Saturday, March 31, 2012

Have fun with gravity wells and magnetic repulsion

https://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Graphics/TouchEffects/


Build a Solar System - Make a scale model of the solar system and learn the real definition of "space"

http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/



Free iOS App Today - Tortoise and Hare: an Animated Aesop Children’s Story Book

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tortoise-hare-animated-aesop/id500722931?mt=8


Free iOS App Today - Zoo Pad: Toronto


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zoo-pad-toronto/id498160999?mt=8

Description

Zoo Pad: Toronto is an application designed to compliment your experience at the Toronto Zoo*.

Covering animals from every sector of our fragile yet diverse world, this app provides for information on each animal and species, and allocates each to it's IUCN categorical definition. New animals and zooplorations will be added monthly.

Zoo Pad: Toronto is the perfect companion to your Zoo trip, and provides for context on each animal discovered!

First Edition Animals include:

African Rainforest:
- Gaboon viper
- Giant baboon spider
- Helmeted guineafowl
- Pygmy hippopotamus
- Slender-tailed meerkat
- Western lowland gorilla

African Savanna:
- African lion
- African penguin
- Cape shelduck
- Caracal lynx
- Masai giraffe
- White rhinoceros

Americas:
- Black-footed ferret
- Blue poison dart frog
- Brazilian giant cockroach
- Golden lion tamarin
- Reticulate Gila monster
- Snapping turtle

Americas Outdoor Exhibit:
- American flamingo
- Black-handed spider monkey
- Blue and yellow macaw
- Jaguar
- Llama
- Scarlet macaw

Australasia:
- Brownbanded bamboo shark
- Emerald tree boa
- Komodo dragon
- Matschie's tree kangaroo
- Red-tailed black cockatoo
- Threadfin butterflyfish

Australasia Outdoor Exhibit:
- Bennett's wallaby
- Emu
- Western grey kangaroo

Canadian Domain:
- American moose
- Canada lynx
- Grizzly bear
- Northern bald eagle
- Raccoon
- Wood bison

Eurasia:
- Bactrian camel
- Barbary ape
- Dhole (Asiatic wild dog)
- Przewalski's horse
- Red panda
- Snow leopard

Indo-Malaya:
- Asian brown tortoise
- Concave casqued hornbill
- Green water dragon
- Sumatran orangutan
- Sumatran tiger
- White-handed gibbon

Indo-Malaya Outdoor Exhibit:
- Cattle egret
- Himalayan tahr
- Indian peafowl
- Malayan tapir
- Mandarin duck
- Reeve's muntjac

Malayan Woods:
- Black-breasted leaf turtle
- Clouded leopard
- Dead leaf mantis
- Japanese white-eye
- Ornamental tree spider
- Red-tailed green rat snake

Tundra Trek:
- Arcticfox
- Arctic wolf
- European reindeer
- Lesser snow goose
- Polar bear
- Snowy owl

* Please note that this app, the Zoo Pad, is in no way endorsed by the Toronto Zoo and, as an independent publication, exists as the unofficial Toronto Zoo Guide. All content has been used with permission.


Friday, March 30, 2012

From Scholastic: Immigration: Stories of Yesterday and Today and Ellis Island

http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/index.htm


Mayer-Johnson iPad GIVEAWAY

http://www.mayer-johnson.com/giveaway/

Enter for a chance to win the new iPad preloaded with all of our PCS™ Apps! Contest runs through April 30th, 2012 with the winners selected the week of May 1st, 2012. Winners will be selected via random number drawing. Contest is valid in the US only.




Free iOS App Today - Dabble - the Fast Thinking Word Game for iPad

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dabble-fast-thinking-word/id455485254?mt=8

Dabble is the kind of game that is as simple as it is challenging. It rewards players with quick wits, a large vocabulary, and perfect spelling.

You have to be on your toes, since the goal of the game is to spell out five separate words with just 20 letters as quickly as possible.

The trick is that the five words must be comprised of a two-letter, three-letter, four-letter, five-letter, and six-letter word.

DABBLE was awarded the 2011 Word Game of The Year by Creative Child Magazine and Dr. Toy's 10 Best Games Award!

Free iOS App Today - Tsar Saltan for iPad

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tsar-saltan/id458581110?mt=8

Tsar Saltan – Russian interactive picture app-tale (for iPad) “Tsar Saltan” is a book-app by Russian famous classic author Alexander Pushkin. “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” was written in the beginning of the 19 century and got right to the treasure of Russian fairy literature.

Free iOS App Today - ABC Phonics Rhyming Words

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-phonics-rhyming-words/id437352931?mt=8

A fun game for young children to learn and practice phonics by finding pairs of matching words.
FunRhyming is a Universal App, so it works with both iPhone and iPad.

Free iOS App Today - Explore Vincent for iPad (Art)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id470891391

The iPad-app Explore Vincent contains animations, games and many historical facts about the life and works of the world-famous painter.

Vincent's life and work
The app ‘Explore Vincent’ paints a picture of Vincent van Gogh's turbulent life: his childhood years in Zundert, his school days in Tilburg, his artistic calling in Etten-Leur, his failed romances and artistic 'explosion' in Nuenen and finally his sojourns in various places in the Netherlands and abroad. Through an exploration of selected works, such as the Brabant 'Potato Eaters', the viewer can visually follow his development as a painter. Moreover, we can discover in a playful way more about Van Gogh's historical surroundings as well as his sources of inspiration. Six intriguing games make the app complete.

Rich educational application
‘Explore Vincent’ is an initiative of Van Gogh Brabant and was produced by Qlvr from Utrecht. The initiators offer a rich educational application with playful possibilities to the discerning user. The app can be downloaded from 17 October 2011 onwards from the Apple App Store, and is available in
both Dutch and English.


Free iOS App Today - Numberland - Learn numbers with Montessori

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/numberland-learn-numbers-montessori/id405020791?mt=8


Free iOS App Today - Mouse School (PreSchool)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mouse-school/id485211235?mt=8

FREE for a Day! 24 advanced preschool learning games with multi-child support, hours of endless unassisted play, performance tracking, game selection, reward stickers and more for iPad & iPhone.

Free iOS App Today - ChemCalc for iPad

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chemcalc/id499955745?mt=8

Description

Get the app Free for the Easter holiday (March 29th to April 9th)

This is a convenient chemistry tool for students and professionals to calculate molecular mass (molecular weight) of compounds and learn basic properties of chemical elements on iPad.

Main features:

1. Unique elements keyboard and digits keyboard are provided for user to input a chemical formula and then calculate its molecular mass.

2. User can also search an element and use it to build a chemical formula.

3. Tapping on the number of H2O to change its value for hydrate.

4. Long pressing on an element key, the app will display the basic properties of the element.

5. Provides English pronunciations of all elements' name.


Free iOS App Today - Magic Spell - 300 first words in phonics spelling game HD

http://itunes.apple.com/app/magic-spell-300-first-words/id492113375?mt=8


Free iOS Apps Today - Anatomy

FootDecide
http://itunes.apple.com/app/footdecide/id439338220?mt=8

HandDecide
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/handdecide/id439340414?mt=8

SpineDecide
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spinedecide/id388760815?mt=8

AgingSpine
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/agingspine-hd/id415715205?mt=8


ShoulderDecide
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shoulderdecide/id404298339?mt=8

KneeDecide
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kneedecide/id405607817?mt=8
  • KneeDecide is divided into three sections: Anatomy, Condition, and Find a Specialist. Using medical images and annotations which are specific to each knee condition, the app describes each condition, shows what it looks like, discusses symptoms and findings, and gives treatment recommendations based on best practices. KneeDecide also provides a directory of specialists based on the user's location.

