Free Website Creation Tools

Free Website Creation Tools

Episode 51: Free Website Creation Tools

Why is it a good idea to teach students to create websites?

  1. Useful skill
  2. Can be used for community service- 4-H group, Lego League Team, homeschool support group
  3. If they start a business they will need one
  4. Digital portfolios
  5. As a way to share what they are learning instead of producing a written report

Here are 5 free website creation tools I have used:

1. Weebly

Weebly has unlimited bandwidth even on the free plan, you can add a PayPal button and it is easy to use. The free version does, however, only allow a limited number of pages, and as with most of these free tools, has ads on the page.

2. Strikingly

I love Strikingly because it is really fast to create a website using it and the websites are very modern looking.

3. Google sites

Google sites is completely free and has no ads. It has very limited style options and you can’t sell anything on your website. It does integrate completely with all Google drive apps.

4.Wix

Wix has the most limited bandwidth of the free sites. Personally, I don’t like using it, but many do so I wanted to include it here.

5.WordPress.com

WordPress.com is easy to use but ads will show in random places. You also can’t have any affiliate links on it. It is nice to use for a blog.

Show sponsor FundaFunda Academy teaches website creation using some of these tools in their Computer Applications class but using the help on each website or looking for Youtube tutorials is another way to get started.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Free Website Creation Tools

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Episode 50: How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Here are 3 different resources students can use to create online choose-your-own-adventure games.

1. Text Adventures

Text Adventures actually has 3 different options to create choose-your-own-adventure games. There is the option to download software, but I have always used the online version.

Initially, you are asked to select between Quest and Squiffy. Select Quest (Squiffy is a little more complicated and only text).

Then you can start creating a Quest game. Now select ‘Gamebook’ in the drop-down option rather than text adventure. The latter allows you to create rooms with objects that can be manipulated. If your children enjoy the easier option, they could progress to this one. And this video explains how to get started.

But I suggest they start with a Gamebook type. In this version, they create choices for whoever is playing and the player simply clicks on their choice to continue down a specific path. This version allows them to add in graphics, audio, and video.

In my online US History class students research a Native American tribe pre-1492 and then turn their research into a game which the other students can play. Here are some you and your children and try.

Cherokee Tribe Game
Igloos and Ice-Fishing
A Day with the Seneca Indians
Shoshone Adventure

2. Google Slides

Hyperlink Google Slides to other Google Slides to create a choose-your-own-adventure. See the show notes for the episode I did on Google slides for a video explaining how to do it.

3. Twine

For a real challenge, students can use Twine which allows them to create more complex text adventures and even incorporate some coding if they choose to.

Visit show sponsor FundaFunda Academy for teaching resources you can use in your home or in co-op classes.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games #wiredhomeschool #homeschoolpodcast #homeschooltech

Web-based Unit Studies

Web-based unit studies

Episode 48: Web-based Unit Studies

Web-based unit studies are NOT simply pdfs instead of physical books, but rather interactive and accessed through an online classroom.

What are web-based unit studies?

  • mini online self-paced classes
  • make use of online resources eg videos, interactive websites, online games, audio, infographics
  • have online projects where the students use digital tools to show what they have learned

Why include web-based unit studies in your homeschool?

  • unique nature of the resources which can bring subjects alive
  • engaging
  • kids learn techie skills
  • prepares students for online classes at high school and college<

How can you make your own web-based unit studies?

1. You can set everything up on Trello or Google Docs and get your kids to check off assignments as they complete them.

2. Pick a topic (eg.baseball) and search for resources using phrases like “baseball for kids”, “online baseball game”, “baseball infographic”, “baseball interactive”.

3. Search on Youtube and Vimeo for videos. Also, look at Edpuzzle as they have videos with embedded quizzes.

4. Search for “digital breakout baseball”. Learn more about digital breakouts on this episode.

5. Create online games using something like Classtools.

Visit this blog post to see a short video of the “inside” of a web-based unit study.

Use coupon code HWT50 – for 50% off any one full-priced web-based unit study from FundaFunda Academy.

And look at the online unit studies offered by Beth Napoli at Techie Homeschool Mom.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Web-based Unit Studies #unitstudy #onlinehomeschool #podcast


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


Using technology to improve writing

Using technology to Improve Writing

Episode 46: Using technology to improve writing

Here are the tools mentioned in the episode that can be used by your children to improve writing skills.

