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September 19 2013

12:00
Socrative - Smart Student Response System

What can you use the app for?

Socrative is a smart student response system that lets educators engage their students through technology. A variety of educational games and exercises are included, such as the Space Race which lets students work as a team to quickly respond to questions to get their “rocket” to travel the farthest. Quizzes can be setup with short answer, multiple choice and combination responses. Teachers can also save time because multiple choice quizzes are auto graded. Responses are tallied and formatted on an Excel spreadsheet for better organization. Exit tickets allow teachers to stay in touch with individual students by providing insight into their comfort level with each day’s material. Socrative is compatible with all current internet browsers, smartphones and all web-enabled devices.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

Socrative has earned high marks from educators. Many love how easy each function is to use and how quickly they can organize activities and manage quizzes for their students. Some educators have expressed concerns about encouraging students to bring their web-enabled devices to class. This can be problematic if it becomes a distraction with the temptation of web browsing and non-educational games. The application itself is very helpful, as long as teachers can keep tabs on what their students are using their smartphones for while in class.

What are the differences to other apps?

Socrative is unique because it provides educators with a way to get real time feedback from their students. Teachers can spend less time on grading and organizing and more time interacting with their pupils and coming up with new, fun ways to learn. Teachers can create custom quests for each lesson and generate results in an Excel spreadsheet with multiple choice responses already tallied. The exit ticket feature is also appealing because it gives teachers a better way to stay aware of individual student’s comfort level with each day’s material.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

Socrative offers a user friendly interface that is very easy to understand. This is a must for an application like Socrative because a difficult interface would be a problem in the classroom. Young learners will have no problem navigating quizzes and games. Educators can streamline their classroom planning and grading thanks to the clean, logical layout.

How does the registration process work?

New users can begin by clicking the blue “Get Started Now!” button along the left side of the Socrative homepage. The following page asks for an email address and password. After submitting the information, the user is asked about their goals then automatically logged in. A brief tutorial is provided before directing the user to the dashboard.

What does it cost to use the application?

Socrative currently offers its services for free while it is in beta. The application requires no setup fees, credit card information or registration fees. The application hints that a paid system will be added at some point, but does not give any details as far as cost or access. Anyone can give the application a try for free while it is in beta.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Socrative is a great tool for educators who want to find more ways to engage their students. Those who have classes that are generally well-behaved will probably do better with the application because it requires the use of web-enabled devices. Teachers can save time with auto-graded quizzes and less prep time for each new lesson. The jury is still out on cost, but for now it’s a great deal at free.

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Tags: Education

June 20 2013

12:00
Corpacademy - Online Business Education Platform

What can you use the app for?

Corpacademy.com is an online education tool designed for companies. Users can upload content such as slide shows, videos and other materials so they appear on a unique domain. These items can be shared among employees, colleagues and whoever else needs to access it. Each invited individual can access the material at any time so the user doesn’t have to schedule classes and meetings to make sure everyone has an opportunity to take a look. A user-friendly interface is provided so the user can easily organize their educational content. Corpacademy also offers evaluation statistics so the user can see how effective their efforts have been at any time. Test attempts, class attendance and progress percentages are provided.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

Corpacademy offers a helpful series of tools for any company that wants to keep its employees educated and informed. That being said, the application hasn’t earned tremendous popularity yet. There are a number of ways to share videos, images, slides and other study materials however Corpacademy helps simplify that process. The application will likely be mentioned more often as new companies discover its helpful tools.

What are the differences to other apps?

There are a number of third party applications that let users store valuable educational materials online. Corpacademy stands out because it gives the user a series of efficient features as well as a centralized place to house all their instructional necessities. Videos and more can be instantly shared with employees. The user can track progress through stats that show progress, test attempts and much more.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

Corpacademy is intended for businesses, and it really shows in the interface. The design is very clean and organized with a white background and hints of calm blue. Simple line charts display data in an easy-to-read format while links and headers give the user quick access to information and functions. A newcomer will have no trouble figuring out how to use Corpacademy. A little time should be set aside to explore the application so it can be utilized to its fullest potential.

How does the registration process work?

New users can try Corpacademy by clicking the blue “Get Started for Free” button near the center of the homepage. The following page asks for a username, email address, password, institution name and acronym. Once the user has successfully submitted the form, a green header appears and advises the user that they must check their email inbox to complete registration. The account must be activated before the user can login.

What does it cost to use the application?

Corpacademy offers a highly customizable subscription system. Each account is charged based on the number of individual users and number of video hours needed. One user costs $9 and each hour of video costs $1. One user and one hour of video costs nothing while moving to two users costs $9 and two users with two hours of video costs $10. The user can choose any quantity up to 200 users and 500 hours of video.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Corpacademy is intended for businesses and organizations. The site doesn’t have anything to offer individual and non-commercial users. Those who are responsible for managing teams and entire groups, such as HR personnel, trainers and owners will get the most benefit from the application. Users can organize educational materials, share everything instantly online and review progress stats as employees work through each course.

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Tags: Education

April 12 2013

13:20
Udacity - Affordable Online Learning Platform

What can you use the app for?

Udacity is an online learning tool that helps users access affordable classes. The user creates an account and begins taking classes. User profiles track progress for each course. Once a course is complete, the user earns a certificate of completion to complement their new skills. High school students can find courses that allow them to begin testing the water for college courses while college students can find alternatives to traditional classes. Udacity also provides courses for professionals who want to expand their service offerings and knowledge. Each course is highly interactive and provides bite size tidbits through videos so the user never feels bored or overwhelmed. Real industry experts and educators work to create the courses made available on Udacity.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

Udacity was founded in 2011. The application was formed when co-founder Sebastian Thrun quit Stanford to work on the website. The idea was that an online learning tool like Udacity would reach more ambitious students than teaching at a formal school. So far the concept has taken off and earned complements form students and reviewers. Many courses are currently offered with the catalog constantly growing.

What are the differences to other apps?

