SpeakPipe Now Works on iPads

This Could Be An Interesting Adaptation

SpeakPipe is a neat tool that I have been recommending for years. It is a tool that you can add to your blog to collect voice messages from blog visitors. The messages are automatically recorded and transcribed for you to listen to and or read. Unfortunately, until now it didn’t work if your blog visitors were using iPads. That recently changed when SpeakPipe pushed an update for Safari.

SpeakPipe now works in Safari on iPads and iPhones that are using iOS 11.

Applications for Education

When it is installed on a classroom blog SpeakPipe provides a good way for parents to leave voicemail messages. Having your messages in SpeakPipe lets you dictate a response that can then be emailed back to the person who left the message for you.

SpeakPipe offers another tool called SpeakPipe Voice Recorder. SpeakPipe’s Voice Recorder is a free tool for quickly creating an MP3 voice recording in your web browser on a laptop, Chromebook, Android device, or iOS device. To create a recording with the SpeakPipe Voice Recorder simply go to the website, click “start recording,” and start talking. You can record for up to five minutes on the SpeakPipe Voice Recorder. When you have finished your recording you will be given an embed code that you can use to place it in your blog or website. You will also be given a link to share your recording. Click the link to share your recording and that will take you to a page to download your recording as an MP3 file.

SpeakPipe’s Voice Recorder does not require you to register in order to create and download your audio recordings. The lack of a registration requirement makes it a good choice for students who don’t have email addresses or for anyone else who simply doesn’t want to have to keep track of yet another username and password.

Students could use SpeakPipe’s Voice Recorder to record short audio interviews or to record short audio blog entries.

Teachers could use SpeakPipe’s Voice Recorder to record instructions for students to listen to in lieu of having a substitute teacher read instructions to their students.

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers
if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission
.

 

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Is AR Good 4 Teaching & Learning? Or should we get real?

Augmented Reality is nothing new for youth. It has been a part of student’s social experience in apps like Snapchat and it made a big splash when Pokemon Go made its debut. But when it comes to learning, does it have a place?

While seeing an object, insect, or animal up close in an augmented reality is certainly preferably to reading about it in your science text, is it really the best way to help students learn?

Is learning via AR it better than that?

Well, yeah. Probably. It will engage kids with the wow factor for a bit, but then what?

And what about the source? Who wants us to buy into this? A textbook provider? A publisher? A testing company? A hardware or software provider?

What’s in it for them?

And, what about all the other ways to learn? Is it better than that? Is it cost effective?

AR: The Verdict? It depends.

When compared to textbooks, most would agree that AR improves upon the learning experience. It can also help make a textbook a bit more interactive and give it some life.

But what about other options? A powerful novel? A game? A MagniScope? A PBS documentary? A YouTube expert?

To help think about this, I turned to my friends at Modern Learners for some insights.
When thinking about AR, VR, mixed reality, and etc, Gary Stager, asks, are we “investing in reality first” before we invest in such technologies?

That’s a good question. Especially for kids who live in big cities like where I work. In New York City we have cultural neighbourhoods, experiences, some of the finest museums, zoos, gardens, and experts right in the backyard of our schools. Are we taking students there? Or if we aren’t in such communities, are we using resources like Facebook Live, Periscope, and Skype to connect and interact with real people and places in other parts of the world?

When I served as a library media specialist in an inner city school in Harlem, we had immersive experiences in places like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Spanish Harlem. We visited places like El Museo Del Bario and the Tenement Museum. We had scavenger hunts around the neighbourhoods and the museums were happy to freely open their doors to our inner city youth visiting on weekdays.

Of course there are times when a real experience can not occur in place of a virtual experience. For example, a trip to Mars or the Titanic are out of reach. Engaging in or witnessing a dangerous activity for a newbie such as driving a car, plane, train, are other examples.

But even with such extremes, there may be a movie, field trip, game, or museum experience that might provide a better learning experience.

