Improve Your Grammar While Writing Emails! Mini Edtech Function Review on Grammarly

Grammarly

image

What this Resource Includes:
Writing Platform, Grammar Check, Plagiarism Checker, Citation Generator

Bonus Points:
Grammar Learning Material, Online Thesaurus, Online Forum for Grammar Questions

Subjects:
Grammar

Grade Level:
3-12+

Audience:
Learners

Platform:
Google Chrome Extension

Price:
Freemium-Monthly Subscription

What it does well:
Grammarly is a Google chrome extension that can check your grammar while performing daily internet tasks like writing an email or a blog. Downloading the Grammarly Google Chrome extension will allow the program to check a user’s grammar for any website that has a writing field. Users can also open up a word processing document in Chrome and write freely while Grammarly suggests corrections automatically. This writing platform is able to catch more grammar mistakes than most word processors. For example, it does a really good job of informing writers when to use commas. In addition to every grammar suggestion is a small explanation for why a word or phrase is grammatically incorrect. Writers can learn from their mistakes as they are writing. Grammarly also provides an online grammar handbook for writers who want to learn more about how to improve their grammar.
Link:
https://www.grammarly.com/

Learning Math and Science through Simulations. Mini Edtech Function Review on PhET Interactive Simulations

PhET Interactive Simulations
image
What this Resource Includes:
Science and Math Simulations, Suggested List of Learning Goals, Lesson Ideas & Activities

Subjects:
Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Math

Grade Level:
K-12+

Audience:
Learners & Teachers

Platform:
Web-based

Price:
Free

Bonus Points:
Each Simulation can be downloaded and used offline, Simulations are designed through educational research

What it does well:
PhET Interactive Simulations is a learning resource from the University of Colorado that has a library of science and math simulations. These simulations allows anyone to learn about specific science or math concepts through direct interaction. Some of these concepts include: sound and waves, quantum phenomena, balloons and static electricity, and density. Users can experiment in the simulation environment and observe the reactions produced. The PhET simulations are accompanied by useful teacher resources such as a list of topics the simulation covers, sample learning goals, teaching ideas and activities. Teachers can submit their own teaching ideas and activities for each simulation which can be added to the website. One interesting aspect of the site is how every simulation can be downloaded to a computer, CD, or USB. Making it convenient for teachers, who can use them in classrooms that do not have an internet connection. These simulations were designed to be used in the classroom and have been tested for educational effectiveness. The testing process include student interviews and observation of simulation use in the classroom.  All simulations are free to use and the website even includes the source code for each simulation.
Link:
http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/new

Learn Programming Logic with this Lego Mindstorms Game. Mini Edtech Function Review on Fix the Factory

Fix the Factory

image

What this Resource Includes: 24 Game Levels
Subjects: Programming
Grade Level: 3-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based, Android, iPhone & iPad
Price: Free
Bonus Points: Excellent Graphics, Builds problem-solving skills, Game challenges players to complete levels in less moves and time
What it does well: Fix the Factory is a game that teaches players the basics of programming logic. The game is completely free and available on most devices. Players are able to give commands to a robot called EV3RSTORM from Lego Mindstorms to help it navigate each stage. These commands include moving in different directions, turning around, and picking up objects. The goal of each stage is to pick up a battery pack and bring it to a specific area. There are 24 stages total that become more difficult to navigate and complete. As players advance into the game, they gain access to more commands for EV3RSTORM. Players can receive higher scores for each stage based on how few moves, time, attempts, and errors it takes to complete a stage.

Fix the Factory is a great way to introduce kids to basic programming logic. It also encourages kids to think logically and build problem-solving skills in order to complete each stage. Additionally, the game’s graphics look excellent and does a great job of drawing the player into the game.
Link: http://www.lego.com/en-us/mindstorms/games

An Online Library of Educational Videos & Smart Memes. Mini Edtech Function Review on Curiosity

Curiosity

image

What this Resource Includes: Educational Videos, Smart Memes
Subjects: Art, Business, DIY, Education, Physical Education, Math, Medicine, Music, Science, Social Studies
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
Bonus Points: Easy to share Smart Memes, Create and customize educational video playlists, Ideal resource for flipped or blended classrooms
What it does well: Curiosity
is a great resource for finding educational videos on a variety of subjects. These videos are hand-selected from a wide variety of educational websites, YouTube channels, and other resources. What it does really well is organize educational videos into playlists with specific learning goals. The most interesting aspect of the Curiosity library is their collection of Smart Memes. These Smart Memes are images embed with interesting facts that, when clicked on, leads to an educational video  where users can learn more about the topic. Curiosity would be ideal for teachers who flip or blend their classrooms. They can find the educational videos they need from reliable resources. Teachers can also create their own playlists to share with their students. The site provides a safe learning environment. Teachers can allow their students to explore the site without fearing that they will find inappropriate content.

