through cats! It’s great for cat lovers! The app uses humor through various cat pictures to teach users new Spanish words. It’s a great way to engage learners and encourage them to keep using the app. It includes thousands of Spanish words and phrases to learn. Cat Spanish is an entertaining way to build your Spanish vocabulary.

FluentU

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What this Resource Includes: Video Lessons, Digital Flashcards, Quizzes
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners & Teachers
Platform: Web-based
Price: Freemium, Subscription based, Academic Pricing
What it does well: FluentU teaches users Spanish through real world videos, audio, and flashcards. The videos and audio are accompanied by captions in both Spanish and English. They also include a list of vocabulary words and phrases that were used in the video or audio clip, which users can download. Teachers can also sign up for FluentU. They can assign the videos, audios and flashcards to their students.

Lingualia

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What this Resource Includes: Adaptive Learning, Learning Statistics, Vocabulary Lessons
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based, Android, iPhone &iPad
Price: Free
What it does well: Lingualia has four sections that help users learn Spanish: Lingu, Challenge, Lessons, and Activities. The Lingu section present mini-lessons that users can complete at their own pace. The difficulty of the lessons adapts to the user’s previous actions. Lingualia keeps statistics of words or phrases learned through lessons and track site activity. These lessons cover Spanish vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and comprehension. Lingualia also employs some social learning elements. In the Challenge section, users can compete against other users through quizzes. Finally, users can also download any of the Spanish lessons in pdf form in the Lessons section.

For more edtech resources for learning Spanish check out the Spanish Language Learning Edtech Resources Pinterest board (which will always be updated with new resources):

http://www.pinterest.com/edtechfunction/spanish-language-edtech-resources/

Do you know of any other Spanish Language Learning edtech resources? Share it with the rest of the class by commenting below!

Hasta la próxima, seguir aprendiendo todos!

All aboard the S.T.E.A.M. Train! Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics Edtech Resources

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Image courtesy of Terry Williams and Thomine Wilson

What is STEAM?

S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics. It’s STEM education but with the addition of the art subject. STEAM learning can promote creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Integrating art concepts like design into STEM subjects can encourage students create innovative projects, products, and solutions.  Although the arts may not get a lot of love in schools, a study showed that when it was integrated in a classroom students were more creative, engaged, and more effective at problem solving than a non-art integrated classroom.

The STEAM Train

In honor of the STEAM learning philosophy every month or so I will share a collection of edtech resources, one for each of the STEAM subjects. Here are a few to get you started:

Science

Bobo Explores Light
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What this Resource Includes: Science Reading Material, Interactive Content
Subjects: Physics
Grade Level: 3-6
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPad
Price: $4.99
What it does well: Bobo Explores Light is a great app to introduce young kids to a few concepts of physics. It resembles an interactive e-book with a robot as your guide. Each page cover a different scientific concept. Users can interact with gadgets, lasers and other science instruments in the app and learn by observing reactions from these interactive features. The app also provides reading material about science phenomenon including lasers, lightning, and bio-luminescence.

Technology

Code Hunt
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What this Resource Includes: Coding Games
Subjects: Programming-Java, C#
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Code Hunt is a programming online game from the Research in Software Engineering group and Connections group at Microsoft Research. As of now it teaches users Java and C# coding. The game consists of many levels where players learn about arithmetic operators, conditional statements, loops, strings, search algorithms and more.

Engineering

123D Circuits
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What this Resource Includes: Breadboard, Schematic and PCB editor, Shop for Electrical Circuit Kits
Subjects: Electrical Engineering
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: 123D Circuits is an online circuit breadboard simulator that lets users experiment with digital circuits and share them with an online community. The site also includes a shop where users can purchase conductive pens and various circuit kits. It even includes a basic circuit kit designed for teachers to use in a classroom.

Art

Chromatik
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What this Resource Includes: Digital Music Sheets
Subjects: Music Sheet Reading
Grade Level: 3-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPad
Price: Free
What it does well: Chromatik is a music learning app that includes music teaching tools like sheet music, electronic recorders, metronomes, and tuners. The app includes a music sheet library from different genres of music. Users can create their own sheet music and share it on the app. They can also record themselves playing an instrument and then share the audio with the Chromatik community or through social media.

