50 Sites & Apps for K-12 Education Games — from techlearning.com by Diana Restifo and David Kapuler
Game-based learning is a great way to integrate technology into the classroom while engaging kids with real learning.

Excerpt:

Game-based learning turns potentially tedious study time into an adventurous knowledge quest, complete with catchy soundtracks and digital rewards. It helps keep kids engaged with the subject matter and motivated to pursue greater expertise. Best of all, web- or app-based gameplay integrates easily into both online and in-person classes.

With the demise of Flash at the end of 2020, many favorite educational game sites went under. That’s why we decided to update our popular list below to include the latest and best sites and apps for K-12 education games. Many are free (or offer free basic accounts) and some provide progress tracking and analysis tools for teachers. All will help kids enjoy learning.

Also relevant/see the following resource and excerpt from Goldie Blumenstyk’s The Edge (from the Chronicle of Higher Education)

Creative Acts for Curious People: How to Think, Create, and Lead in Unconventional Ways — by Sarah Stein Greenberg

Excerpt:

Greenberg also makes a compelling case for the “playful and joyous” approaches the d.school has been championing, like the secret handshake or building several prototypes of an ideal chair using tools like cardboard, pipe cleaners, and chewing gum and toothpicks. After so many months of loss and social deprivation, she told me last week, “those elements are more important than ever.”

 

3 Tips for Making Passion-Based Learning Work Successfully — from thejournal.com by Dennis Pierce

Excerpt:

Passion-based learning, a form of self-directed learning in which students pursue projects of interest to them, is becoming more popular in schools — and for good reason: Educators who have set aside time for passion-based learning have discovered that students become highly engaged and motivated when learning about topics that intrigue them, while taking their learning much deeper than they would in a traditional lesson.

Passion-based learning initiatives include Genius Hour and 20time, both inspired by Google’s program that lets employees spend 20% of their time on projects of their choosing to spark innovation.

Giving all students the option to explore their interests can be challenging on a large scale. To overcome this hurdle and make the process easier for teachers, Sonora Elementary uses a new peer-to-peer learning platform called Tract, which is a collection of video content organized into self-directed learning paths.

tract.app allows students to be creative and practice their storytelling and multimedia skills

From DSC:
I love the type of tool/app like Tract — as students can work on a variety of skills:

  • multimedia development
  • music
  • acting
  • writing/composing
  • digital storytelling
  • …and more

Such projects/tools can unleash a great deal of creativity, engagement, and positive energy. Learning becomes more relevant, enjoyable, and interesting when we can provide more choice and control to our students.

 

Could AR and/or VR enable a massive 3D-based type of “Voicethread?” [Christian]

From DSC:
What if we could quickly submit items for a group to discuss, annotate, and respond to — using whichever media format is available/preferable for a person — like a massive 3D-based Voicethread? What if this type of discussion could be contributed to and accessed via Augmented Reality (AR) and/or via Virtual Reality (VR) types of devices?

It could be a new 3D format that a person could essentially blow all the way up into the size of a billboard. Think, “Honey, I shrunk the kids” type of stuff.  

Input devices might include:

  • Augmented Reality (AR) glasses
  • Virtual Reality (VR) headsets/glasses
  • Scanners
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Desktops and laptops
  • SmartTVs
  • Other types of input devices

For example, a person could take a picture of a document or something else and then save that image into a new file format that would be vector-based. I say a vector-based file format so that the image could be enlarged to the size of a billboard without losing any resolution (i.e., wouldn’t become grainy; the image would remain crystal clear regardless of how big the image is). I’m thinking here along the lines of “Honey, I shrunk the kids!”

Other thoughts here:

  • The files could be accessible online for attendees of classes or for audiences of presentations/webinars
  • The files could be displayed on the walls of learning/presentation spaces for marking them up
  • One could manipulate the 3D image if that person was using a virtual/immersive environment
  • Users should be able to annotate on those images and/or be able to save such annotations and notes

A question for phase II:
Could this concept also be used if virtual courts take off?

Hmmmm…just thinking out loud.

 

From DSC:
Also check one of the things that Scott mentioned in his talk — Behance, a network of creatives. They consistently offer livestreams — where the learner has more choice, more control over what they learn about.