Udacity is attractive because it brings valuable information to students who are hungry for it. The application is much more affordable than attending a formal school and allows students to learn on their own. There is tons of potential, especially since the courses come from real educators and industry experts. Many courses are free with for-credit options that come with a fee so the student can work within their budget.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

Udacity has produced a simple interface that is clean and clutter free. There are no annoying distractions to pull the user away from their learning experience. Before picking a class, the user can visit its page and learn who is instructing it, the difficulty level, summary, what the user should know prior to taking the class and what the user will learn. An instructor photo and video is also included along with a syllabus. Anyone can easily locate and take classes online without spending a tremendous amount of time learning how to navigate the site.

How does the registration process work?

A new user can try Udacity by clicking the white “Sign Up” link in the upper, right hand corner. A form will drop down and asks for a full name, email address and password. The user can also click one of the two buttons at the bottom of the form to sign in with Facebook or Google. The user is automatically signed in and can begin browsing the course catalog.

What does it cost to use the application?

Anyone can sign up for Udacity for free. There are no subscription fees to maintain an account and many course are available for free. Users do not have to make any purchases and can access materials as often as they like. Some courses offer credit and come with a fee. The price will vary based on the course. Users can easily learn within a budget if they aren’t concerned about obtaining credits.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Udacity is an excellent learning tool for almost any student. The site is easy to use and provides a huge selection of courses to work with, from college algebra to algorithms, computer science and cryptography. The user can work at their own pace and track progress. Paid courses come with credit upon completion. Users are under no obligation to buy anything, which is great for a money strapped college student or professional who wants to expand their skills on a shoestring.

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Tags: Education

July 31 2012

21:00

Codecademy Adds Python To Their Course Catalog [Updates]

One of the best and easiest ways to start learning how to code programming languages is with the widely popular, and free, online site, Codecademy. This week the academy added the simple syntax language Python to its course offerings, which also include self-directed lessons in HTML, JavaScript and Web Fundamentals, and JQuery.

In addition to this new course, the online academy also hired author and CNN columnist, Douglass Rushkoff, whose book, Program or Be Programed helped kickstart the “code literacy” movement back in September of last year. Rushkoff was hired, he says, to promote code literacy and digital education–sort of like the marketing guy for the company and the movement.

The new Python course consists of 88 lessons, starting with an introduction to Python, followed by projects for creating a tip calculator, Date and Timer, PygLatin, and a Taking a Vacation web application. The course lessons can be taken at your own pace, and you don’t receive poor grades for incomplete lessons. As you work through the course, you get points for completion of each lesson, and there is also a glossary of terms to supplement the course assignments. The course is based on Python 2.7 syntax, which the company’s blog post says is used by developers worldwide, including developers at Google and NASA.

The course description says that Python is a good code language to start with, especially if you’re unsure which programing language you should learn. Python is used to build web applications, in game development, and a variety of other disciplines.

Source: TechCrunch


May 05 2012

23:30

April 23 2012

11:00

Five Top United States Colleges To Offer Free Online Classes [Updates]

Five highly ranked colleges in the United States are set to start offering online classes for free through a new interactive learning program called Coursera. Students will be able to use Coursera to take classes in a range of subjects. Classes such as Greek mythology, calculus and many more will be available for students. In all, there will be more than three dozen classes available.

Coursera is designed to make getting an education more accessible and affordable. There are other programs with the same goal, but many of them simply offer a wall of text for students to read with little or no interactivity. Coursera brings a level of interactivity not previously seen in a free or affordable class.

The five schools currently signed on are Stanford, Princeton, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. These are some very prestigious schools, and having the opportunity to learn from them for free is amazing.

Classes will function like most online learning environments. There will be tests that are computer graded. They are working on computer algorithms to grade papers and essays automatically.

Like anything in its infancy, there are some problems to be worked out. As it stands, there is no way for professors to keep track of who is doing the work, so cheating could be a problem. Because there is no degree, cheating will only hurt the student, and that alone should keep students honest.

Students will not get a degree for taking the courses, but they can request a certificate of completion for a small fee.

Source: Publicbroadcasting.net


April 20 2012

13:55

Planboardapp - Teachers Lesson Planning Simplified


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What can you use the app for?

Planboard is a very simple app used to replace the traditional paper planbook used by elementary, middle, and high school teachers. It's accessibility online makes it easy to use from any location that has Internet access. It may be used to provide plans for substitute teachers as well as copying plans from year to year.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

The app launched in February 2012. As it is quite new, there are no statistics regarding site usage other than that there are around 100 beta users on extended free trials. The app was founded by David Kim, William Zhou, Suraj Srinivas, Tony Cui, and Ryan McKay-Fleming and created by Vetica Interactive. They were inspired by the fact that their high school teachers were using various papers and lesson plan agenda books for planning. They wanted to find a way to make things easier for their teachers, substitute teachers, and make plans available from anywhere.

Plans for mobile apps for iPad, Blackberry Playbook, and smartphones are in the works.

What are the differences to other apps?

Planboard is extremely simplified. The design even looks like a traditional planbook. The main competitor is the Google app, Free Gradebook and Lesson Plan Software by LearnBoost. The Google app is completely free and offers gradebook features, attendance, reports and analytics, sharing of data and plans, data export to the school system, and has an iPad interface. It is also available in 13 languages.

Planboard offers much less and is only free for 14 days. It may need to expand its offerings to compete with apps like Google's.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

Once the initial registration is complete, users are directed to the Account Setup page. Name is again required, in addition to the title of the Planboard, school year start and end months, days that classes are held, and the number of periods in the class day. Users may enter promotional codes and referral sources at this time. Next, users choose the week in which to begin. The Planboard presents the first day of the week indicated, divided into periods. It also displays the date, a calendar, a post-it note for jotting down reminders, and print, PDF, and email options.

The app is extremely easy to use, and other than the obvious advantages of being available online, is essentially exactly like a teacher's planbook.