In his Modern Learners podcast Will Richardson puts it this way. If for some reason we really can’t invest in realities, then yes, these “halfway measures for poor kids” make sense, but only if it really is not possible to bring students more authentic opportunities.

But let’s make sure those real experiences are not available before jumping into augmented ones.

Consider this…

When trying to determine what is best for students, here are some questions you can ask:

  • How would a student use this outside of school?

  • Does it help a young person create agency over learning?

  • Does this have a real-life use?

  • Is this better than…

  • Reading about it?

  • Watching it?

  • Doing it?

When you consider those questions, you will be better positioned to determine and explain if augmented reality should become a reality for the students where you teach.

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Run Classic Mac OS on a Mac Plus Emulator in Any Web Browser

The Too Fun Days Of HyperCard Part Two

Mac Plus emulator screen shot

Ever wished you could go back to the good old days of the black & white Mac Plus, running ancient versions of Mac OS like System 7? Your dream can come true with the help of any web browser on just about any platform imaginable, be it OS X, iOS, Android, Windows, or Linux, and you’ll even get a whole bunch of classic Mac apps to play around with too. There are none of the installation complexities of running an unofficial emulator because the entire thing is built to run in a browser with PCE/macplus, just go to the website and let it load.

Depending on which instance you run you’ll get either either a Mac Plus with System 7 and the classic KidPix app, or you’ll get a Mac Plus with a whole variety of old school apps like BBEdit Lite, MacDraw, MacPaint, Microsoft Word, Excel, Works, Orion, PageMaker, ZTerm, Disk Copy, Disinfectant, TeachText, ResEdit (!), StuffIt, Compact Pro, Risk, ShufflePuck Cafe, and Cannon Fodder. Pick your fun:

The classic Mac OS experience is complete, you can open folders, adjust control panels, create and save files, edit things with ResEdit, or play Shufflepuck Cafe:

Shufflepuck Cafe in Mac emulator

KidPix is also entirely usable, stamps and all, so those of a certain age range can get drawing and pretend we’re all in 4th grade again:

KidPix emulator

As mentioned, this does indeed work on just about every platform imaginable. It’s actually pretty fast on any modern Mac or PC in a half-decent web browser, but you can even run the Mac Plus emulator on an iPhone or iPad within Safari or Chrome. Here it is running on an iPhone, complete with a bad Instagram filter to emphasize the retro factor:

Classic Mac OS running on an iPhone

Because it’s all contained within the browser, it does not require the old jailbreak emulator method. Not surprisingly, the Mac Plus emu runs a bit slower in iOS, and you’ll need to be pretty precise with your taps to open folders and apps, which kind of makes it more of a novelty than a usable emulator.

If this sounds similar to the linux in a browser thing we covered a while back, you’d be right, it’s the same basic idea. There’s even a web based Atari ST emulator and IBM PC 5150 with DOS for those who want to really go down the retro route. Is any of this useful? No not really, but it’s fun, and at least it isn’t a toilet paper dispenser.

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Run Hypercard on Modern Mac OS via Web Browser

The Too Fun Days Of HyperCard Part One
Hypercard on Mac in a web browser

Do you remember Hypercard? If you’re a (very) longtime Mac user, you might recall tinkering with the amazing Hypercard application, described by the creator as “a software erector set, which lets non-programmers put together interactive information” using the HyperTalk scripting language along with an easy to use interactive interface builder.

Though Hypercard was never brought along to the modern era in Mac OS X or iOS (sigh, maybe some day), if you’re feeling nostalgic for geeking out in HyperTalk one more time, you can easily run the entire Hypercard application and enjoy a bunch of retro HyperCard stacks on your modern Mac right now thanks to the great in-browser emulator on archive.org.

To run Hypercard today, all you need is a modern web browser running in Mac OS, Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux. Yes really.

We’ll link to four different ways to run HyperCard in a web browser, the first is simply Hypercard on it’s own in System 7.5.3, whereas the other three links are Hypercard with large collections of pre-made Hypercard stacks – some of which you will undoubtedly recognize if you geeked out any of this stuff decades ago. Each link below runs Hypercard atop an old Macintosh OS release in the web browser, all using emulation, you do not need to download or install anything, simply click the link to launch a new window and then click to boot up the browser based virtual machine.

