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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chemistry and Counterfeiting - A TED-Ed Lesson

How to Spot a Counterfeit Bill is a fun TED-Ed lesson about money. In the lesson students learn about the chemistry of counterfeit detection. In other words, they learn why and how those highlighter pens work on when a store clerk runs one over a twenty dollar bill.


The lesson on counterfeiting could pair nicely with another TED-Ed lesson about the value of money. What Gives a Dollar Bill Its Value? is a nice TED-Ed lesson on the influence of the United States Federal Reserve banks on the value of currency. The lesson includes a short piece about the correlation between inflation and the overall health of the U.S. economy.

Create Animated Videos and Presentations at the Same Time on Wideo

Wideo is a neat service for creating animated, Common Craft style videos in your web browser. I've been using and talking about the service for a couple of years now. Recently, Wideo added a new feature that allows you to generate presentations from your videos.

When you create a video in Wideo you do so by dragging and dropping clipart and text in storyboard frames. You set the position and animation sequence for each element in each storyboard frame. When you have completed your storyboards Wideo generates a video for you. The new presentation mode in Wideo will allow you to present each frame of your video independently just like in a slideshow. Watch the video below to learn more.


Applications for Education
The presentation mode in Wideo could be useful for having students talk about the process of constructing the stories they tell through videos. Wideo can be a great tool for students to use to bring their creative short stories to life. Wideo could also be used by students to create animated explanations of historical events, to animate biographies, or to teach other short lessons.

The free version of Wideo limits video length to 45 seconds. 45 seconds is long enough for a lot of video projects.

How to Turn Your Blogger Blog Into a Book - Video

Last week I wrote about using BlogBooker to create a physical record of your classroom blog. Since then I've had a few people ask for a little more guidance on how to use BlogBooker. The video embedded below will walk you through the process of using BlogBooker with a Blogger blog.

Making the Most of Google Keep

This is a guest post from Avra Robinson (@AvraRachel) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

Google Keep is a program that allows users to quickly and easily create, access and organize information such as notes and lists.  Before discovering Keep, I'd been using a different note-making app on my Android phone.  I made lists, checked items off lists, and colored my notes for easy sorting, but I was so accustomed to the world of sharing!  I really wanted a way to share my notes. I wanted a way to share a to-do list with my team teacher and help students create assignment to-do lists.

 I was thrilled to discover the sharing capabilities in Google Keep.  Sharing looks like any other Google sharing, and the person with whom you’ve shared your note gets an email alerting them to the shared note. Additional features include the ability to set a time or location-dependent reminder, change the color of a note, create a list, add images to a list, and archive notes.

GoogleKeep on EdTechTeacher

There is an Android app for Google Keep.  For my iPad, I discovered an app called, GoKeep and on my computer, I simply navigate to keep.google.com in any browser.  Or, in Google Chrome or on my Chromebook, I can access my notes and lists via the Chrome Web App.  There are even a few extensions such as Panel View for Keep and Category Tabs for Google Keep that create even easier access and organization based on color categories.

Educational Applications

While Google Keep is not meant to be as robust as Google Docs, Evernote, or Microsoft OneNote, it does have basic note-taking ability.

GoogleKeep - External Applications

Google Keep can also be a tool to augment student organization and time-management skills. Students can easily manage their complex lives by creating notes with reminders based on time or location!  For example, when a student arrives at the library, Google Keep on her mobile device will remind her to ask the librarian a question.  When she returns home, Google Keep on her mobile device will remind her to search for an overdue library book.

From basic note-taking to organizational skills, Google Keep capitalizes on some of Google’s fantastic features to help students and teachers keep up with the demands of school life.

Google Keep Notes

To learn more about working with Google Keep and other Google Apps, Avra will be teaching a number of Google and Chromebook workshops this summer with EdTechTeacher.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Try Scratch Jr. for Programming Fun on iPads and Android Tablets

If you're looking for a learning activity that kids can do on their own at home this summer, consider introducing them and their parents to Scratch Jr.

Scratch Jr. is based on the popular online Scratch program in which students can learn to program. Scratch Jr for iPad and for Android uses the same drag and drop programming principles used in Scratch. On Scratch Jr students can program multimedia stories and games.

To program a story or game on Scratch Jr. students select background settings for each frame of the story. Then in each frame students select the actions that they want their characters to take. Students snap programming pieces together to make characters move and talk in their stories and games.

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