Thursday, March 31, 2011

Catch of the Day - Mingoville - 3/31/2011

Mingoville is a free interactive English learning website combining fun games for kids with songs and colorful characters. Mingoville helps children learn English anytime from anywhere they can access a computer with an Internet connection.


Mingoville's purpose is to improve students' English language and comprehension skills in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and pronunciation in a "fun 'edutainment' model." Kids, engaging with lively characters, learn English by doing in an environment featuring lessons, songs, and games.


Mingoville was designed primarily for students between the ages 5-14. However, Mingoville has been used successfully by older ESL students. Even adults have used Mingoville's free listening and pronunciation tools.


Mingoville offers virtual learning tools including:

  • My Book - a notebook where students can save activities and teachers note program requirements
  • Showroom - a place where students can showcase their best work

Watch a video demo of Mingoville.

Mingoville is available in a large variety of languages including French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, and many more, as well as English.

Note: Mingoville requires Flash 9.0 or higher.


The Times We Live In

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Catch of the Day - LessonWriter - 3/30/2011

LessonWriter is a free website for English teachers to create lesson plans and instructional materials for teaching language skills from any reading passage.


LessonWriter has been created to help teachers save time, be creative, differentiate instruction, track progress, and design units of study.

LessonWriter-generated plans offer suggestions for differentiating instruction and resources and implementing the lesson. Choose different content to meet the interests and needs of individual students while teaching the same English language skills to the entire class.


How LessonWriter works:

  • Copy/paste any text you choose into LessonWriter
  • Text is analyzed for vocabulary, grammar and usage, pronunciation, and word roots and stems
  • Add questions, support material, and graphic organizers
  • Choose differentiation and sheltered instruction options
  • LessonWriter produces a standards-based lesson plan and teaching materials


LessonWriter can provide content-area teachers with a tool to integrate literacy and English language skills into any unit of study in any subject area.

A freeLessonWriter teacher account generates lesson plans and student materials, differentiated content, and class records and reports. Team and school service subscriptions start at $1,299(US) per year or are free with basic professional development training.



Skype in the classroom: A Network for Teachers

Skype has just launched Skype in the classroom, a free community to help teachers everywhere use Skype to help their students learn.


Skype in the classroom lets teachers to connect, share, and find partner classes. Skype created this service in response to and in consultation with the growing number of teachers using Skype in their classrooms.


To use Skype in the classroom, create a profile that with your interests and location. Then browse the community for teachers you’d like to connect with. Then share Skype-related teaching resources.

You can join Skype in the classroom using your current Skype account or create a new one.

Note: Skype in the classroom is still in beta.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catch of the Day - Sumanas - 3/29/2011

Sumanas offers a rich selection of content intended to support the teaching and learning of science.


SumanasAnimation Gallery animated tutorials for science are available in multiple formats including Flash, Shockwave, and QuickTime on CDs and online.


Animations are offered in the subject areas below:

  • General Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Statistics
  • Environmental Science
  • and More



See an animation about Mendel's Experiments

The SumanasScience in Focus section includes animations that explain science topics that are in the news.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Catch of the Day - Hot English Method - 3/28/2011

The unique Hot English Method offers a link between a structured course and up-to-date material. The Hot English MethodSkills Booklets have the structure and syllabus of a typical language course, while the Hot English Magazine offers fresh, up-to-date material based on real people in current situations.


The focal points of the Hot English Method:

  • Quality classes based on up-to-date news and events
  • An innovative method based on real people and real situations
  • Regular testing and a clear syllabus

Each Skills Booklet consists of approximately 100 pages divided into units which include a vocabulary section, a language/grammar section, and a speaking task. The Skills Booklets offer a comprehensive syllabus for every level. There are Teacher’s Guides with ideas on how to use the material in class.


The topics and language in the Skills Booklets are linked directly to material in Hot English Magazine, a 48-page, glossy, color, monthly magazine that’s divided into four levels that tie in with the Hot English MethodSkills Booklets. Hot English Magazine comes with an audio CD or MP3 sound files. For teachers, there’s a monthly pack called the Teacher’s Notes that includes ideas on using Hot English Magazine in class.


Watch a video "Hot English method - what is it?"