Free iOS App Today - Discovr People


http://itunes.apple.com/app/discovr-people-discover-new/id506999703?mt=8

Description

★ Free for 24 hours, be quick!
★ Discover new people on Twitter with Discovr People.
★ Brand new app from the makers of Discovr Music, Discovr Apps & Discovr Movies.
★ Discovr is a Number 1 app in 50+ countries, with more than 2 million downloads of Discovr so far.

There are so many people on Twitter. How do you find interesting people to follow?

Discovr People makes it easy to explore the world of Twitter and discover new people that you'll like. It's an interactive map of everyone on Twitter. You can navigate through the entire Twitter ecosystem to discover new people and follow them easily.

* Explore the whole world of people on Twitter
* Check out their profile, tweets, connections, mentions, and more.
* Browse through Top Twitter lists, Featured lists, and your own lists
* Save people you discover to your own Twitter lists
* Share with your friends via Twitter, Facebook & Email

★ Retina ready for the new iPad.
★ Universal app. Made for iPhone & iPad.
★ Requires iOS 5 and a Twitter account on your iPhone or iPad

--
Discovr People lets you see how people are connected on Twitter. It makes it easy to find new people that are similar to the people you like or follow.

To get started just type in the name of a person or their @handle and we'll show you a map of similar people. People are connected based on their recent conversations on Twitter.

Click on a person you like and the map will grow to show other similar people. You can double click on a person to see more info about them, including their profile, tweets, connections, mentions and more.

* Single tap the map to see similar people.
* Double tap the map to see details about each person
* Tap & Hold the map for more options.

Discovr is brought to you by Filter Squad. We're a little startup from Australia. We also make Discovr Music, Discovr Apps, and Discovr Movies.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Edutopia - Free PDF - A Parent's Guide to 21st-Century Learning

http://www.edutopia.org/parent-21st-century-learning-resource-guide

Discover the tools and techniques today's teachers and classrooms are using to prepare students for tomorrow -- and how you can get involved.

What should collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking look like in a modern classroom? How can parents help educators accomplish their goals? We hope this guide helps bring more parents into the conversation about improving education.

Free site registration required to download the free guide...


Updated Rockets Guide Available Online

Few classroom topics generate as much excitement as rockets. The scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical foundations of rocketry provide exciting classroom opportunities for authentic hands-on, minds-on experimentation. The activities and lesson plans contained in this educator guide emphasize hands-on science, prediction, data collection and interpretation, teamwork, and problem solving. The guide also contains background information about the history of rockets and basic rocket science. The rocket activities in this guide support national curriculum standards for science, mathematics and technology.

The guide contains new and updated lessons and activities from the original Rockets Educator Guide.

http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Rockets.html

New Brochure Available Online: International Space Station Benefits for Humanity

The International Space Station enables researchers from all over the world to perform innovative experiments that could not be done anywhere else. This unique laboratory environment produces advancements in science and technology that benefit everyday life on Earth. Download this brochure to learn more about these innovations and share them with your students

The International Space Station Benefits for Humanity brochure is a collection of in-depth descriptions about benefits from research on the space station. The benefits outlined serve as examples of the space station’s potential as a groundbreaking scientific research facility.

This collection was developed collaboratively by the members of the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency.

To view the brochure, visit http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/ISS_Benefit_for_Humanity.html.

The Educational Materials section of NASA's website offers classroom activities, educator guides, posters and other types of resources that are available for use in the classroom. Materials are listed by type, grade level and subject. For more NASA-related education resources, visit http://search.nasa.gov/search/edFilterSearch.jsp?empty=true.

2012 Humans in Space Youth Art Competition

The international 2012 Humans in Space Youth Art Competition invites students ages 10-18 to express their ideas about the future of human space exploration through visual, literary, musical or digital art.

Artwork submissions will be judged on creativity, skill and demonstration of meaning relevant to expressing “How will humans use science and technology to explore space, and what mysteries will we uncover?”

Winning art will be showcased at displays and multimedia performances worldwide from 2013 to 2014, as well as in an online gallery. Submissions must be received by Oct. 21, 2012.

For additional information and a complete list of guidelines, visit www.humansinspaceart.org.

Inquiries about this opportunity should be directed to Jancy McPhee at jancy.c.mcphee@nasa.gov.

Free Lecture -- NASA's Legacy and Future: Personal Reflections of a Space Flyer -- Attend in Person or View Online

On June 27, 2012, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. will be the speaker for the 2012 John H. Glenn Lecture. Administrator Bolden will reflect on his career as a Marine aviator, a space shuttle pilot and commander and his leadership of America's space agency. His insights will provide a timely window into his own experiences and the future of space exploration.

The lecture begins at 8 p.m. at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Admission is free, but tickets are required. For those unable to attend in person, the lecture will be webcast live.

For more information, visit http://www.nasm.si.edu/events/eventDetail.cfm?eventID=3735.

Questions about this lecture should be directed to nasmpubliclectures@si.edu.

Free Lecture -- John Glenn: Earning the Right Stuff as a Decorated Marine Aviator and Navy Test Pilot -- Attend in Person or View Online

How did John Glenn get “the right stuff?” Before he was an astronaut, John Glenn earned six Distinguished Flying Crosses as a United States Marine Corps aviator in World War II and the Korean conflict, and also flew as a naval test pilot.

On May 24, 2012, National Air and Space Museum Director Jack Dailey will join Glenn for a discussion of his career-defining moments. The lecture begins at 8 p.m. at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Admission is free, but tickets are required and will be distributed via a drawing. For those unable to attend in person, the lecture will be webcast live.

For more information, visit http://www.airandspace.si.edu/events/eventDetail.cfm?eventID=3734.

Questions about this lecture should be directed to nasmpubliclectures@si.edu.

Educator Workshop: Greenhouse Gases and Their Roles on Earth

Greenhouse gases are both naturally occurring and man-made gases that trap heat in Earth's atmosphere and play a vital role in maintaining a habitable climate. However, human activity is quickly increasing the concentration of these gases on Earth and causing concern about the future of our planet.

On April 21, 2012, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, in Pasadena, Calif., will host an educator workshop that will examine the role of greenhouse gases in our complex global system, and explore the ways that media deliver science content and discusses climate change. The workshop is open to formal and informal educators teaching grades 6 through 12. Attendees will take part in a group discussion, science presentations and a hands-on activity/discussion on the media's portrayal of science and climate change. Teachers will receive a certificate for continuing education hours.

Registration for this workshop closes on April 17, 2012. A $30 registration fee includes continental breakfast, beverages, snacks, a box lunch and incidentals.

For more information, directions to the workshop location and to register online, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/index.cfm?page=318.

Please direct questions about this workshop to Mary K. Kuehn at Mary.K.Kuehn@jpl.nasa.gov.

