Free Tech for Teachers

Readers of a certain age may be reminded of the Atari game called Asteroids when they look at a new review game called Kupiter. Kupiter is a game in which students answer questions by moving and shooting a laser at letters in order to spell the correct answers to quiz questions. Points are awarded for speed and accuracy. Watch the short video below for a demonstration of how the game is played.


You can create your own game on Kupiter by writing questions from scratch or by importing them from Quizlet or an Excel spreadsheet. Game links can be shared via social media and Google Classroom.
Applications for Education
Playing Kupiter will appeal to some, but not all students. It's another option to add to your list of fun review activities for students. You could have students create their own Kupiter games to share with classmates.
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Posted: March 24, 2017, 4:51 pm
PrepFactory offers students a great selection of free SAT and ACT preparation activities. PrepFactory focuses on helping students develop good test-taking strategies while also not boring them with dozens of continuous rote exercises. For example, the Pattern Matcher game in PrepFactory has students look at questions and choose the best answering strategy rather than just answering the question before them.

Recently, PrepFactory introduced some new features for teachers. Now when you register as a teacher and create your classroom you can also create specific assignments for your students on an individual or class-wide basis. Then once your students have started on their assignments you can track their progress, see where they need to improve, and suggest more appropriate review activities.


Learn more about PrepFactory in the following video.



Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com
learning & lighhouses

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
Posted: March 24, 2017, 4:35 pm
Earlier today I received this question on Twitter:

@rmbyrne hi!! is there a free sound editor similar to audacity but online? To add music, effects still seems to require software. THANKS:)!!
— Sonia Guilana (@sguilana) March 24, 2017

My suggestions were to try SoundTrap, BandLab, or Soundation.

Soundtrap is a fantastic tool for creating music online. The cool thing about Soundtrap is that students can use virtual instruments to create music or they can record themselves playing music on an instrument and then use that recording in conjunction with the virtual instruments in the Soundtrap environment. What makes Soundtrap stand-out from the crowd is its collaboration options. Click the "collaborate" tab in the Soundtrap editor to invite others to create music with you. Soundtrap will work in the Chrome web browser on a laptop, iPad, Chromebook, and Android tablet. In my workshops I often describe Soundtrap as Google Docs for music.

BandLab is a free service that enables you to create music in your web browser or through free Android and iOS apps. In BandLab's you can create soundtracks using any of the virtual instruments that are provided. You can also speak or sing to record a track. Within the BandLab editor you can mix your tracks together to create a song. If you have existing audio files on your computer, you can upload those to incorporate into your BandLab creations.

Soundation is a service that allows anyone to create and remix sound tracks online. If you have used Apple's Garage Band, Soundation will look familiar to you. Soundation provides tracks on which you can place music clips and sound effects to mix together. To create your original work you can select from Soundation's gallery of 400 free sounds, upload your own sounds, or record new sounds using the instruments and keyboard built into Soundation. When you've created a product you like, you can download it or share it in Soundation's gallery.
learning & lighhouses

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
Posted: March 24, 2017, 4:01 pm
This morning I received an email from a reader who was looking for an alternative to Kahoot. He wrote, "I would love to have the same set up / timer / point distribution as Kahoot, but I'm now looking for something more challenging than clicking on an answer..."

Socrative was the first option that came to mind when I read the email. Socrative, one of the earliest companies to make a mobile-friendly quiz game platform for classroom use, offers teachers the option to create timed quiz game activities that accept typed responses as well as the classic true/false and multiple choice formats. When you create your quiz game activity you can set an answer key for typed responses as well as the multiple choice and true/false questions. This is a great option for a teacher who wants to create a quiz game in which students need to spell words or phrases correctly in order to get credit for being correct.

Socrative allows you to create quiz games to be played by students individually at their own pace, as a group at a pace that you set, or in teams at a pace that you set. One of my favorite things about Socrative is that every activity you create and activate in Socrative happens through the same room code. In other words, my students always use the same pin code to join one of my Socrative activities no matter how many activities I have stored in my account. From a classroom management perspective, this makes it easy to get all of my students into an activity quickly.

So if you're tired of Kahoot and looking for something a little more challenging than just clicking answer choices, take a look at Socrative. And if you haven't looked at Socrative in a while, look again, there's a slew of new features that have been added in the last couple of years.

I be covering Socrative, Kahoot, and other neat formative assessment tools in next Tuesday's webinar, Fun With Formative Assessments
learning & lighhouses

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
Posted: March 24, 2017, 2:25 pm
Teach Your Monster to Read is one of my favorite online programs for helping children learn to recognize letters and sounds. The browser-based version of Teach Your Monster to Read is free and always has been free. The mobile apps for the program are usually not free. Through this coming Sunday (March 26th) the iPad and Android apps for Teach Your Monster to Read are completely free to download. The free download includes access to all aspects of Teach Your Monster to Read.