To enter a lesson plan, users may upload a file or use the very simplified text editor. Users may view plans by day, week, or month.

To view pricing, users may now view the remaining days in their trial period and are offered an upgrade button under Account.

How does the registration process work?

Pricing is not initially presented. Users must sign up for the free 14 day trial (no credit card necessary) with full name, email address, and password.

What does it cost to use the application?

Planboard is offered at a cost of $29.95 per year after the initial 14 day free trial. No monthly options are provided. Payment must be made via credit card.

Volume licensing for organizations or schools is offered. For 5-10 users, the cost is $26.95 annually; 11-20, $23.95 per year; 21-50, $21.95 per year; 50+ users must contact the company for a quote. Note that all prices are per user per year.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Based on the comparison to the Google App, this app is not recommended. Teachers will have more options, including mobile compatibility, with the free LearnBoost app. Until Planbook either offers services for free or increases the services offered, it is inferior to Google's app. Individual teachers can choose to use the free app rather than a school purchasing volume licensing to Planboard.

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Tags: Education

April 19 2012

12:30

Fifty Sneakers - Easy Content Management for Teachers


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What can you use the app for?

Fifty Sneakers is an app, mainly for instructors, to store content for easy update and formatting for various uses. Students may use the app to take tests online with features such as "randomizing" the questions so that it is more difficult for students to cheat. Student scores may be displayed in custom ways, depending on the user's needs. Documents and exams can be created for printing as well.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

Fifty Sneakers is the next generation of the popular Quizinator app. It has all of the Quizinator features with the addition of more flexible content management, networking, and sharing. Fifty Sneakers was developed with the input of teachers' ideas of what to incorporate into the core application.

Quizinator was initially created to address the issue of test preparation, specifically to create a variety of questions for study sessions from the study material. After finding how helpful this application was for students, Quizinator added functionality and focused on providing an online resource for teachers.

Fifty Sneakers is relatively new and no site statistics are available. Unique visitor information for Quizinator was erratic. There is no information regarding the founders or the size of the staff of either company.

What are the differences to other apps?

By maintaining everything online, all content is accessible at all times. It can be used for review sheets, exams, notes, images, videos, and tests. Users upload content and can manipulate it endlessly. One edit to a piece of content in the content area updates all of the areas that this particular content is used, so there are no worries that a test or study sheet will contain outdated content.

The automatic test grading allows teachers to weight test questions by percentage and edit that percentage as needed. Student tracking of progress is available via charts and reports.

Communities are provided for easy content sharing among other teachers.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

After registration, the user is asked to sign in and is directed to the dashboard. From there, users may view sample content, add new content, create e-tests, organize class notes, and track students. Free plan users must upgrade for access to the test, notes, and student areas. Four Getting Started Guides are provided to instruct users on creating and modifying content, managing the content library, creating and printing documents, and creating online tests and providing student access. These tutorials are in the form of instructional slideshows.

Users have several options for adding content. They may create yes/no questions, multiple choice, true/false, short answer questions, images or videos, text blocks, fill in the blank and multiple answers.

Documents may have up to 25 custom fields for the headers and footers of documents. Adding content is relatively easy and users should be able to utilize it without too much difficulty.

Paid sections are similarly easy to use and the tutorials are very detailed and offer step-by-step directions.

How does the registration process work?

Users are required to choose the plan they wish to sign up for. Once chosen, they are redirected to a sign in page. First and last name, email, and password are required. For paid plans, payment information is needed.

What does it cost to use the application?

There are several pricing plans available. The free plan allows the addition of 250 content items and 10 PDF documents. The Basic $5.99 per month plan includes 500 content items, 50 PDF documents, the ability to download to Word,5 classes, 30 student profiles, and full access to public communities. The Pro plan for $8.99 per month includes 750 content items, 50 PDF documents, 10 classes, the ability to download to Word, 50 online tests, 100 student profiles, performance analysis, full access to public and private communities. The Community Plan is offered for $14.99 per month and includes 1000 content items, 100 PDF documents, the ability to download to Word, 100 online tests, 25 classes, 250 student profiles, a performance analysis, full access to public and private communities and the ability to manage a community.

There are no setup or cancellation fees and plans can be changed at any time.

Who would you recommend the application to?

This is a very useful application for teachers who use the same curriculum over the years. They can add and update content, while keeping it fresh by presenting it in different ways as well as the ability to update it easily. Homeschoolers and anyone who instructs or teaches will find this application extremely easy to use and very helpful in maintaining content.

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Tags: Education

April 18 2012

23:31

5 Websites To Watch Educational Videos That Will Expand Your Mind

educational videosWatching videos is a fun and entertaining way to pass the time. If we were to watch every video available online, we could spend a lifetime. If you want to do more with your valuable time than watching shallow YouTube videos, dive into this article, which explores five websites that present fun, mind blowing, and advanced educational videos to expand your mind.

TED

This is probably the first website you thought of when you read the title of this article. That is not surprising, as TED happens to be one of the best sources for inspirational and educational videos online. TED started out as a conference around the topics of Technology, Entertainment, Design, hence the name. Since then, TED has expanded to include more topics and more ways to spread ideas.

One of their latest developments is TED-Ed, a YouTube channel “to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world.

If you can’t get enough of TED, be sure to peek into these articles:

BrightTalk

On BrightTalk you will find free webinars and videos for business professionals on various topics, including business management, human resources, information technology, marketing, and sales. The site is organized by ‘professional communities’ and sub-topics. You can browse and search the entire archive of almost 8,000 recorded webcasts or view material by topic.

In each community, you will find an overview of the recorded material, along with a list of upcoming webcasts. To watch any of the videos, you need to register with BrightTalk.

educational videos

Solve for X

According to its tagline, Solve for X is “a forum to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and teamwork.” The talks explore radical ideas that may help in solving global problems and help billions of people. Solve for X is a Google project launched earlier this year.