Livestreams are one of the services offered out at Behance.net

The search function out at Behance.net

 


 


Also see:

 


 

 

Differentiation Technique: Embed A Classic — from byrdseed.com by Ian Byrd

Excerpt:

Possibly my #1, most favorite way to increase the interest in a lesson is to simply remove the built-in examples in a lesson and replace them with some kind of classic.

Wait, What’s A “Classic”?
A classic may immediately bring to mind old works: Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Da Vinci. And those are indeed important! Use them.

But I’d say that The Wizard of Oz is a classic. Lord of the Rings is a classic. Hokusai’s painting of The Great Wave is a classic. The Beach Boys are a classic!

Classics are things that are culturally important. They could be stories, films, songs, paintings, photos, and so on. Classics are referenced constantly in daily conversation as well as in other creative works.

 
 

What Makes a Successful Video? — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Bill Brandon

Excerpt:

For the purposes of this article, there are two kinds of videos. There are tutorials, in which you going to show a user how to do a task. And there are instructional videos, which will address interpersonal communication skills, leadership, and analytical tasks. There are some situations in which you may want to do a kind of combination of the two types. The exact names (tutorial and instructional) are not really important, but the purposes are.

 

Living With a Learning Disability: Challenges, Helpful Advice & Improvements — from inclusionhub.com by Meredith Kreisa

Excerpts:

While it is critical to remember that symptoms, comorbidities, and coping mechanisms vary, we’ll outline some of the challenges individuals with learning disabilities may face and highlight common strategies utilized by community members to address them.

Also see:

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from inclusionhub.com by Meredith Kreisa
This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

 

Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 [Hart]

Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 — from toptools4learning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

2021 was the YEAR OF DISRUPTION! There were a substantial number of new tools nominated this year so the main list has now been extended to 300 tools to accommodate them, and each of the 3 sub-lists has been increased to 150 tools. Although the top of this year’s list is relatively stable, there is quite bit of movement of tools on the rest of the list, and the effect of the new tools has been to push other established tools down – if not off the list altogether. Further analysis of the list appears in the right-hand column of the table below.

This table shows the overall rankings as well as the rankings on the 3 sub-lists: Top 150 Tools for Personal Learning (PL150), the Top 150 Tools for Workplace Learning (WL150) and the Top 150 Tools for Education (ED150). NEW tools are shaded YELLOW, tools coming BACK on the list are shaded GREEN. The most popular context in which each tool is used is also highlighted in BLUE.  Click on a tool name to find out more about it.

 


Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 -- from Jane Hart


 

 

10 Ways You Can Use Podcasts in Your Course to Engage Students — from barbihoneycutt.com by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Have you used podcasts in your courses yet? If not, you might want to consider it! Podcasts can be an excellent tool to add to your lesson to enhance a message, present more in-depth perspectives, and offer a different medium for students to engage with the course content.

And, podcasts are popular! There are more than 630,000 podcasts representing a variety of topics: current issues, education, writing, research, science, leadership, politics, management, business, skill development, hobbies, etc. The list just goes on and on.

I’m almost positive there is at least one episode in one podcast somewhere you could integrate into your course. And if there isn’t, then you and your students could create one!

 

Returning to School: Why Video Is Here to Stay — from gettingsmart.com by Jessica Slusser

Excerpt:

Here are a few reasons video can be powerful and a few ways to incorporate it into your lesson plans:

  • Agency. We know some learners built a deep sense of agency while learning from home. Through video, students can tell their story, use a different format than they’ve used before to explain work and build and share their own lessons with classmates. Imagine the power of flipped student presentations.
  • Flip Your Classroom. Utilize the power of video by recording some of your direct instruction plans for learners to watch as “homework” then spending class time diving into work and building understanding.
  • Enriched Station Rotation. Create differentiated videos for each of your small group stations so students can watch a video that you created and be working on different review activities in their different stations. This also helps build a library of content you can use in the future.
  • Built in Assessment. Educators can create videos that are embedded in a Google Form that serves as a quick assessment. If a student gets the answer wrong, they’re moved into a new branch of the form that has a video to help build understanding, then when finished they go back to the original question to reassess. Students can also respond to assessment questions or submit work.
  • Better than Red Ink. What if instead of writing a learner’s grade with short feedback on their next written assignment, you could record a quick 30-second video that explains your grade and give real-time feedback that is more robust than the traditional red pen.
 

