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Sunday, January 22, 2017

This Handy Extension Helps You Get Back on Task

It can be easy to say to yourself, "I'll just take a quick look at Facebook" and then look up at the clock to realize you've wasted twenty minutes sharing memes for or against a political stance. Dayboard is a Chrome extension that can help you avoid falling into the trap of opening a new tab just to "take a quick look" at something on social media.

Dayboard is a free Chrome extension that opens your daily to-do list every time you open a new tab in Chrome. When you open a new tab for the first time Dayboard will appear and ask you to enter your to-do list for the day. After creating your to-do list for the rest of the day whenever you open a new tab you will see your list. You can place a checkmark next to items as you complete them.


Applications for Education
Dayboard is the kind of to-do list that I need and that I am sure many students can benefit from using too. I often find that I lose momentum on my to-do list when I start switching between tabs. Having my to-do list appear instead of the default "most visited sites" tab appear in Chrome should help me stay on task. I'm sure that it will help some students stay on task too.

Use Historical Images to Spark Discussions

One of my favorite ways to spark students' interest in a history lesson is to have them look for interesting historical images. I've found that interesting images can prompt good conversations which in turn lead to good questions for my students to research the answers to. One of the ways that I've carried out those activities over the years is by having students look through digital archives of images and then sharing their favorite images on a Padlet wall. Along with the image I ask students to share a question that they have about it. Here are three good places to find historical images.

My go-to source for years has been The Commons on Flickr. The Commons contains more than one million historical images that are in the public domain. Dozens of libraries and museums around the world have contributed to The Commons. When you find a picture on The Commons, look for the download arrow icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Click that arrow and you can choose from a variety of image sizes to download.

Use the Getty Search Gateway to search through more than 85,000 images in the Getty Museum's Open Content Program. The Getty Search Gateway allows you to filter your search according to material type, topic, name, source, and location. Once you find an image, click the image's title to be taken to its landing page where you can learn more about it, get the required attribution information, and learn more about the history of your chosen image.

Try Lapse It for Creating Timelapse Videos

Lapse It is mobile app (available for iOS and Android) that makes it easy to create short time lapse videos. The app comes in two versions, free and pro. The free version is adequate for most uses, but the pro version offers additional editing effects and a much higher output resolution.

To create a time lapse video with Lapse It just open the app, select “new capture,” and set the timer for the frequency with which you want images captured. You can set the frequency by milliseconds, seconds, or minutes. Lapse It provides options for setting the focus, white balance, color saturation, and flash for the camera on your phone or tablet. Once you’ve captured all of your imagery for your time lapse video you can use Lapse It to set the number of frames per second in your playback. Lapse It also provides tools for trimming your video and adding music to your video. When you’re happy with your final product you can share it to YouTube or render it in MOV, MP4, or FLV.

Applications for Education
Lapse It could be a good app to use to record a slow and or multiple step process then play it back for students in a condensed video.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

CommonLit Added a Guided Reading Mode for Students

CommonLit is a free service that offers a large collection of fiction and nonfiction texts paired to reading questions. You can create a classroom on CommonLit in which you can monitor your students' progress through the texts that you assign to them.

Recently, CommonLit added a new feature that they call Guided Reading Mode. When you enable Guided Reading Mode your students will see questions appear in the margin of the documents. Students have to answer those questions correctly in order for the next section of the document to appear. See the Guided Reading Mode in action in the video embedded below.


Applications for Education
CommonLit has been a favorite resource of mine for a couple of years because of the nature of the thematic questions they provide for thought and discussion. The only trouble was that if students didn't understand the assigned text they would have difficulty participating in conversation about the thematic questions. The new Guided Reading Mode should help more students understand assigned texts and participate in classroom discussions about the thematic questions accompanying assigned texts.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the sun is trying to poke through the clouds. As I do every week, I have created a list of the most popular posts of the week. I think it is fitting that in the week in which the last man to walk on the moon, Eugene Cernan, passed away, the most popular post of the week was about an iPad app produced by NASA. That post and the other most popular posts of the week are linked below.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Students Can Build and Launch Virtual Rockets on Rocket Science 101 from NASA
2. Tips for Accessing Sites Blocked by Your School
3. Create Audio Recordings and Save Them In Google Drive
4. Please Practice Good Digital Citizenship
5. MoocNote Offers a Chrome Extension for Taking Notes on Videos
6. Would You Rather? - Quick Math Challenges
7. 18 Cartoon Videos About Cyber Safety for Students

This week I conducted a webinar called Search Strategies Students Need to Know. The webinar was sold out. Many people have asked about accessing the recording. The recording of that webinar and all of the others in my Wednesday Webinar series are now available on-demand.

Do you need a workshop or keynote speaker this spring or summer? 
My calendar is filling up, but I still have some dates available. Click here to learn more about workshops and presentations.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
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QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Math Playground offers hundreds of math games and tutorial videos. 
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosts workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.