9 Good Educational Apps Free Today

December 11, 2017
Here is a collection of some good iPad apps that are free today and only for a limited period of time (offer valid at least in the Canadian and American iTunes App Stores). Some of these apps (the last five ones in the list) are games designed specifically to train  younger learners in areas such as literacy, arithmetic, and strategic thinking. The rest are apps you can use to record videos, remotely access your computer, measure the distance between two objects, and protect and back up contacts in your address book.  Check them out and hopefully the apps are still free by the time you are reading this post.

9 Good Educational Apps Free Today

1- Videomator
‘This very simple app will allow you to record video with different color presets (317. Videos will be saved in your photo stream.’

2- Splashtop Personal
‘Use Splashtop to access your computer on the local network with best-in-class video streaming performance. View and edit Microsoft Office and PDF files. Browse the web using IE, Chrome, and Firefox with full Flash and Java support.’

3- From A to B- Distance
‘A simple utility app to measure distance between A to B. This app provides you with a GPS measure between two points in a direct line and the distance of that path you used to get there. It's a pretty simple tool that gives you what most running apps can't and without all the unimportant data measures. ’

4- Simpler Pro
‘Simpler Pro offers unlimited backups for your address book. To keep your contacts even more protected, turn on Simpler Pro to save every single change in your contact list, even when you are not using the app.’

5- 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!’

6- Holiday Jams
‘The band is back just in time for the Holidays! Join your favorite characters from the award winning Melody Jams in a brand new song brimming with good tidings and cheer! Holiday Jams features 12 of our fan favorite musicians in a candy-cane filled wonderland; it's sure to be a hit with the whole family!’

7- Jigsaw Wonder Puppies Puzzles for Kids
‘Carefully designed to be playable for everyone, Jigsaw Wonder puzzles allow you to customize each puzzle by choosing the number of pieces, background designs, and choosing hint options like piece outlines and background visibility.’

8- Fiete Choice
‘Strap your backpack on and off you go! Your mission: “Which picture is the odd one out?” In this hand-drawn logic game, you accompany sailor Fiete on his journey through 99 levels. A fun and exciting logic game for children from 4 years and over as well as the whole family.’

9- Double Letter Match
‘Double Letter MATCH is an interactive, educational, fun match game for school age children, adults and lifelong learners. This app would also be beneficial for English Language Learners!’

Courtesy of Apps Gone Free

An Excellent Scanner App for Teachers and Educators

December 11, 2017
Top Folders Pro is an excellent scanner app that offers a wide variety of features. The app is actually on sale, it is free and only for a limited period of time. It’s regular price is $4,99. Top Folders Pro enables you to create high quality PDF scans of your documents using the camera of your phone. Once scanned you can use the app’s editing features to sign, highlight, annotate, delete and crop pages. It also lets you passcode your documents and support touch ID security measures so it’s only you who can access and view your materials.


Another interesting feature from Top Folders Pro is that it provides you access to all of your cloud services including Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive. You can log in to any of these platforms right from within the app. You can also automatically sync all your scanned docs to these services. Other features offered by the app include : ‘digital signature and highlight functions; open, read, sync and upload files to the cloud from the app; iCloud enabled to sync files between your devices; upload your scans automatically with automated upload to your chosen cloud service; integrated print function makes printing your scans easy…’
Courtesy of Apps Gone Free

6 Great Problem-based Learning Books for Teachers

December 9, 2017
PBL is  a student centred  and process-oriented approach. It puts a premium on the process leading to understanding. Its main objective is to prepare students for real world scenarios where they would have to deal with a variety of problems. It is also a cross-disciplinary approach in that it cultivates skills necessary for learning across multiple disciplines. According to Tan (2013 cited in Normala et al. 2013), some of the major skills bolstered by PBL include:
  • Teamwork
  • Independent learning
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Interdisciplinary skills
  • Information-mining skills
  • Higher-order thinking skills
Creating challenging problems is at the base of an effective PBL approach. When deftly formulated, problems are deemed to sustain students engagement and drive their learning. Hence, well-structured problems in PBL need to heed the following requirements as speculated by  Allen, Duch and Groth (1996) and Gallagher (1997)  cited in Normala, 2013:
  • Contain multiple solution paths
  • Change as new information is obtained
  • Contain content that is authentic to the discipline
  • Generate interest and controversy and cause the learner to ask questions
  • Prevent students from knowing that they have made the "right" decision
  • Require more information for understanding the problem than is initially available
  •  Be open-ended and complex enough to require collaboration and thinking beyond recall.
To learn more about what PBL is all about and learn how to effectively apply it in your teaching, we curated this collection of some must read books in this direction. Links to the books are under the visual


