Issue 56, July 2014
Kodu (www.kodugamelab.com) is a visual programming language that’s designed to be accessible for children. Created by Microsoft, it provides an end-to-end creative environment for designing, building, and playing games. Students create a range of terrains, worlds and characters, controlling the characters’ movement, sound and vision using an icon-based language.
Developed at MIT, Scratch (www.scratch.mit.edu) is a simple programming language that operates using blocks of coded directions. It’s designed with learning and education in mind and specifically aimed at ages 8 to 16.If you’re thinking about using it, you should check out the Scratch curriculum guide (fizurl.com/scratchguide).It provides an introduction to creative computing with Scratch, through a series of 20 one-hour sessions organised into five topics, and includes session plans, hand-outs, projects, and videos.
For a different type of challenge try the YouTube Interactive Spelling Bee (www.fizurl.com/youtubespell). The host gives you 100 words from 20 different categories and you’re asked to help the contestants by clicking one from three choices on the screen. It’s an engaging activity and there’s plenty of humour throughout to keep it fun.
Issue 55, May 2014
Class Dojo (classdojo.com) is a tool for monitoring student, from morning roll and general attendance to their behaviour during the day. It uses a points/rewards system that measures each student’s actions and activity.
EDpuzzle (edpuzzle.com) seems like a simple teacher directed tool for adding voice over comments and simple assessments to clipped videos. However, on further investigation, this tool has so much more to offer. It allows teachers to create video lessons, which in turn generates a code for students to watch. Through the inbuilt search area accessing videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Khan Academy, etc., users can create assignments of clipped videos, with inserted voice clips or entire voice overs.
Issue 54, April 2014
Rather than using yet another PowerPoint or Prezi, create an animated presentation or video instead with PowToon (www.powtoon.com). Once you’ve signed up, there are a number of templates to choose from for your presentation or stamp your own creativity onto a blank slide.
piaScore (www.piascore.com) is an app for browsing digital music ad reading scores.
The TED-Ed website allows you to engage in or create dynamic lessons around the hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube. In this video, the familiar illustration assembled at the beginning of each TED-Ed video finds his [computer generated] voice and gives viewers a tour of ed.ted.com. The features explored include the ability to add multiple choice questions, open answer questions, “dig deeper” materials, and custom discussion topics to any video on YouTube.
We Give Books ReadMobile
Help put books in the hands of children who don’t have them simply by reading at We Give Books (www.wegivebooks.org). Created by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation, the site has hundreds of e-books available for kids to read. Every time you get to the end of a book, a real book is donated to charity (more than 2.8 million so far).