Saturday, January 30, 2016

CK-12 for free online learning!

Have you ever been bored while reading a dull textbook? CK-12 is here to change that, by providing an online textbook which isn't dull at all! While the website still teaches via text, it utilizes many additional interactive resources which a paperback textbook simply cannot. CK-12 is completely free of charge and does not require an account to access its bountiful content. However, if students or teachers do decide to create an account, they can access additional content which help in organizing content.

CK-12’s vast variety of content is what makes it such a spectacular online resource. From kindergarten to high school to higher education resources, CK-12 provides an interactive method of learning. This is a great resource for me to utilize because I am a visual learner. There are many people who are visual learners and CK-12 is perfect for those people because it utilizes quizzes, flashcards, simulations, videos, and many other methods to help students visualize a concept. In the spirit of CK-12 and visual learning, let’s proceed to several examples of the free online resource with some personal screenshots I took!

Currently, I am taking Calculus and we are learning about derivatives. I can easily find CK-12’s calculus section located at . In the calculus section, there are a variety of topics. I chose Derivatives and Application of Derivatives. Instead of just providing a textbook-like explanation to me, CK-12 provides an interactive experience as well. In this section, an explanation of derivatives, an interactive visual aid, and a real world application article is provided!


Above are the options provided for this section by CK-12. Calcinteractive.jpg
Above: The interactive visual aid of derivatives.

In addition to just content covered by core classes in school, CK-12 also provides resources for special interests. I am very interested in meteorology and I hope to be a meteorologist someday! Currently, meteorology is not provided by my school, however, CK-12 does offer some cool information.
So after all the snow the Mid-Atlantic received this past week, I decided to do a little research on Blizzards. CK-12 provides even more types of resources for Blizzards! It provided me with simple reading, flashcards, a study guide, a quiz and even critical thinking! Blizzardmenu.jpg

CK-12 is a superb online resource for those who need to study for a class or just for personal interest! With its wide variety of contents,you are almost certain that you will find something interesting to learn about in a fun, exciting manner.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Google Classroom for better Integration

In recent years, most schools have improved their technology in order to provide their students with more resources to study from. In a previous post, it was mentioned that schools began incorporating Google Nexus tablets and Chromebooks into the classrooms. Buying Android devices and Chrome OS computers are the initial steps to providing students with a better technological experience in the classroom. How can we integrate these new electronic devices better in a classroom environment? Also, if a school has 2,000 students, should every student receive a personal device? The trending Google Classroom is where schools can find perfect integration at a low cost.
Google Classroom solves many financial issues schools encounter when attempting to integrate technology into the classroom. Instead of providing a personal device for every student, schools can now encourage “bringing your own device” with the aid of Google Classroom. This is possible because Google Classroom is supported across a wide variety of platforms. From Chromebooks to iPhones to Androids, all a student needs is a web browser with internet access. Schools can now buy a limited number of devices for students who cannot afford their own.

So why should a school choose Google Classroom besides being able to keep costs low?

A school should choose Google Classroom because of its fabulous integration between teachers and students. Google Classroom utilizes key Google products such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive and Calendar. Within these products, students can communicate with their peers or the teacher while working on an assignment simultaneously. The teacher also has the ability to assign work outside of class, provide critique such as the classic red pen on paper, and issue grades. All of these features are available to mobile and desktop devices. My favorite Google Classroom feature is named the push notifications on my phone, I receive a notification when a new assignment is posted. This feature really helps students like me keep track of when assignments are due.

Classroom organizes all assignments teachers post within a week into a calendar.
Above is an example of a returned assignment with teacher corrections. Another great feature of Classroom is when a student can make corrections and then  resubmit the assignment to the teacher for a new grade.

Google Classroom can be described as an organizer, a student teacher communicator or even a virtual CLASSROOM! It is cost effective and integrates very well in an academic environment. Instead of having to physically return assignments, students and teachers now have the ability to interact from their homes. Having electronic devices in a classroom is important, but the method in which they are integrated is key to educational success.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Make learning or studying for a test fun again!

Most people that have gone through those tough stressful years of high school or college know studying for a big exam is not the most exciting thing to do. However, what if the process in doing so could be fun, or even competitive? This is where Kahoot! can present itself.  Kahoot! is a free online learning platform most commonly used by teachers and students, and is very effective within the classroom by simply using the competitive nature of humans.

So, what is the objective and how do I play Kahoot!?

The objective is to win or get on the big screen! I am sure  you're wondering, “what is the big screen?” Kahoot!, it is  typically used and  most effective in a classroom sized environment. Many people can join a single game and compete in a trivial game with others that is  created by either a teacher or another student for free. Questions appear one at a time on a big screen in front of the classroom where it is visible to all players with several multiple choice selections. While a timer counts down on the screen the users select an answer with their electronic devices. Those players who answer correctly receive points while players that give incorrect answer gain no points. However, the game is not just about answering correctly- it is also how quickly you can answer the questions. The  quicker you answer a question, the more points you receive! After each question a leaderboard with the top five scoring players appears. After all of the questions  are completed, the winner and the top five players appear on the screen in front of the room. Everyone wants bragging rights to appear on the big screen, but that is not the most important aspect of Kahoot!. Kahoot! also provides detailed statistics to the game creator regarding the questions the players were more confident in  answering as opposed to those  questions players were not. It is so specific that every single player’s performance for every single question is viewable to the game creator. This allows educators to be very specific in which topics should be covered more precisely.
So how can I use Kahoot!?

­­First of all, a teacher or a student can create a Kahoot! game by signing up for an account for free on In a Kahoot! game the maker of the game creates both the questions and the answers. It’s almost like a classic Jeopardy! game but much more simple. The answers are typically in multiple choice format and, once the game is created, the maker then invites users to join by providing them with a code. The game is supported by desktops via a web browser or application via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store for Android and iOS. The fact that Kahoot! is supported by so many devices and that an entire class can easily access a single game at a time encourages the positive educational usage of smartphones often found within the classroom. If the phones are going to be a temptation, why not make good use of them educationally?

So all in all, what is the benefit of Kahoot!?

The benefit of Kahoot! is to create a fun and competitive environment for students to prepare or study for exams and to aid educators regarding the progress of the students. Based on very experienced usage of this technological tool, the big screen leaderboard is very encouraging for everybody and helps students to stay engaged. Also, students can use their electronic devices in the classroom, in a fun, educational manner, rather than utilizing a of the distractions found on the internet. The students have fun when playing this game and, in turn, the answers become very genuine. With Kahoot!, teachers possess the ability to give a formative assessment without worrying about lack of effort. Not only is the data more accurate than ever, Kahoot! helps teachers tabulate results easily for each and every student.