International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is an iPad app that offers a plethora of free books specifically selected for kids and young learners. The app is a fruit of the partnership between the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab and the International Children's Digital Library Foundation.
ICDL features a large collection of children’s books from over 60 countries and in different languages. The books are provided in highly readable format with beautiful illustrations and graphics. The purpose behind this project is to “to excite and inspire young readers to become better world citizens by leveraging technology to reach underserved children who have little access to libraries. The ICDL is offered free of charge to everyone, everywhere with no advertising.”
Some of the features ICDL offers to its users include:
- The full ICDL collection (thousands of books)
- Completely free
- Books in dozens of languages
- iPad support for rotation (automatically shows two pages at a time in landscape view)
- All books have summaries in English and the native language of the book
- Special support for readability - by zooming text (for many books)
- Many books translated into other languages
Desmos is a good platform for math teachers and students. Desmos is a graphing calculator that allows you to easily plot functions, create tables, add sliders, animate graphs and many more. Some of the features it provides to users include:
- Graphing: Plot polar, cartesian, or parametric graphs. There’s no limit to how many expressions you can graph at one time - and you don’t even need to enter expressions in y= form!
- Sliders: Adjust values interactively to build intuition, or animate any parameter to visualize its effect on the graph
- Tables: Input and plot data, or create an input-output table for any function
- Statistics: Find best-fit lines, parabolas, and more
- Zooming: Scale the axes independently or at the same time with the pinch of two fingers, or edit the window size manually to get the perfect window
- Points of Interest: Touch a curve to show maximums, minimums, and points of intersection. Tap the gray points of interest to see their coordinates. Hold and drag along a curve to see the coordinates change under your finger
- Scientific Calculator: Just type in any equation you want to solve and Desmos will show you the answer. It can handle square roots, logs, absolute value, and more
- Inequalities: Plot cartesian and polar inequalities.
Compound Interest is a blog by Andy Brunning, a chemistry teacher in the UK. Andy creates and shares a wide variety of educational posters and graphics on everything related to chemistry and chemical reactions. We spent sometime browsing Andy’s collection of graphics and we found them really worth mentioning here.
Andy’s graphics are licensed under Creative Commons License, free for educational uses. You can find more about this site's copyright guidelines from this page. Also, the graphics are available in high quality PDF format which you can download and use with your students in class. Andy’s graphics have been featured in several popular media sites including:The Guardian, Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Insider and many more.
Here is an example of one of Andy's posters on how to spot bad science. We learned about this poster together with Compound Interest from Educational Technology Guy.
Educational app specifically designed for children to learn the decimal number system, while playing with cubes and listening smooth jazz melodies.
This app contains different math exercises, with three difficulty levels, to practice the concepts of:
- Decompose numbers into ones, tens and hundreds.
- Compare numbers.
- Order numbers from least to greatest and from greatest to least.
- Given a number, find the previous and next one.
All the numbers needed to solve the exercises are represented as classic wood blocks. The children will be able to solve the exercises in an intuitive manner, dragging the correct cubes into the solution boxes. The innovative proposal lies in the use of a physics engine, thanks to which, cubes seem to be the real world. While children solve the exercises, they are are able to throw cubes against each other, pile them up and drop them, interacting at a level never seen before with amazing results. Children will experience new emotions exercise after exercise.
Children are curious and they love experimenting with their surroundings. «Mathcubes Compare and Order for Kids» encourages this type of behavior, allowing children to discover the answer to the exercises that they find more challenging trying and following clues. You will see how in a short amount of time they will control all the numbers without hardly making an effort. They will surprise you!
Mathcubes series is part of School Cubes, a collection of educational apps developed with the certainty that learning should not be at odds with having fun. Fun lesson, learned lesson! For more information please visit www.schoolcubes.com.
Flocabulary is an excellent educational platform we discovered through Graphite. Flocabulary provides teachers with a digital library of educational music videos (hip-hop songs) to use in class to engage and inspire their k-12 students. Flocabulary has nearly 600 units in all subjects for grades K-12. All ELA, vocabulary, and math units are aligned to Common Core State Standards.
As a teacher you can use Flocabulary videos for a variety of instructional purposes that include introduction, enrichment, differentiated instruction and test prep. Most of the music videos included in this site are accompanied with a variety of materials such as song lyrics, online activities, and exercises.
Here is a quick tour of Flocabulary lesson sequence:
- Flocabulary presents academic content in a highly-engaging, contemporary format. Videos let the topic speak for itself, providing students with both visual and aural exposure.
- Each video includes additional resources to review and enrich: Use challenge questions for a quick formative assessment. Learn more while building literacy skills with interactive lyrics. And review key terms with fill in the blanks. You can also print activities and tests to formally assess student learning.
- Now it's time for students to write. Students can write their own rhymes, and even perform them over beats. Additionally, you can extend any lesson with Common Core-aligned writing activities, lessons and games.
Drawp for School is an excellent creativity and collaboration tool for teachers and students. It provides students with an intuitive blank canvas and a variety of drawing and painting tools to use for visualizing thoughts and for creating rich mixed media content. Students can collaboratively work on a drawing, add sticky notes, text, or even record audio clips and share them with teachers who, in their part, can provide feedback in the form of comments.
