8 Good Educational Web Tools Free Today

December 4, 2016
Below are some good iPad apps that are on sale today and only for a limited period of time.  You may want to check them out and see which ones works for you. Some of the things you can do with these apps include: teach kids about colors, create 3D character animations, learn basics of math with over 100 fun math games, manage busy schedules using a powerful calendar app, conduct complex mathematical calculations using MathStudio and many more.

1- Intro to Colors, by Montessorium

‘With Intro to Colors, the world of colors comes alive. Inspired by the famous Montessori Color tablets, this dynamic and interactive app will guide your children through an appreciation of color, from the concrete to the abstract.’

2- Anim8:3D Character Animation Made Easy

‘Anim8 lets beginners and hobbyists create 3D Character Animation in a fun and intuitive manner.Animate 3D characters by posing 5 existing characters in 3D space with a simple interface and easy workflow,unlike complex and high-end softwares such as Maya or 3DS Max.’

3- Animal Math Games for Kids

‘Travel the world over from Bessie's Farm to the plains of Africa to the deepest reaches of outer space as you join math-explorer Emma through more than 100 fun math games on a quest to help her animal friends find a way home! Playable by kids of all ages with lots of positive encouragement, professional narration and catchy music. Cute characters include cows, chickens, lions, giraffes, kittens, puppies, robots and monsters!’

4- Nighty Night Circus - bedtime story for kids

‘“Nighty Night Circus“ is the sequel to the most popular bedtime app of all time…Children find themselves in a circus setting with 8 circus animals, which they can bring to bed by switching off the lights or blowing out candles. Each circus animal performs several tricks and wants to show them off to the child before going to sleep. “Nighty Night Circus“ is the perfect App for a daily go-to-sleep ritual with cute animals, sweet lullaby music and great narration.’

5- MathStudio Express

‘Whether you need a simple calculator to do your finances or a replacement for your TI graphing calculator, MathStudio Express is a full featured scientific calculator with hundreds of mathematical functions that cover Basic Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Trigonometry, Precalculus, Calculus, Statistics, Finite Math, Linear Algebra and Statistics.’

6- OMG. I Can Meditate ! Meditation & Mindfulness App

‘De-stress & sleep better in only 10 min with your personal meditation coach! By far the easiest way to learn how to meditate. Learn simple mindfulness and meditation techniques to help you bring more happiness, calm and peace of mind into your life.’

7- PixekWakker

‘Pixelwakker is one of the most creative photo effects apps available on the iPhone. Inspired by great art from impressionist pointillism to contemporary masters, PixelWakker breaks down your pixels into art. PixelWakker has a creative suite of effects that you won't find anywhere else. Since most of the effects are vector based, you can output a PDF and scale it with unlimited clarity.’

8- BusyCal - Calendar, Reminders & To Dos

‘BusyCal is a powerful, flexible calendar app for managing busy schedules, events and to dos.BusyCal's unique features include customizable calendar views, integrated to dos, meeting scheduling, travel time, maps integration, natural language input, tags, alarms, search, weather, moons, birthdays, anniversaries, graphics and more.’
Courtesy of Apps Gone Free

A Great New App from Google to Scan, Save and Share Photos

December 3, 2016
PhotoScan is a new app released by Google Photo a few days ago. As its name indicate, PhotoScan lets you easily capture, scan and save photos using the camera of your own phone.  More importantly, PhotoScan enhances the digital scans of your photos by applying automatic filters to remove glare, edit the edges, and straighten images turning them thus into high resolution files. PhotoScan is available for both Android and iOS users.

For those of you using Google Photos, scanned photos through PhotoScan are automatically saved to your Photos account. From there you can access advanced editing features and filters to apply to your digital scans before sharing them with others through generated links. Here is a quick overview of the main features offered by PhotoScan:

  • Get glare-free scans with an easy step-by-step capture flow
  • Automatic cropping based on edge detection
  • Straight, rectangular scans with perspective correction
  • Smart rotation, so your photos stay right-side-up no matter which way you scan them

Watch the video below to learn more about PhotoScan

Courtesy of LifeHacker

Learn How to Read A Book and How to Speak and Listen

December 3, 2016
In today's post, we want to bring to your attention this wonderful book by Adler  Mortimer entitled "How to Speak How to Listen". Adler is best known for his classic"How to Read A Book" . In "How to Speak How to Listen", Adler provides some very helpful ideas and guidelines on the art of intelligent speaking and listening across different contexts. Adler argues that speaking and listening were not given their due worth in formal instruction in schools and that the emphasis was placed more on writing and reading.Moreover, for any effective communication to take place, students need explicit training on how to better speak and listen and Adler sketches out a wide variety of strategies together with illustrative examples on how to cultivate these communicational skills.