6 Great Problem-based Learning Books for Teachers


1- Problem-Based Learning: An Inquiry Approach by John F. Barell (Author)
‘This standards-based, teacher-friendly second edition offers step-by-step procedures that make this effective teaching model highly doable for all teachers, with examples showing problem-based learning in action.’

2- The Practice of Problem-Based Learning: A Guide to Implementing PBL in the College Classroom, by José A. Amador (Author), Libby Miles (Author), Calvin B. Peters (Author)
‘This book is a guide for the development and implementation of problem-based learning (PBL) in college-level courses. It provides practical advice from real professors, includes examples of PBL in action through every stage from problem development to implementation, and integrates cross-disciplinary experiences into the practice of PBL in the college classroom.’

3- Problem-based Learning: Welcome to the "Real World": A Teaching Model for Adult Learners, by Dr. Wendy J. Flint 
‘In this book, the characteristics of problem-based learning are explained and the theories that support problem-based learning are explored. Through a faculty mentoring project, the research conducted at a community college found significant improvement in student engagement and learning with a diverse population of students.’

4- The Power of Problem-Based Learning, by Barbara J. Duch (Editor), Susan E. Groh (Editor), Deborah E. Allen (Editor)
‘Focuses on the practical questions which anyone wishing to embark on PBL will want to know: "Where do I start?"–"How do you find problems?"–"What do I need to know about managing groups?"–"How do you grade in a PBL course?" The case studies from a variety of disciplines?including biochemistry, pre-law, physics, nursing, chemistry, political science and teacher education?provide examples of practice.’

5- Problem-Based Learning for Math & Science: Integrating Inquiry and the Internet, by Diane L. Ronis  (Author)
‘Illustrates how to strengthen learners' problem-solving skills by incorporating problem-based learning (PBL) with Internet resources and presents projects that correlate to national science, mathematics, and technology standards.’

6- The Challenge of Problem Based Learning, by David Boud (Author), Grahame Feletti
‘Problem-based learning is a way of constructing and teaching courses using problems as the stimulus and focus for student activity. This edition looks at the topic in the light of changes since the first edition (1991). There are new chapters on the impact of PBL, and inquiry and action learning.’

References:

1- Normala, O., and Shar, M.(2013). Problem-based learning in the English language classroom. English Language Teaching, 6(3): 125-134.
2- Tan, Oon Seng. (2003). Problem-based learning innovation. Singapore: Thomson.
3- Allen, D. E., Duch, B. J., and  Groh, S. E. (1996). The power of problem-based learning in teaching introductory science courses. In L. Wilkerson, & W.H. Gijselaers (Eds.), Bringing Problem-Based Learning to Higher Education: Theory and Practice (pp. 43-52). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Reproduced from this post.

5 New Google Classroom Features Teachers Should Know About

December 9, 2017
 Here is a useful visual we published awhile ago featuring some of the new features added to Google Classroom during the second half of this year. To stay updated of the latest releases in Google Classroom, you may want to periodically visit this page . The features we handpicked for you in this visual include: single view of student work, reorder class cards, decimal grading, transfer class ownership, display class code. To learn more about these tips check out Google's post:  "10 ways we’re making Classroom and Forms easier for teachers this school year."


5 New Things You Can Do in Google Classroom This School Year


1- Single view of student work
Classroom now has a dedicated page for every student that showcase all of their work in a class. ‘With this new view, teachers and students can see the status of every assignment, and can use filters to see assigned work, missing work, or returned and graded work.’

2- Reorder class cards
Teachers can reorder their classes and organize them based on their own criteria (e.g., work load priorities, daily schedule, etc).

3- Decimal grading
Classroom integrated decimal grading allowing teachers to ‘use decimal points when grading assignments in Google Classroom.’

4- Transfer class ownership
With this new feature teachers and admins are able to transfer ownership of Classroom classes to other teachers without having to recreate them.

