Have Your Science Questions Answered!

We all have misconceptions about how the physical and natural world works.

And there can be science questions that students don’t feel comfortable asking in class or would like to ask outside of class.  Such as “Do tree’s breathe?”, “ What is the difference between strength and hardness?”, “Where do puddles go to?”, “Why doesn’t a twig conduct electricity?”

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Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Science site where younger students could get help with their questions?

The good news is there is a site, The Science Master, and it’s been set up on Edublogs to provide a safe learning environment for students.

About the Science Master

The Science Master has been designed for children/pupils to ask questions that they might feel that they cannot ask in a class environment. To some of us asking questions in a public forum can be quite a daunting experience.

IScientist s it safe? It’s an Edublogs site. The children/pupils are not asked for an email address, or their real name. They are just asked for a name and some idea of their age. They find their answer by following the website as answers will be linked to the information supplied. The site will obviously only offer answers to real questions (all questions are checked before publication).

However these questions to the Science Master will not, in most cases, get a direct answer. The Science Master and his friends will try to give the questioner(s) a pathway that will help them investigate the question at their own level of understanding and arrive at possible solutions. They are the scientists.

Using the Science Master

Students ask their questions here, check all Answers here and have an option to Ask another question or leave a comment on responses to questions.

Simple ask a question form

They can comment on their own investigations and other readers can add their comments (including the Science Master). This is the blogging environment.

Here’s the answer to a question asked by a student!

Example of an Answer

Final Thoughts from the Science Master

“I have been using Edublogs in a variety of ways for the last 10 years so when I was invited to develop the Aston Tower, Science Master site Edublogs became my first choice as a tool to build what then, and still is, a fairly unique site.

The kids loved it, criticized it, and helped develop it, as well as apparently enjoying it!

I hope you do the same!”

Edublogs Weekly Review: Move over Google Reader, Facebook is my news reader of choice

Right up there with running more and eating healthier, keeping up with the blogs I like to follow has been my easy way out of New Year’s resolutions the past few years.

How many of you out there have also spent a good amount of time setting up your Google Reader only to let the new articles pile up so much that you give up on reading them all?

As an alternative, I’ve recently moved over to Facebook, a site I probably visit too often as it is, as my “feed reader” of choice.

If you haven’t done the same already, or if you are looking for better ways to keep up with the news and blogs that interest you, hopefully the quick overview below will help you out.

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First, there are some drawbacks to the Facebook only method. There are many blogs, especially some of the newer or individual educator blogs, out there that don’t yet have their own Facebook page or RSS feed in their profile. These blogs can’t (as far as I can tell) be brought into your Facebook news feed.

And if you are one of those bloggers who isn’t yet importing your feed to Facebook, this recent article by italkless.com has a good overview on how it can be done.

So how do you turn Facebook into an excellent news reader?

Start off by making sure you “like” or “friend” all of your favorite bloggers, news sources, and websites. You will now find their articles and latest posts right in your live news feed in Facebook!

While that is all you really have to do, you might want to create a new Facebook list and take advantage of the new live feed filtering options in Facebook.

You will see in the image below that I have created a facebook list that includes all of my favorite news sources. This makes it easy to catch up on the latest posts when I don’t feel like seeing the status updates of all my friends at the same time.

Create your list and then click on the down arrow in the upper right corner of your facebook homepage or news feed to filter.

News FeedYou might notice that I have a “limited profile” list too. That is where I keep all of my former students and I greatly limit what they can and can’t see on my profile – but that is for a whole different post. :)

Here are a few more more posts and tips about feed readers and RSS you might find useful:

This week in the Edublog world

Want to share a post, ask others to visit a blog for comments, or show off cool student work?

Use the hashtag #ebshare to let us know so we can re-tweet it for you!

Recent Posts You Might Have Missed

Summing it up

What do you think about using Facebook as a feed reader?

Do you like mixing your personal/social life on facebook with work or news?

Top widgets for the sidebar of your class or student blog

Did you know that the fastest and easiest way to add new features to your blog is by embedding widgets into the sidebar of your blog?

To help you out, here is a list of the most popular and most useful widgets that can be added to your blog in no time.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more instructions on how to add widgets to your blog. Don’t forget, these widgets can also be embedded using the HTML tab in any page or post as well!