Airborne Research Experiences for Educators and Students Academy

The NASA Airborne Research Experiences for Educators and Students, or AREES, program is recruiting science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, educators of students in grades 5-12 to participate in a two-week residential Academy in Palmdale, Calif. The Academy will be offered June 18-29, 2012. The dynamic training program provides research-based experiences for educators using NASA’s unique flight platforms. Participants will engage as science practitioners by becoming involved in a NASA earth science mission.

The workshop is designed to combine research-based opportunities for educators with NASA content-based curriculum and student-focused design challenges in a program that focuses on three education goals:

1.  Engage participants in NASA's unique, airborne research-based missions.
2.  Increase educators’ core scientific and research knowledge bases.
3.  Develop NASA's airborne research-based curriculum and student activities.

Experiences will include technical content instruction by scientists and engineers, hands-on learning of airborne data collection methods and operations, and a field site investigation to collect ground truth data from the Elkhorn Slough in Monterey Bay, Calif., for comparison to data collected from NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude airborne science aircraft. Further, participants may attend pedagogic workshops in problem-based learning, engineering design, inquiry-based instruction and integration of technology and data-focused curricula into the classroom. Experiences will be translated into classroom practice through the development of STEM action plans utilizing NASA thematic, curriculum modules based on the foundation that AREES provides and in context with on-going research.

Applications are due April 16, 2012.

For more information, visit http://www.aeroi.org. Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Shaun Smith at shaun.smith@nasa.gov.

The AREES program is sponsored by NASA's Teaching from Space project, NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and NASA’s Airborne Science Program, and administered through a partnership with the Aerospace, Education, Research and Operations Institute in Palmdale, Calif., the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research and CNL World in Nebraska.

Properties of Living Things: Searching for Life on Mars Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute Web seminar for educators on April 5, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Review criteria for determining if something is alive and learn how students can apply the criteria in a hands-on activity. A video will be shown that connects the activity to a NASA mission. Collaborate with other participants about ways of using and adapting the activity. Extension activities for students interested in the topic will be provided.

For more information and to register online, visit URL http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/NES2/webseminar7.aspx

To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit http://explorerschools.nasa.gov.

Email any questions about this opportunity to NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

Live Video Chat: One Giant Charge for a Robot

The NASA Explorer Schools, or NES, project presents a live video chat with NASA robotics engineer Sandeep Yayathi. Sandeep Yayathi works on Robonaut, a dexterous humanoid robot built and designed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. On April 4, 2012, Yayathi will answer student questions about his work with Robonaut, his career path and what the future holds for robotics. Robonaut 2, or R2, launched to the International Space Station on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission. It is the first dexterous humanoid robot in space and the first U.S.-built robot at the space station.

Yayathi is developing a new power system including a battery backpack to allow Robonaut 2 to move about freely without having to be plugged into the space station’s power grid. Eventually, the new power system will allow an upgraded version of the robot to work outside the station.

Submit questions during the chat through a chat window, or send them to NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

To learn more about NES, visit the explorerschools.nasa.gov website.

For more information and to view the video chat, visit http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/nes2/home/robonaut-chat.html.

If you have any questions about the video chat, contact NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

Electromagnetic Spectrum: Remote Sensing Ices on Mars Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute web seminar on April 3, 2012, at 8:15 p.m. EDT. Learn how to use authentic NASA mission data to investigate the composition and distribution of ices in the high latitude regions of Mars through analysis of visible light, infrared light and gamma rays. The seminar includes information about a unique student extension activity, where students access a free computer simulation illustrating how gamma rays are used to determine the chemical composition of Mars.

For more information and to register online, visit http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/NES2/webseminar1.aspx.

To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit http://explorerschools.nasa.gov.

Email any questions about this opportunity to NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

Virtual Professional Development: Exploring NASA

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, are the foundation for studying clouds and seasons. Explore clouds and alleviate the misconception of seasons. Learn how NASA researchers study the sun’s energy and how it effects Earth. Check out these virtual professional development sessions to help you tilt students toward STEM.

If you’re interested in receiving professional development activity units applicable toward license renewal, register and complete the two workshops in the series and the post activity to accumulate five workshop hours.

The session dates of this workshop series are April 2, 2012 and April 5, 2012.

Get registered to learn more https://digitalmedia.wufoo.com/forms/virginia-virtual-professional-development-form/.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Karen Ricks at Karen.Ricks@nasa.gov.

Pythagorean Theorem: Exploring Space Through Math -- Lunar Rover Web Seminar

NASA Explorer Schools and the Learning Environments and Research Network, or LE&RN, projects are hosting a 60-minute live professional development Web seminar for educators on April 2, 2012, at 8 p.m. EDT. Learn to use the distance formula and the Pythagorean theorem to determine the minimal path and minimal time for a lunar rover to perform tasks on the surface of the moon. Participants should have a basic knowledge of scale factor and application of the Pythagorean theorem. Having access to a calculator is helpful but not necessary for session.

For more information and to register online, visit https://digitalmedia.wufoo.com/forms/nes-webinar-registration-pythagorean-theorem/.

To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit http://explorerschools.nasa.gov.

Email any questions about this opportunity to NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

Free Education Webinar Series from the Aerospace Education Services Project

Aerospace Education Services Project is presenting a series of free webinars through June 2012. All webinars can be accessed online. Join aerospace education specialists to learn about activities, lesson plans, educator guides and resources to bring NASA into your classroom.

NASA Literature and Science (Grades K-5)
April 2, 2012, 4 - 5 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Lester Morales will share an array of NASA literature to enrich students’ vocabulary and scientific skills. During this session Morales will review The Air we Breathe, Echo the Bat and Amelia the Pigeon. Participants will practice the scientific method and remote sensing in both the city and in the wild.

Physics Resources for Secondary School (Grades 5-12)
April 2, 2012, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. EDT.
Aerospace education specialist John Weis will demonstrate simple activities and resources for teaching physics at middle- and high-school levels. Topics and resources covered will include Newton's Laws of Motion, energy, light and gravity. Lesson plans and modification strategies will be discussed.

Mass Versus Weight: A Heavy-Duty Concept (Grades 5-8)
April 3, 2012, 3 - 4:30 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Steve Culivan will discuss mass and weight and how these words that have a big difference in meaning often get used incorrectly by students. This workshop will explore these terms using inquiry activities and NASA resources, including a NASA video filmed on the International Space Station.

Physics Resources for Secondary School (Grades 5-12)
April 5, 2012, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist John Weis will demonstrate simple activities and resources for teaching physics at middle- and high-school levels. Topics and resources covered will include Newton's Laws of Motion, energy, light and gravity. Lesson plans and modification strategies will be discussed.

Color Spinners: Understanding Light and Color (Grades 4-8)
April 6, 2012, 6 - 7 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Christina Comer will explain light and color by constructing color spinners and observing the effects of rapid movement using colors. This webinar will be a fun introduction illustrating how different colors can be made and then changed.

NASA and Education Resource Access (Grades K-12)
April 11, 2012, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Sonya Williams will explain NASA's mission directorates and their purposes. Learn about K-12 educational materials created by each of the directorates and how educators can access these materials free of charge. Learn about citizen science opportunities, student design challenges and many other NASA resources that educators can incorporate into their classrooms.

