Tips, tricks, and news for the EdTech Community
Ardusat offers a classroom pack of tools that allow students to design and build a variety of experiments. These experiments can then access current satellite data sets to collect and analyze realtime data. The pricing is a bit steep, starting at $2000 for the program materials and a $1000 annual cost for the experiment platform, but it is a full featured program that provides a unique opportunity for students to design experiments and send the actual code to space on a CubeSat satellite.
3D printing continues to grab attention and there were a few interesting products in this area. BlocksCAD is a 3d modeling and Computer-aided Design app that is free and web-based. It allows for CAD creation using drag and drop but designs can still be printed to a wide range of 3D printers. Mattell recently announced the ThingMaker, a sub-$300 3D printer that will introduce a new generation of kids to digital design. The ThingMaker app is available now and the printer is expected in the Fall. Geared towards toy creation, the ThinkMaker will provide a great entry level experience for younger kids. Not all 3D printing requires a large printer, however, and the folks over at 3Doodler have proven that once again. The original 3Doodler is a pen-shaped device that 'prints' using plastic filament just like a 3D printer but provides much more control. At just $99, 3Doodler is a great tool, but the company is now taking pre-orders for the 3Doodler Start, a kid-friendly version that could be used by even younger students and comes in under $50.
Another platform that received some attention at SXSWedu is something that I have actually had a live demo from CEO Mark Oronzio. Ideaphora is an incredibly interesting learning environment for teachers. Ideaphora is a browser-based mapping tool for video. Teachers can import video and text from sources such as YouTube, Khan Academy and Wikipedia. The app will automatically create a list of key words and phrases that students can then drag and drop into a custom knowledge map to help them map connections and outline concepts. The ability for students to map these concepts allows them to construct meaning and the company has research to back the improved retention that comes with it's use.
Participate Learning (www.participate.com) is an incredible online tool that allows educators to search for, evaluate, and share the best educational resources from around the web. Whether you are looking for apps, web resources or online video, Participate can help you find and organize these resources. They have recently introduced Participate Chats, an amazing platform educators can us to, well, participate in online Twitter chats on hundreds of topics.
VoiceThread is not a new app but recent updates have made it even more valuable to educators. VoiceThread is an app that allows you create voice and video conversations that others can view and comment on. The response comments can be in the form of text, voice or video. I use this app with pre-service teachers and, after viewing a prompt from me, the students have to create a video response to the prompt. It is an amazing tool that allows you to see students respond, which can often provide another level of assessment.
thinglink is a very creative tool that will help you make a normal image interactive. Add interactivity to an image to increase the content and context of it and take your static images to the next level. Impressed? Well, hang on because you can now thinglink your videos as well!
The SAMR Model
This link to Kathy Schrock's SAMR and Bloom's page provides a wonderful background on SAMR along with an incredible collection of resources to help teachers integrate technology into the classroom in the SAMR Framework.