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Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Course - Google Drive and the Common Core

Over the last few months I have had the good fortune to introduce many educators to using Google Drive to help their students meet Common Core Standards in English Language Arts. All of those introductions have come in the form of in-person workshops. After many requests for this and after much planning I am now offering Google Drive and the Common Core as a three hour webinar series. While the webinar series is not free it is significantly less than cost of flying me to your school for the day.
Course Highlights
Creating and sharing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.
Using Google Documents and Presentations for collaborative writing and reading exercises.
Using Google Forms and Spreadsheets for collecting and analyzing data.
Using Google Documents as a publishing platform.
Managing the flow of files in your Google Drive.
Registration is limited to 25 students per course.

This course is designed for educators who:
*Are new to using Google Drive/ Documents.
*Have previously used Google Drive/ Documents but would like a refresher course.
*Would like to learn how Google Drive/ Documents can be used to help their students meet ELA Common Core Standards.

Course Schedule
Google Drive and the Common Core is a three hour webinar series.
The December course will be taught in two 1.5 hour sessions beginning on December 6.
The January course will be taught in three 1 hour sessions beginning on January 9.
The original offerings have sold out. There is a third section now available starting on January 10. There are 5 seats available as of December 24, 2012 https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/2008965321107227392

All students will be able to download PDFs of how-to guides, access the previous week's recorded webinar, and participate in a course discussion forum.
Registration is limited to 25 students per course.

Cost
The cost to register for either the December or January course is $87 USD per student.
Click here to register for the December course.
Click here to register for the January course. 
The original offerings have sold out. There is a third section now available starting on January 10. There are 5 seats available as of December 24, 2012 https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/2008965321107227392

Payments can be made with a personal credit card, with a school district credit card, or with PayPal. Checks and purchase orders can be accepted however the cost of registration is $15 higher to cover additional processing associated with those payments.
Please contact me directly at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers (dot) com with questions about course registration and or payment processing.

Google Drive and Common Core Flyer

Manifest Destiny in 141 Interactive Maps

Manifest Destiny - The Story of The U.S. Told in 141 Maps is a fantastic website developed by Michael Porath. As the title implies the site features 141 interactive maps chronicling the expansion of the United States from March 1789 to August 1959. When you click on any of the maps you will see the new territories acquired in that year and month. Each map is accompanied by a brief description of how the new territories were acquired.

Applications for Education
If you're creating a wiki, a website, or an interactive ebook to supplement or replace the textbooks in your U.S. History curriculum, Manifest Destiny - The Story of The U.S. Told in 141 Maps is a resource that I highly recommend including. 

Turn Pictures Into Stories With Fotobabble

This morning I shared an old post about Fotobabble on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page. In response to that post Stewart Whitney shared his experience of using the Fotobabble iPhone app. Stewart's comment got me to try the Fotobabble iOS app.

Fotobabble is a free service that allows you to quickly turn a picture into an audio picture story. Using Fotoabble is easy, just upload an image to Fotobabble, allow Fotobabble to access your computer's microphone, and start recording your voice. You can comment on your photo, explain what's happening your photo, or tell a story related to your photo. The Fotobabble iOS app is just as easy to use as the web version of the service but with an added bonus of visual effects editing.

Applications for Education
The Fotobable iOS app could be a great app for students to use to quickly create short audio stories about pictures that they take with their iPhones and or iPads (the app isn't optimized for iPad, but it works on it). The app could be used by students to do some "on the spot" reporting during a field trip.

Over time your class could build a collection of audio captioned news images by embedding each of their Fotobabble creations on a class blog or wiki.

Create Your Own Interactive Primary Source Document Activities

I've written about many resources from the U.S. National Archives in the past. Until today my favorite of their offerings was the National Archives Experience Digital Vaults. This morning I spent some time exploring The National Archives Experience's Docs Teach interactive tools center and it is my new favorite tool from the National Archives.

