Museums Online

We’ve been known to take a virtual field trip or two in our school. We ceratinly can’t afford to go on all the real field trips we want and some are prohibitively far away. But the virtual kind are free and very close at hand. However, it isn’t always easy to find just the right one.

Well, this one web site might be the answer when it comes to museums. The Museum of Online Museums is a one-stop site to find links to some of the best art museums and galleries in the world. The links and collections are updated on a regular basis. And the site has been featured on NPR, in Time magazine, and in the New York Times. I didn’t stop to count just how many museums and galleries are listed…but I don’t think you’ll run out of places to visit anytime soon.

When possible, I love to give a shout out to people who share these great resources with me. In this case, this link was shared by Kathy Schrock, who never fails to have great resources.

Online Backups

We’ve all spent money on external hard drives, DVD’s, and various other storage devices in an attempt to backup our important information. (You DO back up, don’t you???) And we’ve all spent cash on various software applications that will automatically back up our data, preserve full and partial archives, alert us to errors when backing up, etc. And we’ve all spent those boring hours dragging and dropping files from one location to another and watching them copy to a duplicate location.

Time consuming. And not really inexpensive.

And now, with the price of online backup options become more prevalent, many of those older methods start to seem a bit dated. I admit, I get a bit nervous about relying soley on an online site for storing my important documents and the thousands of digital photos I’ve collected over the years. But I have slowly begun to use online services for bits and pieces of my data…even if I’m also backing up to an external drive on my desk.

So how do you choose? The options are growing quickly and the prices are dropping. There really seems to be no excuse for not incorporating online services as at least a part of your security plan. And the best simple chart I’ve seen that compares the features of many of the online backup services can be found on Wikipedia. There is also a nice listing of storage locations with their free options and their paid storage options at tomuse.com.

Quick Fun with Math

Not everyone thinks of math as “fun” or “quick”…but it can be. Practicing doesn’t have to be long and boring. And Mathtwo.com is a web site geared to just that fact. From “easy” to “very hard”, Mathtwo.com pops up the questions for kids to type in the answer. Nothing tricky about it. No setup, no downloads, just go to their site and get in a little bit of practice.

One more great flashcard option…

Last week I shared five online flashcard sites that I really like. Mike, from The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness blog, left a comment about Quizlet as one more great option. And he is right!

Quizlet’s motto – “Quizlet eats flashcards for breakfast!” – sums up the power of this site. Nearly 6,000 new sets of cards have been created just today! You can create your own sets. You can use sets created by others. You can share your sets. Quizlet offers five different modes for learning – familiarize mode, learning mode, test mode, scatter and space race. Each presents your cards in different ways to help you master the material. And it keeps track of your progress.

For your next test, give Quizlet a try!

Improve Learning with Flashcards

We all remember those lovely math flashcards our teachers used when we were kids. Maybe they still use them! However, my kids think about something completely different when I mention flashcards. Their experience at school and at home has been with online flashcards. And I have to agree, they are superior. You can create and modify a set of flashcards quickly and easily. You can share your deck of cards with others….and use their decks so you don’t even have to make your own. And often the software has other tools to help you learn what you need to know.

I’ve taken a look at some of the flashcard sites out there…and here are my five favorites….

Study Stack has a library of almost a million flashcards on hundreds of topics. You can find a stack and start studying. Or, you can find a stack and change it for your own needs…or create your own from scratch. And you have more than just flashcards. Study Stack will use each deck and allow you to review them as flash cards, play Hangman with them, do a crossword, an unscramble, and more.

Next up is cramberry. Again, you’ll find thousands of sets already made or you can create your own. And cramberry will create a study schedule for you by tracking your correct answers and guiding you toward the things you need to study more. You can also take the cards with you – either by printing and cutting them out, or by using the new iPhone app to work with your cards on your iPhone or your iPod Touch.

Third on the list is Flashcard Machine. With over 18 million cards on their site, you’ve got plenty to work with. Of course, you can always create your own. And Flashcard Machine has the option to use your cards in your iPod. But this site has a special enhancement for teachers. You can create pages for each of your classes so you can easily sort and manage cards appropriate for each of your classes.

Memorize is a somewhat unique site. It offers flashcards in their custom memorize format. You can choose between flashcard mode, matching mode, or multiple choice mode. You guess the answer in your head and then tell the site if you were right or wrong when given the correct answer. You also have options to memorize graphics such as maps and to memorize in paragraph format. When you finish, the site will send you an e-mail when you specify to prompt you to return and practice again.

Last up is CoboCards. This site allows you to create flashcards, just like the others. But it gives you more flexibility to upload graphics to your cards, use a formula writer, and to compare your current cards with previous versions of the same card. CoboCards is also unique in that you can create a deck of cards with a friend…you working from your computer and your friend working from theirs. This shared deck is created by both and studied by both. And CoboCards tracks your progress and your friend’s progress.

So whether you are a teacher making cards for your students, a student studying for a test, a professional preparing for an exam or licensing test, or just someone who really wants to learn more….these flashcard sites offer plenty of options for you!

Join in the Olympics fun!

Just 31 days to go until the Olympic cauldron will be lit in Vancouver, BC. Time to start planning some classroom activities – and there are many options. But often times the most fun is when you do a project with someone else. So here are two online activities, hosted by classrooms, that you can join…..

The first online project is hosted by Nicole Chatz, a second grade teacher in Vancouver. You can access the project site at the project home page…and learn more about Ms. Chatz and her class at her classroom blog.

The second online project is called Catch Winter Olympics Fever and is hosted by Nancy Golubic. The project page has all the information you need to for participation. And you can learn more about Ms. Golubic and her first grade class at her classroom blog.

Both projects are easily accessible for kids in elementary grades and sometimes offer options for how you might participate. Check them out!

PowerPoint for the Classroom

Teachers create a lot of presentations and games in PowerPoint. Some of them are outstanding. But it can take time to find them all. Thank goodness someone has done a lot of the searching for us! Pete’s PowerPoint Station brings together PowerPoint activities, lessons and games in one convenient location. You’ll find everything from basic ABC’s to Algebra…from holiday activities to games. And more. Check them out!!

Excellent Resources for Younger Kids

Websites for the Primary Grades is a wonderful site containing dozens of awesome links. Dr. Suzanne LeBeau, the creator of this resource, put together a wonderful collection of links to other websites. And she grouped them into easy categories – mostly preschool, mostly kindergarten, mostly first grade, etc. It’s been a while since the collection was compiled so a few links are no longer valid…but the vast majority are and it is well worth your time to check out this awesome collection.

In fact, all of Dr. LeBeau’s resources are outstanding. You can start with her home page and find Education Resources, Tech Links, Links for Parents, and much more!