The 9 Skills Students Must Master to Succeed

April 17, 2014
Of all the things I have read about the 21st century skills required for students success in today's info rich society, the visual below from edutopia captures the essence of these skills and touches on critical areas students need to work on to meet these skills.These skills are grouped in three main categories: learning,  creating and  collaborating:

Learn

  • Access, evaluate and use different forms of information
  • Exercise critical thinking
  • Exhibit fluency with tech tools

Create

  • Use various forms of media when presenting ideas
  • Display originality
  • Employ problem solving skills

Collaborate

  • Demonstrate cross-cultural awareness
  • Communicate complex ideas effectively
  • Work successfully as a team


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In-Class Flip Vs Flipped Classroom Learning

April , 2014
Have you heard of this teaching configuration called in-class flip?Well I am personally not familiar with the name but I know the concept, it is similar to blended learning. In the video below, Cult of Pedagogy explains the differences between traditional flipped learning and in-class flip. Here are some highlights from it:



Traditional flipped classroom:
Instead of using valuable class time delivering content to students then having them apply that learning at home,you pre-cord direct instruction and have students watch it at home then in class they work on homework or the application part.

There are two problems with this kind of arrangement: first is access. Traditional flipped learning is great when all students have access to technology at home but if they don't the flip can fall apart. Second, some homes are not conducive to the kind of learning that a traditional flip requires.
A working alternative that accounts for the inconveniences of the traditional flipped classroom is called 'In-Class Flip".

In-Class Flip
Whereas a traditional flip depends heavily on things going right at home, the in-class flip keeps all parts of the flip at school thus ensuring that more students benefit from the flipped concept. Watch the video below to learn how the In-class flip works.



3 New Digital Storytelling Apps for Kids

April 17, 2014
In today's post, I am sharing with you three useful iPad apps for storytelling. These apps are newly featured here and they are ideal for helping young learners unleash their creativity through story telling. Have a look and share with us what you think of them:

1- Amazing App Stories




Amazing App Stories provides a community space for collaborative fiction writing. Write a small paragraph and see how the stories evolve, and get a lot of amazing reading in return. Amazing App Stories covers the old game where persons in a group writes on the same stories. Each person writes a short paragraph and can then follow how the stories evolve.
2- Little Story Maker

Little Story Maker offers a good way to enjoy your personal pictures and stories with your child. The little ones will love to hear stories with pictures of people and places they are familiar with. Older kids, will love the stories and the ability to easily create stories all on their own.
3- Strip Designer


Strip Designer allows you to tell stories through comics. Select one of the many included page templates. Insert photos into the cells. Add a couple of balloons with fun words. Add additional effect symbols (stickers) like "Boom", "Splash", or "Bang" to spice up the story. When you are happy with your new graphic novel, share it with friends and family.

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Four Great iPad Apps That Provide Kids with Writing Prompts

April 17, 2013
Do your students struggle to come up with topics to write about in their stories? The collection below features some awesome iPad apps that can provide your students with ideas and story starters to get them writing.

1- The Brainstormer


The Brainstormer is kindling for creative minds. A tactile tool to randomly combine a plot, a subject and a setting or style, the Brainstormer provides a moment of inspiration for writers, painters, or any creative mind. Combat creative block, spark new ideas and summon up quick subjects for doodling, sketching or journaling.

2- Things to Think About


Kids’ Things to Think About provides 100 prompts to spark thinking for written responses and encourage conversations about ideas and issues for kids. Created by students and teachers in Michigan, it can be used in classrooms or with families by allowing children to explore the prompts and by using them to guide a discussion or lesson.

  3- Write about This


Write About This is a visual writing prompt & creation platform perfect for classrooms and families! With endless ways to respond and the ability to craft custom photo prompts, it will kick-start any writing activity.
4- Shake A Phrase


Shake-a-Phrase is a fun language app for creative writing prompts, vocabulary, and parts of speech practice. Perfect for learning and laughing in the classroom or on-the-go, it features over 2,000 words and definitions in 5 engaging themes for ages 8+.

12 NASA Apps for Students to Learn about Space

April 16, 2014
Last night while I was watching the total lunar eclipse " Blood Moon",  it dawned on me to compile a list of iPad apps that students can use to learn more about space. Of course there are no better apps to recommend  than NASA's. I have gone through all the apps NASA offers and picked out for you the ones below. Have a look and share with your colleages.


1- Spacecraft 3D




NASA's Spacecraft 3D is an augmented reality (AR) application that lets you learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe. Using a printed AR Target and the camera on your mobile device, you can get up close with these robotic explorers, see how they move, and learn about the engineering feats used to expand our knowledge and understanding of space.