The Teach Your Monster to Read environment contains eight levels (or islands as they’re called in the game) each containing four activities. Students play the game as a friendly monster avatar. On each island students can earn prizes for their monsters and customize the look of their monsters

learning & lighhouses

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Posted: March 24, 2017, 1:01 am
This is a guest post from my friend Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning and the author of Making Your School Something Special.

At the recent #CUE17 conference, I ran a workshop on getting a digital video project going. While a good chunk of the session was devoted to exploring several easy-to-learn tools, such as SpeakPipe Voice Recorder and Adobe Spark Video, we also took time to look at a variety of student videos.

Getting students to create videos explaining what they've learned can yield pretty disappointing results when students decide to record what they normally think of as teaching. One student might stand at a whiteboard to explain something, while another holds a phone (hopefully horizontally) and records it.

Giving students a variety of videos (narrated images or art, stop-motion, puppets, etc.) to consider can help them come up with much more interesting pieces.

For the workshop, I created a doc (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PEGpGrH2t-bJegz53FCrwul63iMa5DfkYsuL5U6c_fE/edit?usp=sharing) with sets of student-created videos that others could watch in order to identify strengths and weaknesses, and also brainstorm completely different approaches to exploring the video's topic.

The doc contains instructions on ways to use the many linked videos and sets, but I think it can be better, and would love your feedback.

How can I improve it so that it better fits what you ask students to create? Please let me know at videos@nextvista.org, and if I can create something good for you, I'm happy to do so!
learning & lighhouses

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
Posted: March 24, 2017, 12:40 am
Early last month I shared my most frequently recommended Google Forms Add-ons. Choice Eliminator was one of the Add-ons on that list. Unfortunately, official support for Choice Eliminator was eliminated at the end of February. Many people have since asked me for an alternative. The best alternative that I've found so far is Choice Eliminator Lite.

Choice Eliminator Lite will remove choices from a Google Form as they are used up. For example, if you were to create a Google Form for reserving computer lab space, the time slots would disappear from the form as they were selected.

The difference between Choice Eliminator and Choice Eliminator Lite is that the lite version is not intended to be used by large groups simultaneously.


learning & lighhouses

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Posted: March 24, 2017, 12:25 am
Creating a strong password is a good first step to protecting your email and social media accounts from being hacked. But that's just the first step. To really protect your account there are some additional steps you should take like using two-factor authentication. In the following video Common Craft explains how to protect your online accounts. Click here to watch the video or you can view it embedded below.


Applications for Education
The tips in the video may be a old news to some of us, but to a lot of students and teachers those tips are new. It also never hurts to remind people of these tips.

For help in creating a strong password consider using a tool like Wolfram Alpha's password generator.

Common Craft videos can be reviewed online for evaluation purposes. To use embed them into a blog as I've done requires a membership (which are very reasonably priced).

Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft.
learning & lighhouses

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
Posted: March 22, 2017, 8:49 pm
Every year for the last four years the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps have sold out. Compared to this time last year, there are more people registering early than ever before. The super-early discount on registration ends this Friday night. The super-early discount price is $100 less than the full price and $50 less than the early registration discount. Please see the Chromebook Camp and BYOD Camp pages for more details or just send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com

Chromebook Camp - July 20th & 21st

BYOD Camp - July 27th & 28th
learning & lighhouses

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
Posted: March 22, 2017, 4:12 pm
Tools like StupeflixAnimoto, and Shadow Puppet Edu make it easy for students to quickly create videos. I often use these tools when introducing video production projects to teachers or students who have never attempted make videos in their classrooms. Here are three types of assignments that you can build around audio slideshow video tools.

Biographical/ Autobiographical Stories
Have students arrange a short audio slideshow about historical figures they're learning about in your classroom. Shadow Puppet Edu offers a built-in image search tool that makes it easy for students to find public domain pictures of historical figures.

Or have students tell short stories about themselves to introduce themselves to their classmates. Students can pull pictures from their personal cell phones or social media accounts to complete this project. (If social media is blocked in your school, ask students to download pictures at home and place them in a Google Drive or Dropbox folder to use in school).

Book Trailer Videos
In place of or in addition to a traditional book report have students create an audio slideshow video about books they've recently read. Students can use images they made or grab images from sites like Photos for Class to use in their videos. Check out Book Trailers for Readers for more ideas about book trailer projects.

Video Timeline
Whether they're studying current events or historical events students can create video timelines by arranging images into a sequence that demonstrates the development of a significant event. Ask students to layer text onto their images to include dates and descriptions.


The knock against tools like Stupeflix and Animoto is that they make it "too easy" for students to make a video and that they don't learn anything by making videos through these tools. As with most things in the world of ed tech it's not so much the complexity of the tool that matters, it's the assignment that you give to students that matters. At the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps we'll have time to work together to create powerful video projects. Join me!

Disclosure: Photos for Class is owned by a company that advertise on this blog. 
learning & lighhouses

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
Posted: March 22, 2017, 3:58 pm
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