Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The BioBook is an iPad and web-enabled interactive biology textbook for college level. Educators can track individual student progress and develop content from a national database of educator-contributed material. Students can explore concepts following branched, interlinked idea paths. Unlike storybook formats, chapters are structured into threaded learning where all students start with the same basic material and then digress along concepts that intrigue them. Along the exploration path, students encounter interactive activities, such as self-assessment quizzes and annotation boxes.

BioBook was developed by Daniel Johnson and Fred Macosko of Wake Forest University and the Odigia company, with a grant from Gates Foundation. Johnson is working on producing an official BioBook, using contributions from academic partners around the world who can upload their own chapters into a national database using the open-source education platform, Moodle. Which chapters will make it to the official book? The technology provides suggestions since BioBook collects data from students as they work on the chapters. The contributors will automatically know what students like and don't like about the e-book.

"In 2010, 19 students in a first-year seminar course led by Macosko showed how engaging the BioBook model is by writing and uploading a total of 130 new Learning and Organizational Nodes for BioBook in a single semester. 'The quality of the nodes, speed with which students generated them, and their enthusiasm for writing the nodes were all very high, as measured by an end-of-class survey and reflection essays,' reported Johnson." For more details, read the Wake University press release

YouTube has several videos on the topic, for example: BioBook Tutorial: Supplemental Materials. Just type in BioBook Tutorial in search for a list of videos.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Noteshelf app for iPad

Noteshelf is an awesome app for note taking on the iPad. It lets you write notes, organize all your notebooks each with a cover and title, protect groups of notebooks with a password, and rearrange pages between notebooks. Does any student need copybooks and pens anymore? Do teachers need to carry paper notebooks around at conferences? Add fun to your notes using the smileys and icons that come with the app. You can import images, too. Or connect to the cloud. You don't need a stylus but it's a lot easier with one. The editing tools let you do many edit chores, like cut and paste, undo, and highlight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Create EduGames Online

Gamestar Mechanic is a game-based digital learning platform designed to teach the guiding principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging and creative environment. Gamestar Mechanic was designed with the understanding that game design is an activity that allows learners to build technical, technological, artistic, cognitive, social, and linguistic skills suitable for our current and future world. The built-in curriculum in Gamestar Mechanic lets learners exercise these skills by creating games. Knowing how to put together a successful game involves system-based thinking, problem solving, collaboration, art, storytelling, and digital media literacy. The basic level is free but you can upgrade to a premium version for a small monthly fee.

There are two ways to use this site. Students can play pre-made games that are curriculum related or they can create their own games with the help of a tutorial. For teachers, librarians and parents, the Learning Guide provides rich game design content as well as a set of sample lessons and resources that can be used in conjunction with the Gamestar program. One section of the guide showcases lessons on connecting more traditional academic content to game creation. Each entry contains a story, with observations about the real world that then take shape within game creation activities. A brief class activity outline offers ideas for ways of engaging students in game creation around the entries.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Using Apps

Educational organizations are finally embracing apps for smartphones such as the iPhone and tablet computers, such as the iPad. Learning with apps is often more convenient in this mobile world. Many of these apps are free to use for educational purposes.

For example, an app to get students thinking about how biomechanics and anatomy are related is the Vernier Video Physics app. Students can videotape animals using the app and analyze how the anatomy might be different between animals and why. It's a neat way to use a comparative approach to learning about anatomy. It's available for free from the Vernier app store.

Other apps to teach anatomy include XRayFX Lite, 3D Cell Station, 3D Head and Neck, 3D Body Systems Quiz, 3D Brain and Anatomy Lite. If you teach about Global Warming there is an app for that. So look for new apps whenever you visit your favorite science sites.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Student-Produced Videos is a site for students to submit videos that:
- Offer new ideas for what education could be, and/or
- Inspire others to transform education, and/or
- Propose actions to improve education in the community.
Ask your students to check it out and see if they are interested in participating. There are lots of sample student productions to view.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Free Forensic Webinars

Ward's is offering free webinars on teaching forensics. See the schedule at the bottom of the link provided. The webinars are presented by Professional Development Academy experts,featuring the same content and interaction as live workshops, but without the cost of presenter travel fees. Webinars are broadcast live via the internet to your school building or multiple sites within your district.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Student Video Contest

Population Connection is hosting a video contest for high school students that challenges students to create a public service announcement that illustrates the impact of population reaching seven billion as it relates to environmental and global issues. Students can win cash prizes, the deadline for entries is coming up on March 1, 2011. If at least 10 students submit videos, they will send the teacher a set of free classroom resources. Contest information and forms are available at World of 7 Billion.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Interactive Science/Math, from the University of California, is an online collection of thousands of hands-on interactive science and math activities dedicated to making learning exciting and engaging for everyone. All activities are freely accessible., funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the National Science Digital Library, brings together a consortium of science museums across the country to empower educators working with students in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Skype for the Classroom

Skype is developing a free online directory to make it easy for teachers to connect with other teachers and resources from around the world. The directory will launch in December 2010 in English only. Once you sign up with your Skype account and create a profile, you'll be able to search for other teachers and classes by subject and region. You can also share inspiration and tips to help students learn with Skype. The beta version is available for investigation now at the Skype pre-registration site.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Timetree of Life

The Timetree of Life contains electronic files of articles and figures from the book The Timetree of Life (2009), Oxford University Press, and a wall poster. These resources are copyrighted but are provided free for personal, research, or educational use.

TimeTree is a public knowledge-base for information on the evolutionary timescale of life. A search utility allows exploration of the thousands of divergence times among organisms in the published literature. A tree-based (hierarchical) system is used to identify all published molecular time estimates bearing on the divergence of two chosen taxa, such as species, compute summary statistics, and present the results. Check out the "resources" section, too, for links to other sites that focus on evolutionary history.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Web Video & Innovation

TED's Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation -- a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010


TweetDeck is a personal real-time browser, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Buzz and more. The download is free. You can also sign up for a TweetDeck account, which allows you to add columns and Twitter Lists straight from the TweetDeck Directory, as well as rate and comment on all the lists you find. You can also participate in the TweetDeck Support Forums and you can use your TweetDeck Account to synchronise your TweetDeck groups and searches too.

The edtech blog, Teacher ReBoot Camp, offers several useful tips (July 10,2010 entry):
- You can add more than one account to Tweetdeck such as your LinkedIn or Facebook account. Click on the ones you want to update your status on and they will be highlighted. A separate column will show you the updates in these accounts. Choose which to be your default browser to change the account.
- By clicking on the person’s profile picture you have several more options, such as replying to all members in a tweet, favoriting the tweet, blocking them and more!
- You can add to your settings to automatically tweet with a hashtag or include hashtags when you reply to a person.
- You can automatically shorten links, upload videos and images by dragging and dropping them into the status bar at the top.
- If you get the small screen notifications then you can reply quickly by clicking those tiny windows. In the settings, you can set them not to show up.
- With the newest version you can set tweets to tweet later! If you know you will be somewhere with no wifi you can still participate in a discussion or tweet resources!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Blogging Tips

Tech Standards

The ISTE National Technology Standards for Students say that we should be preparing students so they can effectively use technology tools and demonstrate…
1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Communication & Collaboration
3. Research and Information Fluency
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
5. Digital Citizenship
6. Technology Operations & Concepts