1. Grammarly

2. Hemingway app

3. The Most Dangerous Writing Prompt Generator

4. Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University

5. My Access

6. Online Writing Club from True North Homeschool Academy.

7. FundaFunda Academy has 2 writing classes that use technology to help students improve and have fun doing it. We have Writing Fun class for middle school which is perfect for students who hate writing. And a Writing Mechanics class for grades 7 – 10. This class is to help those who need to master the basics of good grammar in their writing, as well as learn how to write a standard 5 paragraph essay.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Using technology to Improve Writing


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


Online resources to help you select curriculum

Online resources to help you select curriculum

Episode 44: Online resources to help you select curriculum

In this episode, we look at 6 steps to use online resources to help you select curriculum that is a good fit for your child.

Please refer to episode 36 – Tips for buying and selling curriculum online to help you find the best prices for whatever curriculum you finally decide on

1. Offline brainstorming

Take a piece of paper and write down everything you can think of that can narrow down what you need. Think about earning style, what has/hasn’t worked in the past, whether they are likely to study this subject at college etc.

2. Online places to ask for advice

3. Reviews of curriculum

  • Once you have narrowed it down to a few options, Google the product’s name + “Review”. Take into account if it is a sponsored post or if the blogger received the curriculum free in exchange for a review.
  • Also, look at reviews on the product website if that is a feature (it is at our sponsor FundaFunda Academy where you can read what the student’s thought)
  • Look for video reviews on Youtube

4. Free trials and demos

Most companies do offer this – even the smaller ones. If you can’t find it on their page ask. SHOW your kids – get them involved at this point.

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy, has a demo classroom where you can see a module for each of their full-semester classes. You can find this on the home page or on the FAQs.

For their web-based unit studies, they offer a free “lite” version of their Intro to Game Programming” unit study. AND if you listen to the podcast before the end of July you will get a coupon to reduce the cost of the Around South America in 30 Days unit study to just $5 (from $20

5. Online curriculum fairs

These usually happen over the summer. Google to find them.

6. Keeping track of it all

As you research, store ideas and links in Evernote, a spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) or on Trello

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


Online resources to help you select curriculum #homeschooling #podcast #selectingcurriculum

Unplugged Coding

Unplugged Coding

Episode 43: Unplugged Coding with Sandra Balisky

 

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Sandra Balisky from Real World Learners is our guest today. She has a background as a math and English teacher and is now homeschooling her own children and working on an online math course for early elementary students. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram

Sandra explained the concept of “unplugged coding” (listen to the episode to hear what it is!)

What coding skills can you learn when you’re not using a computer?

  • Writing a “program” for others to follow that includes giving precise directions. This often entails using positions on a grid or using degrees in a circle to describe location
  • Learning about binary code, how it works and why computers use it, and how to create a simple set of directions with on/off conditions
  • Understanding and coming up with conditional statements (if/then) and playing around with how those affect the overall “gameplay” experience
  • Learning the ins and outs of computer hardware and software
  • Using loops to eliminate repetition and make the code as simple and concise as possible
  • Learning about digital citizenship and how to safely and effectively navigate the online world
  • Developing a growth mindset!! These activities will stretch kids to think and problem solve in new, creative ways. It will also encourage them to persevere and not give up in the face of challenges!

Where can I find resources to help my kids have fun learning these skills without sitting in front of a screen?

Sandra has a post about unplugged coding with a free printable unplugged coding game and she has other unplugged activities for sale:

More Resources that offer lists of activities, printables, and ideas for things to do to practice coding skills offline.

Once your children have learned some principles of coding from unplugged activities, consider signing them up for one of Fundafunda Academy’s Intro to Game Programming Online Class.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How to practice coding without a computer #unpluggedcoding #codingforkids @codingfun


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Bridgeway Academy!

Bridgeway Academy was founded in 1989 in response to the need for more freedom in education as well as the protection that accreditation offers for homeschooling families. Since then, more than 30,000 K–12 students, and many charter and brick-and-mortar schools, have made Bridgeway Academy their trusted education partner.

As part of our commitment to personalized homeschooling, we are proud to offer both secular and Christian options for homeschool families, charter schools, state organizations, co-ops, athletic organizations, arts schools, and others who seek flexible education options for their families.

Click here to learn more!


5 Apps All Parents Should Know – Best of Homeschooling IRL

Free Homeschooling Podcast about technology and apps.Apps! Mobile phones! iPads! Technology! It all moves so fast and changes seemingly overnight. How do we keep up with what our kids are asking to use or are being exposed to, even if we are trying to keep it all in balance?

Join us on this highly informative episode of Homeschooling in Real Life as we welcome author and speaker Leah Nieman to discuss five apps every parent should know about right now. It’s an up-to-the-minute conversation, but even if you’re listening months or even years from its publication, you’ll be able to glean from the discussion about how to handle all of the emerging technology in our über fast-paced world.