GREEN.TV

As the name suggests, GREEN.TV is dedicated to environmental videos. The site aims to create real change by educating people through videos and showing them how they can engage and act differently. Launched in 2005 in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), GREEN.TV has quite a collection of great material and powerful partners to support them.

free educational videos

Do you care about the environment? Then you might also like these articles:

All Things Science

This is not the fanciest site in this collection, but that doesn’t make it less interesting. All Things Science aggregates videos that revolve around Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Genetics, Green Energy, Oceanography, Philosophy, and many other scientific topics.

You can search the site for keywords or browse by channels. Signing up allows you to comment and rate videos.

educational videos

Are you into science? We have many more interesting articles for you:

…..And More!

All major video websites have channels to view content clustered based on a topic. On YouTube you will find a channel for Science & Technology or Education. In Vimeo the respective channels are called Science & Tech and Education & DIY.

Where do you go to quench your thirst for knowledge? Can you recommend any outstanding educational videos you have seen lately?

Bulb on Chalkboard via Shutterstock


April 16 2012

13:05

LessonPlan.it - Free Lesson Planning Software


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What can you use the app for?

LessonPlan.it is an innovative tool that makes it easy for teachers to plan and organize the lessons they plan on delivering for the school year. LessonPlan.it can become an essential tool for a teach looking to quickly and effectively manage their school years' lesson plans. The application is easy to use and allows educators to create classes, plan their daily activities, and even keep their electronic cloud resourced in the cloud. This makes it so a teacher could access these resources from anywhere there is an internet connection. For those teachers who want an clean, organized and easy way to maintain their lesson plans, LessonPlan.it offers a viable solution. Teachers could also access content from past or future classes. There is also a calendar functions that makes taking a snapshot of the day or week very easy to do. Classes and activities are listed in the applications' daily schedule and teachers can use this application for free since it is a resource provided by and supported by the TRN (Teachers Resource Network). Easy to follow video tutorials are also available for users learning to access all of the features of the LessonPlan.it application.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

The application LessonPlan.it is currently apart of the TRN (Teacher Resource Network). Based in Atlanta, the Teacher Resource Network is a Georgia Corporation that works exclusively through private/public partnerships to implement its’ programs. TRN provides guidance to new teachers with little experience, but also allows veteran teachers to open their minds and see new and better ways of teaching through the technology hosted and methods shared on its site. Some of the other "products" available through the TRN include the Teacher Channel and the Teacher Channel Development Center. The LessonPlan.it application launched its beta version on February 1, 2011.

What are the differences to other apps?

LessonPlan.it is extraordinarily easy to use and accessible to teachers of all ages. Many veteran teachers may be able to see value in the application since it is a very intuitive online resource that doesn't take much of a learning curve to master. Additionally the application is supported by the fairly-established TRN so teachers can feel safe and rely upon the servers to securely store their valuable and important lesson plans and materials.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

As stated, the application is very easy to use. The site is designed very well, with an aesthetic color scheme and eye-catching icons. Navigating through the site and its features is a breeze. This is an excellent resource for teachers and has everything one would expect out of a premium software application for teachers that districts have been known to spend thousands for.

How does the registration process work?

Teachers can register for the application by visiting the LessonPlan.it homepage and clicking on the "Join Us Now!" link at the bottom of the page. LessonPlan.it requests users to provide their: email address, password, display name and username. By registering here, teachers will also be signing up for the Teacher Channel Community and they agree to the site's Terms of Service and Etiquette Policy. Once registered, teachers can begin accessing and utilizing the LessonPlan.it application.

What does it cost to use the application?

LessonPlan.it is a free application for teachers.

Who would you recommend the application to?

This is a great application for teachers who are looking for a modern, easy to use and digital way to store and organize their lesson plans. While this niche market doesn't apply to most, for teachers especially this is a fantastic resource. It's also a convenient way for teachers to store learning materials online and best of all is that it is free.

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Tags: Education

April 13 2012

17:50

Iversity.org - Collaboration Tool for Academics


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What can you use the app for?

Iversity is an educational platform that professors and students can use to stay connected with one another. It can also lead to a more blended classroom experience, that is adding an online element to a traditional classroom style course. Iversity could also be implemented effectively into an online educational establishment. Essentially, what Iversity allows professors to do is setup a course website, upload materials, share links and applicable videos, broadcast announcements and upload lectures or course notes. Iversity enables students to access course material from anywhere in the world and at any time, collaborate with fellow students on assignments and key learnings, and build an archive of learning materials (i.e. wiki's, blogs, etc.). Iversity brings the learning process into modern day, empowers it using current technology and allows students to learn in a way that is most familiar to them- online!

What is the history and popularity of the app?

Iveristy is a German-based operation which was developed by an international dream team of 20 young graduate students. The development team has students who have studied all over the world at such institutions as Cambridge, Columbia, Duke and the National University of Singapore, among other establishments. Their goal is to bring the educational system into the digital age. Iveristy is backed behind 1 million in Euros in funding from the BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg and bmp media investors in July 2011. Iversity is similar to the US-based application called BlackBoard which is pretty popular among US institutions.

What are the differences to other apps?

Iveristy is different from other class collaboration tools in that it is most popular in European countries and that it offers a very comprehensive set of educational tools and applications within its service offering. Being backed by over 1 million Euros also makes Iversity a stable and solid operation that classes and schools can feel comfortable in integrating into their coursework. The features of discussion appear more polished, almost like Facebook and the Social Reading feature where classmates can highlight and leave comments on .pdf versions of their course texts is brilliant.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

Iversity has a extremely polished and engaging look to it. It is sure to draw students in, since it was designed by graduate students. While other course collaboration tools seem to be built for instructors, Iversity seems like it is more geared towards students since it tries to incorporate more modern features and technical applications into its platform. The site was very fast, registration was quick and the layout was simple and easy to navigate through.

How does the registration process work?

