Friday, March 6, 2015

Versal - create online interactive lessons

Versal is an app that allows you to create online interactive lessons. These can be individual assignments or full courses.

It's easy to use and there is a lot of features. And, Versal has partnered with Wolfram Alpha to allow content from Wolfram to be used in Versal.

There are lesson ideas, materials and excellent training and support materials.

Teachers can use this to create interactive lessons vs static images and really create engaging materials.



Wolfram Alpha and Wolfram resources


Google CS First - free program to teach students programming

Google CS First is a free program with curriculum and resources to from computer science clubs for kids ages 9-14. It can also be used in school. It has a lot of resources and themes, including Music & Sound (create a music video and build an interactive music display), Fashion & Design (build fashion-themed apps), Storytelling (create interactive stories), Game Design (code a game), and so on.

Materials include videos, lesson plans, tips and programming in Scratch and are easy to find and use. This is a great way to get students interested in programming and computer science, and also a great way to get them thinking critically and creatively.


Lesson plan pages:

Education on Air - free online educational conference from Google

Google has just announced Education on Air, a free online conference for educators on May 8-9, 2015. This is free, online conference is for educators and is being presented by educators, and some students. The theme is exploring the future of education and technology

The conference will provide an opportunity to:
Reflect on and discuss how we can create an education system that prepares students for our always-changing world
Learn new ideas from people in various roles across education, including students
Get tips and tools from educators who have boosted student engagement, collaboration and productivity using technology and innovation
You won't even have to leave home to attend. You can take part right from the comfort of your computer, at no cost.
Register for Education on Air today.

Day 1: Leading the future
On Friday, May 8 from 10am-3pm EST, hear from educators, students and business leaders on the topic of leadership in education. Short keynotes and panels will help answer the question “how do we prepare our students for a future that is ever-changing?” Topics will include creating student ownership, leading change and fostering innovation in schools.

Day 2: Shaping the classroom today
On Saturday, May 9, join any of the 90+ sessions, run by educators for educators and held throughout the day across time zones. These sessions are designed to help you immediately in your school. We’ll have tracks for four groups: teachers, leaders, IT and general interest. Topics will include supporting literacy in early learners, successful device deployment and empowering digital citizens.

Even if you can’t attend on the scheduled dates, do register to stay informed. We’ll share the conference schedule and list of speakers in April. We’ll also be recording the sessions, so you can check out anything you missed.

More information is coming about specific sessions too.

These are always excellent events, so register and join us.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MathX - browser based, easy to use equation builder

MathX Logo

Demonstranda has developed a new browser-based equation editor, MathX, that makes typing math easier and faster than other technologies. 
Demonstranda is evolving math and science from pencil to pixels. This means every time a student, teacher, tutor, or engineer writes a paper, takes notes or a test, sends an email or text, or creates a presentation with mathematical or scientific content, they will be doing so electronically, using our technologies. Having this content in digital form will fundamentally change the way the world learns and collaborates in maths and sciences.

MathX is a simple, elegant, easy-to-use equation builder that does not require coding or clicking. It's easy to use and will make it easier for math and science students and professionals to use technology with their equations.

You can download the free chrome extension or go to to check out the editor and start creating equations like this:

The Chrome extension lets you quickly build equations and drag+drop the resulting expression into Google Docs, making it really useful for students and teachers.


Also check out their YouTube channel for short videos on how to use MathX

Photomath math equation app now available for Android

Google Apps and Chromebooks Web App Recommendations - a whole lot! Includes a lot of math web apps halfway down the page.

DropTask - Visual Task Management app

DropTask Logo

DropTask is a free visual task management app that is web based and available on iOS and Android. It is easy to use and lets you create a visual to do list that is color coded and with lots of features. You can take notes, chat with others, attach files, set reminders, work with others, and more. It is a very beautiful interface with drag and drop functionality.

DropTask - Access everything in one place
It also works with other apps, like Google Apps and Dropbox, with Evernote and Outlook integration in Beta versions now.

