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

PhET Interactive Simulations
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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

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

Curiosity

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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/

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.

Happy Pi Day! Mmmm Delicious Pi Edtech Resources

Wikipedia_Pi_pie2

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.

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!