Messenger's Mission to Mercury (Grades K-12)
April 16, 2012, 5 - 6 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Brandon Hargis will provide an overview of the Messenger mission to the planet Mercury and will share lessons and activities connected with the mission. Participants will learn where to find online resources to bring the excitement of exploring Mercury into the classroom. Attendees will learn about geological processes and create a labeled illustration of lava layering.

Start a Space Garden (Grades K-5)
April 18, 2012, 4 - 5 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Tom Estill will share how to start a school garden using seeds from NASA’s Seeds in Space project and the Canadian Space Agency’s Tomatosphere project. Over the past 10 years, Tomatosphere has evolved into a regular component of the curriculum for more than 13,700 classrooms in Canada and the United States. At the end of the workshop, a NASA space seeds surprise awaits you.

Animals in Space (Grades K-5)
April 18, 2012, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Wil Robertson will demonstrate how teachers can use stuffed animals as props in telling the story of the animals that preceded humans in space. The program is geared for teachers in K-5 with a special focus of aligning the topic with the Core Literacy Standards for elementary grades. Web resources will be provided.

NASA Literature and Science (Grades K-5)
April 25, 2012, 4 - 5 p.m. EDT
Aerospace education specialist Lester Morales will share an array of NASA literature to enrich students’ vocabulary and scientific skills. During this session Morales will review The Air we Breathe, Echo the Bat and Amelia the Pigeon. Participants will practice the scientific method and remote sensing in both the city and in the wild.

For more information about the webinars listed above, and to see a full list of webinars taking place through May 2012, visit http://neon.psu.edu/webinars/.

Questions about this series of webinars should be directed to Gwendolyn Wheatle at Gwendolyn.H.Wheatle@nasa.gov.

New Space Station Page for Educators and Students

NASA Education is launching a new Web page for students and educators about the International Space Station.

Teach Station is the platform for space-station-focused education resources, science and research information for students and teachers, crew updates, and up-to-the minute education news. Visit often and watch for opportunities to connect with the expedition crew members and other NASA education opportunities.

Take a moment to visit the page “A Teacher in Space” and meet Joe Acaba. Read about his experience as an astronaut and his transition from a classroom teacher to the astronaut corps. Acaba’s next assignment is flight engineer for Expedition 31. He will join the crew on the International Space Station in May 2012.

Visit the new Web page at www.nasa.gov/education/teachstation.

Download a Teach Station bookmark at http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Teach_Station_Bookmark.html.

Off the Clock: What More Time Can (and Can't) Do for School Turnarounds

http://www.educationsector.org/publications/clock-what-more-time-can-and-cant-do-school-turnarounds

Full PDF report at the link above...

If less time in the classroom is a cause of poor student performance, can adding more time be the cure? This strategy underlies a major effort to fix the nation's worst public schools. Billions of federal stimulus dollars are being spent to expand learning time on behalf of disadvantaged children. And extended learning time (ELT) is being proposed as a core strategy for school turnaround.

But the hard truth is that there is far more research showing the ill effects of unequal time than research showing that ELT policies can make up the difference. What does the research really say about the impact of ELT on student learning, and how is it being implemented in our nation's lowest-performing schools?

Off the Clock: What More Time Can (and Can't) Do for School Turnarounds takes a look at the facts—and the myths—about school calendars and schedules. Extended learning time is one of the key elements of the federal government's SIG program. More than 90 percent of the schools in the program have selected one of two options—"turnaround" and "transformation"—that mandate more time.
Education Sector reviewed data on how these schools are actually using "increased learning time" mandated by the federal government. The variations are wide—from adding minutes to the school day to providing after-school programs to shortening recess and lunch. Some approaches show clear potential, while others face considerable limits to implementation.

"New designs for extended time should be a part of the nation’s school improvement plans," Silva concludes. "But policymakers and school leaders must recognize that successful schools use time not just to extend hours and days but to creatively improve how and by whom instruction is delivered. In the end, the ELT movement is more likely to leave a legacy of school and student success if it becomes less about time and more about quality teaching and learning."

TED: Ayah Bdeir: Building blocks that blink, beep and teach

Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.  She has made the designs open-source and free for anyone to build their own.


50 Tips to Turn Gmail into a Productivity Machine

http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2012/03/28/50-tips-to-turn-gmail-into-a-productivity-machine/

Email is a necessity of modern life, but for many people, it’s also a major time suck, taking up hours each day and sometimes even getting completely out of control. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Gmail has emerged as an incredible tool for productivity, not just in email, but for communication, tasks, and more. Check out our collection of great tips for making Gmail your ultimate productivity tool for school, work, and beyond.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ClassConnect - Find, build, and share lessons

http://www.classconnect.com/


Learner Express: Modules for Teaching and Learning

Learner.org premieres a new feature later this month for teaching STEM and adopting Common Core mathematics standards. Learner Express is a curated group of short clips drawn from Annenberg Learner science and math series and workshops.  Look for an announcement and link to the resource at learner.org later this month.

Free iOS App (Soon Android, too) - Journey North (Science - Field Observations)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/journey-north/id509374372?mt=8

Seasonal change is all around us. Children see it in the length of a day, in the appearance of a flower, in the flight of a butterfly. Journey North is a long-established, highly respected, free Internet-based program that explores the interrelated aspects of seasonal change. Journey North engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles— and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events.

The Journey North app allows teachers and students to record and submit their observations while they are in the field!

The Journey North app also connects to the website (http://www.learner.org/jnorth/) where you will find migration maps, pictures, standards-based lesson plans, activities and information on to help students make local observations and fit them into a global context. Widely considered a best-practices model for education, Journey North is the nation's premiere "citizen science" project for children. The general public is welcome to participate.

Journey North is presented by Annenberg Learner, a division of the Annenberg Foundation.




Revisiting Cell Phones Bans in Schools

An interesting article in T | H | E Journal.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/03/28/revisiting-cell-phones-bans-in-schools.aspx?=THE21

Twenty-four percent of K-12 schools ban cell phones altogether, and 62 percent allow phones on school grounds but ban them in the classroom, according to the most recent national data available. But it's about time for those schools to rethink those bans, said Kevin M. Thomas, assistant professor of education at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, who spoke at the 67th ASCD Annual Conference & Exhibit in Philadelphia this weekend.

"We are at a crossroads," Thomas said to an overflow crowd at his Sunday afternoon session, "Using Cellphones in the Kindergarten Through Grade 12 Classroom." "We have to decide if we are going to continue to ban cell phones, and we have to weigh the balance between pros and cons."

Read the entire article...

Free iOS App - Socrative (Student Response Clicker App)

Robert Lacey, a UCET member from Orderville, Utah, says, "I was looking for a response clicker.  I tried "eClicker" that you recommend here, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped.  I found "Socrative."  It works the same way (host and student versions) and has a web-based editor for PC or laptop.  The best part is that it's totally free."

Thank you Robert!

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/student-clicker-socrative/id477618130?mt=8  (Student Clicker)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/teacher-clicker-socrative/id477620120?mt=8  (Teacher Clicker)

Socrative brings smart clickers, student response and ease of use to a whole new level. Be engaged for the entire class with educational exercises and games. See all your classmates’ ideas in real time and interact with the responses. Provide your instructor feedback on the lessons and how well you understand the material. Ask your own poll questions for the entire class or build a premade activity for your whole class. Have Fun!