Registerig for Iversity is quick and easy. Users could also logon using their Facebook account as well. Iversity requests a user's email address and a password in order to get started. Users are then asked if they are a student, an instructor or an administrator or other. From there, Iversity arranges its content and capabilities in the most logical manner based on the audience. Users are guided through building out their portfolio and asked to setup a photo and explain some things about themselves so they can become more apart of the Iversity community. However, aside from a user's name and which institution they represent, all of these other elements are optional. One issue may be if the user's university is not as popular, it may not show up on the Iversity list, which can make registering for the application a bit difficult.

What does it cost to use the application?

The registration and use of the application Iversity, with the exception of the print-on-demand service, are free of charge. Iveristy reserves the right to amend or change the cost of their services at any time.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Iversity is a great tool for instructors to implement into their classroom setting, especially if their institution doesn't promote or require another similar application (i.e. BlackBoard). Students who get to engage in an Iversity blended or online class would find it modern and refreshing from other academic applications.

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Tags: Education

April 11 2012

14:20

TeacherVision - Lessons Printables Teacher Tips


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What can you use the app for?

TeacherVision is used to provide printable worksheets and other resources for students and teachers. It has newsletters and content geared to grades Pre-K through 12 in every subject. The app can be used to plan lessons and provide content and resources for students. It also includes access to the educational website, Funbrain, for use in the classroom as well as several digital books and books to be used with Smartboards.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

TeacherVision is a part of the Family Education Network. It is associated with several textbook and children's book publishers as well as national educational associates. The site statistics vary from 252,000 to 680,000 unique visitors per month.

What are the differences to other apps?

This application focuses on providing ready-to-use content for teachers. All of the content is pre-made for the teacher and requires little effort to access complete lesson plans with printable worksheets, quizzes and tests. Perhaps the biggest difference with this application is the amount of content available.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

This application is visually unappealing. It is overcrowded and has intrusive advertising along the top and side border. The fact that payment information is required prior to the free trial is off-putting.

The amount of content, while organized in several different ways: by grade, theme, type, popularity, and more, is enormous. There are literally over 72,000 resources in the Reading and Language Arts section alone.

The site includes literature guides, printable books, slideshows, bulletin boards, and more, yet it is overwhelming to navigate.

The application is, no doubt, useful to teachers, especially new teachers, as they do not have to start from scratch to create their own content for their curriculum. There appears to be content for every subject for every grade - and a lot of it.

How does the registration process work?

Registration for the free trial requires first and last name, email address, password, credit card information, and billing zip code. At the end of the 7 day trial, the credit card will automatically be charged if the user does not cancel. This is an obvious negative. The ability to access a free trial without providing credit information is preferable.

What does it cost to use the application?

There is a 7 day free trial for TeacherVision. For new subscribers, a one year subscription is offered at a cost of $39.95 and includes over 22,000 printable worksheets, graphic organizers, classroom management ideas, lesson plans, bulletin board ideas, and assessments, quizzes and tests. Users also gain access to the DK Instant Expert teaching guides for using with an interactive whiteboard. The DK Practice Makes Perfect worksheets for a variety of subjects as well as many digital books are available online. Teacher workbooks, clipart, and funbrain educational games are also included.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Teachers who need plans for substitutes may benefit from this application. Educators who prefer not to make their own worksheets, quizzes, and tests will likely use this app. Teachers who struggle with lesson planning or are looking for new ideas will find many resources here. Probably the people who will benefit most from this application are new teachers who need to begin collecting ideas for their curriculum based lessons.

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Tags: Education

April 10 2012

12:30

Edutopia.org - Education Core Strategies Collaboration


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What can you use the app for?

Edutopia is an application filled with education resources for grades K-12. The information is geared for teachers, parents, and administrators and is all directed towards some very effective, basic core strategies for learning. The app contains blogs, videos, and free downloadable resources. This app has something for every teacher, student, parent, or member of school administration. And every item on the site is well written and very well presented.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

Edutopia was founded by The George Lucas Educational Foundation was founded in 1991. It is a nonprofit foundation that advocates for innovation in educational learning environments in grades K-12. The app consistently shows statistics of 100K-145K unique visitors per month, which is unsurprising based on the amount of content available on the site.

What are the differences to other apps?

This application contains a wealth of information for parents, teachers, and administrators for creating the best learning environment using the latest research and technology for our students in grades K-12. This app is simply so far beyond what any other educational app offers, there is no comparison. Edutopia is on the cutting edge of educational reform and is offering the resources to educators to make public schools better.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

The interface is busy and has a lot of information in it, but is actually easy to navigate. The Core Strategies include Integrated Studies to present subjects in an interdisciplinary way to engage and keep students' interest. Project Learning is the long term hands-on approach to learn skills using meaningful activities based on real world issues. Technology Integration promotes the intelligent use of technology in the classroom. Teacher Development is the role that teachers, and parents, play in creating students who love to learn. Social and Emotional Learning comes with project teams who collaborate, communicate, and problem solve. Comprehensive Assessment measures not only academic achievement, but also social and emotional abilities. These core strategies are the basis for the entire Edutopia learning application.

Each section supports the Core Strategies with videos, news, blog posts, communities, and an in-depth look at the core strategies as they apply to various grade levels.

One of the things that stands out on this app is the encouragement for educators to use technology in the classroom to empower students and retain interest. This is an especially helpful feature for parents and teachers who may not be as computer-savvy as the students.

There are blogs for many areas of education. A few examples are: Educational Equity, Innovative Pedagogy, Neuro-Logical Learning, New Teachers, Project-Based Learning, STEM Education, Student Engagement, and Tech Integration. The blog entries are well written and extremely informative.

The Schools That Work section profiles schools that are dramatically improving student learning. They have provided evidence-based success, and using that, Edutopia has created how-to videos and tip lists that may help other users' schools. The teachers at these schools have also shared resources like lesson plans, rubrics, and assessments.

There is a lot of information on this website that could truly help schools better educate our students.

How does the registration process work?