5-Display class code
Teachers are now able to display a unique class code in full screen so students can rapidly join new classes.

5 Great Kids Digital Libraries

December 8, 2017
Here are five web platforms where you can access a wide variety of books and other reading materials designed specifically for kids. Features provided differ from one platform to the other. Some of these platforms provide kids with personalized recommendations based on kids reading levels, others feature rewarding systems to encourage kids to read and provide teachers and parents with tools to track kids reading. We invite you to check them out and share with us your feedback.

1- The International Children's Digital Library 


‘The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) is a research project funded primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and Microsoft Research to create a digital library of outstanding children's books from all over the world. The project was introduced at an international celebration at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in November 2002. The collection's focus is on identifying materials that help children to understand the world around them and the global society in which they live. The materials in the collection, all presented in the original languages in which they were published, reflect similarities and differences in cultures, societies, interests, and lifestyles of peoples around the world.’

2- Epic


Epic!’s ebook library includes many of the best kids books and popular books such as Fancy Nancy, Big Nate, Warriors, Ramona, and National Geographic Kids…Epic! costs only $4.99/month with the first month FREE and supports up to 4 individual child profiles per account. Each child receives personalized recommendations based on their reading level and interests, helping them discover new books they will love…Epic! is absolutely free to elementary school teachers and school librarians in the US and Canada. A favorite with teachers and students around the country, Epic! brings access to unlimited children's literature into every classroom. Epic! encourages young readers with badges and rewards, while letting teachers assign books and track individual reading progress.’

3- StoryPlace


‘StoryPlace came about to provide children with the virtual experience of going to the Library and participating in the same types of activities the Library offers at its physical locations. First launched in 2000, StoryPlace has been newly redesigned to present favorite stories and activities in a format compatible with desktop and mobile devices. The site also now includes early literacy information for parents and caregivers.’

4- Magic Blox


‘With a large and growing collection of eBooks for kids 1 to 13 years old, your children get to enjoy new books all the time from award winning authors and publishers from around the world.  In addition to titles you are familiar with from traditional publishers, they also have the opportunity to discover new stories from authors they've never heard of, or try out new languages they've never seen.’

5- MightyBook


‘Where children learn to read with stories, songs, games, cartoons, comics and more. MightyBook is the perfect place for children who enjoy books, music, art, games and puzzles. You’ll find hundreds of original stories and songs, plus scores of classic books, poems and children’s songs. Everything is illustrated, animated and read out loud. Complete lesson plans and quizzes are included with many of the books and songs. You can sample a few of them on our free pages. ’

6 Good Web Tools to Help Students Create 3D Models

December 8, 2017
Here is a collection of some helpful tools you can use with students to create 3D models.  Some of these tools are Chrome extensions you can use right on your browser. We have also included a search engine tool that will enable students to search for and find 3D models to use in their art works. Have a look and share with us if you have other suggestions to add to the list. For more 3D Tools check out this page.


1- my.SketchUp 


my.SketchUp is the web version of the popular desktop application SketchUp. my.SketchUp is an excellent tool students can use to create anything they want in 3D. It provides a wide variety of drawing and modelling tools to use for building your own models. Students can start with a template, use the tools on the left side of the editor to create and manipulate geometry then use the panels on the right side for detailed organization of their model. When done, they can save and share their final work with others.
2- Autodesk


Autodesk is one of the popular providers of 3D softwares you can use to create 3D models. You can check this page for a list of all of its featured products.

3- SelfCad

‘SelfCad is an online 3D Modeling Software that is easy to use and learn even for beginners. All in one Cad Program includes Slicer, Sculpting and Modeling tools.’

4- Tinkercad


‘Tinkercad is a simple, online 3D design and 3D printing app for everyone’. You can add shapes, import materials, use tools like the ruler to input to exact dimensions, group a set of shapes to create models and when your final product is ready you can share it with others.

5- VECTARY

‘Create 3D models right in your browser and have everything saved in the cloud so you can access them from anywhere, at anytime. No install and no licenses needed’

6- 3D Models Search Engine - Yobi3D


This is a good way to search for 3D models. ‘Type any keywords with the term '3D' or 'Model' on Google to also search from Yobi3D.com. Edit options to customize keywords that will trigger a search to Yobi3D.com’