THE CROWD “SOURCERESS”

“Crowd-sourcing,” also called “crowd-funding” is like found money. Instead of one sponsor, you have hundreds, perhaps thousands of strangers donating to your cause, with few strings attached. A new book, “The Crowd-sourceress” by Alex Daly, ($17 at PublicAffairsBooks.com) offers advice on how to do it. Over 100,000 projects have been funded by Kickstarter.com, one of several crowd funding services, since it began in 2009. We are talking big bucks here. It’s common to hit a couple hundred thousand and can sometimes bring in a couple million. This has even drawn the attention of major corporations, like Samsung, General Electric and Hasbro. Because after all, there’s no interest charge, unlike borrowing from a bank. Sometimes there’s also no accounting. When you […]

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SKY MATH FOR KIDS

“Sky Math” for iPad acts as a child’s virtual math tutor.

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LEARNING LANGUAGE THROUGH SONG

Lyriko is a free app and a fun way to learn Spanish or English through songs. More languages later.

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LINKING CHILDREN TO SCIENCE PROJECTS WORLDWIDE

GlobalSchoolNet.org links children worldwide for science projects and cultural experiences. A current project looks at the problem of plastic in the oceans.

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MUSIC TUTOR APP

“Music Tutor Sight Read” is a free app for Android phones and it’s getting Joy playing the piano again. The app offers quizzes so you get better at recognizing notes in sheet music.  It helps if you’ve already had some music lessons and need a refresher. “Music Tutor Free” for iPhone/iPad is similar.

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BACK TO SCHOOL APPS

Some of these are for students, some for teachers. It will be obvious what goes with whom. — “Notability,” $4 for iPhone/iPad, lets you create notes, bring in pictures, music and video, and highlight your text. — “Nearpod” allows teachers to send surveys, ask questions and present slides. This has over 100,000 users. —  “Schoology” allows teachers to share assignments, and lets students receive test scores. Already has 500,000 users. Are there that many digitally hip teachers? (iOS) (Android) — “Google Drive” is great for storing documents. Save stuff online at drive.Google.com. No matter what machine or phone you’re using, you can still access your stuff. — “Reminders” is Apple’s to-do list. It has a lot of tools for tracking […]

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CURIOSITY STREAM

CuriosityStream.com claims to have the world’s best documentaries from the BBC and other channels around the world, plus original programming. The first month is free, then it’s $3 a month if you want to continue. But you have to give them a credit card for the free trial — and we never like that.

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ECONOMICS VIDEO ENDORSED BY BILL GATES

Economicprinciples.org has a 30-minute video explaining economics. It’s recommended by Bill Gates and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

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APP HAPPY BIRDING

If you can’t tell the difference between a White-Breasted Nuthatch and a Blue jay, we’re ashamed of you. You probably could use the “Merlin Bird ID” app from the Cornell University Ornithology Lab. Non-smart phone owners can skip the app and get the information they want from AllAboutBirds.org.

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FREE SAT TEST PREPARATION

KhanAcademy.org offers free video tutorials on math, science, history and other topics. Now they’ve added free SAT test preparation. The test is changing in March of 2016 and you can practice it here.

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