Visitor Statistics

  1. clustrClustrMaps – The most popular widget on Edublogs.  Displays a small map with “dots” for each of your visitors.
  2. Flag Counter – Lists the most common countries that your visitors are from and shows the flag from each country.
  3. Who’s Among Us – With an account, includes some nice stat collection tools.
  4. My Web Counter – Simple and free visitor counters with many custom looks and designs.

voki

Talking Avatars

  1. Voki – Add a speaking and highly customizable avatar to your blog.  Record you voice, create a character, and much more!
  2. Read The Words – Human avatars that will read text or recorded audio right in your blog.
  3. Site Pal – A paid widget that can make scarily realistic avatars using uploaded photos of you or students.

Miscellaneous

  1. Clock Link – 100’s of different and unique clocks of all types.
  2. AccuWeather – The most complete collection of weather widgets to show current conditions and forecasts.
  3. Box.net – Create a file dropbox or upload widget for students to submit files for your review.
  4. Feed Wind – Display the latest posts from another blog anywhere on the web.
  5. Sweet Search – Place a search box for a trusted and safe for students search engine.

googapps

Google Apps

*These widgets also will all work with Google Apps for Education users too!

  1. Google Calendar – Embed a list of upcoming events or a month view of a public Google calendar.
  2. Google Talk Chatback – Put a badge in your sidebar that lets users chat with you live when you are online. Your blog’s visitors don’t even need a gtalk account to chat with you.
  3. Google Maps – Embed a Google map – complete with directions, street views, and more.
  4. Google Gadgets – Choose from hundreds of different widgets, including games, trivia and more.

Multimedia

  1. schooltubeFlickr Slideshow and Badges – Easily add photos from your flickr account to your sidebar.
  2. Facebook Photo Gallery – Show off your public facebook photo galleries right on your blog.
  3. SchoolTube MVP – Share popular videos from SchoolTube.com with easy sidebar access.
  4. YouTube – Place in YouTube channels or top trending videos.
  5. Mixpod – Create a music play list and share it on your blog.
  6. RadioTuna – Pick a genre and play music for your visitors.

wordofday

Languages

  1. Google Translate – Instantly translate your blog into many different languages.
  2. Transparent.com Word of the Day – Audio and visual word of the day. Customizable in many of the world’s languages such as Spanish, French, German, Chinese and many more.
  3. Reverso Translation – Translorts, verb conjugators, and more in many different languages.

Reading

  1. Shelfari – Show off your favorite books for others to see.
  2. Education Atlas – Free thesaurus and dictionary widget with many features.
  3. SitePal Widgetbox – Mentioned above, but this widget will allow readers to type in or copy and paste words to be read out loud.

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Science & Math

  1. Science Score – A science question of the day. Students can even enter to win prizes.
  2. Wolfram AlphaQuite possibly the best resource on this list – Wolfram Alpha contains hundreds of customizable math and science widgets, including unit converters, weather tools, graphing calculators, problem solvers, and much more. This might be the only resource math and science students and teachers need for their blogs!

History

  1. Info Please – Nice looking “this day in history” widget that displays multiple events and updates every day.
  2. Timeline Index – 30 different timelines showcasing several different periods of history – including US presidents, world history outline, philosophers, and explorers.

Widget Sites & Collections

  1. widgetboxWidgetBox.comThe definite go-to place to find and build your own widgets. Edublogs uses several widgets from here on our main site!
  2. SpringWidgets.comAnother great source for widgets from many of your favorite sites on the web. User reviews and comments help you find the perfect widget for your blog.
  3. Widgipedia.comLike the two sites above, wigipedia is a huge and growing collections of widgets of all types and sizes.

How To Embed

1. Choose the widget of your choice and copy the html code for it.

2.  Go to Appearance > Widgets in your blog dashboard

Appearance > Widgets menu item

3.  Click on the desired Sidebar to expand (so you can add the widgets)

4.  Add a text widget to the desired sidebar by dragging it from the Available Widgets into the Sidebar area on the right.

5.  The widget will automatically open — just add the HTML code for your widget, click Save and then Close.

Adding HTML embed code to voki

6.  You should now see the widget in your blog sidebar!

Related Links

Since there are thousands and thousands of widgets to use, we are certain to have overlooked a few of your favorites. Leave a comment below with any that we missed so that we can add to the list!

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