You can subscribe to free weekly English resources from Hot English Method that include a new weekly lesson, audio, and access to 5 weeks of previous lessons.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

EasyBib New Online Citation Guide

The online  bibliography/citation tool EasyBib has just launched their new citation guide. Their guide differs from other citation guides in that students are shown not just what they need for their bibliography, but where they can find the different pieces of information they need.


Currently the EasyBib reference guide only covers MLA citations. More styles and source types will be covered as time goes on.



Go to an earlier post about EasyBib


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Inkling Receives Support from Major Publishers

Two of the largest educational content providers in the world, McGraw-Hill and Pearson, have invested in Inkling.


Inkling offers digital textbooks for the iPad that are interactive, flexible, and less costly than traditional paper textbooks.

Inkling also announced more content commitments, including:

  • The top 100 undergrad titles from McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • The top medical reference titles from McGraw-Hill Professional
  • A full MBA curriculum from Pearson Education
  • Top undergraduate titles from Pearson Education
  • A full medical education curriculum from Wolters Kluwer Health
icongoback.gifGo to an earlier post about Inkling


What EDge21 is All About


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I learned in my experience both as a classroom teacher and later guiding teachers in the integration of technology, the most in-demand commodity is time. Few teachers have enough time to explore the web in search of classroom resources, let alone assess their value and usefulness and learn how to implement them. With the likelihood of staff reductions, larger classes, and increased workloads, teachers' time will only become even more crowded.

So often, when I introduce a teacher to a new web resource or tool, I would hear, "I never imagined such a thing existed," or some similar sentiment. Broadly speaking, you don't know what amazing things are out there and you don't have much opportunity to just look around and discover.

Initially, this blog was created to serve the teachers I was working with as a Classrooms for the Future coach in the Moshannon Valley School District. I soon realized that if this information was useful locally, maybe other teachers elsewhere would also find it so. After all, I could share this information globally just as easily as locally. So, EDge21 was born.

My goal is to give you one website, tool, or product each day as the "Catch of the Day" and supply you with enough information to help you make an informed decision as to whether it is worth your time and effort to explore it further.

I usually include some larger screenshots to give you a visual sense of the site. If I can find a good video demo or overview, I like to include a link to it. Though I focus mostly on free, if there is a cost involved, I'll provide whatever info on that I can find. Only you can decide if something justifies the spending of sparse resources.

I try to not infuse too much of my own opinion. I was a math teacher. As such, I am not particularly well equipped to judge the quality or usefulness of a website aimed at history teachers or elementary classrooms. You are the best person to decide if a site or product integrates into what you do and how you might use it.

From time to time, I will post updates on sites or products that have been the subject of earlier posts. I occasionally will post about miscellaneous education or technology related items as well if they seem as though they may have value to you.

EDge21 is about sharing educational technology in easily digestible snacks, not as an all-you-can-eat bloating buffet. It is my belief that throwing even 4 or 5 items at you everyday can still be too much for a lot of teachers. When I see lists of the 100 best this or 50 ways to use that, I really wonder how useful people find those. How many people really get past the first few items?

With EDge21, I am trying to keep it simple, informative, and helpful. How am I doing?


Friday, March 25, 2011

Free Streaming of “THE CIVIL WAR” on PBS Video Apps


PBS announced ... that the first episode of THE CIVIL WAR, the award-winning film by Ken Burns that first aired in 1990, will premiere on the free PBS for iPad and PBS App for the iPhone and iPod Touch beginning on March 24 for ten days prior to the highly anticipated re-broadcast of the entire film.  PBS will make the first episode available for free download at the iTunes store at the same time.


The PBS video Apps features 250 hours of free video, including full-length programs, as well as TV schedules, previews, and a tune-in reminder calendar that can be synced with iCal.


Read the full PBS press release

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break


EDge21 will be taking a break from March 21st through the 25th.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Record Your Own Voice on busuu is an online community for learning languages that I have posted about several times since October of last year.


Yesterday, busuu added an exciting new feature. You can now record your voice and have it corrected by a native speaker from the worldwide busuu community.

There are more than 150 new dialogues in 7 different languages recorded by professional voice artists. Dialogues consist of a conversation between two people, the busuu system will mix your recording with the voice of a professional voice artist, who plays the second person in the dialog.

