iPad Library of Educational Videos to Spark Kids Imagination

October 31, 2014
A few days ago I shared here PBS Kids Video app that provides a wide variety of educational videos for kids. Today I am adding another wonderful iPad app in this direction. Brainfeed is one of the top ranked apps in the iTunes store. Designed to inform, entertain and inspire, Brainfeed provides children 7+, tweens, teens and even inquisitive adults with a safe corner of the web to explore a universe of educational videos.

Each video in Brainfeed  is handpicked by a team of enthusiastic educators from around the globe who are tasked with finding short (under 10 minutes) and documentary style videos that meet the following criteria:Curriculum-based, entertaining & engaging, visually stimulating, high quality content, age-appropriate , and child-friendly.

With over 1,400 videos and counting, your children will always have something new and wonderful to watch. And every week new videos are added to the  SEARCHABLE LIBRARY to keep Brainfeed fresh, engaging and interesting. Your children will get lost in a world of learning as they get answers to questions that spark their imagination.

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6 Good Chromebook Apps for Recording and Editing Audio

October 30, 2014
Awhile back I received couple of emails from some teachers asking about some app recommendations to record and edit audio on Chromebooks. Below are some of the good tools I would suggest for this purpose. Please have a look and share with us what you think of them.

This is one of my favourite web tools for audio recording. Soundcloud is very easy to use and with once click you can start recording your own track. You can also upload sound tracks you have saved on your computer. Soundcloud also allows you to add comments to your audio tracks and share them with your students and friends.

2- Voice Recorder

Online Voice Recorder is a free simple application which records sound from microphone. After recording you can trim the sound and save it to your computer.


Vocaroo is another web based tool that allows users to easily make audio recordings and share them with others. Vocaroo does not even require a sign-up and to start recording your audio, just head over to Vocaroo main page, click on record and there you go. Audio recording made by Vocaroo can be downloaded or shared using an embed code.
4- Twisted Wave

TwistedWave is a full featured audio editor that allows you to:  Edit audio files from your computer or your Google Drive, apply effects,  save in one of many supported file formats, and export the file back to your disk, Google Drive or SoundCloud.
5- Mic Note

Mic Note is a great tool that allows you to both record audio and take notes in the same time. Perfect for Lectures, Meetings, Conferences, Interviews, Brainstormings, Quick Notes, To-Do Lists, Plannings and more.

6- Spreaker

Spreaker gives you the chance to take part in a rich community of audio creators broadcasting thousands of shows, tracks, and playlists. Listen to rising talents, or upload your own creations to share easily with blogs, sites, and social networks. Step up to the mic by using the professional and easy to use DJ console, allowing you to mix voice, music, and effects that you’ll find in the cloud.

Beautiful Visual Featuring 7 Ways to Do Formative Assessments in Class

October 30, 2014
Below is an excellent visual that features some handy ideas on how to carry on formative assessments in your class. Squareheadteachers took this original chart and remade it into a more reader friendly format which is also available for free download from this link.

As  refresher on formative assessment. This kind of assessment is usually referred to as assessment  for learning which is completely different from summative assessment which is assessment of learning. Formative assessment is used to check students understanding and to plan subsequent instruction. The information gained from this type of assessment aims at helping teachers make the next step in their instruction. Also, insights gained from formative assessment is meant to be integrated into an instructional model that allows for responsiveness to students need.

Check out the visual below for more ideas on how to go about assessing your students formatively.

9 Interesting Tips A Parent Can Help With Reading

October 29, 2014
Here is a good visual I came across in my archive featuring 9 ways a parent can help with reading. The ideas are pretty basic and and some are commonsensical but they are really a good refresher of what you, as a parent, should pay attention to in order to help your kids become better readers.The only thing missing from this visual is the digital component for instance suggestions on apps and web tools to helps kids with their reading).

Here is a round-up of the 9 ways a parent can help with reading:

1- Let your child see you reading
2- Help your child find appropriate word and reading games on the computer. Keep a dictionary on hand. Help your child look up new words they read or hear.
3- Read mysteries with your child and try to figure out the clues together.Movie version coming out? 4- Read the book together first, then talk about which you liked better.
5- Set aside a time and place for your child to read, like a comfy chair and a reading light in a quiet place.
6- Visit your public library regularly. Look for and read together the books that were your favourites when you were a kid
7- Encourage your child to write: letters, thank you notes, emails, journals, lists, stories about their own trips, events, and daily life.
8- As your child questions about what he/she is reading, such as :

  • What is the story about? 
  • Who are the important characters in the story? 
  • Where does the story take place? 
  • Why did that happen? 
  • How did you know about…? 
  • Would you recommend this book to your friends?
9- Ask your child to draw a comic strip about what happened in the story. Provide word searches, crossword and other word games and puzzles, or help your child make his/her own.