Users may register via Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, or Google. If they choose, they can create an individual account on Edutopia. This requires an email address, password, name, and role in education.

Users are then asked to complete a brief personal profile including a bio, photo, areas of interest,location, role in education, number of children and grades, and social media links.

What does it cost to use the application?

The app is completely free to use.

Who would you recommend the application to?

This application would be relevant to anyone interested in improving the educational system for grades K-12. It offers free information and resources that anyone with a student in those grades will find useful.

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Tags: Education

April 06 2012

15:35

P2PU.org - Free Group Learning Platform


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What can you use the app for?

P2PU.org is a group learning tool. Users can join the P2PU.org community and begin learning anything in almost any subject. The application encourages users to join together and work as a group to further knowledge and experience in specific areas. Featured learning opportunities and a feed of user activity is presented on the homepage. The user can begin by browsing groups and courses, which range from social innovation to writing, activism and image retouching. If the user doesn’t find the subject they need, they can begin their own group or course. Courses include group discussions, tasks, descriptions and stats. The user can start a challenge, which is essentially an exercise or homework assignment. New users can join to learn or contribute what they know.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

P2PU, which stands for the “Peer 2 Peer University,” was created as a grassroots open education project. The service was intended to provide learning beyond college and university, which can be extremely expensive for some students. Users can progress through courses and learn from one another. The application hasn’t been widely discussed, but currently houses an active community of learners and contributors. Users can discover courses on many diverse subjects or create new courses.

What are the differences to other apps?

P2PU.org stands out because it offers a versatile way for users to learn or set up learning courses. The community opens its arms to any internet user. All materials are available online and the user can join discussions with others who are also trying to expand their knowledge as well as those who are knowledgeable. The service is user-driven, which means it has the ability to cover an enormous selection of topics.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

P2PU.org utilizes a colorful, yet professional design that includes vibrant orange, lime green, blue and red. The logo includes a university font, which gives it an ‘educational’ feel however the rest of the site feels more like a friendly gathering than a strict learning institution. This combination of elements works well. The user doesn’t feel intimidated, the interface is easy to master and the learning potential is limited only by the size and diversity of the user community.

How does the registration process work?

A new user can join the P2PU.org community by clicking one of the large colorful buttons found along the right side of the homepage. The top button takes the user to a list of existing groups and courses. The bottom button allows the user to create a new course. Learners can click the green “Join the Community” button corresponding with the course or group they wish to join. The form on the next page asks for a display name, username, password, email address, preferred language and Captcha code entry. The user must check their email inbox for an instruction email to complete registration. Users can also sign in with their Open ID account.

What does it cost to use the application?

P2PU.org is intended to give everyone the opportunity to learn without restrictions. Charging a fee would go against its open university format. Anyone can join the P2PU community and begin participating in or creating groups and courses. There are no limitations and all users receive the same access to the same content and courses. The free format is definitely a great way to convince more users to sign up and contribute or learn.

Who would you recommend the application to?

P2PU.org is a great learning resource for anyone who wants to discover a new subject or expand what they already know. The application provides many learning opportunities. Users should note that while they won’t earn a degree and quality may vary based on the contributor’s experience and knowledge, there is a lot of ways a user can benefit from working through a course. The service is easy to understand and completely cost-free.

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Tags: Education
14:40

NoteWagon - Online Marketplace for Notes


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What can you use the app for?

NoteWagon is an online marketplace for notes. Users can bring their notes, outlines and revision material to NoteWagon and sell them to others for real money. The homepage feature recent activity, which lists new documents and how uploaded them. Many subjects are covered, from psychology to math and biology. The user signs in and selects the course they wish to add notes under. The user uploads the notes as a document. A preview is made available so potential buyers can see the overall quality of the notes through a small sample. When someone buys notes, the user receives tokens. Tokens can be purchased or earned by inviting others to NoteWagon. Tokens earned can be traded for a check or Paypal payment. The application makes suggestions for note pricing, however the user makes the final call when listing their notes for sale.

What is the history and popularity of the app?

NoteWagon was founded by Jamie Wang, Saif Altimimi and Gabriel Chan in September of 2010. The application has received some attention from internet sources, and most comments have been favorable. Many point out that while NoteWagon shouldn’t be a student’s only source of learning outside of the classroom, it does offer an alternative that can work well as a supplemental resource. The application is cheaper than most educational services.

What are the differences to other apps?

NoteWagon is unique in what it has to sell. The idea of an online marketplace has been done time and time again, but NoteWagon is one of the few places that lets users barter tokens for educational materials. The website is home to a wide range of higher education documents taken by real students from real universities. Users can browse for notes and preview with a sample before they buy. Students can also earn extra money to help the make ends meet while in school.

How does the web app look and feel to use?

NoteWagon uses a fun, lighthearted design that caters to a younger age group. Playful elements are found throughout the site, starting with the cheerful panda on the homepage and the hand drawn logo. The design stays clutter-free, despite its friendly nature. This works well to give users a fun, upbeat environment to search for school notes in. Even though the atmosphere seems geared towards younger users, older adults can also learn the interface easily.

How does the registration process work?

A new user can click the gold “Get Started!” button found along the right side of the homepage. The form on the next page asks for a username, email address, password, school name and Captcha code entry. An optional space is available if the user has a promo code. The user is advised that they must check their email inbox for a confirmation link. The link must be accessed within seven days.

What does it cost to use the application?

NoteWagon does not charge a subscription fee to users. Anyone can join for nothing. Users can also list their school documents for free as well. Tokens must be used to purchase notes, however the user is not required to spend a specific amount to maintain account access. Tokens can also be earned by inviting others. Users who prefer to buy tokens can obtain 500 for $4.99, 1,000 for $9.99, 1,500 for $12.99 and 3,000 for $24.99. NoteWagon accepts credit cards and Paypal.

Who would you recommend the application to?

