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.

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What’s Better than an Infographic? How About 5 Interactive Infographics!

5 Interactive Infographics

As someone who deals with data on a daily basis, I can appreciate a great looking infographic. Most people love to learn from infographics. Check out this infographic, Why Your Brain Craves Infographics, to see why. Usually infographics are static images, but lately I have found a few that are interactive.

Here’re a few examples of these types of infographics:

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The Journey to the Centre of the Earth infographic from BBC explores the deep reaches of the earth and ocean. As you scroll down the infographic displays fun pieces of information such as the ocean depth where whale sharks live or the deepest bat colony. As you scroll down the info changes depending on how far down you scroll. The infographic simulates digging deep down into the Earth which provides a very interactive experience.

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BBC has another similar infographic, How Big is Space, where you can scroll down to explore the sky and space!

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Google also has a scroll down interactive infographic about How Search Works. Scrolling down each page reveals more information. Clicking on the different icons reveals more information or directs to external learning resources. What’s interesting about this infographic is how hovering the mouse pointer over some icons can initiate an animation.

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Beneath the Thinking Cap allows you to explore the different parts of the brain. Clicking on the different parts reveals information about the functions of the specific part. This type of infographic does not overwhelm viewers with a barrage of information. Instead, they can focus on learning about each part of the brain separately.

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Some interactive infographics can include multiple pages which usually tell a story. A great example of this would be the How Data Travel Around the Globe infographic.

Do you know of any interactive infographics that are not listed here? If so then share with the rest of the class through the comments below.

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

Happy Pi Day! Mmmm Delicious Pi Edtech Resources

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What is Pi Day?

Happy Pi Day! On March 14th (3/14), math nerds all over the world will be celebrating one of the most famous irrational numbers (sorry tau)! I believe this year’s Pi Day is very special because the date (at least the American date) is 3/14/15 which represents the first five digits of pi. Even better this year the date and time, 3/14/15 9:26:53 am, will represent the first ten digits of Pi (3.141592653)! The greek letter π represents pi and it was first used by William Jones in 1706. Its value is usually rounded out to 3.14 for everyday calculations. If I were to write every single digit of pi it would probably take me years upon years to write out. Currently pi clocks in to be about 10 trillion digits!

So what’s so special about the number pi? Well it’s the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. No matter what the size of a circle may be, this ratio will always remain the same. It will always be equal to about 3.14 or pi! When it comes to measuring the area or volume of geometric shapes, like circles or cylinders, pi makes this calculation much easier!

Interesting Pi Learning Resources

These two interesting gifs can give you a visualization explanation of pi:

Check out this progressive rock music video in honor of the number pi from the Numberphile Youtube channel:

Here is a great Math Edtech Resource where you can learn more about Pi!

Geogebra

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What this Resource Includes: Subjects: Geometry, Algebra
Subjects: Geometry, Algebra, Statistics, and Calculus
Grade Level: 6-12
Audience: Learners, Teachers
Platform: iPhone & iPad, Android, Chrome, Windows

Price: Free
What it does well: Geogebra gives learners the space to freely interact with shapes and learn about their properties. Users can learn through exploration and experimentation. Learners will have a deeper understanding of geometric shapes by creating their own shapes, angles, and graphs. The site also includes a nice library of learning materials and worksheets, which were created by the users. Teachers can also use Geogebra to create their own lessons and easily share them with their students.

How will you celebrate Pi Day? Do you have any other delicious Pi learning resources? Comment below and share with the rest of the class.

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

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

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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

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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.