Mathematics

Dragonbox Algebra
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What this Resource Includes: Math Games
Subjects: Algebra
Grade Level: 1-6
Audience: Learners
Platform: Android, iPad & iPhone
Price: $4.99 & $7.99
What it does well: Dragonbox teaches players algebra without any numerical values. There are two versions of the game with 12+ being more difficult than 5+. It has game mechanics that makes it addicting, similar to other mobile games like Angry Birds. Each level becomes increasingly difficult to keep challenging the player. A score of up to three stars can be earned for each level. The less moves a player made to complete the level, the higher the score. Dragonbox earns bonus points for providing teacher resources on their website. It includes manuals, worksheets, and Common Core standards alignment.

Do you know of any other Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, or Math edtech resources? Share it with the rest of the class by commenting below!

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

Flipped Classroom Edtech Resources. A Collection of Video Lesson Customization Tools.

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Image courtesy of Mikel Agirregabiria via Flickr

Flipping Classrooms is an increasingly popular teaching practice that involves teachers providing students with a video lesson to watch at home, then going over the learning material through an activity the next day in the classroom. The advantage of having students watch the lecture at home so that teachers have more time in the classroom to help students with activities and provide them with personal one-on-one help.

I first learned about flipped classrooms late in 2011 through the blog postings of Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann. They were both science teachers who had their students watch lessons at home and then work on hands-on science activities the next day. Working on these activities in the classroom allowed the teachers to give students more personal one-on-one help than if they were to do it at home.

Today I share edtech resources that help teachers create and customize their own video lessons. Making them more interactive by inserting discussion prompts, multiple-choice questions, images, or video. These resources also give teachers and students access to an online library of video lessons from other teachers.

Here are some edtech tools and resources that can help you get started:

Vialogues
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What this Resource Includes: Video Lesson Library, Video Lesson Customization
Grade Level: Any
Audience: Teachers & Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Vialogues is an educational video platform that encourages discussions around specific points in a video. The platform utilizes time-stamped comments. This feature is great for encouraging discussions about different parts of a video lesson. Teachers can use videos from several different sources. They can upload their own video, or use an existing video from YouTube, Vimeo, or Vialogues. After uploading a video to Vialogues, teachers can add their own comments to encourage discussion. They can also add multiple-choice assessment questions or polls to gather students’ feedback. A nifty feature is the timeline graph with every video that shows how many comments were made at a specific point in a video. Vialogues has a vast library of education-related videos. This makes it a safe for students to explore the other videos on the site. 

EduCanon
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What this Resource Includes: Video Lesson Library, Video Lesson Customization
Grade Level: Any
Audience: Teachers & Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Educanon is a video platform that allows teachers to insert questions or different types of media into specific points in a video lesson. Much like Vialogues teachers can upload videos from YouTube or other similar sites. Teachers are able to customize a video lesson so that it will automatically pause when a question or media is set to appear. They can also monitor their students’ activities (views or answers to questions) on a video lesson.

ShowMe

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What this Resource Includes: Video Lesson Library, Video Lesson Customization
Grade Level: Any
Audience: Teachers & Learners
Platform: iPad, Web-based
Price: Freemium
What it does well: ShowMe is an iPad app that allows teachers to create their own lesson and have access to a library of teacher-created lessons. Teachers are able to use the app like a whiteboard and draw out their lesson. They can also add their own images to the lesson. They can also record their voice. This app is ideal for math teachers who want to create their own lessons for students to watch at any time. Users can also visit the website and peruse the library of video lessons.

EDpuzzle

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What this Resource Includes: Video Cropping, Video Lesson Library, Video Lesson Customization
Grade Level: Any
Audience: Teachers & Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: EDpuzzle enables teachers to take a video lesson and embed questions throughout the video. What is unique about EDpuzzle is that teachers are able to crop sections of any video. With this feature teachers can pick out small chunks of a video and assign them to their students.
For more edtech resources for flipped classrooms check out the Flipped Classroom Edtech Resources Pinterest board (which will always be updated with new resources):

Do you know any other edtech resources for flipped classrooms that aren’t listed? Comment below and share with the rest of the class!