You can then send the mixed dialogue with your own voice to a native speaker for correction.

Go to earlier posts about busuu



The Rearview Mirror 3/19/2011

For those of you who may have missed a Catch of the Day or who didn't have the opportunity to look at some of them during this past week, here's a second chance.



GoAnimate gives teachers and students state-of-art animation tools to create animated stories to complement your teaching.


Electronic Bluebook is a secure test-taking program that provides teachers with a secure testing option while at the same time providing students with a reliable program for submitting their exam answers.


Algebra Explained from I Learn Fast Software is a planned series of 15 iOS apps each corresponding to a typical chapter of an algebra textbook.


Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is a free comprehensive program that includes several learning tools to help teach newly licensed teen drivers the necessary skills for safe driving.


Dimensions from the BBC overlays significant places, events, and things onto a satellite view of any location you choose.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Catch of the Day - Dimensions - 3/18/2011

Dimensions from the BBC overlays significant places, events, and things onto a satellite view of any location you choose.


The Dimensions overlays can give students a sense of the size and scope of things when related to more familiar surroundings. For example you could overlay the Great Wall of China on the northeast United States and see that it extends all the way from Missouri in the central US to Nova Scotia in eastern Canada.


You can choose things to overlay in the following categories:

  • The War on Terror
  • Space
  • Depths
  • Ancient Worlds
  • Environmental Disasters
  • Festivals and Spectacles
  • The Industrial Age
  • WWII-Battle of Britain
  • Cities in History


Some Dimensions overlays can be transformed into walks, further enhancing the appreciation of the physical distances involved.

Dimensions is part of a BBC effort to find new ways to communicate history. Dimensions originated with a series of workshops and research in the summer of 2009, into what new forms of digital media could bring to the field.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Catch of the Day - Ford Driving Skills for Life - 3/17/2011

Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is a free comprehensive program that includes several learning tools to help teach newly licensed teen drivers the necessary skills for safe driving.


Ford DSFL helps young drivers improve their skills in four critical areas that are factors in more than half of vehicle crashes including:

  • Hazard Recognition
  • Vehicle Handling
  • Speed Management
  • Space Management


The Ford DSFL website includes four study modules and a quiz, car care videos, several interactive games, including curriculum about the importance of eco-driving to personal safety and the environment.

The Electronic Educator packet can be used by students and parents at home, as well as educators in the classroom and community settings. This packet includes an in-depth video focused on each of the four driving skills, a letter for parents, a letter for educators, a leader's guide, and brochures.


Ride-and-Drives let teens get behind the wheel and go through exercises on the four Ford DSFL skills. These provide opportunities for teens to gain experience, with a professional instructor at their side.

Watch a video overview of Ford DSFL


Ford DSFLwas established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Catch of the Day - I Learn Fast Software - 3/16/2011

Algebra Explained from I Learn Fast Software is a planned series of 15 iOS apps each corresponding to a typical chapter of an algebra textbook.


Like a chapter in a traditional algebra book, each app contains 10-20 lessons. However, I Learn Fast Software'sAlgebra Explained includes video content for each lesson, introducing a new skill or concept and reviewing prior learning. Each lesson includes 10 carefully designed practice problems, carefully sequenced to help learners progress from the basics into more complex problems. Problem content cycles in previous lessons so, at the conclusion of the series, students will retain proficiency in the entire series.


The Algebra Explained instructor, Jamie, provides clear, concise, lively, and engaging lessons for students of all levels. Her lessons apply algebra concepts in real world examples designed to give students the skills and motivation to succeed at algebra.



Watch a sample lesson from I Learn Fast Software's YouTube channel

The mission of I Learn Fast Software is to "improve achievement of all students by providing high quality educational products at an affordable price using handheld devices that appeal to learners of all ages."


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Donate Your Old iPad for Education


Donate your old iPad at an Apple Retail Store and Teach for America will give it to a teacher in a low-income community.


All comments to this blog are reviewed before being published. The chances of you getting a comment including ridiculously obvious "hidden" hyperlinks to porn sites or other spam published is virtually zero. So, save your time as well as mine, and take your tawdry business elsewhere.