Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tablet Exploration

I just ordered three Archos 7" tablets for my classroom from for $75 each. Sure it is an older version of the Android OS but all I was wanting it for was basic web browsing and videos. I'll post more about them when I receive them, the are in the mail but I will not get them for a while since I have to double ship them to get them to Alaska. Over the past several years I have toyed with the idea of creating a web based student response system (SRS) but never had the time to create it. At my previous teaching assignment I enjoyed using Quizdom's Q5's but can't justify the expense in my current position. While searching for educational blogs for an Integrating Technology and Education class that I am developing I came across which fits the bill of what I was wanting to create.At this point the website is free.

I spent a few minutes testing out the features of socrative they seem to be well thought out and worked just fine on my desktop and iPod.

Cheap as in free
Easily add impromptu questions.
Easy for students to login and learn.
Both asynchronous and synchronous quizzes.
Visually simple design

Not sure how long the website will be around.
You have to enter all of the questions.

Great website that I am looking forward to using in my classroom.

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Interactive Clock

    Here is a resource that I just finished creating to help students explore how to read time on an analog clock. It allows the student to jump to a specific time or increment the time forward or backward by hours, minutes, or seconds.

    You may integrate this into your website using the following html code:
    <iframe frameborder="1" height="225" src="" width="500"></iframe>

    Please feel free to leave any questions, improvement suggestions, etc.. in the comments below.

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    For all your random needs

    I just finished adding a new random feature to the list of programs that are available at
    For your convenience here is a description to each of the random programs that are currently available:
    • Random Student Selector
      Given a list of names it will randomly select a name. You can continue to select names as long as you want. The program will attempt to favor names that haven't been picked but repeats can occur.
    • Random Student Selector Flash
      This is a flash based version of the previous program. One advantage of this version is that names can be added while selecting names. This can be an advantage for students that come in late.
    • Random Group Generator
      The random group generator can divide up students into a specific number of groups or specific sizes of groups. You have the option of either maximizing the group size or attempting to keep them balanced.
    • Random Group Mixer
      The random group mixer takes two lists of names and pairs names in each group together. If one group is larger than the other then some pairs will include more than two names.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Free Software for the Classroom Compilation

    I'm working on making a compilation on a DVD of educational software that can enhance student learning and productivity. Here is a list of the programs that I'm planning on putting on the disc. Please feel free to add your suggestions. Many of the programs are open source while others are simply free.

    Office/Desktop Publishing:
    • Gimp (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Photo editor. I've used this program extensively for editing images from simple crops to image creation.
    • Picasa (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Photo album. Can be used to create basic video clips or slide shows. I used this extensively to organize the files for the yearbook this past year and found the face recognize feature very useful.
    • Xournal (Win, Lin)
      Digital paper, can be use with a smart board or to annotate PDF files. For our daily grammar activities in class I would scan them to a PDF and then my students or myself would mark them up using a Wacom Bamboo pad as students called out corrections.
    • FreeMind (Win, Lin, Mac)
      Concept/Mind-mapping software. Students used this extensively to create study guides. Very quick and easy to use.
    • Dia (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Create diagrams and flow charts. I used this more in the past but it is still a good piece of software.
    • VLC (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Plays most any audio or video file.
    • Audacity (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Sound file editor/recorder. I've used this program extensively when creating my online spelling tests. Both the Windows and the Linux versions.
    • MuScore (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Musical score editor. I have not used this very much yet but plan on using it in the classroom this next year.
    • OpenShot (Lin)
      Video editor. I just started using this program this last spring and am very impress with its offerings.
    • Celestia (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Allows you to explore space from your desktop
    • West Point Bridge Building Software (Win, Mac)
      Bring the engineering lab to your classroom. This software allows you to build and test bridges within the confines of your classroom.
    • Google Earth (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Explore the world. Note: Internet connection required.
    • Online Interactive Science Simulations (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Excellent science lab activities that can be done and manipulated on the computer.
    • Word Search Creator (Win, Lin)
      Create word searches that can be printed.
    • Hot Potatoes (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Create a several different electronic activities such as word sorts, crossword puzzles, matching, and multiple choice activities.
    • GnuCash (Win, Mac, Lin)
      Persona/Business accounting software. I have not yet integrated this into my classroom but I'm working on it and see that it has some great potential.
    Computer Maintenance:

      Word Fun

      Wordle: Prepositions
      A classmate of mine shared this website with me that she uses to help her with an icebreaker activity. The website is You can make interesting word designs patterns given a list of words. Here is a sample that I made using a list of prepositions. I'm sure that I will come up with some more creative uses for it as I later.