SHOW NOTES:

Recommended Resources:

Leah Nieman can be found here: Leah Nieman

View her informative video, Apps All Parents Should Know

Apps All Parents Should Know eBook 

View the Tech Talk Conversation Cards video

Tech Talk Conversation Cards

Leah’s Dating Apps series

Sign up for Leah’s weekly Tech News for Parents Newsletter. Get her Family Digital Media Agreement Free!

Get Social With Us:

Follow Fletch/Kendra:
Fletch Twitter
Kendra Twitter

Follow the Studio Dogs:
Betty the Surf Dog – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Rasta The Chocolate Lab – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website

Previous Episodes Mentioned:

None

Music clips used on this episode:
None


LISTEN HERE

Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.

 


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Bridgeway Academy!

Bridgeway Academy was founded in 1989 in response to the need for more freedom in education as well as the protection that accreditation offers for homeschooling families. Since then, more than 30,000 K–12 students, and many charter and brick-and-mortar schools, have made Bridgeway Academy their trusted education partner.

As part of our commitment to personalized homeschooling, we are proud to offer both secular and Christian options for homeschool families, charter schools, state organizations, co-ops, athletic organizations, arts schools, and others who seek flexible education options for their families.

Click here to learn more!


Online Tools for Photography

Online Tools for Photography

Episode 42: Online Tools for Photography with Piers van der Merwe

 

Piers is not only my husband, but also the photography teacher at FundaFunda Academy. You can see his work at Onstandby Travel and on Smugmug. Here are the online tools for photography he mentions in this episode.

1. Editing Tools

You can find other ideas here.

2. Where to store photos

Popular websites like Flickr and Photobucket aren’t a good idea as many of the photos teens could encounter there will not be appropriate. Better ideas for places to store photos are:

  • Google Photos
  • Apple Photos
  • Dropbox

3. How to share photos

  • Link from the folders in Dropbox or make public on iCloud.
  • Use free websites like Blogger, Weebly, WordPress if you want to share publicly.

4. Online resources for learning more about photography?

5. Favorite photography apps

Listen to the episode to get a code for a discount for FundaFunda’s online Photography class for Fall 2019!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Online Tools for Photography #photographywebsites #photographyapps #photography

Explore cities with digital scavenger hunts

Digital Scavenger Hunts

Episode 41: Explore cities with digital scavenger hunts

 

My oldest daughter, Rachel, suggested I do an episode on this as she and I have enjoyed a number of Digital Scavenger Hunts together. Rachel teaches the Visual Literacy class for FundaFunda Academy.

Digital scavenger hunts can be found in most cities – and sometimes even in specific locations eg museums.

They are a self-paced tour/scavenger hunt /problem-solving game all in one

1. Tour guide: they provide info on the city you are exploring
2. Scavenger hunt – everyone is looking for the solution to the clue
3. Game – you earn points as you progress. There are usually hints but then you lose points.

Benefits

1. Exercise
2. Use thinking skills
3. Educational
4. Find places you never would on your own
5. Go at your own pace
6. Competitive / game element

Where can you find them?

You can Google “digital scavenger hunt “city” mobile device”. You can also often find deals on Groupon / Living Social.

Here are some I have done or gifted to my children.
Scavenger Hunt
Crazydash
Huntzz (this a British one)

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Digital Scavenger Hunts #familyfun #vacationfun #homeschooltravel

How teens can start a podcast

How Teens can Start a Podcast

Episode 40: How teens can start a podcast with Abby Banks

 

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Today’s guest is Abby Banks from Making Room for One More. She is also the host of the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.

Abby explains how teens can start a podcast – and why they should consider doing it.

Why should teens think about starting a podcast?

  • gives teens an opportunity to apply skills to a real project
  • improves communication skills
  • they become problem solvers
  • they can share their stories / other stories

What skills will they learn?

  • speech and communication
  • technical skills which are marketable
  • making money with sponsorship
  • organizational skills

What can they do a podcast about?

  • local interest
  • whatever they are passionate about – they don’t need to be an expert

What equipment do they need to get started?

  • microphone – the ATR2100 Audio Technica USB microphone is a good one that is affordable

What all is involved in getting a podcast launched?

  • hosting
  • submitting to the different podcast websites

Check out Abby’s new Podcast Launch for Teens online course. That link takes you to a post is that will allow teens to download the suggested schedule/topics as well as a brainstorming exercise to come up with a podcast theme.

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy is running a High School Challenge just for homeschoolers throughout July. Teens complete as many challenges that will help them prepare for college as they want to. For each challenge completed they receive points and the students with the most points will be able to win prizes. AND – one of those prizes is one of Abby’s Selling on Etsy Masterclass for Teens! So sign up your homeschooled high schoolers now!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How Teens can Start a Podcast #podcastinfforteens #homeschoolteens #homeschoolpodcast