Link: https://curiosity.com/

An Academic Writing Platform That Helps You Research, Write, and Format Academic Papers. Mini Edtech Function on ComWriter

Comwriter

image

What this Resource Includes: Writing Templates, Research Material, Writer Dashboard, Citation Creator, Bibliography Creator
Subjects: Academic Writing
Grade Level: 12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Freemium
What it does well: ComWriter is a very handy online tool for anyone who needs help in writing academic papers like dissertations, a thesis, or research papers. What it does best is help the writer structure their thoughts with writing outlines. The outlines separate the different parts of a research paper like cover, preliminaries, body, and addenda. Each part is collapsible enabling writers to focus on one part at a time. Within each part writers can add in sections like headings, paragraphs, long quotes, lists, and images. Writing academic papers involve research other literature and referencing these other resources. ComWriter helps writers find academic resources for their paper through their Public Library. It can also easy create bibliographies and cite any resources that writers may use in their academic papers. Finally this writing platform allows users to format their paper using predefined or user customized writing styles. The predefined writing styles include APA, Harvard, and MLA.
Bonus Points: Writer’s Dashboard with printing options, due date tracker, and word count progress bar.
Link: http://comwriter.com

Learn New Languages by Reading News Articles. Mini Edtech Function Review on Lingua.ly

Lingua.ly

image

What this Resource Includes: News Articles, Quizzes, Vocabulary Word Bank, International Dictionary
Subjects: English, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish
Grade Level: 3-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based, iPhone & iPad, Android
Price: Free
What it does well: Lingua.ly is an app that uses the learner’s interests to tech then a new language. The learning materials are actual articles plucked from the internet. Users can read an article and touch words to receive their English translation. These words can also be added to a vocabulary bank to practice learning in the future. There are many articles to choose from and users can select the topic of their choice (business, education, etc.). The articles are a short reading perfect for learning on the go. Also included are vocabulary quizzes for additional language learning.
Bonus Points: Personal Learning, Interest-driven Learning, Adaptive Learning, Mobile Learning
Link: http://lingua.ly/m/

Edtech Function Review: Glean, The Video Lesson Library that Tracks Viewership. Great for Flipped Classrooms!

image

Subjects: Math & Science
Subject Topics: Algebra, Geometry, Biology, Chemistry
What this Resource Includes: Video Lesson Library, Teacher Dashboard
Grade Level: 6-12
Resource Audience: Teachers & Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
Useful for these teaching practices: Flipped Classrooms, Blended Learning
Bonus Points: Very mobile friendly! Nice Progress Visualization

Today I will be reviewing Glean, a website with an online library of math and science video lessons. What interested me most about Glean was their Insight functionality which is able to track if students viewed a teacher-assigned video and show which parts were replayed. The site has a collection of math and science videos from various online sources (Khan Academy, YouTube, etc.). When users are watching a video they are given a list of recommended videos from other teachers on the site that cover the same topic. This gives them plenty of learning options.

What it does well:

Glean has a useful tagging system that easily identifies what learning concepts are covered in a video. They are also tagged with the Common Core standards the videos meet. Teachers can assign videos to their students by sharing a link. They are able to see if their students have viewed the video in real time through a live progress bar. The progress bar is filled in with blue to show how much of the video a student viewed once. Teachers can also see if a student has viewed parts of a video multiple times. The live progress bar visualizes this by filling in sections of the bar green where the video section was viewed more than once. This is a great way for teachers to view all their students’ progress easily.

What it can do better:

For now the lessons cover mostly math and science subjects. It would be great to see video lessons on subjects like social studies, grammar, and more. Also, it would be beneficial for teachers to be able to add questions to every video they assign and receive private feedback from students. This would make video lesson assignments more interactive and engaging.

What it comes down to:

Glean is ideal for math and science teachers to use, especially for those who blend or flip their classrooms. It’s also an ideal resource for students who may need extra help understanding math and science concepts. Glean is free to use and accessible from any device. It is a video lesson library that is definitely worth perusing.

What do you think about Glean? Would you use it in the classroom? Sound off in the comments below! If you would like to see more Flipped Classroom Edtech Resources then check out the Pinterest board below:

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

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

NATURE

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
image

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
image

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
image

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!
image

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
image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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!

Sharpen up your writing skills together! Social Writing Edtech Platforms

404989742_89aa05a13f_b
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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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/