Is this cool or what?

For many old Macintosh uses, Hypercard was their first foray into the mere concept of creating software, whether it was just a goofy soundboard, a simple application, or a game. Dedicated developers even built entire elaborate programs and games on the Hypercard platform, including the wildly popular 1993 game Myst.

Hypercard on Mac OS X

* The video below from 1987 discusses Hypercard with the famous Apple engineer Bill Atkinson:

If you’re enjoying this retro blast from the past, you’ll likely enjoy our other emulator topics as well as running classic Mac OS in a browser based Mac Plus emulator too. Have some retro fun!

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10 Reasons Kids Should Learn to Code

Learning about Computational Thinking, often referred to as coding (which is really the “written” part of process), is a new literacy that is overlooked for myriad reasons: “It’s too hard”, “I don’t understand it so, it will be impossible to teach”, “It doesn’t fit into any curricular area”, “There is no math in it at all”, “It’s just not appropriate for little ones”. I’ve pretty much heard the gamut of reasons why this process, not dissimilar to Design Thinking or Inquiry processes taking placing in Making/Tinkering and STEAM environments, is not viable in classrooms today. The reality is that computation thinking is a YAIEP or Yet Another Inquiry Entry Point. This should be a comforting thing for most. Inquiry and more recently Design Thinking are processes have been used extensively in the STEAM and Maker Movements that has swept educational institutions. These programs feature pedagogy that empower students to take more responsibility for their learning pathway; directing their learning through questions and personal perspectives; try to find and solve unique problems that have meaning and importance them; collaborating together to makes sense of data collected; communicating with authentic audiences and experts to share and obtain information; demonstrate their understandings in unique ways. This is Computational Thinking at it’s best as well. But there are added benefits as well and the article highlights these beautifully….  (Keith Strachan)


Word Splash of Coding Words

10 Reasons Kids Should Learn to Code

When it comes to preparing your children for the future, there are few better ways to do so than to help them learn to code! Coding helps kids develop academic skills, build qualities like perseverance and organization, and gain valuable 21st century skills that can even translate into a career. From the Tynker blog, here are the top 10 reasons kids should learn to code:

Coding Improves Academic Performance

  1. Math: Coding helps kids visualize abstract concepts, lets them apply math to real-world situations, and makes math fun and creative!
  2. Writing: Kids who code understand the value of concision and planning, which results in better writing skills. Many kids even use Tynker as a medium for storytelling!
  3. Creativity: Kids learn through experimentation and strengthen their brains when they code, allowing them to embrace their creativity.
  4. Confidence: Parents enthusiastically report that they’ve noticed their kids’ confidence building as they learn to problem-solve through coding!

Coding Builds Soft Skills

  1. Focus and Organization: As they write more complicated code, kids naturally develop better focus and organization.
  2. Resilience: With coding comes debugging – and there’s no better way to build perseverance and resilience than working through challenges!
  3. Communication: Coding teaches logical communication, strengthening both verbal and written skills. Think about it: learning code means learning a new language!

Coding Paves a Path to the Future

  1. Empowerment: Kids are empowered to make a difference when they code – we’ve seen Tynkerers use the platform to spread messages of tolerance and kindness!
  2. Life Skills: Coding is a basic literacy in the digital age, and it’s important for kids to understand – and be able to innovate with – the technology around them.
  3. Career Preparation: There’s a high demand for workers in the tech industry; mastering coding at a young age allows kids to excel in any field they choose!

Tynker makes it fun and easy for kids to learn how to code! Kids use Tynker’s visual blocks to begin learning programming basics, then graduate to written programming languages like Python, Javascript, and Swift. Our guided courses, puzzles, and more ensure that every child will find something that ignites their passion for learning. Explore our plans and get your child started coding today!

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Supporting Students Efforts in Determining Real from Fake News

Our students use the web every day—shouldn’t we expect them to do better at interpreting what they read there? Perhaps, but not necessarily. Often, stereotypes about kids and technology can get in the way of what’s at stake in today’s complex media landscape. Sure, our students probably joined Snapchat faster than we could say “Face Swap,” but that doesn’t mean they’re any better at interpreting what they see in the news and online.

As teachers, we’ve probably seen students use questionable sources in our classrooms, and a recent study from the Stanford History Education Group confirms that students today are generally pretty bad at evaluating the news and other information they see online. Now more than ever, our students need our help. And a big part of this is learning how to fact-check what they see on the web.

In a lot of ways, the web is a fountain of misinformation. But it also can be our students’ best tool in the fight against falsehood. An important first step is giving students trusted resources they can use to verify or debunk the information they find. Even one fact-checking activity could be an important first step toward empowering students to start seeing the web from a fact-checker’s point of view.

Here’s a list of fact-checking resources you and your students can use in becoming better web detectives.

FactCheck.org

A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the nonpartisan, nonprofit FactCheck.org says that it “aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” Its entries cover TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Science teachers take note: The site includes a feature called SciCheck, which focuses on false and misleading scientific claims used for political influence. Beyond individual entries, there also are articles and videos on popular and current topics in the news, among a bevy of other resources.

PolitiFact

From the independent Tampa Bay Times, PolitiFact tracks who’s telling the truth—and who isn’t—in American politics. Updated daily, the site fact-checks statements made by elected officials, candidates, and pundits. Entries are rated on a scale that ranges from “True” to “Pants on Fire” and include links to relevant sources to support each rating. The site’s content is written for adult readers, and students may need teachers’ help with context and direction.

Snopes

The popular online resource Snopes is a one-stop shop to fact-check internet rumors. Entries include everything from so-called urban legends to politics and news stories. Teachers should note that there’s a lot here on a variety of topics—and some material is potentially iffy for younger kids. It’s a great resource for older students—if you can keep them from getting distracted.

OpenSecrets.org

OpenSecrets.org is a nonpartisan organization that tracks the influence of money in U.S. politics. On the site, users can find informative tutorials on topics such as the basics of campaign finance—not to mention regularly updated data reports and analyses on where money has been spent in the American political system. While potentially useful for fact-finding, the site is clearly intended for more advanced adult readers and is best left for older students and sophisticated readers.

Internet Archive Wayback Machine

This one isn’t a site that performs fact-checking. Instead, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine is a tool you can use yourself to fact-check things you find online. Like an internet time machine, the site lets you see how a website looked, and what it said, at different points in the past. Want to see Google’s home page from 1998? Yep, it’s here. Want to see The New York Times’ home page on just about any day since 1996? You can. While they won’t find everything here, there’s still a lot for students to discover. Just beware: The site can be a bit of a rabbit hole—give students some structure before they dive in, because it’s easy to get lost or distracted.

Want to take your students’ knowledge of fact-checking a step further? Engage them in discussions around why these sites and organizations are seen as trusted (and why others might not be trusted as much). Together, look into how each site is funded, who manages it, and how it describes its own fact-checking process.

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Is DNA the future of data storage? – Leo Bear-McGuinness

Check out our Patreon page: http://ift.tt/2v1FEd5 View full lesson: http://ift.tt/2fX7DFW In the event of a nuclear fallout, every piece of digital and written information could all be lost. Luckily, there is a way that all of human history could be recorded and safely stored beyond the civilization’s end. And the key ingredient is inside all of us: our DNA. Leo Bear-McGuinness explains. Lesson by Leo Bear-McGuinness, animation by TED-Ed. Thank you so much to our patrons for your support! Without you this video would not be possible. Sdiep Sriram, Hachik Masis Bagdatyan, Matteo De Micheli, Alex Schenkman, Kostadin Mandulov, Miami Beach Family, David & Pamela Fialkoff, Ruth Fang, Mayra Urbano, Brittiny Elman, Tan YH, Vivian James, Ryohky Araya, Mayank Kaul, Steven LaVoy, Adil Abdulla, Megan Whiteleather, Mircea Oprea, Jen, Paul Coupe.
From: TED-Ed

via TED Education https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8qWc9X4f6k

Jigsaw variant – Pulsing

Pulsing is a jigsaw variant that allows students to benefits from the “hive” mind, but also insists on individual accountability in terms of project and task completion.

