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."