FYI – My “Neat Stuff” posts are from emails I send out to the faculty at my school. I share them here because I think they may helpful to others.
6 Ways to Force Quit Mac Applications - http://osxdaily.com/2012/03/02/force-quit-mac-apps – Ways to deal with the dreaded spinning beachball of death.
11 Web-based Polling and Survey Tools - http://bit.ly/AqYjV0 – Ways to conduct polls and surveys online.
Wordia - http://beta.wordia.com – “Wordia is a free games-based learning platform – built on the foundations of a dictionary – that blends word-based learning games with interactive video vocabulary. Wordia encourages students to learn through play – building subject ‘Word Banks’ as they compete with classmates and other schools in a fun, competition-led, learning environment. The Wordia team is building a way for educators to measure a student’s progress and performance through games-based learning – and we’re busy enhancing the competition experience through Classroom, School and District leader boards.” Learn more about Wordia - http://beta.wordia.com/about. You can use their games, make your own, or have students create their own. Users have to have an account to save games they create. Making an account requires checking email so if you are using with your students they may need to work in teams and would need to create their accounts at home where they can access their email to confirm their account creation.
ClassTools.net - http://classtools.net - Create free educational games, quizzes, activities and diagrams in seconds! Host them on your own website! No signup, no passwords, no charge! They have a set of templates for a variety of games and activities. Video tutorials are provided. This is a great tool for those with access to a Promethean Board, those with an iPad projected using Splashtop, OR anyone with a teacher laptop connected to a project – THAT SHOULD COVER ALL OUR FACULTY.
Here are some example ideas that could be modified for any course.
- English - Use the Jigsaw Diagram template. Put sentences on the puzzle pieces. Display the activity. Have students come up and put the pieces in the logical order. Alternative – Reserve a laptop cart and have the students work in pairs on the activity. Make it a competition – see which pair can finish first with the correct sequence of pieces.
- History – Use the Jigsaw Diagram template. Put elements of a timeline on the puzzle pieces. Display the activity. Have students come up and put the pieces in the correct sequential order. Alternative – Reserve a laptop cart and have the students work in pairs on the activity. Make it a competition – see which pair can finish first with the correct sequence of pieces.
- Biology – Use the Dust Bin template (We would call it the Trash Can template here in the USA – the site is from the UK) . Have four biomes on the trash cans. Have various animals, environmental descriptors, etc, on the center pieces. Display the activity. Have students come up and put the pieces in the appropriate trash can. Alternative – Reserve a laptop cart and have the students work in pairs on the activity. Make it a competition – see which pair can get the most correct answers in the fastest time.
- Auto Mechanics – Use the Post It template. Upload a photo of a car engine. Designate items in the engine for students to identify. Display the activity. Have students come up and put the appropriate Post It on the corresponding element in the picture. Alternative – Reserve a laptop cart and have the students work in pairs on the activity. Make it a competition – see which pair can complete the activity correctly in the shortest period of time.
- Other templates include Fakebook, Arcade Game, Fishbone, Venn Diagram, Timeline, Lights Out, Cycle Diagram, and more.
Consider having students create the activities and really reach into some higher-order thinking skills. It would also keep you from having to create a bunch of activities.
TheFaculties - http://www.thefaculties.org – I came across this resources via a blog post on http://www.freetech4teachers.com (a great website to follow). “The Faculties is an interesting video project, based in the UK, that presents short videos of university lecturers speaking on topics in their fields.” These are short video lectures (under 10 min from what I can see) that are geared toward high school students covering topics in English, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, History (more specifically, World History), and Psychology. The video lectures are by college professors. Students can follow up the videos with learning more about careers in those areas. Now, these are lectures and some of the professors are more interesting than others. Some stand there and read their scripts; some are more engaging. That said, you may be able to use some of these to help reinforce what you do in your classroom.
Retronaut - http://www.retronaut.co – “The past is a foreign country. Here is your passport.” Visual time capsules great for English, History, World History, and other subject referring to particular time periods.
FontStruct – http://fontstruct.com - Build your own fonts with this website. Nothing to install on your computer. When you have created your own font, you can download the font and use in any application on your computer. You are not limited to making letters in your font set. You can drawing symbols too!