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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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.

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.

Programming Edtech Collection for Young Learners

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Image from Donnie Ray Jones of Flickr

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first Edtech Collection blog post! Here is where I’ll gather any edtech resources that I believe are noteworthy to share with teachers and parents. The reason I’m doing this is because whenever I’ve talked to teachers through Twitter chats I would get requests for lists of educational resources on specific subjects. Which is why I’ve decided to start creating these collections of Edtech resources and share them with you all. The most requested subject would be programming which is why this first collection is focused on resources that help build programming skills.

Programming is definitely a subject that many teachers and parents are now starting to teach to young children. But before kids can start learning how to write Java, Html, or C++, it would be beneficial if they first learned programming logic. Some say all kids would benefit from learning programming logic. Thankfully these edtech resources are geared toward younger students and does a great job of teaching them programming logic like program structure, variable declaration, loops, and conditional statements. They also help build important skills like problem solving. These programming resources all capture the younger crowd’s attention by using bright colors and characters. Keeping them engaged as they are learning.

I’ve listed some of the most interesting educational resources that can teach most elementary school students programming logic. Check out the Pinterest board which you can view below.

I’m also sharing a Google Sheet document that contains the collection and includes more information about each resource. This is so that you can copy and paste the programming edtech collection for your reference rather than keeping it confined to this blog. This would also give you a nice start to creating your own edtech collection.

Here is the Programming Edtech Collection for Young Learners:

Note that this isn’t the definitive list. If you’re reading this blog post from the future then check the collection Pinterest board and Google Sheet which will always be updated with any new resources I may find.

If there are any coding edtech resources you would like to add to this list please leave me a comment below. This is just the first of many edtech collections posts, so if you have any feedback or suggestions for next time let me know!

Until next time keep programming everyone.