Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Contraption Maker

CONTRAPTION MAKER  is a great new program that will get your students having a blast creating and building their own Rube Goldberg-like devices that can be very complicated and intense, or, just funny and quirky. Actually, it's not a new program at all, it's the old "The Incredible Machine," but what is new about it is they are offering it to schools for FREE!

There are opportunities for students to work collaboratively or individually. There is also a Contraption Maker community where students can post their creations.

Students in my class are very quickly embracing this creative program, smiling and laughing as they work together to come up with some wacky creations. Without perhaps realizing it, your students will be working in many curriculum areas, for example - physics, weight, velocity, momentum; or math as they determine timing or sequencing; as well as using organizational skills as they create their own "story board sequences" for what they'd like to have happen in their game from start to finish, and.... lots more!

As a middle school teacher, my classes include some very quick and capable "need to be challenged" students who, when asked, have said to me (without taking their eyes off of their screen), "I like this. It's a lot of fun and really challenging !"

I also have some "challenging" students who feel great delight and accomplishment when they create their own simple working device with flying balls and kitties and other combinations of wacky things. "Try my game!  I added some more stuff, try mine next!"

It doesn't take anything special to install Contraption Maker on your school computers, your IT staff and your students will LOVE it! Definitely a two thumbs-up with my middle schoolers and I'm quite sure that elementary as well as High School students will love it too!

Check out CONTRAPTION MAKER for your classes, 
after-school programs, camp groups, library programs, etc!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Google Translate app

"Google has just announced an update to their Translate app that will prove very useful in education. Google Translate apps have been updated (Android and iOS) to do instant translations.

You can already use the camera mode to take a picture of text and get it translated. Now, you can do it instantly. Aim your camera at the text and the translation will instantaneously show up over the image, even without a data connection. This works for English to and from: German, Italian, Portuguese, French, Russian and Spanish with plans to add more languages soon.

This is great for ELL students who are trying to learn English and need some help, as well as helping out on trips. Students, and parents, could use this to translate signs at the schools, as well as text on posters and such."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BIOMAN Biology

Check out BIOMAN Biology

BioMan Biology is the fun place to learn Biology! Here you will find learning games, review games, virtual labs and quizzes that will help you to learn about cells, ecology, genetics, physiology, and much more!

Note: If you are a teacher, please check out the teacher section for ways to use the site to increase student engagement and learning. 
Remember, everything on this site is completely FREE to use!

Friday, December 5, 2014

20 Free Tools for Making Comics and Cartoons for Teaching and Learning by Kelly Walsh

20 Free Tools for Making Comics and Cartoons for Teaching and Learning


Comic Strips and Cartooning can be a Fun Way for Students to Explore Learning Topics
There are so many good free tools for creating comics and cartoons on the web, as well as apps for tablets and smartphones. I’ve built out a list of fun tools I am looking forward to trying out over the upcoming holiday break. I can’t wait to brainstorm creative ways to leverage these in lessons!
Note that some of these tools offer very different types of functionality. It’s important to explore them yourself before introducing them students.

Web Apps for Cartooning and Comic Creation

ToonDoo: “Fastest Way to Create Comic Strips and Cartoons”:www.toondoo.com
Make Belief Comicswww.makebeliefscomix.com/comix (you don’t even have to create an account to use this)
Create Your Own Comic from Marvel:marvel.com/games/play/34/create_your_own_comic
Strip Creator: www.stripcreator.com
Write Comics: writecomics.com
Toonlet: toonlet.com
Cambridge English Online’s Cartoon Creator:cambridgeenglishonline.com/Cartoon_Maker
Cartoonize Your Pet! www.cartoonizemypet.com

iPad and Android Apps for Making Comics and Cartoons

DoInk (iOS): www.doink.com
Draw Anime – Manga Tutorials (Android):play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mangatutorial.drawanime

A Few Important Things to Keep in Mind When Using Comic and Cartoon Creation Tools in the Classroom

  • Try a few tools yourself and find those you think will work best in your classroom
  • Make sure that the app(s) you select actually work in your classroom (they are not blocked, for example)
  • Watch out for inappropriate content created by other users
So there you go … now start clicking and using your imagination to have some fun with the cool tools! If you have some experience with these or similar apps in the classroom, we hope you will comment and tell us about it.


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer and a faculty member at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshopsonline. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Easy Accents App with Google Docs

Easy accents with Google Docs

I often have students ask me to help them with their World Language Docs, and finding the correct accent symbol can be tough. There is the feature right in Google Docs, called "Symbols", and you will have to switch it to "Latin" to find most French and Spanish accents.  

Luckily there is a new Google Doc Add-on called "Easy Accents." Not sure we can save this on student accounts, but you might want to share it with your students for them to set up on their home accounts.

This Add-on is free, and extremely easy to use! 

1: Open up any Google Doc new or old.

2: Click on "Add-ons" at the top of the doc.

3: Search "Easy Accents"

4: Click "free" and then accept the Add-on.

5:  Return to your Google Doc and click on Add-ons  again

6. A new page will show you the variety of choices of accents in the language that you have selected....that's all there is to it! 

Easy Accents....check it out!

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Dutch designer Christian Boer created a dyslexic-friendly font to make reading easier for people with dyslexia, like himself.
Designed to make reading clearer and more enjoyable for people with dyslexia, Dyslexie uses heavy base lines, alternating stick and tail lengths, larger openings, and semicursive slants to ensure that each character has a unique and more easily recognizable form.

Watch the video for more details.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving a Video to a Google Presentation/Slide

Using Google Slides it is now very easy to insert a YouTube video to your presentation so that all you need to do is open the slide, click on the video to activate it, and you are good to go!

To do this - open Google Slides and slide your cursor over to the word "INSERT" when you slide down you will see the word VIDEO with a video icon. Click on that and a page will open up that looks like this -

From here type in either the specific name of the video or category that you would like - 
"Bill Nye Science Guy" or "Bill Nye Science Guy - Physics" for example
and it will bring you to a few selections on the Internet. You can then click on the specific one that you'd like and insert it onto your slide where it will now be able to play once you activate it from your Google Presentation!