First Day of Class: 5 Edtech Tools That Can Make it More Engaging — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang

Excerpt:

For younger students, a great way to have students learn more about one another and let their creativity shine is to have them create an “About me” page using Book Creator. This can include a short bio and photo. Students can also add audio and video components to their page, providing an opportunity for more of their personality to shine. Ultimately, the various student’s pages can be combined into one ebook about the class.

…I find PronounceNames.com to be a life saver. The site has recordings of proper pronunciations for more than 100,000 names. 

 

What doors does this type of real-time translation feature open up for learning? [Christian]

From DSC:
For that matter, what does it open up for #JusticeTech? #Legaltech? #A2J? #Telehealth?

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Transforming the classroom with augmented learning — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Forbes documented the many ways that augmented reality (AR) has come to life in recent years. They list several award-winning apps that use AR. A few are:

  • The “Gatwick Airport Passenger” App, which helps passengers navigate the airport;
  • The “Dulux Visualizer” App, which  lets you virtually scan and paint your room any color you choose;
  • “Envisioned by the Mine” App, which lets you put 3D images of any type of accessory or furnishing in your home that Lowe’s offers;
  • “Sephora Virtual Artist”, which allows you to “put makeup on” without actually touching brush to face;
  • “Accuvein”, which doctors and nurses use to scan a patient’s vein network (it reduces escalations by 45%);
  • And, of course, there are apps like the “BIC DrawyBook App” just for fun.

But what about the classroom? Can we see a future in transforming the classroom with augmented learning?

From DSC:
Along the lines of developing creativity with edtech…

I saw another item recently about Book Creator, something that’s made this blog before. I love that type of tool because it promotes creativity, unleashes a student’s imagination, promotes their artwork and writing/storytelling and their musical or acting abilities, and it develops skills in design and developing multimedia-based artifacts. For teachers, it could be a nice project-based learning exercise. 

I asked our youngest daughter if she would like to use it…we’ll see. You can get a free account that allows you to publish up to 40 books. (Plus there is pricing for schools and districts.)

And who knows…? This type of thing might just produce the next J.K. Rowling or a J.J. Abrams.

Book Creator -- check it out

Book Creator -- check it out

Book Creator -- check it out

 

AI voice actors sound more human than ever —and they’re ready to hire— from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao
A new wave of startups are using deep learning to build synthetic voice actors for digital assistants, video-game characters, and corporate videos.

Excerpt:

The company blog post drips with the enthusiasm of a ’90s US infomercial. WellSaid Labs describes what clients can expect from its “eight new digital voice actors!” Tobin is “energetic and insightful.” Paige is “poised and expressive.” Ava is “polished, self-assured, and professional.”

Each one is based on a real voice actor, whose likeness (with consent) has been preserved using AI. Companies can now license these voices to say whatever they need. They simply feed some text into the voice engine, and out will spool a crisp audio clip of a natural-sounding performance.

But the rise of hyperrealistic fake voices isn’t consequence-free. Human voice actors, in particular, have been left to wonder what this means for their livelihoods.

And below are a couple of somewhat related items:

Amazon’s latest voice interoperability move undermines Google — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers
With a new toolkit, Amazon is making it easier to build devices that run multiple voice assistants — weakening one of Google’s key arguments against licensing the Google Assistant for such scenarios.

People should be able to pick whatever assistant they prefer for any given task, simply by invoking different words, Rubenson said. “We think it’s critical that customers have choice and flexibility,” he said. “Each will have their own strengths and capabilities.”

Protocol Next Up — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers
Defining the future of tech and entertainment with Janko Roettgers.

Voice is becoming a true developer ecosystem. Amazon now has more than 900,000 registered Alexa developers, who collectively have built over 130,000 Alexa skills. And those skills are starting to show up in more and more places: “We now have hundreds of physical products” with Alexa built in, Alexa Voice Service & Alexa Skills VP Aaron Rubenson told me this week.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian