There were so many choices for Thing 18 (Education), and I wanted to try them all!
I had heard of Khan Academy before, and explored their website, but I had never tried the app. The app is broken down into overviews of different topics by subject areas and then sub areas. Most of the content did not appear to be interactive–mainly video. However, there were a wide variety of topics in Khan Academy. This would be a great resource for lifelong learners wanting to revisit a forgotten subject from high school, current students who are having trouble grasping a topic, or even parents who are trying to help their kids with a subject they know little about.
I really loved Duolingo, although I’m not surprised because I love learning languages. Duolingo was easy to use, targets multiple learning styles, includes exercises to record yourself and compare to the teacher’s voice, and more. It’s also gamified, so you have so many “lives” per lesson that you lose when you make a mistake, and it tracks your progress and assigns badges.
Most language learning program start with just vocabulary and basic travel phrases right away. I tried the German program, and they had me working with full sentences right away, which made me feel more accomplished than memorizing hello, goodbye, and where is the bathroom?
Apparently, Duolingo is completely free because it crowdsources the translation of online text. As you learn, you are translating text from the web that Duolingo combines with other translations and sells. I don’t know if you are actually translating from the first lesson. Unless there are lots of documents out there that say things like “he is a man,” “you are a woman,” or “a boy is a child” in German.
I was a Spanish major in college, so I also eyed over the lessons in Spanish, and Duolingo takes you quite far in the language.
The only downside to Duolingo is that they only have five complete languages (Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese) for English speakers, though they are developing more. They also have courses between two non-English languages, and English courses for non-English speakers.
This would be a great tool for anyone looking to learn a language or current high school or college students who are looking for additional help for their language classes. It would also be very useful for English-language learners who use your library.
Socrative was another really great tool to capture student responses live in class. It would be wonderful for information literacy instruction. Socrative is designed to be used during a class. It would require every student and the teacher to either have a mobile device or be on a computer. Teachers can ask a question aloud and start a multiple choice, T/F, or short answer activity. Students who are logged into the same classroom number can chose an answer and the data is displayed live on the teacher’s screen (see above). The answers can be anonymous, or the students can enter their names. This would be a great way to check for understanding if you’re having trouble reading a class.
Instructors can also plan ahead an make a quiz of questions to be asked during class, as shown above. You can work short quizzes to check for understanding into your lesson plan and get feedback that way. These can act as real quizzes (students enter their name and a grade is recorded) or it can just be feedback for the instructor.
I was initially leery about how much this could actually be used because I thought it required a mobile device. But, students and the instructor can access the same things on a computer by going to m.socrative.com or t.socrative.com.