--WORKS ON ANY DEVICE WITH A WEB BROWSER: Tablets, Smartphones & laptops (expect some types of blackberries)

MOST POPULAR ACTIVITIES:
✔ Short Answer Questions
✔ Space Race
✔ Exit Tickets
✔ Quick Quiz
✔ Multiple Choice

WHAT STUDENTS & TEACHERS ARE SAYING
"I wish we could use Socrative apps in all my classes." - Boston High School Junior

“Wait, you mean Space Races are Quizzes. I guess I love Quizzes!” - 10th grade student

"Once I saw the poll results that the rest of the class didn't understand the material, I felt more comfortable asking questions." - MIT Graduate Student

“Easiest and most user friendly site I have used, and it gives me so much feedback in an instant! The kids are very motivated. I am such a believer.” - 6th grade Math and ELA Teacher

"It was a blast. Socrative immediately engaged all the students in the class." - Univ. Michigan Professor

"It saves me 80 minutes per week in grading." - Boston High School Math Teacher

ABOUT US
We're a team of educators, entrepreneurs, and engineers passionate about improving education. We know you are too, and thank you for joining us. We believe in super simple tech tools to enhance classroom engagement, interaction, learning, and fun.


SUECON - The Southern Utah Education Conference

http://www.suecon.org/



Free Android App - Grapher (Graphing Calculator)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.opticron.grapher&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5vcHRpY3Jvbi5ncmFwaGVyIl0.


e-Clicker

The e-Clicker application consists of two parts - a host ($10)...

http://www.eclicker.com/

eClicker is a personal response system that allows teachers to poll their class during a lesson. It provides teachers with the real-time feedback they need to be sure their messages are being received.
 
...and the free app... 
 

Description

** To be used in conjunction with the app 'eClicker Host' **

Product Overview:
http://overview.eclicker.com

eClicker is a personal response system that allows teachers to poll their class during a lesson. It provides teachers with the real-time feedback they need to be sure their messages are being received. Developed for smartphones and laptops, eClicker leverages the hardware already in the hands of many students providing a low cost polling solution for the classroom. All you need to get started is the eClicker Host app running on an iOS device, a Wi-Fi network, and students with internet-enabled devices to participate.

Features
● Wi-Fi based classroom response system for up to 64 clients*
● Students can participate with any internet-enabled device
● Edit questions on your computer or iOS device
● Add images to questions or draw your own
● Share question sets with other teachers via Bluetooth
● Poll questions one-at-a-time or back-to-back
● Review historical polling data and email reports

* 32 clients on the iPhone or iPod touch

The eClicker system is made up of of two parts: the host and the client(s). Teachers use the host app to enter questions and begin the polling. Students participate in polls by entering the host’s address in a web browser using any internet-enabled device. Additionally, there is a free client app available for iOS devices that speeds up the process of connecting to a host over the Wi-Fi network.

Questions can be edited on a computer @ http://editor.eclicker.com by first creating an account within the eClicker Host app (check the ‘Settings’ screen). When done editing sync your account to download any changes.


edutecher - explore. share. contribute.

http://www.edutecher.com/

http://www.edutecher.com/app/

eduTecher was founded in late 2007 as a way to keep track of the growing number of web tools that could be used in the classroom setting. The website’s mission is to help educators and schools around the world effectively integrate technology and web tools into the classroom. eduTecher currently provides links to thousands of web tools and provides concise information on how these tools may be useful in the classroom setting. We don’t charge any subscription fees, nor do we litter our pages with annoying ads. We also offer educators an easy way to connect with one another, share their favorite links, and form a PLN (Personal Learning Network).

Besides the wealth of links to Web Tools, users can also find self-produced webisodes of eduTecherTV with walkthroughs and demonstrations on how to use specific Web Tools for educational purposes. Users can create a free account and get access to wealth of features that make exploring and sharing sites on eduTecher fast and simple.

eduTecher, like technology in general, has been a work in progress, changing and evolving to best meet the needs of its users. We are always open to feedback and advice. Please share this site with your colleagues and students. You can also download the free eduTecher iPhone application or Android Application and have access to all the great resources right in the palm of your hand. Help support our site by contributing your own favorite links, commenting on the Web Tools, or by making a small donation.

Android for Academics

http://androidforacademics.com/

From the Apps page of their website...


"We currently have 5 free apps that will make your life as a teacher easier: Gradebook, Attendance, Grade Rubric, Grade Ticker, and Grade Chart.

You can read more about each app below. If you’re browsing from your Android device, click on any of the direct market links for the apps to start downloading the app.

Grade Book for Professors (with Google Docs Sync)

Edit your grade book directly from your phone!
  • No need to sync two separate grade books! Use one primary grade that is stored in the cloud on Google Spreadsheets.
  • Email a student their grades with the click of a button!
  • Pin-number to protect your grade books in case your phone is lost.
  • NEW: Email ALL students grade report with one click
  • NEW: Grade session feature and Assignment View allows for quick and easy grading of a single assignment.
  • Direct Market Linknote this link only works when browsing from an Android Phone
  • NEW FREE VERSION – does everything paid version does – it’s just ad supported
___________________________________________________

Attendance (with Google Docs Sync)

A simple and efficient way to take attendance with your Android device! All attendance results are saved to a Google Spreadsheet.
  • No need to enter student names into phone. Just get the student names into a Google Spreadsheet and the app handles the rest.
  • NEWCheck out our demo video
  • Direct Market Linknote this link only works when browsing from an Android Phone
___________________________________________________

Grade Ticker

Simple tool to help professors and teachers make grade tallying more efficient
  • Integrates with Gradebook for Professors for easy grade entry
  • Direct Market Linknote this link only works when browsing from an Android Phone
___________________________________________________

Grade Rubric

Simple tool grading tool for professors and teachers who use a grading rubric for assignments. Option to auto-generate an email with detailed grade report for student.
  • Custom rubric labels.
  • Choose letter rubrics and numbers rubrics
  • Integrates with Gradebook for Professors for easy grade entry
  • Direct Market Linknote this link only works when browsing from an Android Phone
___________________________________________________

Grade Chart

Grade Chart is a simple grading tool for teachers and professors. Enter in the number of questions for the assignment you’re grading, and this will generate a quick reference chart to help you determine the grade percentage and letter grade for all possible numbers of missed questions.
  • Generates a quick and easy to use reference chart
  • Track grades and you reference the chart and generate a graph of student performance
  • Save and share graph with students
  • Direct Market Linknote this link only works when browsing from an Android Phone
___________________________________________________


We develop and support our own suite of apps, but there are many apps out there that we love, think are great for academics, and would like to recommend to you. Eventually, we’ll be porting from the list that Andrew Cullison maintains here. Until that time, you can check out the original post."

Screencast-O-Matic - Free online screen recorder for instant screen capture video sharing

http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/


Did you know you could search Google with an image?

Free iOS Apps Today - Learn Spanish/French for Kids

Learn Spanish for Kids - Ottercall
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id490047718?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6

Learn French for Kids - Ottercall
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learn-french-for-kids-ottercall/id506591828?mt=8

Free iOS App Today - Count-A-Licious

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id507087245?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6


Free iOS App Today - Auracle HD – Miko "Where is Mimiki"

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id500282013?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6


Monday, March 26, 2012

STEM Teachers [Infographic]

http://teach.com/why/the-demand-for-great-teachers/stem-teachers-infographic

Thanks to Sarah Fudin, University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education!


