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Freebee Friday: The $100,000 Question

Sharp challengeThe Sharp Classroom Technology Challenge has begun and the company is giving away a $100,000 technological shopping spree of teaching gear to a needy school. All you have to do is answer a simple question: how you would use the Sharp gear to further your students’ educational goals. The Tech It Up prize package will include items most needed by the school and the company will give 10 runners up a 70-inch interactive display. The deadline is April 30th.

Freebee Friday: Digital Hand Outs

HandoutThe age of the printed worksheet is long dead, but nothing has replaced it in the digital realm, until now. Handouts has the power to distribute anything to a class of students, from a lab set-up sheet or homework assignment to a take-home quiz. The basic software is free and can be had for either Android or iPads, but there’s nothing for Windows tablets or notebooks. The app can have students hand the work in and it comes with an excellent teacher’s guide. The free version allows teachers to use it for a single class of up to 25 students, while the Pro version can be used with an unlimited number of students and costs $100 per year. Districts and schools can get a discount.

A Presidential Moment

Screen480x480 (1)In celebration of the 43 residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has put together a free iPad app that looks at the 35th president. From the Peace Corps to the space race, The JFK Challenge uses animation, period photos and film to immerse students in the life and optimism of the early 1960s. There are 10 games and activities that are aimed at middle- and high-school students.

Freebee Friday: In-Your-Face-Biology

CharlieWant to take the class on a biology-oriented field trip, like to see moths or animals sleeping, but can’t afford to take the kids on the road? Charlie Engelman’s World by Charlie YouTube page has a small but very imaginative series of videos with a biological bent to them. They're fun, exciting and each video teaches several lessons. The good news is that Charlie recently won a National Geographic grant to produce more of these educational videos. In other words, stay tuned.

 

File a Plan

Evan moor fileboxCan’t find a lesson plan on adjectives? Evan-Moor’s TeacherFileBox can make finding any lesson plan easy and quick. The software provides access to the company’s 1,600 lessons that cover Pre-K to 8th grade classes and are aligned to current standards. Each plan can be printed or projected and includes suggested follow-up lessons for reinforcement or enrichment. There’s a free trial, but the software costs $150 per year for an individual teacher or $1,000 for a school.

 

Freebee Friday: The Your School App

Ischool box iosForget about settling for an app that does most of what you want when you can build your own. iSchoolBox lets you put exactly what you want onto iOS (iPhone or iPad) or Android screens by building it from scratch. It can accommodate anything from calendars and lunch menus to after school activities and school closures. It can even be used for parents and kids to access grades or confidentially report a bully, but doesn't require a programmer to do the coding.

Freebee Friday: Next Stop, Nobel

3m discovery young scientist logoThe Discover Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is now taking applications for this prestigious prize. Open to students in grades five through eight, the contest is seeking to honor those who have great ideas and the ability to communicate them. Just make a one to two minute video explaining your idea and submit it by April 21. The grand prize includes $25,000 and a mentoring 3M scientist to help bring those ideas to reality; 10 finalists get $1,000.  

 

Freebee Friday: Science (and More) Tricks

ExploratoriumSan Francisco’s Exploratorium science museum not only has great hands-on exhibits, but a great Web page with lots of science activities. From turning a pickle into a battery to a time lapse film of a chick embryo growing inside an egg, there’s something for every science classroom. It isn’t all science, though, because the Exploratorium has sections for cooking, language and even a look inside the museum’s machine shop, where the exhibits start.

Freebee Friday: Free Windows

Win 10 previewFresh from the Windows 10 preview event, there’s news that every school will want to hear: the next version of the computer operating system will be free. Does it sound too good to be true? For those schools still using Windows XP, it is because the free upgrade applies only to those who have licenses for Win 7 or 8.

Windows10_Continuum-1C-500x299The software continues the company’s move towards a more tactile approach to computing, which works best with touch screens. One big change is the ability to not only to divide the screen into horizontal segments but to do it diagonally, as well. In addition to holographic goggles, Windows 10 will usher in a cool touch-screen interactive board called the Surface Hub that should open new vistas of instruction. The two big questions that remain are, what happened to Windows 9 and when will the new software appear? While Microsoft might be playing a name game with numbers, company insiders say the new software should be ready later this year.

Freebee Friday: Be Bilingual

Screen322x572 (1)One of the best ways to teach a foreign language is to pair a kid with an app and let them learn. That’s the idea behind DuoLingo, which uses an iPad, Android or online service to teach any of nine European languages. It’s free-flowing and interactive with lots of activities and quizzes.

 

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.