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.

 

What Will Online Learning Look Like in 10 Years? Zoom Has Some Ideas — from edsurge.com by Stephen Noonoo

Excerpt:

This week at Zoom’s annual conference, Zoomtopia, a trio of education-focused Zoom employees (er, Zoomers?) speculated wildly about what hybrid Zoom learning might look like 10 years from now, given the warp speed advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning expected. Below are highlights of their grandiose, if sometimes vague, vision for the future of learning on Zoom.

Zoom very much sees itself as one day innovating on personalized learning in a substantial way, although beyond breakout rooms and instant translation services, they have few concrete ideas in mind. Mostly, the company says it will be working to add more choices to how teachers can present materials and how students can display mastery to teachers in realtime. They’re bullish on Kahoot-like gamification features and new ways of assessing students, too.

Also see:

An Eighth Grader Was Tired of Being Late to Zoom School. So He Made an App for That. — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

“I could not find anything else that exists like this to automatically join meetings at the right times,” says Seth, a high school freshman based in Walnut Creek, Calif. “Reminders are just really easy to ignore. I’ll get a notification maybe five minutes before my meeting, and it’ll just sit there and not do anything. [LinkJoin] interrupts whatever you’re doing and says, ‘Join this meeting. In fact it’s already opening, so better get on it.’”

 

 

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


 

 
 

Top 10 Free Coding Resources for Students — from gocoderz.com

Excerpt:

With computer science and technology being such a crucial part of student’s future success, it’s important that every student receives equitable access to programs and resources that can help them build their coding and programming knowledge early on. Exposure to coding resources increases student interest in computer science and technology careers and provides them with foundational knowledge that they can improve and refine as their education progresses to be successful in these future professions.

 

 

 

Fintropolis is an educational Minecraft world that teaching middle schoolers finance — from pixelkin.org

Excerpt:

Two years ago, Ally Financial, a financial services company, hired four interns from Historically Black Colleges and Universities through their Moguls in the Making program to promote financial literacy in younger students. The four college students, Erin Martin (Alabama A&M), Earl Perry and Keishon Smith (Florida A&M), and DeMari Tyner (North Carolina A&T) designed Fintropolis, a world in Minecraft, available now for free in Minecraft and Minecraft: Education Edition.

Also see:

Learn about life-boosting financial skills, including careers & jobs, taxes, budgeting, savings, credit, identity protection and investing.

 

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.

 

What I Learned: 4 Things L&D Should Borrow from Peloton — from learningsolutionsmag.com by JD Dillon

But modern technology has evolved the experience in ways that can inspire L&D solutions.

Excerpt:

Engagement is personal. What motivates me may not motivate you. Therefore, the best gamified systems allow users to make their own choices with regards to how they engage. Some will change their behavior to earn points, ascend the leaderboard, and capture rewards. Others will disengage if they’re forced into a competitive environment. It’s fun to scroll through my Peloton badge collection, but it doesn’t bring me back for the next ride.

 

Per Elnaz Sarraf (She/Her), Chief Evangelist at ROYBI Robot:

ROYBI INC, the creator of the award-winning ROYBI Robot, announced today that it was named the winner of the World Economic Forum Smart Toy Awards 2021 in the category of Smart Companion. This is a remarkable achievement!

ROYBI won one of the Smart Toy Awards as presented by the World Economic Forum

The category winner had to meet four important criteria:

  1. Data Privacy & Cybersecurity
  2. Accessibility
  3. Innovative Use of AI Transparency
  4. Healthy Play in Childhood Development.

According to the World Economic Forum representative, Seth Bergeson, our ROYBI Robot met and exceeded these important criteria. ROYBI’s award acceptance ceremony can be watched here.


Also see:

ROYBI provides a sophisticated 1-on-1 private tutoring experience using artificial intelligence. ROYBI Robot introduces kids to technology, math, science, and language arts.

 

20 Best Websites to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021 — from wizcase.com by Julia Olech

Excerpt:

That’s why I rounded up a list of the 20 best free websites that provide engaging and fun learning experiences for you and your children. I made sure each website caters to a wide range of ages with games and interactive lessons that won’t bore even the most fidgety kids. The best part is that you can use them all at no cost!

 

 
 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian