As regular readers know, the student hand-outs, and there are a lot of them, from all my books are always available for free from the publishers – with no registration required.
Routledge, the publisher of my three student motivation books, has been reconfiguring their website this week, which has disrupted the ability to download the hand-outs from my first two books (ones from the third one started working fine again today). I’m assuming lots of their other books are having the same problem.
They say it should all be fixed this week. However, if Monday comes and you still can’t access them, leave a comment here and I’ll figure out a way to get them to you. Of course, please only let me know that if you really need them right away for the beginning of the school year (I certainly understand the need to get things set for the first couple of weeks ahead of time). If you can end wait a little longer, please do — I’m sure they’re working as hard as they can to get it all fixed up.
Today, they announced another big update – adding a ton of new languages to the feature that translates images of text, along with what they say are improvements that will make the voice translation ability work better:
We started out with seven languages—English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish—and today we’re adding 20 more. You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai. (Or, try snapping a pic of the text you’d like translated—we have a total of 37 languages in camera mode.)
I’ve embedded a cute video below where they’re showing off using the new languages in the visual mode.
I’ve found the real-time voice translation feature not very workable in classroom situations, but perhaps these new updates will mitigate those problems.
The visual text feature, on the other hand, has come in quite handy for some students. As the video shows, you just set the language of the text you want translated and the language you want it translated into, click the camera icon, point it at the text, and it shows you the translated image. As the video also shows, it works great with large text. It works well with small text when I’m using my iPhone 6, but students have found in the past it doesn’t work nearly as well with lower-end smartphones. I don’t know if this new update will fix that issue or not.
I’m using the term “information literacy” here to describe assisting our students developing critical thinking skills to evaluate both web and content in other media forms. I’ve seen the term used to describe broader skills, too. Let me know if you think I’m off-based with my definition.
So, using that definition, here is a beginning Best list, and I hope readers will contribute more:
The amazing Key & Peele team has produced this education segment that seems a little “off,” in my humble opinion, but its language is appropriate enough for me to share here (they’ve done some better ed-related ones that contained off-color language). Be sure to watch the last commercial:
As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of students writing about “What if?” scenarios in our history classes, as well as in IB Theory of Knowledge courses. I’ve also used it in English when have students write alternative endings of stories. You can read more about this strategy at The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons.
Today, Scientific American published a nice piece summarizing research on the benefits of “What if?” thinking and also highlighting as aspect that I’ve never really considered in the context of teaching — the idea of personal “What if?” moments and stories.
I think that could be a fun writing activity in class.
As part of the article, the magazine is invited readers to submit their own personal “What if?” moments:
Share a couple sentences about a moment from your past that you often revisit and think, “What if…?”
Zoom In! is a new(er) free site that provides some very good U.S. History lessons that use historical documents and are standards-based. Along with in-class instruction, students use the online resources to do close-reading and scaffolded written responses.
Teachers create online virtual classrooms where they can monitor student progress.
Two of their features standout to me:
First, they clearly have been very intentional about choosing primary source documents that are likely to be more accessible to students and then have made them even more accessible with their lay-out and easy ability to look-up word definitions. I haven’t really seen any other site that has been able to do this anywhere near as well as Zoom In!
Secondly, I really like the way they scaffold the writing of written responses/essays. Again, more sites could learn from them.