NoteWagon is a helpful resource for anyone who wants to buy or sell school notes. The application is easy to use, however the user will have to sign up to learn anything about how it works or the cost of tokens. NoteWagon can help users earn extra cash while they are in school. Some students may be turned off by the cost of some notes, especially if they have a friend who is willing to help them out for free.

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Tags: Education

March 30 2012

03:30

Attention Students: Google Opens Registration For Summer Of Code [Updates]

Summer is right around the corner, and that means it is time for Google to open up registration for their Summer of Code program. This program allows students to apply for paid internships working on open-source projects. For budding coders out there, this is an incredible opportunity to build some experience, make a little money and help out open-source projects that are in need of skilled programmers.

The program is three months long, and pays students to work with a mentor on open source projects in the field. This is a chance for students to work with an established programmer and build some real world experience, which can be incredibly valuable when they graduate.

There are 180 open source projects approved for the Summer of Code this year. Students can send their proposals from now until April 6th. After the 6th the organizers will check the submissions and make choices on which students will be admitted to the program.

If you need more information about the Summer of Code, you can check out the program’s official website. Google is having a Google+ Hangout for the program on April 2nd, where students can find out information and ask questions.

Get those proposals in, because April 6th is right around the corner!

Source: Mashable


March 17 2012

23:30

Encyclopedia Britannica Online Edition Is Free For A Week [Updates]

Encyclopedia Britannica offers access to its online collection for free this week only as it moves from printing books to an entirely digital format. Normally you’d expect a publication’s decision to stop its print edition to cause some internal mourning. Not so for Encyclopedia Britannica. The halt of production marks the end of a print publication two centuries old, but rather than dwell on what has been lost the company has decided to offer the online edition for free over the next week.

Perhaps you didn’t even know that there was an online edition, which is precisely why they’re giving out this freebie. You can access the free content simply by going to britannica.com. There is no sign-up required, not even a basic email/password registration.

The basic layout is fairly similar to Wikipedia, but the online version of Britannica sometimes offers more images and more consistently links to other, related topics. You also won’t be seeing any of those “insufficient sources” notifications because this is still a traditional encyclopedia with entries that go through a professional editorial process.

Since the Encyclopedia Britannica is going out of print, this is your last chance to pick it up in its typical 32-book format. The final print edition is listed at $1,395 at the Britannica store “while supplies last.” The online edition is $69.95 a year, so the final volumes are probably best left in the hands of collectors.

Source: Digital Inspiration

Image Credit: Stewart Butterfield


March 14 2012

15:30

TED-Ed Provides Online Lessons & Learning Tools [Updates]

TED, the well-known organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading”, has launched a new educational initiative – TED-Ed, “lessons worth sharing”. Like TED, TED-Ed is devoted to spreading knowledge, this time to students in the form of animated lessons.

As the first part of the TED-Ed initiative, a new YouTube channel has been launched, which currently includes 12 videos about topics like nature, language and history. More videos will be added weekly, and the goal is to rapidly reach several hundred videos.

TED-Ed is built on collaboration between teachers and animators. Teachers can contribute their voices and knowledge, and the animators make the lesson come to life in an educational video. Anyone can nominate a teacher or an animator on the TED-Ed channel, or suggest a topic for a lesson.

TED-Ed’s YouTube channel is part of the YouTube EDU project, which provides educational videos on numerous different topics. In early April 2012, a new TED-Ed website will be also launched, including the videos and more learning tools.

What do you think of this new initiative?

Source: PR Newswire


March 09 2012

01:31

Let The Games Begin! 5 Extremely Cute & Educational Games For Toddlers [Android]

There’s nothing cuter than a toddler playing a game on a smartphone. I used to think letting toddlers play with phones is a bad sign of the times, kids playing with screens instead of balls and all that, but there’s something truly unique about the way children enjoy these phone games, and after letting my cats play with my iPad, I can’t very well refuse to let my 17-month-old niece play with my phone.

My niece has been playing with my phone ever since she was 10 months old, and her enjoyment of the games keeps increasing as she gets older. While very small babies may throw the phone on the floor in a fit of frustration, older toddlers are too busy playing to actually hurt the device. There are numerous games out there, and Ryan has written a good list in the past, but the Android market changes quickly, and new and awesome games emerge all the time. Here are the best, most-liked games on my Android device as of today. Way better than TV!

Baby Rattle [2.1-3.2]

Baby Rattle accomplishes two important tasks in one sweet game. It both keeps your toddler entertained, and prevents it from accessing anything else on the device while playing. If you’ve ever let a child play with your phone, you know the latter is a serious problem, both for the child and the device’s owner.

When you first install and launch Baby Rattle, the app will instruct you about enabling the child lock feature. You only have to do this once. Next time you load the app, it will already be locked. You can also decide to forego the child lock option.

baby-rattle-1

The game itself is highly amusing, even for the adults playing along with the children. There are 5 different rattles, each with a different background and different characters. The screen reacts with movement and rattle sounds when the child touches a character, when they shake the phone, when the phone’s buttons are pressed, etc. Since shaking the phone moves things around, it’s hard to take a proper screenshot of the game itself, but this is the general idea.

baby-rattle-2

You can also set the game to force airplane mode every time it’s launched, if you’re worried about radiation and such. In order to exit the game, you’d need to enter the Settings through the menu and enter a code.

Toddler Lock [1.5+]

Toddler Lock is another cute phone locker that keeps kids entertained while protecting the phone. With this game, you can hand over the phone and simply watch the toddler play.

toddler-lock

Setting up the lock is similar to Baby Rattle. Once that’s done, every time you launch the app it will immediately lock and start showing shapes and playing musical notes. Touching the screen will create more and more shapes in different colors, and dragging a finger on the screen will draw lines. It’s a very simple app, but surprisingly effective with children, who enjoy the shapes, sounds and colors immensely.

Here, too, you can set it to automatically enable airplane mode. Note that if you use an alternative launcher on your phone, the app may interfere with it. I did not encounter this problem, however. There are donation versions of the app both for $1 and $2.