The Evernote integration is slated to go public very soon and looks pretty cool. Integration with Evernote allows you to send your notes from Evernote into DropTask where you can organize and manage your to-dos. Alternatively, if you have a task already in DropTask, you can send it to Evernote and create a new note where you will have the space to write down all your ideas and information related to that task.

DropTask Integrations: GMail, Google Tasks, Google Calendar, Dropbox, iMindMap

The free version has tons of features with the Pro version, at $6.50/month, adding more features, including more syncing with other apps and more collaboration tools. You can compare features between the two here.

Try it out and see if it can help you get organized. 

Here is a video about it:


Get Organized - tips and resources for students, teachers, admin and more

kanban2go - free visual task management and organization

Edmodo releases Parent Apps to help Parents help their children

Edmodo is a free learning management system that is very popular and easy to use. Edmodo is a great resource for teachers, students, and parents, allowing communication, collaboration and sharing. It has forums, messages, files, calendar, and more to create an online presence for your class.

Edmodo recently released the Edmodo for Parents app for iOS and Android to allow parents to receive your important announcements and stay on top of classroom due dates. This allows parents to be more connected to the classroom and teacher, as well as being able to better help their children.

Edmodo for Parents - screenshot thumbnailEdmodo for Parents - screenshot thumbnailEdmodo for Parents - screenshot thumbnailEdmodo for Parents - screenshot thumbnailEdmodo for Parents - screenshot thumbnail


Resources for Using Edmodo in the Classroom


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Why Should Schools go with Google Apps and Chromebooks?

I'm a huge fan and user of Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks and have written about them at length here. Here is a generic version of what I presented as reasons why my district should Go Google that you can use in your own school/district.

Why Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks:

Here are some of the reasons why Chromebooks make sense in education:

Educational Goals:
  • Increase student engagement 
  • Expose our students to the latest technology - software and hardware
  • Create student centered learning environments
  • Allow students and teachers to do new things, work collaboratively and create projects
  • Prepare our students for the transition to online testing as we move toward Common Core State Standards implementation
  • Provide equitable access to computers to all students (1:1)

Here are some videos and resources explaining Google Apps and Chromebooks in Education:

Educational Benefits of Chromebooks and GAFE:
  • Fast boot time – 5-6 seconds - They boot up in less than 8 seconds and resume instantly -- eliminating the typical down time wasted while traditional computers start up and connect to a network.
  • Applications, school work, and settings are stored in the cloud, so multiple students can use the same Chromebook and still have their own personalized experience when they sign in. 
  • The Google Applications are free for student use; such as Google Docs (word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation).
  • Allows for easy student and teacher collaboration and feedback.

IT Benefits of Chromebooks and GAFE:
  • Web Based Management
  • Reduced setup time
  • No programs to install – all student work will be saved in the “cloud”
  • No viruses and very secure
  • Updates are automatic and often
  • Easy to use - minimal IT support needed.*Inexpensive - allows more devices to be purchased

Features of Google Apps for Education
  • Free
  • word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, sites, networking, collaboration, and lots more
  • (including Word, PowerPoint and Excel files)
  • students can access their files from any device
  • students can share their work with their teachers
  • students can collaborate with others on the same project at the same time
  • unlimited potential
  • safe (management of GAFE and Chromebooks)
  • allows students to create projects, instead of just consuming information

  • Cost - 1/3 cost of a laptop
  • 1/10th the setup time
  • less IT support needed, automatic updates, 
  • easy to use, fast, light
  • start up in 7 seconds
  • battery lasts 6.5 hours or more (8+ hours for some)
  • thousands of free web-apps available
  • internet based - student data is stored online and accessible from any device
  • works with digital resources we already use
  • Research shows that technology-transformed interventions improve learninge
  • Allow for collaborative, project based lessons and learning
  • Technology based, online collaboration and personalized instruction helps with student engagement and learning

Huge User Base
  • Over 30 Million Google Apps for Education Users 
  • 180 Countries
  • 74 out of the top 100 Colleges in the US, including 7/8 Ivy League schools, use Google Apps.
  • over 2400 school districts in the US use Google Apps.