Education Research and Special Education Research Grant Programs - $2M for educational researchers

$2M for educational researchers

Education Research and Special Education Research Grant Programs

This grant will provide parents, educators, students, researchers, policymakers, and the general public with reliable and valid information about education practices that support learning and improve academic achievement and access to educational opportunities.
Contact Information

ESA Foundation Education Challenge Grant - Up to $40K for educational gaming

Up to $40K for educational gaming

ESA Foundation Education Challenge Grant

Three grants will be awarded to K-12 schools that best demonstrate the ability to innovatively incorporate computer and video games into their curriculum.
Contact Information

Free iOS App Today - Preschool ABC Puzzles (iPad Edition)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/preschool-abc-puzzles-ipad/id486219609?mt=8


Free iOS App Today - Super Teddy for Kids 2

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/super-teddy-for-kids-2/id483972129?mt=8

Description

Super Teddy for Kids is composed of six applications, focused on developing children's spoken English skills and language proficiency. To achieve this Hongen has brought Chinese and foreign early childhood education experts together in an effort to build an intuitive and comprehensive set of children English teaching materials that are fun to use.

Super Teddy for Kids not only fully utilizes the concept of multiple intelligence education, and focuses on the children's emotions by encouraging all the way, but also pays attention to teaching children good habits and characteristics, teaching everything from English to manners and good practices.

Subject description:
Warm Up - With TPR pictures. It can help and guide children in learning through visual actions whilst capturing their interest.

Learn – Uses big pictures which the children can explore to teach words and sentences while in turn developing the children’s unlimited imagination.

Story – Fun and interesting story in the form of multi-frame comics, and the specially designed content conforms to children's unique way of memorizing, so that children can remember content quickly and easily.

Do Re Mi – The songs accompanied by interesting pictures have a strong rhythm and are easy to sing. Helping children remember the English language through tone and rhythm as well as the sound.

Review - Four units content in one picture, to review the key knowledge points.

Series description:
Hong En’s Children English series courses are a result of over ten years of research and commitment by the Hong En children’s education team. The Teddy Bear series of courses goes through Teddy's growth process, from "baby" to "little adults", with content progressing from easy to difficult which means that your children grow up with Teddy while learning English from scratch through stories, songs and games. Designed for all ages.

Mini Teddy series (Zero-based) –coming soon
Diapers baby version, the characters of a similar age with simple words and sentences and with topics ranging from living habits, to emotions all incorporated into English stories. Babies not only can listen to the stories and songs, but also can click the screen to play games.

Hello Teddy series (Fundamentals) - has been added to our collection.
The series is based on Teddy Bear’s growth process and different life scenarios developing a series of "theme stories". Learning words, sentences, letters, and phonics. The wonderful songs, very interesting cartoons, vivid drawings and rich fun sound effects create an environment children will love whilst learning English at an early age!

Super Teddy (Advanced chapter) - has been added to our collection.
Based on English-thinking educational philosophy, this series is based around the story, vocabulary, sentences and songs, incorporating these into four themes for teaching, to develop children's spoken English skills and language proficiency. This is a set of international English textbooks for all children whose first language is not English.

Magic Teddy (Intermediate) – coming soon
The magic of humorous English stories can lead the children to learn words, sentences and songs in a very funny and enjoyable way. The very special interactive games add more interest in the learning process and improve the children's level of reading comprehension. It also contains a wealth of interesting natural science knowledge and hands-on science experiments. Learning English integrated closely with scientific knowledge encourages children to read on and find out more.


XTimeLine - Explore and Create Your Own Timelines

http://www.xtimeline.com/index.aspx

xtimeline is a free web-based timeline. Easily create and share timelines with pictures and videos.

Error Goblin - Look up any error codes to find out what they actually mean.

http://www.errorgoblin.com/

HTML Codes - Characters and symbols

http://www.ascii.cl/htmlcodes.htm

Also on this site...

 
 

Remind me again why music shouldn't be in public school?

The arts are critical to a well-rounded education, to the development of our brains, our creativity, and so much more! I enjoyed watching these students sing!  Just look at the joy in their faces.

Free iOS App Today - Word Stack

http://itunes.apple.com/app/id506714876?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2

Challenge your brain and have some fun with our new word association stacking game. Be careful, it's addicting!

Laugh... Giggle.
Smile... Frown.
Key... Board.
King... Queen.

Stack and match words that are associated to each other!

Words can be synonyms.
Words can be antonyms.
Words can be compound words.
Words just have to be related!

Warning! Caveat! As stacks get harder, a word can be matched to multiple different words, so you'll have to get the right combination to complete the stack correctly.

Word Stack comes with 200 playable stacks, GameCenter, and NO ADS!

We'll be adding more stacks very soon too!



Free iOS App Today - Gyroscope Toolbox HD for iPad

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id434113641?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6

Use the full power of your new iPad 2 Gyroscope!

Includes:
- Gyroscope powered Surface Level.
- Full featured ruler and hole measurement.
- A Gyroscope powered plumb bob tool (Hang paintings perfectly straight!)

The best part! No manual calibration needed! It always automatically adjusts to gravity (Due to that cool Gyroscope in your new iPad 2!) Also, because it uses the new iOS 4 sensor fusion code, which uses not only the Gyroscope but other sensors, it needs no sensitivity adjustments like some of the older apps did! At over 200 times per second, it aligns to gravity, making it incredibly accurate.

A Level app that does not need a hardware store level (or certified level surface) to level itself!

Free iOS App Today - Spell + Friends

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id387159788?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6

★ Spell + Friends provides the entire Consolidated Word List (CWL) at your fingertips! ★

It is the one app for school bees, regional bees, and for anyone aspiring to the highest ranks of the National Spelling Bee.

Now, all the spelling guides required are covered using just one app – Spell + Friends!

★ Some salient features ★

- Over 2,000 words in 3 categories!
- Pronunciations, definitions, and etymology!
- Alphabetic or difficulty sequence (Shake to sort a word list).

If you are skeptical about studying with anything other than the dictionary, we recommend that you use our Spelling + Friends App to start improving your word bank for this year’s National Spelling Bee!

The Spell + Friends app provides definitions and their correct pronunciation. Word pronunciations using the recorded audio files which are embedded in our app, deliver the words the way they should sound -- so you do not have to rely on the dictionary or search for each word on the internet.

With Spell + Friends, a solid word foundation is at your fingertips with just a tap on a card!

★ Why is this better than any other learning method? ★

Try our Spelling Bee Learning Flashcards! They better any other traditional workbook and dictionary study methods by providing a constant mobile companion, spelling guide and kit, which tracks your progress word by word.

Words can be marked out as favorite and incorrectly spelled words will be tagged for future improvement and practice.

★ What does this app contain, how will it help me? ★

Our word lists are constantly updated and are comprehensive and suitable for most spelling bees, including National Spelling Bee, North South Foundation Spelling Competition, UIL Spelling Competition, and various school bees, county bees, regional bees, state bees, and hometown spelling competitions.