Kids Piano Lite [1.5+]

For music-loving or duck-loving kids, try out Kids Piano. The free version offers multiple modes, in-app games and skins. Some of the options are great for older kids as well, and others are suitable for younger babies.

To start, you can choose between play mode, song mode and game mode. In play mode, the child can use the mini-piano to play different notes, which then appear on the left side of the screen. This is a great way for young toddlers to enjoy colors and sounds and for older kids to learn more about music.

kids-piano

In song mode there are actual songs the child can listen to and play, and game mode offers 4 different games for older kids, such as this “catch the mouse” game. In each mode, you can enable and disable baby lock through the menu.

kids-piano-2

There are 4 different piano themes to choose from. The favorite with my niece is the duck, hands down. In fact, for her, the name of the game is the word she uses for a duck, do you see where the priorities lie? A paid version is available for $2.50.

Itsy Bitsy Spider [2.1+]

Itsy Bitsy Spider is the only paid app ($1.99) in the lineup, but boy is it worth it. My niece has an infatuation with the itsy bitsy spider song, so off I went in search of a matching app, and hit the veritable itsy bitsy jackpot.

itsy-bitsy-1

The game sings out the song of the itsy bitsy spider, but everything is interactive. Every line of the song gets its own screen, in which the toddler can tap on anything to make things happen. The app is also educational, teaching children about numbers, the butterfly’s lifecycle, and animal names. There’s also a fly in every screen that happily starts speaking about scientific facts when tapped.

itsy-bitsy-2

This is my niece’s all-time favorite game, and she’s learned to tap the spider every time she wants the game to move on, and is fascinated by the squirrel, the snail and the butterfly. There’s also an inner game of collecting Easter eggs on the spider’s head and bringing them to his web. Truly awesome and fun game. I only wish it could be toddler-locked to prevent children from exiting by mistake. As it is, you might want to be holding the phone yourself when playing the game with younger kids.

playing-itsy-bitsy

ZOOLA Free [2.1+]

If there’s something kids love, it’s animal sounds. My niece’s first actual word was the sound a dog makes, and this remained her only word for several months. Zoola is a great animal-sound game, with amazing photos and accurate sounds, and even includes male, female and baby versions of every animal (admit it, you never knew what sound a baby zebra makes!).

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There are farm animals and wild animals, and even different breeds of dogs (most of which are locked in the free version, but no matter, they all bark anyway). Tapping on an animal opens a full-size image, and sliding your finger on the image switches from male to female to baby to heart, which is a picture of the animal with a song in the background.

zoola-2

The animal buttons are a bit small for young toddlers to press themselves, but they will happily point at the animal they want to hear, and slide their finger to switch between genders. Great way to learn about animals and the sounds they make. Only thing missing is a baby lock feature. Get the full version for $1.99

Bottom Line

The bottom line is, let your children play with your phones! Maybe not for hours on end, but this can be a fun and educational experience for the both of you. They will grow up using the thing non-stop anyway, so you might as well make it useful as long as you can.

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What do you think of the whole concept? Do you let your children play with your phone? Do you know of any awesome games your child simply can’t stop playing? Share in the comments!


February 22 2012

16:31

4 Stock Video Websites To Catch A Glimpse Of History Captured On Film

video of historyI wasn’t born when the moon landings took place. Nor was I there when Woodstock happened. Television also didn’t see the light of the day in my country. Thankfully, while growing up the web happened. Now, with a simple search I can catch quite a few momentous historic events as they were broadcast then.

Not all of it is on History channel. Not all of us head towards YouTube. There are quite a few other websites out there which host stock video footage from key moments in history. They playback not only eyewitness accounts, but also give us history lessons in video…as it happened.

So, which are the handful of these hosting sites which have a commendable library with videos of history? Let’s check out four of them here.

British Pathe

video of history

A collection of 90,000 reels should be enough to pique your interest. British Pathe is one of the oldest media companies in the world, so the strength (and depth) of their collection is not surprising. All professional usages require a license fee, but the video clips can be previewed online. They have a full-fledged channel on YouTube where a small collection is hosted. Check out the video from 1921 which shows the flight (or lack of it) of an early helicopter.

history websites

CriticalPast

history websites

CriticalPast is an attractively designed website which features 57000 videos and 7 million images. It could rank among the ones with the largest privately held archival collections in the world. The clips and photos are sourced largely from U.S. government agencies and can be viewed online without charge. Downloads are available at a cost. The neat feature of the site is the timeline which allows you to narrow your video search to a particular year and thus check it out historically.

The other tool that I like is the one which shows you Your Birthday in History. You can check out what happened on your birthday across the years with the help of archival video footage.

The Travel Film Archive

history websites

The Travel Film Archive is a collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970. The stock footage is licensed but you can view them online without cost. The search engine on the site is more than helpful – it allows you to search by region, country, state, and city. Then you can also narrow it down by time and subject, or choose a filmmaker who shot the film. You can also try the tag cloud.

The Internet Archive (Moving Images)

video of history

The Internet Archive might pale in comparison (only in design) to the above three, but then you have to remember that most of the videos here are free to download under a Creative Commons license. The Internet Archive Blog is a must read if you want to take a shortcut through the thousands of videos here, and pick out the ones to watch (E.g. Little Known Classics You NEED To Watch!). Alternatively, you can do a keyword search or go through the sub-collections one by one.

These four websites are not the only ones of course which offer viewable historic clips, but they are among the few that allow you to at least view them online for free. The others which I stumbled across where restricted by licenses and pricing. If you are a history buff, your journey does not end here.

5 Interesting Historical Events Timelines That Show History As It Happened
5 Websites To Go Back In Time & Find Out What Happened This Day In History
7 Historical Websites That Let Us Go Back & Take Another Peek At History

Do you have a great historical video website bookmarked somewhere? Leave us the link in the comments and tell us if you find any of these websites educational and fun.


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