Editor's note: This guest post was contributed by +Rich Kiker, the top-rated Google Certified Trainer and founder of Kiker Learning.

Educators should demonstrate certain traits to effectively serve today’s learners. Google Apps for Education gives us a virtual landscape where educators can deploy these traits anytime and anywhere. We have extended our educational tools to include Chromebooks and Android tablets, so now educators can create an environment poised for inquiry, driven by discovery, and saturated with opportunities for student achievement.

To this end, any teacher, coach, parent, or mentor can shape a child’s journey by plugging into connected learning to empower a learner with voice, design thinking, and digital awareness.

This is why I am educator who has #GoneGoogle with conviction.


EdTech Update - bringing the best news about EdTech to you

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and Aggregage are excited to announce the launch of EdTech Update. This new site and newsletter was created as a way to gather the best resources from hundreds of sources, including top bloggers such as Steve Anderson, Scott McLeod, EdFly, Christensen Institute, Digital Learning Now and many others.

The content is customizable by the user so that you only get what is the most interesting and relevant content for you. It looks at what you have selected, what you click on and share and then figures out what is most interesting to you. You can also personalize the content by using your LinkedIn profile, what you share on Twitter, what you click on either on the site or the newsletter, and what topics you
tell it are the most relevant based on your interests

There is a lot of great material and resources here - take a look. EdTech Update


Tech&Learning - free Edtech magazine, website and resources for educators

Tech&Learning is a great resource for educators. It is a print/online magazine, along with a great website. They also produce TechForum educational conferences and Virtual TechForum.

The Tech&Learning magazine, available free to qualified educators, is released monthly and contains articles, tips, resources, product reviews, and much more.

The website has a link to the electronic version of the magazine, the Tech&Learning Advisor blogs, links to resources from past TechForums, and more resources. There are articles on best practices, administration, integrating technology, professional development, free resources, tips and tricks, grant help, and so much more.

The Tech&Learning Advisors are educators who write articles for the TL Blog section of the website, contribute articles to the magazine, and also help review products and present at Tech&Learning Live, which is an excellent edtech conference held around the US throughout the year. The next one is March 13th in Atlanta. Some of the names may be familiar to you as they are also very active online with Twitter and their own blogs and present extensively at conferences and unconferences around the world.

The staff are friendly and helpful, the Tech&Learning Live conferences are great, fun, and informative, and the site and magazine have incredible information and resources.

Tech&Learning also maintains a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Tech&Learning is an excellent resource for all educators. It's free and contains a tremendous amount of information, links, resources, and tips and ideas.

You can sign up for a free print or digital edition here: 


Photomath math equation app now available for Android

PhotoMath is a math solving app that was originally released as an iPhone app a few months ago. It is now available for Android devices.

It is very simple to use - point your smartphone's camera at a math equation and the app will solve it for you. It gives you the answer and all of the steps used to solve it. It supports all kinds of equations, including inequalities and quadratic equations. 



The Evolution of Learning Technologies

Interesting timeline of the Evolution of Learning Technologies:

The Evolution of Learning Technologies
The Evolution of Learning Technologies | Open Colleges


Evernote Tips and Tricks Series - #11 - merge notes, create table of contents, create notebook stacks

Evernote Web Clipper graphic

I'm a huge fan and user of Evernote, and lots of people ask me for tips on using it, so I'm starting a series of blog posts on Evernote Tips and Tricks to share some great tips and ideas for using Evernote.

Tip #11 - merge notes, create table of contents, notebook stacks

Evernote's layout of notebooks and notes is great for organizing, but there are some more great features too.

1. Merge Notes - Simply select the notes you want to merge together (hold CTRL or SHIFT as you select each one) and then click "Merge". This merge's the notes together into one note with the first note you select as the top note. Each note title is shaded providing a sort of page break between each note. This is a great way to consolidate multiple notes into one - very useful when you are adding/creating notes from different sources into Evernote or for cleaning up completed projects.

Please note: If you make a mistake merging notes or would like to retain the original notes, restore each individual note from your trash.

