You’re probably aware of a few places that offer schools the free use of their software, but K12 Software has roughly two dozen packages for your school to use for nothing. From Animoto animation software to WatchKnowLearn.org’s video collection, there’re apps for writing, getting videos and even improving classroom behavior. In other words, there’s something for every school.
Even the most detailed report card is only a small fraction of the student’s work and achievements, but a portfolio that includes disparate items like science labs, videos and essays can provide more of what a student has been up to at school. educlipper is a free iPad app that lets students and teachers compile a tangible record of someone’s academic growth.
What is the state of the art for online classes? According to “Grade Change,” the Babson Survey Research Group reports that there were 7.1 million online students in higher education during the 2012 fall term, a 6.1-percent increase. The survey included the opinions of 2,800 academic leaders, of which 90 percent responded that it was at least likely most higher education students will be taking at least one online course by 2019.
Accessorizing a classroom usually means than getting tablets or a projector, but Busyteacher.org has a different idea. The site has nearly 300 downloadable posters that emphasize different areas of curriculum, from vocabulary to popular fruits and vegetables. There’s sure to be at least one for each classroom.
ASCD has the perfect thing for any district that’s struggled to get a handle on the scope and details of the Common Core curriculum. The group’s EduCore Web site has a slew of tools, videos, sample lessons and articles about the curriculum and what it means for education. Thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it’s all free; just register at the site.
George Washington’s birthday is almost upon us and it should mean more than a day off from school. It’s a good time to look back on our first president with a free teaching kit that’s all about George Washington. It can easily be integrated into a social studies class and includes classroom activities, worksheets, suggested readings and a detailed chronology of the founding father’s life. Sponsored by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the kit is downloadable with has nine lessons to choose from.
We all know that we have a moral responsibility to keep student information private and away from marketers, but what about when we use a Web app for teaching or testing? Our obligation is no less serious and we are failing in that duty to our students, according to Fordham Law School’s Center on Law and Information Policy. Its most recent report shows that most schools and districts allow a variety of data about students to dribble out of the school’s hands with few if any protections. The report is sober – but required – reading at any district that is – or is contemplating – storing data online.
While taking a citizenship test is a big deal for immigrants, any history or social studies class can do it as well. The Christian Science Monitor has compiled 100 questions that could be on the typical citizen’s test of American history, values and government. From the number of Constitutional amendments (27) to where the Statue of Liberty is (New York harbor), it’s a great mix of the easy and though-provoking questions that will take a class period to go through.
Those who were at last year’s TEDYouth event in New York City or watched the videos afterwards will be happy to know that there will be a follow-on student TEDYouth conference at the New Orleans civic Theatre on November 16. The theme of TEDYouth this year is Spark and the ability to open a mind with a simple idea or concept. Over the day, there will also be more than 100 TEDxYouthDay events around the world.
Why waste money on lined paper, graph paper or even music paper, when you can make it yourself. The Web site Printable Paper has dozens of standard paper types that you can make with any inkjet or laser printer. From grade sheets, checklists and calendars to penmanship forms, the site has it all. All of the downloadable forms are Acrobat files and they’re all free, although some are available as editable Word files for a few dollars.