Drawp for School allows teachers to create classes and automatically add students. Once connected, teachers can create and share assignments and seamlessly manage their classes across different devices. Some other features provided by Drawp for School include:
- Powerful creation tools: drawing, painting, photos, text and voice stickers.
- SimpleShare™ technology: swipe to share and collaborate
- Protects privacy: COPPA compliant and has the TRUSTe seal of approval
- Unlimited storage in the Drawp cloud; compatible with Dropbox and Google Drive
- Safe and secure: no email or in-app purchases.
- Eases teacher workload: Drawp automatically collects, organizes and stores assignments
- Common Core aligned tips and collaboration tools
- Expedites teacher/parent communication
- Easy: Ideal tool for K-8 students
CamScanner is an excellent document scanning and sharing app. It allows you to instantly scan any type of text or graphic and save or share them with others. Using your phone or tablet camera, you can take a photo and CamScanner will automatically enhance the scanned results so you can easily email, print, fax or share them in PDF or PNG format.
Using the integrated OCR feature, CamScanner allows you to scan an image or PDF making all the text captured editable and searchable. You can use text and OCR to quickly find the document that you want. You can also invite colleagues and friends to view or provide feedback and comments on your scanned docs in a group.
Other features provided by CamScanner include:
- Smart cropping and auto enhancing make the texts and graphics look clear and sharp.
- By entering any keyword, you’ll see a list of docs with the word in their titles, notes or images.
- Extracts texts inside single page for further editing or .txt sharing.
- Easily share docs in PDF or JPEG format with others via social media, email attachment or sending the doc link.
- Instantly print out docs in CamScanner with nearby printer; directly fax docs to over 30 countries right from the app.
- Making annotations or adding customized watermark on docs are made available for you.
- Set passcode for viewing important docs; meanwhile, when sending doc link, you can set password to protect it.
CamScanner is available for both Android and iOS devices. CamScanner provides a free basic account with very limited features. Premium accounts ($4,99/month, $49,99/year) has more advanced features. Watch this video to learn more about CamScanner.
TinyTap is an excellent app that allows kids and students to easily create fun educational games and share them with others. TinyTap provides a great way for kids to develop their creative thinking and problem solving skills while engaging in creating and playing interactive games.
Some of the features TinyTap provides for users include:
- Graphics are enhanced to suit new iPad retina display
- Option to add own images, use iPad-shot pictures or use images from a web search
- Record your own voice over photos so your little ones can always hear a familiar voice
- Record a question, an answer and a hint for a rich, interactive user experience
- Personalize games with a selection of 20 different soundtracks
- Track a child’s progress using the in-game scoring system
- Intuitively simple interface – easy for any to create and play games
- Easy to share newly created games with friends and family
- Personalize pre-made games from the TinyTap store with narration and images.
Geddit is a great web tool that allows teachers to check on their students understanding in real-time. Geddit is a powerful response system ideal for inclusion in your classroom. Students can easily share with teachers feedback about the lessons being taught. All responses are recorded instantly so teachers can identify individual needs as they emerge.
Geddit also provides a set of quizzing features to help teachers with their formative assessments. These include multiple choice questions and short answer responses. Here is how to start using Geddit:
- Simply run Geddit during the lesson and start collecting real-time, emotive student feedback as they participate in your lesson.
- Ask your students to check-in through Geddit, they usually make around 5 check-ins per lesson.
- You'll see the confidence of every student is color coded on the teacher screen. This information is private, students can not see their peers' confidence. Students who select just one bar appear red on your screen, three bars appear green, and students who've selected all five bars are highlighted in blue.
Lucidpress poster maker is an easy to use web tool with a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows teachers to design beautiful posters and flyers to use in classroom.
Besides the premium templates, Lucidpress maker provides a wide variety of inspirational templates to use with your posters. You have the flexibility to customize the size of your poster the way you want it. All of the poster templates in Lucidpress are set to 18” x 24”. The easy-to-learn image and text editing capabilities offered by Lucidpress renders poster making an enjoyable artistic endeavour. There is also a section in Lucidpress where you can have access to some useful tips to help you create visually attractive posters.
The free Lucidpress plan offers only 25MB of storage space and few other features, basic and pro plans have more advanced features and a storage capacity that goes up to 5 GB.
Watch this short video to learn more about Lucidpmess. Enjoy
GroupMap is an excellent educational web tool for group brainstorming and decision making. It allows you to create your own map and invite others to contribute to it. GroupMap also provides a wide variety of pre-designed graphic organizer templates that teachers can use with students in class to engage them in critical thinking activities.
GroupMap is also a response system that supports real-time feedback and response collection. Teachers can see each students' contribution and assess it in real time. Teachers can either enable anonymous sharing so students won’t be able to see each others’ ideas or make it open environment with anyone being able to the group contributions. When done, teachers can use GroupMap’s reporting features to :"summarize the entire map instantly into web reports or excel; see how people contributed, and how they rated the activity; and provide evidence and transparency into the decision making process."
Watch this video to learn more about GroupMap.
Another experiment with dancing particles. Went for something vibrant with a less ideal track for this kind of thing, but I think it worked out alright. Thanks for watching.