I use pulsing a lot for research…. I have attached an example I used with a grade 7 class doing an inquiry on creating a fully functional island with government, a people, culture, population  centre, etc… .

My belief is that structures such as this address the following learning structure considerations…

  1. Student Voice
  2. Accountability
  3. Broadening Perspectives
…and are vitally important in an educational landscape. See below.

Marin Voice: Grade expections — focusing on learning instead of letters – Marin Independent Journal

Two thing stuck out in the article for me: The willingness of staff and administration to look at more than just grades as a measure of what a student is or is not. And the ability to “sell this to parents” by highlighting standard criteria related to “soft skill” areas (skills that the business world is in fact looking for) like those put forth by Michael Fullan’s 6 Cs!


At the beginning of each year, I am asked by parents, “What is the homework load for my child?”

What they’re really asking is, “Will you see my child if she is soaring to new heights and needs to stretch?” Or, “Will you see my child if she is flailing under an avalanche of anxiety?”

Really, “Will you see my child?” is the point.

Teachers and administrators are tasked with educating students and effective assessment is integral to the process. Yet the predominant form of assessment via grading eliminates opportunities for comprehensive evaluation and in fact offers a narrow view of one’s abilities.

In response to the IJ’s Sept. 17 article, “Private schools join up to dump A-to-F grading,” I applaud the goal of the Mastery Transcript Consortium to create a more balanced approach to grading and wanted to highlight that changing the grading system is just the beginning of a needed overhaul in how we as educators prepare our students for their future.

The Mastery Transcript Consortium advocates for change due to good reason. As Madeline Levine documented years ago in “The Price of Privilege,” we who live in Marin see stress bubbling up from our students and their parents on a daily basis.

Anxiety about college and future work is one culprit.

According to the World Economic Forum, in less than five years our lives will be even more transformed by advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Listen to a handful of the jobs predicted by the Institute for the Future: soil programmer, pre-crime analyst, neuro-marketer, (and my favorite) gut florist.

We can’t predict and teach to each future job. That’s why we need to teach students to think, to adapt and to search.

I ask you, is it possible for a single letter grade to measure a student’s ability to adapt, or would an authentic demonstration and narrative assessment better measure learning?

Moreover, the purpose of education has expanded beyond offering mere content and a student’s success extends far beyond letter grades on a report card. The future is dependent on kids who also master life skills. These include social intelligence, cross cultural competence, virtual collaboration and computational thinking.

To measure such life skills requires that we adapt our assessment techniques beyond letter grades.

As parents and schools across the country debate the adoption of the new grading standards proposed by the Mastery Transcript Consortium, I wanted to offer a perspective of a school right here in Marin that has been using narrative grading for the last 15 years. Greenwood School has used comprehensive teacher reports and standards-based criteria to provide a fuller picture of the whole child — assessing for academic achievement, artistic expression and life skills like the ability to focus (mindfulness) and compassion (emotional intelligence).

As educators, our goal is to release into the world students who have grit, a zest for life and are grounded in the belief that they can tackle any problem that comes their way. It is a fuller picture than any traditional grading system can depict and while at Greenwood we do believe there is a place for letter grades in middle school, we augment them with a narrative on each student, written by teachers who truly understand kids.

In this way, we can reassure the parents that their child is actually seen. After all, isn’t the goal of grades and assessment to offer a full picture of a student who is prepared for their future?

Shaheer Faltas is the head of school for Greenwood School in Mill Valley and was selected as a finalist for the California Legislature Assembly’s Project Tomorrow’s Innovation in Education Awards for use of science, math and technology in the classroom.

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