Monday, February 13, 2012

Reference Tools for Elementary

When trying to give sources for teachers to remediate skills for the encyclopedia, atlas, almanac, and thesaurus, I ran ashore with no luck.  I could not find anything that broke down each book and provided a sysnopsis of what information the source provided.  Therefore, some students and I created what we needed in the form of a video. 

Hope you enjoy!

A Google A Day

Teaching someone how to research and come up with effective descriptors when using a search engine is a very difficult task.  The ability to summarize and come up with key terms is a higher level thinking process, and being able to apply those same skills to a search engine such as Google makes searching for content a nightmare,  Being able to teach that concept is just as difficult as the mastering of the skill.

Enter A Google A Day. Started by Google on January 1st of 2012, each day a question is posted in a split screen format.  The top screen above the question is the Google search engine, and you can use the search area to find a document to help you answer the question below.  Once someone has discovered the answer, they can type it in and find out if they are correct.  You can use the back directional arrow to access previous day questions, to provide additional practice in searching and locating information.

Make sure to teach the concept to students first.  You have plenty of additional practice prior to today's date for them to attempt the concept individually, and it is important for students to see a skill modeled first.

Tablets for Kids

We are preprogrammed to only think of the Ipad when it comes to tablets, and the Ipad rocks, but they are not the most user friendly when it comes to education.  Their price is prohibitive when trying to go 1:1 with student access to technology, and with budget cuts across the board, cheaper alternatives are the go to for student integration.

Welcome to reality. 

The Kindle Fire is a new alternative to tablets, and the cost (around $200) makes this tablet more affordable to schools.  You can access the internet and can load apps on to the Kindle Fire, but you use the Market platform (not itunes) to find applications. 

The newest addition to the tablet family is the Nabi.  Built for children under 5, this parent controlled tablet allows children to access apps that have been chosen by the parent without fear of accessing inappropriate content.  It comes with a protective case, and gives your child the same benefits of using interactive content in a form that they can more readily understand.  The Nabi comes in at around $199, and parents choose the content they want displayed on the screen before turning over the Nabi to their child.

Finally, the Android Galaxy is a tablet alternative that shares the same cost as the Ipad... but runs flash unlike its Apple Counterpart.  It comes with the Microsoft Office suite and runs all of the Google Mobile services.