      Wednesday, June 8, 2011

      Word Scramble Creator is pleased to offer yet another script to help make your teaching life simpler. Especially for you moodlers. The Word Scramble Creator is a simple web application that takes a list of words and scrambles the the letters of each word. The student then has to unscramble the letters. The output is very simple friendly so that it can be printed or copied to a word processor.

      Here is a sample of what the output looks like.

      Sample Scramble

      Unscramble the following words.
      bmelsrca: ________________________
      wodr: ____________
      nrrageote: ___________________________

      Created at

      You can find the Word Scramble Creator at

      Sunday, June 5, 2011

      Math Facts Approaches 600,000 Correct Student Responses

      I was creating some statistics from data at Math Facts this afternoon and realized that there are 600,000 correct student responses to math fact questions so I decided that again it was time to crunch some numbers.

      Accuracy of student responses 87.1%
      732,620 addition and multiplication problems solved.
      638,347 addition and multiplication problems solved correctly.

      464742 multiplication problems solved at 87.51% accuracy.
      Average time to correctly respond to a question was 2.049 seconds.
      Fastest response times: 0.05 seconds to 2 × 1 and 0.062 seconds to 1 × 1

      267878 addition problems solved at 86.48% accuracy.
      Average time to correctly respond to a question was 2.692 seconds.
      Fastest response times: 0 seconds to 1+2, 0.116 seconds to 1+5.

      Note that some of these statistics include times when students goof around and try to complete the activity as quickly as possible not paying attention to accuracy at all. But this is a very small percentage overall.

      I find it interesting that students respond on average about 0.5 seconds slower to addition problems than multiplication. Also it is interesting that the accuracy of the addition is 1% less than that of multiplication.

      Graphing Multiple Inequalities Using Two Variables.

      First graph each equation as explained in my previous post but only shade lightly. Next determine if the problem is asking for the intersection (and) or union (or).
      If it is an intersection then the solution for the system of two or more equations is only where all of the graphs overlap.
      If it is a union it is where any of the shading is located.

      Be careful of infinite solutions and no solutions.

      For example: Graph the equations y > 3x - 2 and y < x + 2.
      First graph y > 3x - 2.

      Since, this is a greater than equation like to make a little arrow pointing up indicating which side of the line will be shaded.

      Now graph y < x + 2

      Again, I like to make little arrow indicating which side of the line the shading is on.

      Now shade where both lines are.

      Give it a try.

      Thursday, June 2, 2011

      Moodle XML Grading Assistant

      I just finished writing a new web app that can save you some time, the Moodle XML Grading Assistant. The Moodle XML Grade Assistant allows you to quickly create an XML (or csv) file that can be imported into Moodle. Here is a list of the features:
      Step 1
      • Simple to use 
      • Quick Fill. Fill in the same value for all student.
      • You can bookmark your class roster so that you do not have to type it in every time. 
      • Once grade values have been entered that can be modified. 
      • iPod/iPhone compatible (with easy enter number pad)
      • Optimized tab strokes. 
      • Blank grades will not be over written.
      First you will need a list of student ID numbers. The easiest way to get this is to do a gradebook export to either Open Office, Excel, or csv format.

      Step 2
      Next make sure that all assignments that you want to grade have and ID number. The fastest way to enter these is through the calculations link of one of the categories in the grade book. You cannot modify them there but you can see what they are and enter them.

      Go to and enter your roster with one line per student. First enter the student's ID number followed by a comma and their name. Note that their name is only for your reference while interacting with the web page. When you are finished click next.

      Step 3:
      If you are satisfied with your class roster you can bookmark it so that you don't have to type it in again. Nothing is saved on the server it is all encoded in the URL. Now enter the ID number for an assignment and points possible for the assignment. Note that the points possible is only for your reference. Click next. 

      To enter the scores simply type in the number. Pressing tab will move you to the next save button and then the next text box. The number pads are for easy entry while using a touch screen device.

      If you need to go back and modify a score the simply click the assignment ID at the bottom of the page, change your value and click save.

      When are finished click download. You will be prompted for a place to save the file. Next go to Moodle and import the file from your grade book menu.

      Your data is temporarily saved on the server while you are working on it. Pressing the reset link at the bottom of the the page will clear out all of the data from the server.

      If I see that people are interested in this I'll enable the email feature so that you can truly enter your grades from your portable device. Currently you can enter them but it makes it pretty hard to save them from the portable device.

      One of my frustrations with Moodle is the ability to quickly enter grades into the grade book. You can import CSV files but that takes a while because you have to match up all of the titles manually. This could still save time if you a have a large class but my classes tend to be small. Next I looked into the XML import option but that wasn't very helpful because it was so hard to edit and add information.