The Spell + Friends word list includes challenging words from Paideia, the Consolidated Word List (CWL), and regional and national bees since the 1970s, while the bulk of the more difficult words includes Scripps' Consolidated Word List (CWL) with all the words with pronunciations, definitions, and etymology!

Free iOS App Today - Auracle HD - Miko "Moves Out"

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id500288990?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mars Exploration Program Website

http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/


PC Mag - The Top 100 Free Apps for Your Phone 2011


From a November 2011 PCMag post...


No matter which smartphone you own or are choosing to buy, the apps that are available for it can have an enormous influence on whether you're ultimately happy with your phone.

For every app store across every phone and mobile operating system, there are plenty of excellent apps that we recommend people download. And among that superb selection, there's always a remarkable sub-selection of apps that are totally free.

Our list of the top 100 free apps for your phone covers four of the most popular operating systems: Apple's iOS (iPhone), Google's Android, Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7. While the iPhone has the lion's share of the market, with more apps in its app store than any other competitor, phones running Google's Android are catching up fast.

BlackBerry doesn't make up quite as large a percentage of the mobile market as it used to, but anyone still loyal to the once-business-focused suite of phones and operating system will testify that some great, free apps are still being supported (although you may have to visit several different marketplaces, from the official BlackBerry App World to indie store GetJar, or even the developer's own website before finding them). Windows Phone 7—an impressive successor to the rather awful Windows Mobile platform—is estimated to have around 25,000 apps, which sounds like a big number, though it’s a scant five percent of the more than 500,000 apps in Apple's App Store.
In the future, we hope to see smoother development porting processes that make it easier for app developers to turn out multiple versions of one app so it can run on more platforms. Will it ever happen, or do fragmented markets and operating systems keep competition fierce?

For consumers, sometimes competition is a good thing. It's surely what's keeping some of these 100 excellent mobile apps for your phone free.

The 40 Best Free Android Apps for 2011
Smartphone owners who fancy Google's mobile operating don't have to shell out any cash for excellent apps.

The 40 Best Free iPhone Apps
Plenty of iPhone apps don't cost a dime. Here are 40 of our favorites.

The Top 10 Free BlackBerry Apps 2011
Make your BlackBerry smartphone even sweeter with these excellent free apps.

The Top 10 Best Free Windows Phone 7 Apps for 2011
Check out these fresh Windows Phone 7 apps that won't break the bank.

The Best Free Software of 2012

Excerpts from a PCMag article by Eric Griffith...
  • It's the fifth year of PCMag's look at the best stuff you don't have to pay for, and it's our biggest list of great free software yet.

ANTI-MALWARE

AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012
http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage
Windows

  • PCMag's security expert, Neil Rubenking, gave a better score to this freebie than its commercial counterpart, awarding it our Editors' Choice. It's great at both blocking and removing malware. 

APP LAUNCHERS

PortableApps.com Suite & Platform
http://portableapps.com/
Windows | Portable

  • The long-running platform for your favorite freeware sans installation continues to get regular updates—and more apps to run. In fact, most of them you'll find in this story. It's the best way to make every Windows PC you encounter feel like home. 

ARCHIVERS

IZArc
http://www.izarc.org/
Windows | Portable

  • The drag-and-drop interface of IZArc will get you started quickly packing and unpacking files in more than 45 formats, even peeking inside of disk image files to extract files as needed.

AUDIO

Audacity
http://audacity.sourceforge.net
Windows | Mac | Linux | Portable

  • The grand poobah of open-source audio editing, Audacity can record and edit audio files on more tracks than you can imagine. It then outputs exactly what you need, even to MP3 if you use a plug-in. It is perfect for noobs and pros alike, on any OS.

BACKUP/SYNC

Dropbox
http://www.dropbox.com
Windows | Mac | Linux | Web | Mobile

  • Dropbox provides the brain-dead simplicity to backup/sync we all crave. Put all your files in the Dropbox folder, and all files are synced to the Web and all other computers with the same account, plus they can be accessed on almost all mobile devices. 

BITTORRENT

Vuze
http://www.vuze.com/
Windows | Mac

  • Vuze is an almost-perfect combination of BitTorrent searcher, downloader, RSS reader (for grabbing torrents), remote access over the Web, and a media server (see Media Servers category), with automatic transcoding to watch or listen to whatever you want on any device on your network. All that equals an Editors' Choice.

BLOGGING/JOURNALING

ScribeFire
http://www.scribefire.com/
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • ScribeFire isn't standalone software, but we'll let it slide because this browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera is so good. It gives you a full WYSIWYG blog editor in a tab for just about any blogging platform. 

BROWSERS

Google Chrome
http://www.google.com/chrome/
Windows | Mac | Linux | Portable

  • What's not to like about Google Chrome? The latest version is the fastest browser out there, and it also features great security, extensions and Web apps, tab implementation and isolation, great HTML5 support, and even built-in support for PDFs and Flash (because they're still important). No wonder it's still our Editors' Choice for browsers.

CALENDAR/PIM

Desktop iCalendar Lite
http://www.desksware.com/desktop-icalendar-lite.htm

  • This calendar's placement—square on your desktop, in a gorgeous display—means you'll be less likely to miss an appointment. Plus, it works with existing calendars like those in Apple iCal, Thunderbird, and even Google Calendar. 

CLIPBOARD

Click.to
http://www.clicktoapp.com/
Windows | Mac

  • You used to have to click something, copy it, and then paste it. Click.to promises to eliminate clicks by instantly sending what you copy to your pre-defined apps or websites when you press Ctrl+C. 

COMMUNICATIONS/ CONFERENCING

Skype
http://www.skype.com
Windows | Mac | Linux | Mobile | Portable

  • Pricing for Skype can be complicated, but this one isn't: free Skype-to-Skype user calls (plus instant messaging and screen sharing). Now the service supports HD video and has full integration with Facebook.

DISK UTILITIES

Disk Space Fan
http://www.diskspacefan.com
Windows

  • Looking at directories doesn't tell you everything, but a beautiful pie graph can help. Disk Space Fan's free version will diagram your drive and let you drill down to what's stored. 

DISPLAYS/DESKTOPS

Rainmeter
http://rainmeter.net
Windows

  • Rainmeter lets you create custom skins for your desktop. When you combine all the widgets it supports with personalized wallpaper, you can make an artistic statement about your computing. 

EBOOKS

ComicRack
http://comicrack.cyolito.com/
Windows

  • A Windows-only digital comic reader, ComicRack will read scanned images stored in ZIP, RAR, and 7z archives, keep comics in collections you can access over the home network on other PCs, and even export them to read on other devices. 

E-MAIL/ COLLABORATION

Zimbra Desktop
http://www.zimbra.com/products/desktop.html
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • Zimbra Desktop makes it easy to get offline access to your online accounts from Zimbra, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, even Facebook, be it emails, calendar events, contacts, or stored documents. 

FILE TRANSFER

TeraCopy
http://codesector.com/teracopy
Windows

  • The default progress bar Windows provides when copying files isn't enough for a power user. TeraCopy gives you a better look at progress, and it promises to speed up transfers over a network, skipping bad files and resuming after you pause a transfer in progress. It's even ready for Windows 8. 