2. Create a Table of Contents - This creates a note with a list of all of the notes you selected (hold CTRL or SHIFT to select notes) with the title of each note being a hyperlink to the actual note. This is great for project management so you have a list of all projects/tasks on one note, as a unit plan with a list to each lesson plan and resource, or for writing with a list of each chapter.

3. Create Notebook Stacks - you can organize a bunch of notebooks into a "stack" where they are all organized. For example, I have a notebook stack for my consulting projects which has different notebooks underneath including clients, project files, resources and more.

In Evernote for Windows and Mac, select the notebooks from the left side menu, drag and drop one notebook into another notebook and it will create a new stack containing both notebooks. You can add more notebooks by simply dragging them into the stack.

Evernote for iOS
1. Navigate to your notebook list view.
2. Tap Edit in the upper right screen.
3. Select the information icon (“i”) next to the notebook you would like to move to your stack.
4. Tap Stack. 
Evernote for Android
Adding notebooks to a stack with Android is a one-step process!
1. Press and hold a notebook and select ‘Move to stack’ or ‘Move to new stack’

More great features from Evernote that allow you to be more organized and efficient.


Evernote for Education Resources (includes more tips)

Great Tips, Resources and Ideas for Going Paperless

Monday, March 2, 2015

Read & Write Text to Speech web app comes to iPad and Android

Cover art

Read and Write for Google is an excellent Chrome app that provides text-to-speech functions from your browser. They have just released a free iPad and Android app.

The apps provide text to speech functions, which are great for ESL, learning disabled, visually challenged and struggling readers, on your device, just like the web app does in the Chrome Browser and Chromebooks.

There are some other features that are available also, either with a fee or by using a Google Apps for Education account.

Read&Write for Android - screenshotRead&Write for Android - screenshot


Google for Education Resources

Google Accessibility Features in Chrome (OS and Browser)
Android for Education Resources

Evernote Clearly gets Text-to-Speech - premium only

Free Online PDF to Word Converter

PDFs are one of the most popular document formats, mainly because you can view them easily on any device. However, sometimes you need to convert one to a Word document to edit it. There are a lot of different PDF tools out there. Here is another.

Scanned PDF to Word is a free online tool for converting PDF documents to Word (.docx).

- There are no restrictions. Files of all sizes can be sent for conversion an unlimited number of times.
- Absolutely all pages in the document are converted.
- Both scanned and standard PDF files are supported.
- Even complex PDF files with forms, tables, images, non-standard layouts etc. are converted accurately.
- Everything is free – the only price is viewing a couple of ads and nothing more.
It's very easy to use. Select your PDF file to convert, enter your email address, and click "start". When it's done you'll get an email.

Here are some More Resources for working with PDF Files  (lots here, plus more listed below)

PDF Converter - free online PDF conversion

Lots of PDF resources - print, markup, convert and more

PDFBinder - simple tool to merge PDF documents into one

BabyPDF - Edit PDF documents for free

Crocodoc - markup PDF files for free

Fill Any PDF form - fill out, sign and send forms

I Love PDF - merge or split PDF files


Teaching Digital Citizenship - free online course for teacers to help teach students to be safe online

Teaching Digital Citizenship is a free, new tool that educators can use to keep kids safer online.

Teaching Digital Citizenship is a self-paced, online training program to help educators, law-enforcement officers, and others teach Internet safety and prepare children ages 5-17 to be better digital citizens. This training can help anyone involved with educating children understand the risks kids face online and how to empower them to be responsible digital citizens. The course is self-paced, consists of a series of videos and quizzes that take about an hour to complete. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate that can be used to apply for continuing education credits. 

The topics covered include:

· Introduction to digital citizenship

· Digital literacy and ethics

· Inappropriate content

· Online sexual solicitation

· Online privacy

· Sexting

· Cyberbullying

There is also an Educator Resource page that has presentations, lesson plans and more to help teach students online safety. The resources are sorted by type and  by standards and grade level. 

These days, it is even more important to help our students stay safe online. 


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