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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Send Your Students on a QR Code Treasure Hunt

QR Codes are all around us today. Open a magazine, a catalog, or glance at a bulletin board and you're likely to see a QR code. QR Codes make it easy to jump to a website or download a file on your mobile device. QR codes and QR code reader apps are one of the many ways that cell phones can be used in schools for academic purposes. To that end, Russel Tarr the QR Treasure Hunt Generator.

The QR Treasure Hunt Generator provides you with all of the things you need to get started creating your own QR codes and using them in your classroom. To use the QR Treasure Hunt Generator type out a series of questions and answers, generate the QR codes using the tool Russel Tarr provides, then print and display the codes around your classroom or school. Click here to view a sample QR Treasure Hunt.

If you're looking for a QR code reader app, I use and recommend QR Droid for Android devices. For iOS devices take a look at QR Scanner or QR Code Reader.

Applications for Education
Creating QR Treasure Hunts could be a great way to get students moving and learning at the same time. With a QR Treasure Hunt a quest for information can become a physical exercise as well as an intellectual exercise.

Meeting Words - A Free Tool for Collaborative Notes and Discussion

MeetingWords is a free service for creating an online notepad and chat room. Through MeetingWords you can quickly create an online place to collaboratively create documents with one or more partners. You do not need to register in order to use the service. You can chat in real-time while creating a document. Every person contributing to the documents you build is assigned a highlight color so that you can easily track who wrote what in the document.

People who have used EtherPad (now offline) or TitanPad will notice that MeetingWords is very similar to those tools. The similarity is due to the fact that they use the same code.

Applications for Education
Google Documents is great for collaborative writing, but not everyone has Google Documents. Google Documents also requires sign-in in order to track changes. When you want to quickly collaboratively create a set of notes, MeetingWords is a good option to try.

Show Me What's Wrong - Provide Tech Help to Students and Colleagues

Screencast-O-Matic.com is the service that I use for the screencast videos that appear in my Practical Ed Tech playlist on YouTube. In addition to the screen recording tool Screencast-O-Matic offers a service that can help you help others with their tech problems. Show Me What's Wrong is a free service is designed to help you help others with their computer problems. To use the service enter your name and email address to have a custom URL assigned to you. You then send that url to the person who needs help. They open the link and can start recording their screens and talk about the trouble they're having. When they finish recording the screencast is sent directly to you.

Applications for Education
If you're the person in your school that everyone goes to for tech help, you know that trying to a fix a problem that someone can't quite describe correctly can be a trying experience. Show Me What's Wrong could make it easier for others to show you what they need help doing on their computers.

Prevent Publishing Your Email Address in Blogger Posts

Blogger makes it very easy for almost anyone to start a blog in under five minutes. With that convenience comes some quirks that you eventually have to work through or around. One of those is that by default Blogger will publish your email address in the RSS feed of your blog. I wasn't aware of this when I started using Blogger and I'm sure that many others are not aware of it either. Fortunately, it only takes a minute to fix that issue. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to change that setting and prevent publishing your email address within your Blogger posts.


Click here to see screenshots of this process.

Applications for Education
The RSS feed of a blog can get used in all kinds of places even if you didn't intentionally publish it to a service like Feedly. Removing your email address and your students' email addresses from the feed is a good way to cut down on the places and people who see those addresses.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Libraries and Librarians in the Internet Age

Libraries in the Internet Age is the title of the latest video produced by Common Craft. The video provides a clear overview of how libraries and the importance of librarians has changed over time. The video echoes a point that I made in a webinar today and that I have heard many librarians say to students, "Google is not the only search engine." Librarians can help students access databases that they otherwise wouldn't be able to use which in turn takes them to information they wouldn't otherwise find. The video is embedded below. You can also click here to watch it.


Applications for Education
Libraries in the Internet Age could be a great video to show to students at the beginning of the school year or just before they embark on a new research project. The video might help students realize that there is a lot more to their school libraries than meets their eyes.

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