Some of the key points covered in this work include:
  • Forms of persuasive speech
  • Forms of instructive speech
  • Preparing and delivering a speech
  • Writing while and after listening
  • The variety of conversations
  • How to make conversations profitable and pleasurable
  • Teaching and learning by discussion
  • Conversation in human life.
Fo those of you who haven't read Adler's other book 'How to Read A Book'. Here is a short synopsis capturing its main gist:

"Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to “judge a book by its cover,” and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text. Also included is instruction in the different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science works. Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests you can use measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension, and speed."

Here Is A Great Interactive Guide for Teachers New to Mac

December 3, 2016
Mac is an excellent piece of gadgetry to use in your instruction in class. It provides both teachers and students with a plethora of innovative ways to learn, collaborate and be more productive.  For those of you lucky enough to have Macs in their classes, our section Mac Resources for Teachers is packed full of practical materials to help you tap into the educational potential of Macs. Additionally, we are also sharing with you this handy interactive guide available for free on iBooks. 

Mac Starter Guide is a multi-touch interactive short book from Apple Education designed specifically to help teachers and educators new to Mac. It provides a wide range of important resources, tips and ideas to help teachers leverage the power of Mac in their instruction. More specifically, Mac Starter Guide shows teachers ‘how to personalize settings, work with built-in apps and features, and explore a world of learning and teaching resources. Along the way, readers will become more confident with Mac, pick up essential skills, and get inspired to create hands-on and personalized learning experiences.’ Check it out and share with us your feedback. Enjoy

3 Essential Websites That Provide EdTech Resources for Teachers

December 2, 2016
Effective integration of technology in education is a two-fold process that consists of two main stages. The first stage is theoretical and aims at providing pedagogically sound theoretical underpinnings to inform any prospective digital practices in instruction. We have already compiled and shared a set of interesting books that theoretical backup. The second phase is practical and this is where theory is put to practice. In this stage, teachers get to experiment with a wide variety of educational web tools and mobile apps that can potentially facilitate their teaching and enhance students learning. To this end, and besides the multiple EdTech resources we have been sharing over the last few years, we are featuring three particularly useful platforms that can help teachers search for, access and find EdTech tools to use in their teaching.  Some of these platforms (especially Common Sense) provide detailed reviews and evaluations of web tools written mostly by practicing teachers and educators providing you thus with an insider insight on how to better use technology in your own teaching context.

Technology Integration in Education

1- Common Sense Education

Common Sense Education provides teachers free access to  a wide range of educational web tools curated and reviewed by teachers and educators. Reviews adhere to a strict review policy set forth by Common Sense and consists mainly of a 15-point rubric developed specifically to evaluate the learning potential of digital tools’. Further more, the rubric focuses on evaluating ‘ three key qualities essential to great digital learning experiences: engagement, pedagogy, and support, including (but not limited to) how engrossing the tool is to use, whether it promotes conceptual understanding and creativity, how it adapts to students' individual needs, and how well it supports knowledge transfer.’ Edtech resources in Common Sense Education are neatly organized into different categories. You can browse content using various criteria such as by: platform, subject, grade, skill, purpose or price. Each product reviewed answers the following questions: How can teachers use it? What’s it like? And Is it good for learning?

2- Edshelf

‘Edshelf is ‘a socially curated discovery engine of websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products for teaching and learning. You can search and filter for specific tools, create shelves of tools you use for various purposes, rate and review tools you’ve used, and receive a newsletter of tools recommended by other educators.’

3- Scoop.it 

Scoop.it is another excellent digital curation tool for teachers. It helps you find out content related to your topics by ‘reviewing your suggestion lists and the topics from other curators’. You can also use its integrated search functionality to search for EdTech resources or filter your searches using topics. For instance, when you click on ‘Education Technology’ in the Categories section you will have access to this curated collection of web resources.

New- Google Timelapse Allows You to Visually Track The Earth's Changes over The Last 3 Decades

December 2, 2016
Google has recently released a new update to its popular Earth Timelapse allowing users to  visually track geographical changes of the planet from the year 1984 to 2016. Using video footage, users are able to see how the Earth has changed over the past three decades. Drawing on Earth Engine’s cloud-computing capabilities, this project makes use of over 5 million high definition satellite images acquired by five different satellites.

Earth Timelapse allows you to search, pan and zoom around various regions of the world. You can track how major cities around the globe have evolved. As Google explained, ‘Timelapse is an example that illustrates the power of Earth Engine’s cloud-computing model, which enables users such as scientists, researchers, and journalists to detect changes, map trends, and quantify differences on the Earth's surface using Google’s computational infrastructure and the multi-petabyte Earth Engine data catalog.’

Users can also access a highlighted selection of Google Timelapse tour featuring a number of popular cities  from Florida to Dubai in United Arab Emirates and see how they have transformed over time. Alternatively, you can use Time-lapse Tour Editor to create a timelapse tour that moves from one destination to another over time.