Source of the infographic : For The Teachers Blog

3 Great Search Engines Designed Specifically for Students

October 29, 2014
Being able to conduct efficient searches using different search engines is one of the essential component of the digital literacy we talked about earlier.Together with this, students are also required to develop necessary skills that will enable them to evaluate and assess the authenticity and reliability of web resources they are drawing on in their research. The net is teeming with all kinds of content and some of it is nothing but junk or, to borrow Howard Rheingold phrase, "information crap". EdTech and Mlearning has a whole section dedicated to search tips, ideas and tools to help your students become "smart  searchers", check it out to learn more.

Today, I am sharing with you three search engines I learned from Getting Smart designed specifically for students. These search engines are manned and monitored by librarians, search experts and in the case of iPL2 by students.

1- iPl2

ipl2 is a public service organization and a learning/teaching environment. To date, thousands of students and volunteer library and information science professionals have been involved in answering reference questions for our Ask an ipl2 Librarian service and in designing, building, creating and maintaining the ipl2's collections. It is through the efforts of these students and volunteers that the ipl2 continues to thrive to this day.

2- SweetSearch

SweetSearch is operated by a team of research experts, librarians and teachers who evaluated and approve anything that you find on the website. SweetSearch helps students find outstanding information, faster. It enables them to determine the most relevant results from a list of credible resources, and makes it much easier for them to find primary sources. SweetSearch  excludes not only obvious spam sites, but also marginal sites that read well, but lack academic or journalistic rigor.

3- Kids Click

KidsClick is owned and run by the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University. KidsClick! is a web search site designed for kids by librarians - with kid-friendly results!

Two Handy Web Tools to Develop Students Reading Comprehension Skills

October, 2014
A few weeks ago I posted here in Edtech and Mobile Learning a list of useful web tools to enhance students reading comprehension. Today, I am adding two other tools to the list. Check them out below:

1- ReadWorks

ReadWorks is an excellent platform that provides effective free resources to enhance students reading comprehension. It also gives teachers a bunch of research-proven tools and support they need to improve the academic achievement of their students.
ReadWorks also provides a wide variety of reading materials that are aligned to the Common Core Standards. These materials include both non-fiction and literary passages that students and teachers can access online for free. There is also a section on ReadWorks called " Lessons & Units" that features a plethora of lesson plans and comprehension worksheets for teachers to use with different grade levels. The lesson plans are arranged into four main categories: skills and strategy units, comprehension skills, novel study units, reading passages. 

2- Reading Bear

Reading Bear is a great tool for helping kids learn to read. Reading Bear integrates both vocabulary practice (over 1200 vocabulary items) and phonetic awareness ( covering different phonetic principles and patterns of written English) into their lessons. All of these lessons are provided in the form of narrated presentations playable either as a video or as an interactive slide show. Presentations are available in seven different versions. In the fullest version, the narrator sounds out a word slowly and quickly, then blend it slowly, and finally (after an optional prompt) blend it quickly. As sounds are pronounced, the corresponding letters are highlighted. Then a picture is displayed illustrating the word, show a sentence (with the individual sounds again highlighted, karaoke style), and finally show a video illustrating the sentence.

The 5 Main Fluencies of The 21st Century Learning

October 29, 2014
Today I want to share with you this awesome read I came across in Global Citizen Education. The article is entitled " 21st Century Fluencies" and is basically based on Crockett et al.'s book Literacy is Not Enough. The main argument in this paper is that 21st century fluencies are process skills that students need in order to thrive in a rapidly changing world. These process skills include things such critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and innovation to mention but a few. "The 21st century fluencies", as the authors of this work state, "are not about hardware, they are about headware and heartware".

Image source: http://goo.gl/GJKHzD

The article talks at length about five main fluencies. Here is a brief overview of each of these fluencies and you can check the original article for more  in-depth analysis of each of these fluencies.

1- Solution Fluency
" Solution Fluency is the ability to think creatively to solve problems in real time by clearly defining the problem, designing an appropriate solution, delivering the solution and then evaluating the process and the outcome."

2-Creativity Fluency
Creative Fluency is the process by which artistic proficiency adds meaning through design, art, and storytelling. It is about using innovative design to add value to the function of a product though its form

"Collaboration Fluency is team working proficiency that has reached the unconscious ability to work cooperatively with virtual and real partners in an online environment to solve problems and create original products".

" There are two components of Media Fluency. Firstly, the ability to look analytically at any communication to interpret the real message, and evaluate the efficacy of the chosen medium. Secondly, to create original communications by aligning the message and audience though the most appropriate and effective medium."

Information Fluency is the ability to unconsciously and intuitively interpret information in all forms and formats in order to extract the essential knowledge, authenticate it, and perceive its meaning and significance.