Google
 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sundials and Snowflakes - How to Make Your Own

SciShow Kids recently published a new video that explains to students how a sundial works and how they can make their own sundials. The video could be the basis for a fun, hands-on lesson about learning to tell time.


For those in cold, northern climates creating and taking sundials outside with your students might not be practical in the snow. So SciShow Kids has a video that is a little more appropriate for winter. That video is How to Make a Paper Snowflake. The video gives directions at a nice pace that students can follow. The video also introduces some science vocabulary that might be new to elementary school students.

Remodeling Practical Ed Tech

As you may know, I addition to this blog I maintain PracticalEdTech.com where I host professional development courses for teachers. That site had tremendous growth in 2017 so I have had to make some changes to the back end in order to make sure that it can be helpful to as many visitors as possible.

Better email management
Last fall I made a switch to a better email management service. That change happened rather seamlessly for those who subscribe to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter.

Better on-demand offerings
For years I offered courses that consisted of a series of live webinars. Those were great for the folks who could attend. But I had many people who would have rather done the courses at different times. That's why made my most popular courses, Teaching History With Technology and G Suite for Teachers available in on-demand, self-paced formats.

New design
The third update to Practical Ed Tech is underway. It's a change to the design to make it faster and more responsive. This change is a work in progress. It will hopefully be done by the time the Patriots kick-off on Sunday afternoon. In the meantime if you visit the site you may notice some design elements are a bit out of whack. All of the content is there and working, it's just the color schemes and layouts that are bit whacky right now.

Construction sale
While Practical Ed Tech is being remodeled, I'm offering a discount on my on-demand courses Teaching History With Technology and G Suite for Teachers. Use the code "construction" during registration to get either course for $75 instead of the regular $97. This code will be good until Sunday night (January 21st). Register and you can start your first lesson today!

Citations and Citing Your Work - New Common Craft Video

What needs to be cited and what doesn't need to be cited in a paper is a question that has confounded many students over the years. Common Craft has a new video that addresses that question and more. Citations and Citing Your Work teaches students about the differences between in-text and full citations and how they work together.


Disclosure: I have an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft.

Loom 2.0 - Create and Edit Screencasts

Loom is a free screencasting tool that works in the Chrome web browser. In addition to using it on a Chromebook, you can use Loom on a Mac or Windows computer as long as use the Chrome browser. Loom will let you create a recording of anything on your computer's screen. There's also an option to use your webcam while recording.

This week Loom announced the launch of version 2.0. Loom 2.0 includes the option to trim sections out of your videos. Initially, Loom limited recordings to ten minutes. That restriction has been removed in the latest version of Loom. Learn more about Loom 2.0 by watching the video that is embedded below. Watch for the bit about how you can use emoji reactions with your videos.


Applications for Education
If you're the person at your school who everyone emails when they have questions about how to do something on their Chromebooks, Loom has a handy feature for you. With Loom activated you will see a "send with Loom" option in your email composition window. Use that to quickly record and send screencasts to colleagues and students.

If Loom isn't for you, here are six other ways that you can create screencast videos.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Simple Tips for Learning From PD Webinars

I love webinars. They're a convenient way to learn from experts that I otherwise wouldn't get to interact with. But not everyone enjoys them like I do. In fact, I didn't always find them enjoyable. Then a handful of years ago I made some simple, almost "duh," discoveries that helped me get more out of each webinar that I joined. I shared those tips in this video on my YouTube channel. Below the embedded video I have written the tips.


1. Participate in live webinars, don't just watch them.
Every webinar platform has some kind of chat or Q&A feature. Use it! Use it to ask the presenter questions. An experienced webinar presenter will be able to handle questions in realtime. Don't be afraid to ask clarifying questions. Even when I'm attending webinars about things with which I'm already familiar, I make an effort to think of questions to ask. This forces me to tune-in and listen with more focus than if I was just listening in the hopes that something said by the presenter will jump out at me.

2. Close Facebook and take notes.
If I cannot attend the live version of a webinar, I still find great value in recorded webinars. When I watch recorded webinar I focus on it the same way I would during a live session. That means closing Facebook and taking notes in my notebook. In that notebook I write the questions that I want to send to the presenter via email.

3. Act on webinar ideas quickly.
When I participate in a webinar my participation isn’t over until I actually act on what I was just taught. Just like in a traditional classroom setting, it’s important to try for yourself what was just demonstrated for you. Do this as quickly as you can.

The next webinar that I am hosting is next week for the Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group. There is still time to join for 2018. After next week, membership will be closed to new members.