FILE VIEWERS/CONVERTERS

Better Explorer
http://bexplorer.codeplex.com/

  • One thing sorely missing from Windows Explorer is a decent interface like, for example, the Ribbon found in Microsoft Office apps. Well, Better Explorer is a shell that throws in the Ribbon for a much improved experience. It's for Windows 7 only. 

FINANCE

HomeBank
http://homebank.free.fr/
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • Another Quicken wannabe without the extras, like bill payment or access to bank accounts, HomeBank makes an excellent ledger and accounting notebook for tracking your personal transactions. 

FUN/HOME

Stellarium
http://www.stellarium.org/
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • Imagine having access to the software used by planetariums? Enter open-source Stellarium, which has a catalog of 600,000 stars. You can get access to more catalogs and discover up to 210 million stars. Zoom in on the twinkling stars all you want. 

GRAPHICS

Paint.NET
http://www.getpaint.net
Windows

  • This Windows-only application requires the .NET framework to run, but this freebie is worth installing for any minor (and some major) picture manipulation. It's fast, easy to use, and comprehensive—if you don't need full Photoshop capabilities. 

INSTANT MESSAGING

Facebook Messenger for Windows
https://www.facebook.com/about/messenger
Windows | Mobile

  • Wish you could talk to your Facebook friends all the time, even when you're not on Facebook? This new software puts the chat and ticker right on the desktop. It's for Windows 7 and smartphone users only at the moment. 

MEDIA MANAGERS

Apple iTunes
http://www.apple.com/itunes/
Windows | Mac

  • Apple's iTunes remains our Editors' Choice for a combination of media management, sharing, and shopping. You can't beat the store Apple has built, and it's a requirement if you're one of the millions with an iPhone, iPad or iPod.

MEDIA SERVERS

Plex
http://www.plexapp.com/
Windows | Mac | Mobile

  • Plex covers the gamut of systems. Load the media center on a PC and stream video, audio, and photos to your Plex-enabled mobile devices, game consoles, and more. It features 150 channels of content to share.

MINDMAPS

XMind
http://www.xmind.net/
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • Multi-lingual, open-source XMind is the best-looking free mindmapper. It also stresses sharing maps and using them for collaboration with others. 

NETWORKING

SpiceWorks
http://www.spiceworks.com
Windows | Mobile

  • SpiceWorks costs you nothing (though you'll have to put up with some on-screen ads), and grants access to networking experts and the ability to audit, map, and manage all of your network devices, no matter your skill level. It even creates a helpdesk for you.

OFFICE

IBM Lotus Symphony
http://www-03.ibm.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.nsf/home
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • Based on the 20 years of work that has gone into OpenOffice.org, Lotus Symphony is PCMag's Editors' Choice for free office suites, even over the excellent LibreOffice (below). Symphony's been designed by IBM to be smooth and reliable for beginners and office workers, no matter what operating system they use. It only has three tools: word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. 

OPERATING SYSTEMS

Ubuntu
http://www.ubuntu.com

  • Run it beside Windows, by itself, or as a portable OS from a USB stick or CD. Whichever you choose, the latest version of Ubuntu has a handful of updates, including better visuals and hardware acceleration, and, as of version 11.04, there's just one edition for desktops, laptops, and netbooks using the Unity interface. 

PDFs

Nitro PDF Reader
http://www.nitroreader.com
Windows

  • Nitro is a PDF Reader, as well as a creator, converting up to 300 different formats to PDF via drag-and-drop or as a print driver. The latest version also integrates with Web browsers and will import your signature to sign documents electronically. 

PRINTING

iPrint
http://www.clicktoconvert.com/iprint/
Windows

  • iPrint claims to save you as much as 60 percent in printing costs by putting multiple pages on a single sheet of paper and by not printing blank pages. You'll be happy to save a few trees, but iPrint also tracks its work so you can measure your savings in ink and paper. 

REMOTE ACCESS

TeamViewer
http://www.teamviewer.com/index.aspx
Windows | Mac | Mobile | Portable | Mobile

  • Still our Editors' Choice for remote control, TeamViewer 7 offers a brain-dead simple setup and a remarkably fast screen redraw when controlling another desktop, whether from a PC or Android and iOS devices. For free, you get access to a single system, which is perfect for providing tech support to family and friends. 

RSS NEWSREADER

RSS Bandit
http://rssbandit.org/download/rss-b
Windows

  • RSS Bandit syncs with your Google Reader or NewsGator account for tracking feeds, and it also serves as your gateway to podcasts. It even receives NNTP news articles from Usenet.

SEARCH

Copernic Desktop Search Home
http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/index.html
Windows | Mobile

  • Need to do an in-depth search of your hard drive's contents? Now that Google is out of the desktop search game, Copernic is the master, combing through the contents of files, attachments to emails, metadata/tags on files, and inside archives. 

SECURITY/ENCRYPTION

LastPass
http://lastpass.com
Windows | Mac | Linux | Mobile

  • One of the few pieces of perfect software tested by PCMag— we gave it a rating of five—LastPass manages passwords across all your computers and phones and browsers. It auto-fills forms, performs auto-logins, and secures your data, and it’s all ruled by one master password. 

SOCIAL NETWORKS

TweetDeck
http://www.tweetdeck.com
Windows | Mac | Web | Mobile

  • TweetDeck is now owned by Twitter and has undergone some changes. It dropped support for some services (LinkedIn, MySpace, and Foursquare, for example) while also getting native apps for Windows, Mac, and a special Web version to run in Google Chrome. It still has a great interface for accessing Twitter and Facebook. 

SYSTEM UTILITIES

Soluto
www.soluto.com
Windows

  • Soluto's goal is to eliminate your computer frustration and mainly that means making your PC boot faster and perform better. It does this by tracking what programs launch at start and using crowd-sourced info to tell you which you can delay or delete. It'll also suggest when you need to fix hardware, how to speed up browsers, and points out what caused crashes. 

UNINSTALLERS

PC Decrapifier
http://www.pcdecrapifier.com
Windows

  • Crapware is the software you find on a brand new computer. If you want to clean up that system without reinstalling Windows, try PC Decrapifier to get it as close as possible to pristine. 

VIDEO

VLC media player
http://www.videolan.org
Windows | Mac | Linux | Portable | Mobile

  • Some video players need codecs installed to playback all your video files. VLC doesn't; it'll play just about every file type imagined, plus DVDs and streaming media. The new version 2.0 is out with major updates, including experimental Blu-ray support.

VIRTUALIZATION

VirtualBox
http://www.virtualbox.org
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • Perhaps it's not as reliable as its commercial competition, but VirtualBox is still a great way to play with an operating system, like Windows, even when you're running a different OS, like Mac OS X, or a different version of Windows.

VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORKS (VPN)

LogMeIn Hamachi
https://secure.logmein.com/US/products/hamachi/
Windows

  • Up to 16 systems can log into Hamachi's hosted VPN to share access to each other or a secure server. It's perfect for a small business that needs some privacy.

WEB EDITORS

BlueGriffon
http://bluegriffon.org/
Windows | Mac | Linux

  • We liked the old Nvu software for editing webpages, but it's dead. In its place, from the same developers, comes BlueGriffon, an open-source, multi-lingual, multi-OS WYSIWYG HTML editor based on the Mozilla Gecko engine.