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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating the holiday today or this weekend.  I hope that it is the best Thanksgiving ever! I'll be celebrating with my family in Connecticut. One of our traditions that goes back for 30+ years is watching the Manchester Road Race. Another tradition is listening to Alice's Restaurant Masacree. And here it is for your listening pleasure...


Regular blog posts will resume tomorrow.

Mapping the Thanksgiving Harvest

Where Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From? is the title of an Esri Storymap. The storymap displays where eight popular Thanksgiving foods are grown and harvested in the United States. The storymap includes a map for each ingredient. Each map shows the locations of commercial producers. Fun facts are included in the storymap too. For example, did you know that Illinois has at least twice as many acres of pumpkins as any state?


Applications for Education
It is too late to use this storymap in this year's Thanksgiving lesson plans, but bookmark it for next year. You could use the storymap to spark students' curiosity to investigate questions like "why does Illinois grow so many pumpkins?" or "why don't we harvest any pecans in New England?"

You can learn how to make maps similar to this one in my upcoming course, To Geography & Beyond With Google Earth & Maps.

H/T to Maps Mania for the Thanksgiving storymap.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

7 Good Tools for Surveying Your Audience

Games like those you can make on Kahoot and Socrative are great for review activities. However, you don't always need to play a full game to gauge your students' understanding of a topic. And other times you just need a quick way to anonymously survey your class. Here are some tools that you can use to poll your students or any other audience.

PingPong is a free online polling system that lets you collect feedback in the form of multiple choice, text, or image-based responses. In the short video embedded below I demonstrate the teacher and student views of the free PingPong response system.



Acquainted is a free tool for conducting online polls. Unlike other online polling tools, Acquainted is a conversational polling tool. What that means is that people who take your poll can get an instant response from your regarding their selections of poll options. Your responses are written into Acquainted and programmed to appear to poll respondents as they make answer choices.


Swift is a polling service that lets you collect responses through text messages or through a simple webpage. The free version of the service allows you to collect responses from up to 50 people per poll. That limit is adequate for most classroom settings. Swift could be a good little service to use to gather anonymous feedback from your students. The option to use text messaging, web responses, or both makes Swift a versatile tool for schools. The option to send students to a new page after submitting a text response could help you keep your students on task. The option to instantly show poll results could be helpful in starting discussions in your classroom.

Poll Everywhere is the standard in this market. It has been around for a long time and doesn't show signs of fading. It's a service that allows you to collect responses from an audience via text messaging. The free plan for K-12 educators provides selection of features and quantity of responses that is adequate for almost any classroom. One of the neat ways to display feedback gathered through Poll Everywhere is in word clouds. The word cloud feature integrates with Wordle, Tagxedo, and Tagul.


Add Poll Questions to Your Slides
The Q&A feature in Google Slides lets your audience submit questions to you. They can view all of the questions submitted and vote for the ones they want you to answer. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how this feature works.



Mentimeter lets you add questions to your slides. You can create slides in Mentimeter or import slides from your desktop. You can create poll questions that your audience responds to in a multiple choice format or they can respond by using emojis. Like a lot of audience polling tools, your audience responds to your questions by going to a specific URL then entering a code to access your questions.

Microsoft Office users can take advantage of the OfficeMix plug-in for PowerPoint to add quizzes and polls into their slides. Watch the tutorial below to learn how to use the features of OfficeMix.



ReClipped - Take Notes and Share Notes on Educational Videos

ReClipped is a neat tool that lets you take notes, share notes, and share clips from educational videos. ReClipped blends the best aspects of TurboNote, VideoNot.es, and Pinterest into one slick system.

With a ReClipped account you can clip sections of videos that you find on YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Coursera, and TED. In addition to clipping you can create time-stamped notes about the videos that you clip. The Pinterest-like aspect of ReClipped appears if you choose to share your clips and notes on a board. ReClipped boards can be shared publicly or kept private.


Applications for Education
ReClipped has the potential to be a good place for high school and college students to discover and share notes about educational videos. Because of the public search for ReClipped boards I would be cautious about letting middle school students use it.

Black Friday Sale on 5 Practical Ed Tech Webinars

Throughout the year I host professional development webinars and courses on Practical Ed Tech. Usually, the webinars are $20 each. But for the next five days you can get five of my most popular webinars in one bundle for just $25. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

The 5 webinars in the Black Friday bundle are:

Individually these webinars are $20. Purchase the Black Friday bundle and you'll get all five for $25. 

Click here to get five PD webinars for $25!