Customize Your Own Textbooks

Academic Pub is an application that let’s you make custom books for your students. It features real-time copy-right clearance and an ever-expanding content library along with the ability to add your own materials and articles from the web.

Your custom book can then be distributed to your students instantly to their iPad, computer, mobile device or in a softcover print edition.

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App Alert: The Chemical Touch

As I started researching different educational apps to discuss on this blog, one name re-appeared again and again: The Chemical Touch. Through a touch-sensitive periodic table, this app allows chemistry students and aficionados alike to explore almost any detail you could wish to know about a selected chemical element, such as its density, melting and boiling points, or electronegativity. Flip the periodic table around to explore the amino acid of your choice.

Need more information than The Chemical Touch has to offer? Not to worry—one tap on the app’s “Internet” button and you are taken to your chosen element’s detailed Wikipedia page. And if you are looking for a no-frills periodic table, this app also comes in a simplified version, The Chemical Touch Lite. Both Chemical Touch apps have received rave reviews as helpful, user-friendly, and priced to sell—while the regular version goes for .99, the Lite can be downloaded from iTunes free of charge. And, it should be noted, that after a roughly 13-year hiatus from any formal chemistry instruction, I was hooked on The Chemical Touch within two minutes flat.

Social Media and Learning

We are witnessing the emergence of something profound: humans, historically divided by geography, culture and creed, are beginning to connect and collaborate on a scale never seen before. The driving force behind this creative wave are digital tools and networks that allow new forms of collaboration and knowledge creation.

What starts out as social networking is evolving into social production.  We’ve witnessed how self-organizing groups, leveraging social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia, have launched revolutions throughout the Arab world and created the most importance reference work in the English language in less than 10 years.

The opening paragraphs from my latest PBS article on the case for using social media in education.

Diigo: Information Management

Diigo is a powerful information management tool. Diigo allows you to collect highlights, bookmarks, notes, screenshots and audio while exploring websites. You can access your Diigo account anywhere and share your collection easily through Mac or PC, any browser, iPad, iPhone and Android.

As educators we have access to free premium accounts that provide these additional features:

  • You can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation).
  • Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
  • Privacy settings of student accounts are pre-set so that only teachers and classmates can communicate with them.