June 6th – Khan Academy

In the spirit of HTML and online pacing, today we’ll check out one of the most popular online courses available – Khan Academy.

June 6th – Khan Academy

While Khan Academy is an extensive website with a lot of material – I’m writing because I was thinking about the HTML section coming off the W3Schools post yesterday.  In Khan Academy you can take a progressive course that has videos, activities, quizzes and projects to complete and show your knowledge of the topic.  The Intro to HTML has 10 segments (combination of lessons and activities) and then jumps into CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for 9 segments, then bounces back and forth introducing new skills.

The course is easy to follow and engaging – with activities that you can build the basics of what they are asking, or venture off on your own and create something really great.  It’s free to sign up so create an account and learn something!

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Oh wait!  Before I leave you I forgot to mention the most powerful thing – the teacher dashboard.  As a teacher I can create a class, assign Khan Academy assignments and see what the students are doing, how they are progressing and what they are struggling with.  Really great for those day when I had to be absent for conferences and family events.


June 4th – CodePen

Back on March 11th I wrote about Thimble, a great product from Mozilla that you can include CSS and JavaScript files.  Recently I found out about another such product with a few added features – CodePen.

June 4th – CodePen

CodePen is a simple online editor that allows you to create HTML, CSS and JavaScript all on the same page.  CodePen comes with a few more options, in the example it shows you how to include SCSS – the use of variables in CSS, but really you just need to play with it to see if it suits your needs.

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In addition to the SCSS you can change the layout, see the individual html, css and js pages and a dozen other smart design things that help budding web designers.

CodePen is free to sign up (might need to scroll down the page to see the free option) so sign up, copy and paste some of your existing HTML pages in and see what CodePen can do for you!

June 3rd – MIT App Inventor

Today is looking at a free version of the iPad platform specific program from yesterday – Codea.  MIT App Inventor uses the drag and drop Block based programming language from Scratch and turns it into a IDE for Android devices.

June 3rd – MIT App Inventor

Full disclosure, this resource should be and will probably be “A Week With” series later in the year – but I wanted to introduce it now while it’s on the top of my head.  As the year winds down, the sun is up earlier in the morning and later in the evening, the birds are chirping and students can’t wait for summer.  It’s a difficult time to keep them in their seats with AP test over and summer plans on the horizon.  I’ve always used this time for projects as students are typically more interested in something they’ve chosen to do versus what I’m telling them is important.  This is the time of year for MIT App Inventor.

In my courses I’ve gone through Scratch and SNAP, learned a little bit about Processing and the students are wrapping up and thinking about Final Projects, I always have a few students looking for a challenge.  I tell them to check out MIT App Inventor and I typically don’t hear from them again – they are really into it.

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MIT App Inventor uses two view to help students understand the backend and frontend parts of design.  The backend uses blocks to create the code similar to Scratch and the frontend is straight forward dragging and dropping design elements that you’ll designate functions to in the backend.  There are dozens of tutorials online (and here) so this might be a great tool to show students that can handle it and over the summer I’ll do a “A Week With” series and everybody can try it out for next years courses.

June 2nd – Codea

Codea is the iPad IDE that created yesterday’s post, Cargo-Bot. With Apps being all the rage today, Codea created an App that you can create other Apps for – very thinking outside the box vision there.

June 2nd – Codea

Codea flips the script on traditional programming.  For a majority of the App out there you need to know Objective-C (or Swift, Java, C++) and then a IDE on your computer which you can program onto, then have a developers account (Apple products) or upload to the store and try to get found – this is a lot of work.  Codea brings all that experience to one device, in the palm of your hand.

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Two Lives Left Codea Home Page taken June 2nd

Within a few minutes of downloading Codea, you can see how easy it is to play around with the existing samples and figure out the mechanics of the program.  Color Pickers make graphic design easy, and asset libraries make creating characters a snap.  Within a few swipes you can change one of the existing programs and suddenly you’re hooked.

I feel most people today, including students, are attracted to the visual aspect of things.  Codea seems to understand that and caters to those needs perfectly.  It’s a pricey download ($14.99) but worth the trial (versus purchasing more tries on Two Dots, when you can just wait a few minutes…) so check it out!

May 21st – Periodic Table of EdTech

In the #EdTech world, there are some heavy hitters and all stars.  Kathy Schrock is one of those rockstars that is on another level.  She has an amazing website and is constantly in the know.  I’ll probably write about her more in depth later, but today I wanted to get out a resource that she remixed to make it a must have for any teacher.

May 21st – Periodic Table of EdTech

This post should actually be about multiple people.  The Periodic Table for Educational Technology (below) was the work of multiple individuals that all have a say in EdTech and a really great resource. The website Daily Genius put out a call and created the Periodic Table for Educational Technology and then the above mentioned Kathy Schrock created a clickable PDF version (below the picture).  A lot of the tools have been mentioned here and I was planning on talking about most of them, but a few were new to me.


This guide is clickable and an invaluable resource.  Enjoy!

May 20th – Canva

While we are in the graphic design mode, I’ll introduce you to an amazing tool that my Director of Technology swears by: Canva.

May 20th – Canva

Whether we like it or not, we are constantly judged by our outward appearence, and this is no more true than our graphic designs on the web.  In teaching web design and Internet research, you can tell if a site is worth your time by one glance – and this is also something that might bring us in even more.  Canva is a great tool for professional looking graphics for free (or you can pay for some designs).

In Canva, once you sign up for a free account, you have access to templates and popular sizes to create a presentation, social media post, Facebook banner, just about anything you can think of.  Then you have layouts, elements, background, and text options to create something professional looking.  Like most of the products here – you’ll just need to take it out for a spin.  Bring out the amateur graphic designer in you!


May 19th – iBooksGenerator

Yesterday we looked at a very popular Widget creator for iBooks Author, today we look at another one that doesn’t have as many widgets, but it’s much easier and faster to produce one.

May 19th – iBooksGenerator

iBooksGenerator is a simple website that does three widgets really well. With iBooksGenerator you simply copy the URL from YouTube, Vimeo or sign in to Google Maps and create a map with point of interest if desired (check out the video at the bottom of the page).  Like Bookry, you just need to play with and explore a little bit!

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iBooksGenerator Home Page taken May 26th

Google Map Html Widget for iBooks Author from Francis Thomas on Vimeo.