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.

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.