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.

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.

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!

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.