Docs Teach offers seven free tools that teachers can use to create interactive learning activities based on primary source documents and images. The seven tools are Finding a Sequence, Focusing on Details, Making Connections, Mapping History, Seeing the Big Picture, Weighing the Evidence, and Interpreting Data. To get a sense of how each of these activities works you can view existing activities made and shared here by other teachers. In fact, you may want to browse through the Find & Use section before creating an activity from scratch as you may find that someone else has shared an activity that meets your instructional goals too. The Find & Use activities are arranged by historical era and are labeled with a thinking skill and a level of Bloom's revised taxonomy.

I used the Docs Teach activity creator to create a Weighing the Evidence activity this morning. I searched the archives and selected a few images of Paul Revere then dragged them into the activity. Then I asked students to determine which image does the best job of accurately depicting Paul Revere's ride.

Applications for Education
You could create some great primary source evaluation activities on Docs Teach. After creating some of your own and having students complete them, you might want to mix it up by having your students create activities.

A Slower Speed of Light - A MIT Game for Learning About Special Relativity

The MIT Game Lab recently released an interesting game designed to demonstrate the visual effects of special relativity. A Slower Speed of Light seems simple enough on the surface, you walk through virtual worlds picking up orbs, but the game gets quite difficult because of the visual effects. The game attempts to mirror the speed of light to the player's actual walking pace which is what changes the visual complexity displayed in each level of the game. Learn more about the game in the video below.


Applications for Education
I won't pretend to know what all of these things mean, but according to the MIT Game Lab's website A Slower Speed of Light could be used to introduce students to the concepts of time dilation, Doppler effect, searchlight effect, and Lorentz transformation.

6 Apps Students Can Use to Create Quick Audio Recordings

Whether it is to record an interview or to send a quick note to yourself, having a voice recording app on your phone or tablet can prove to be helpful. Here are some of the apps that I have had success using on my iPad and on my Android phone.

SoundCloud is an online service for recording, hosting, and sharing audio tracks. You can use SoundCloud to upload and share audio recordings that you have stored on your computer. SoundCloud can also be used for directly recording a spoken track. One of the really neat features of SoundCloud is the option to comment on tracks as they are playing. To make a comment just play the track, click on it, then type your comment in the comment box. Your comment(s) will be attached to the spot in the track that you clicked on while listening. SoundCloud has apps for Android and iOS devices.

Audio Memos is an iOS app for creating and sharing audio messages. The app is available in three versions. The free version is limited to 3MB recordings, the $0.99 version is limited to 15MB recordings, and the "pro" $9.99 version has a nice selection of audio editing tools built-in. Some of the features that are available in all three versions of the app are automatic pause if a call comes in while you're recording, recording volume controls, and recording even when your iPhone or iPad goes to sleep.

Audioboo is a free tool for creating audio messages to share on the web. Using Audioboo you can record messages on your mobile device using Audioboo's free Android or iPhone apps. You can also record messages directly on the Audioboo website. Messages that you create can be shared by embedding your recording into a blog or website. You can also share messages by posting them to Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, and Tumblr.

Tape a Talk is a recording app for Android. The feature of Tape a Talk that is most appealing to me is that recordings can continue even if your phone has turned off the display (something that some other apps don't do). You can also record to an existing audio file on your phone. Recordings are saved on your phone. The free version of Tape a Talk is ad-supported while the pro version costs about $6 USD.

iRecord might be the simplest of the apps I've tried. It has a very straight-forward interface. Simply launch the app, press record, press it again to stop the recording, then save to your phone. The length of your recordings is only limited by the space you have on your phone's SD card.


Hi-Q MP3 Recorder, as the name implies, records your audio as an MP3 that you can export from your phone's SD card, email to yourself, or send via Bluetooth to storage off of your phone. The app will continue to record even if your phone has changed screens or gone to black for battery preservation. The free version of this app allows you to record for up to ten minutes.

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