One of the best ways to get pupils interested in school to construct learning experiences that are additively engaging, challenging, and fun. When students enjoy the process of experimenting with a concept and develop the desire to habitually ask, “Hey, why does this happen?” they’re on their way to self-motivated lifelong learning. Good teachers do all they can to inspire, incite, and engineer such outcomes.
For example, dedicated Science teachers know that their learners need multiple pathways to understanding. As such, instructors can give students opportunities to play around with tools such a Sodaconstructor, an interactive tool that simulates the use and behaviors of masses and springs. Why is this good? Here are a few reasons:
- For starters, the resource is intriguing. Once people see it, they want to play with it over and over again.
- The wow factor in Sodaconstructor naturally generates a great deal of critical, higher level-thinking that’s needed for comprehending the application of the Scientific Method. When students create interactive objects that move about as a result of masses and springs, budding engineers have an opportunity to adjust variables such as gravity, friction, and speed adnd hypothesize what should or will happen nezt.
- Next, Sodaconstructor is accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. Think 21st Century learning–anywhere, any time.
- Finally, it’s free!
The best way to appreciate the power in Sodaconstructor is to give it a try. What are you waiting for?
Add context to your classroom content by having your students research and work with real-wold data. What’s that? You don’t know where to get that kind of data? No problem. Check out Infochimps. This site connects info-hungry visitors with a dazzling collection of free, redistributable data sets.
Well, I’ve returned from visiting all of my relatives for the holidays. Though I hate to go a day without blogging, I purposely avoided posting for a few days. I’m proud to say that my family received the gift of my undivided attention.
Have a safe, happy, and copyright-free Christmas! The image above and other goodies like it are available from the United States Library of Congress by way of the Prints and Photographs Division.
Are the kiddies worried that the Man in the Red Suit may not arrive? If so, have them check in with NORAD Tracks Santa 2008.
Don’t stay up too late. Santa does his best work when everyone’s asleep!
Anyone checking my blog can see that I’ve been taking it easy. Aside from slacking off from my posting and occasionally checking my mail, I’ve been playing around with all kinds of Linux distros. I’m fortunate to have a reputation for being a guy who takes worn-out PCs. I got a lot of old laptops and desktops to experiment upon in my quest for tried and tested tools for free computing. When I get aging machines I enjoy loading the hardware with all manner of open source and free software. For the last five days I’ve been working my way through all of the flavors of Ubuntu.
My wife, bless her, has been very accommodating with my holiday hobby. Antiquated computers adorn my home like scattered toys. My floors may be messy but they bear witness to my zeal. I’ve been installing, examining, reviewing, and testing stuff like:
I’ve known about and used these resources for a few years and I’m still eager to explore their potential. The kind individuals who invest time and knowledge in refining all of these variations of Ubuntu make the prospect of using the systems irresistible. That’s why I’m on holiday from Windows and thrilled about touring an alternative operating system or two. Why not take the plunge and see what Ubuntu or one of its cousins has to offer? Better yet, burn a few Ubuntu CDs and give them to your friends!
Got old computers sitting around? Teach your old desktop and laptops some new tricks! Consider installing Puppy Linux. It’s a small, fast operating system that runs from CDs, USB sticks and even hard disks. Puppy Linux has the potential to bring new life to an abandoned computer.
Language Arts/English teachers: You’ll want to explore Lexulous (formerly Scrabulous, a game based on the commercial board game Scrabble). Lexulous is an addictive online word game that educators, pupils, parents, and others can use to build and hone vocabulary and spelling skills. To play Lexulous, participants generate words with a given set of letters (not unlike Scrabble). If you’re hesitant about registering for an account, play the game in practice mode to get a feel for the action.
On a related note, Kotaku is reporting that Hasbro is dropping its copyright infringement lawsuit against the makers of Scrabulous.
Every once in a while I run across something that’s educationally useful and fun to play with, too. For instance, I stumbled across a playfully powerful Java-based (word?) processor that does some incredibly spiffy stuff. Although the site is for profit, j2e is currently free for individual users and worth exploring. It’s just too easy to like this resource.