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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to Send Emails from a Google Spreadsheet

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was the most popular post in June, 2014.

Have you ever found yourself sending strikingly similar though slightly different emails to all of your students or all of their parents at the same time? If so, you may have entered the email address, copied and pasted a message into the message, modified it slightly, then pressed send before repeating the process for the next message. That can be time consuming. Instead, save yourself a ton of time by sending emails from a Google Spreadsheet. Doing this requires adding a script to a Google Spreadsheet containing email addresses. It might sound complicated, but it really isn't. Watch the short video below from the Google Developers team to learn the process.


Applications for Education
Using this Google Spreadsheet script could be a great way to send similar though slightly customized messages to students and their parents. I might use it to send feedback to students on things that don't necessarily fit into the school's LMS.

How to Flip Your Classroom With eduClipper and PixiClip

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was the second most popular post in June, 2014.

Teachers interested in trying the flipped classroom model often ask me for recommendations for video creation tools. They also often ask me for ideas on sharing videos without using YouTube. One answer to both of these questions is to use eduClipper.

On the free eduClipper iPad app you can create instructional videos on a whiteboard in the Khan Academy style. You can also use the app to create a video in which you annotate an image or document while talking about it. After creating your video you can save it to an eduClipper board that you have shared with your students through the eduClipper classroom setting. Your students can view the videos on their iPads or in the web browsers on their laptops.


Whiteboard and Annotations from AdamBellow on Vimeo.


If you don't have an iPad, PixiClip is a good option for creating simple instructional videos. PixiClip provides a whiteboard space on which you can draw, upload images to mark-up, and type. While adding elements to your PixiClip whiteboard you can talk and or record a video of yourself talking. In fact, you can't use the whiteboard without at least recording your voice at the same time. Recordings can be shared via social media, embedded into blog posts, or you could grab the link and include it in an eduClipper board that you have shared with your students.


Disclosure: I am an advisor to eduClipper with a very small equity stake in the company.

Find Primary Sources from All Over the World on the World Digital Library

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was the third most popular post in June, 2014.

Last week in Iowa I shared some good resources for teaching with technology and primary sources. One of my favorite resources that I shared is the World Digital Library.

The World Digital Library hosts more than 10,000 primary documents and images from collections around the world. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of the World Digital Library is to promote the study and understanding of cultures. The WDL can be searched by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. In my search of the WDL I noticed that roughly half of the resources are historical maps and images. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in seven languages. The WDL can also be searched by clicking through the map on the homepage.

Applications for Education
The World Digital Library can be a great resource for anyone that teaches history and or cultural studies. The wealth of image based resources along with the document based resources makes the WDL appropriate for use with most age groups. 

Project Based Learning - An Explanation and Model Rubrics

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was the second most popular post in May.

Last week I had the privilege to work with Tony Vincent to lead a workshop about project based learning. Two of the resources that we shared during the workshop were a video explanation of PBL and set of rubrics from the Buck Institute for Education.

The following video, produced by Common Craft for BIE, explains BIE's essential elements of project based learning.


BIE offers rubrics for assessing critical thinking skills, collaboration, presentation, and creativity and innovation in project based learning assignments. The rubrics are available with or without Common Core alignment. You can download the rubrics as PDFs or Word documents.