2- Moon Tours

Moon Tours is the mobile version of the NASA's Lunar Mapping and Modeling Portal (LMMP). LMMP is the repository for over 600+ geospatial lunar data products and imagery focusing primarily on the 50 "sites of interest" that were selected as possible landing sites for future lunar missions. These data products include scientifically referenced digital elevation maps (DEMs), slope maps, rock and hazard maps, mineralogy maps, and imagery from the Apollo missions to the latest data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

3- 3D Sun

"3D Sun" lets you carry a virtual window onto today's sun, right in your pocket. Open this app anytime to see what's happening today on the sun's ever-changing surface. See when major solar flares erupt on the sun's surface. Track sunspots that reveal the churning activity inside the sun's fiery inferno.

4- NASA Lunar Electric Rover Simulation


Welcome to the NASA Lunar Electric Rover (LER) Simulator. You don’t need a driver’s license, but you still need to buckle up as the LER Simulator gives you a glimpse of what it might be like to support the activities of a functioning Lunar Outpost.

5- Images of Change

Natural disasters, a warming climate, and human activities are rapidly altering the face of our planet. NASA’s Images of Change app lets you take a close-up view of many of these changes in an exciting and hands-on format. The app presents a curated collection of the best image pairs from NASA’s Global Climate Change website. These image pairs show areas that have been subject to natural disasters or seen significant change over time.

6- NASA App

Come explore with NASA and discover the latest images, videos, mission information, news, feature stories, tweets, NASA TV and featured content with the NASA App for iOS.

7- Cassini

NASA’s Cassini mission launched in 1997 and has been exploring the Saturnian system from orbit since July 2004. Currently in its second extended mission, Cassini continues to unravel mysteries about Saturn and its atmosphere, rings and magnetosphere, and its moons, particularly Titan and the icy satellites.

8- Space Junk Spammy

Space Junk Sammy is a fun and educational new app from NASA! Space junk is becoming a big problem for many of NASA’s space missions. We need your help to clean up the junk in orbit! In this game, you clean up space and learn about NASA at the same time.

9- Space Place Prime

Space Place Prime is a content presentation app that gathers some of the best and most recent offerings from NASA. A spinoff of NASA’s popular kids’ Space Place website (spaceplace.nasa.gov or science.nasa.gov/kids), Space Place Prime has intergenerational appeal. It taps timely educational and easy-to-read articles from the website, as well as daily updates of NASA space and Earth-from-space images and the latest informative videos.

10- NASA Television

Watch the latest NASA events unfold in real-time or select from a list of recently uploaded videos. Plan your viewing up to a week in advance with the NASA TV schedule, and check out a list of NASA-related programming on other networks.

11- NASA Science: A Journey of Discovery

NASA leads the nation on a great journey of discovery, seeking new knowledge and understanding of our planet Earth, our Sun and solar system, and the universe out to its farthest reaches and back to its earliest moments of existence. This NASA Science application brings you the latest information from NASA’s Science Missions, including the spacecraft, their instruments, the data, and what we are learning about the questions we seek to answer.

12- NASA Visualization Explorer
This is the NASA Visualization Explorer, the coolest way to get stories about advanced space-based research delivered right to your iOS device. A direct connection to NASA’s extraordinary fleet of research spacecraft, this app presents cutting edge research stories in an engaging and exciting format. See the Earth as you’ve never seen it before; travel to places otherwise unavailable to even the most intrepid explorers!

8 Terrific Math TED Talks

April 16, 2014
TED blog has recently featured a playlist containing 8  talks on Math. Those of you who teach Math or are fans of mathematical thinking ( left brainers) will find this list pretty useful. The speakers in  these talks are renowned mathematicians who "breathe life and logic into everyday problems using the logic of math". I am re-sharing these talks below with links to original videos. Click on each title to watch the talk. Enjoy

1- Ron Eglash: The fractals at the heart of African designs





2- How big is infinity?




3- Arthur Benjamin does “Mathemagic”





4- Scott Rickard: The beautiful math behind the ugliest music




5- Margaret Wertheim: The beautiful math of coral




6- Benoit Mandelbrot: Fractals and the art of roughness




7- Michael Mitchell: A clever way to estimate enormous numbers




8- Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations

Phrase.it A Cool Web Tool to Add Speech Bubbles to Images

April 16, 2014
Phrase.it is a web tool that allows you to edit and customize your images through adding speech bubbles and different  image effects. Students can use this service to create picture stories and share them with others. The great thing about this web tool besides its being free is that it does not require any registration and hence students won't need any email addresses to use it.



The process of creating a picture story in Phrase.it is very easy. Just head over to its homepage and choose whether you want to upload a photo from your device, import it from Facebook or use a random stock photo. Once the photo is uploaded you click on "bubbles" to add different bubble shapes to your image. You can also change the shading of your image by click on " drama". When your image is ready you click on "preview and save" to save it.