Smile! Social and Emotional Learning Edtech Resources

imageImage courtesy of WhatMattDoes via Flickr

I try my best to share the most useful edtech resources that most teachers may not be aware of. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought may be appropriate to share a few social and emotional learning edtech resources. From my experience social and emotional learning isn’t widely talked about in the edtech space. It involves teaching students how to identify and control their emotions, feel and show empathy towards others, and establish positive relationships.

Learning how to tap into positive emotions may help students perform better academicallyIt can also help students manage stress and help deal with bullying. Social and emotional learning can begin as early as preschool and continue through a person’s life.

Here are a few social and emotional edtech resources to get you started:

If…The Emotional IQ Game image

What this Resource has: Emotional IQ Games, Social Puzzles, Parent Dashboard, Curriculum & Activities, Player Avatars
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Freemium, Subscription
What it does well: IF… fully immerses players into the game with great visuals with voiced characters. Players can also customize their avatar further engaging them in the game. By following the game’s story players will learn how to manage stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, and frustration. The game is split into several chapters. Each chapter equates to one month’s worth of lessons. Though the game requires a subscription, the first chapter is free to play.

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What this Resource has: Teacher Dashboard, Progress Tracker, Parent-Teacher Messaging System, Student Avatars
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Teachers, Parents, & Learners
Platform: Web-based, Android devices, iPhone, iPad, & Smartboards
Price: Free
What it does well: This class management platform encourages positive emotions in the classroom. Teachers can award positive feedback to students to encourage good behavior in the classroom. Class Dojo allows parents and teachers to communicate easily through their messaging feature. Also, both parents and students can view teacher feedback. These features are a great way of keeping parents informed.

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What this Resource has: Animation Clips, Games, Progress Tracker
Grade Level: PreK-1
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Free
What it does well: iLearn with Poko teaches young students (ages 5 and under) how to correctly identify an emotion by watching short animated clips. An interesting aspect of the app is that it teaches a few art concepts, as well as social development. It also teaches students listening and comprehension, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Parents can view their child’s progress through the app’s progress tracker.

Check out this Pinterest board full of edtech resources that can help promote social and emotional learning.

Sharpen up your writing skills together! Social Writing Edtech Platforms

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Image courtesy of Erich Stüssi

Today I’m sharing edtech websites and apps that can help students improve their writing. I’ve gathered edtech resources that promote better writing through social learning. These resources provide users an online space to practice and share their written work. They encourage peer to peer learning by allowing users to give feedback on each other’s work. Writers can also learn from each other by observing the written works of their peers . These edtech tools are great for teachers who want students to learn better writing through their peers. 

Here are a few social writing platforms to get you started:

Write About

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What this Resource has: Teacher Feedback Tools, Student Activity Dashboard, Student Social Features, Teacher to Teacher Collaborations
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Teachers & Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Write About is a great online writing community for teachers and their students. Teachers can facilitate writing assignments and provide feedback for all students in their classroom. They can also receive support and ideas from their fellow teachers on the site. Students can view their classmates’ written work as well as the public works of students from other schools.

Story Bird

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What this Resource has: Writing Platform, E-book Library
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Story Bird is a family friendly website that allows its users to create stories with great visuals. In addition to writing students can also read the written works of other users. An interesting aspect is Story Bird is that it categories its library by three categories: stories, poetry, and blogs. It also allows writers to use tags that will make their stories easier to find.

Write the World

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What this Resource has: Online Community
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Write the World is an online writing community for young writers. Some interesting features of this website that makes out stand out include writing prompts, challenges, and competitions. Through these learning features the site helps its users get the ideas and encouragement needed to start writing which I think it’s the most difficult part of the process.

Widbook

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What this Resource has: E-book Writing Platform
Grade Level: 3-5
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based, App Store, Google Play
Price: Free
What it does well: Widbook is an online platform where users can write and publish their own e-books. One notable feature of this writing platform is that use do not necessarily need to complete their e-book before publishing. They can receive feedback from other users as they’re writing their story. Widbook also allows users to insert images, videos, and links into their e-books. 

So there you have it four edtech resources that promote better writing through social learning. If you have any similar edtech resources that weren’t mentioned on this list then please share in the comments below.

Check out this Pinterest board full of edtech resources that can help improve your grammar and writing skills.

http://www.pinterest.com/edtechfunction/grammar-writing-english-edtech-tools/