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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Save Time and Keystrokes With This Chrome Extension

Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome is a convenient Chrome extension that I've recently started using. The extension enables me to create keyboard shortcuts for words and phrases that I frequently use in emails.

To get started saving time sending emails install Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome. Once the extension is installed you will be sent a page to create your database of shortcuts. A handful of sample shortcuts are provided for you to help you understand how to format your shortcuts. After creating your shortcuts database you're ready to start using them in email and other web applications.

To use your Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome shortcuts in your email just type the shortcut and hit the space bar to see the full text appear. For example, I have a shortcut "tyfr" that I now use when I want to write "thank you for reading my blog" in an email.

Applications for Education
At the beginning of every new semester I find myself answering the same type of question fairly frequently. You probably experience the same. Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome should make replying to those frequently asked questions a bit easier than before.

Camp Google - Learn About Oceans, Animals, Space, and Music

Once again this summer Google is offering an online educational camp for kids. Camp Google is a four week program designed for seven to ten year old children. Each week has its own theme. This week is Ocean Week.

Camp Google features videos, live and recorded, with experts in each week's thematic topic. The videos are designed to inform as well as prompt further inquiry by students. Students can conduct virtual investigations through Camp Google. Students, with the help of an adult, can also participate in hands-on learning activities related to the theme of each week of Camp Google. Materials lists for the hands-on activities are available to download on the Camp Google website.


Applications for Education
Camp Google is designed to be used as a summer learning experience for children to participate in with the help of a parent or other adult. The online activities and the hands-on activities could be used by teachers when students return in the fall. Elementary school teachers should take a look at the hands-on activities materials lists to get ideas for hands-on activities to do in their classrooms.

5 Google Maps Tutorials for Teachers and Students

Yesterday, at that the third annual Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp Jim Wells spent about an hour sharing ideas for using Google Maps and Google Earth in variety of classroom settings. Google Earth offers a vastly more robust set of features than Google Maps offers. However, Google Maps is easier to access and is initially easier to understand. I have a set of Google Maps tutorial videos that I've created over the last year. Those videos are included in the playlist embedded below.

Spoken Announces Updates to Their Audio Publishing Network

Last month I wrote about a new audio publishing network called Spoken. Spoken is designed for sharing audio recordings of four minutes or less. Spoken describes itself as "Instagram for audio." On Spoken you can upload audio recordings that are up to four minutes long then attach cover images to those recordings.

The most significant update to Spoken is the option to recordings into blog posts. I've done just that with the Spoken recording announcing updates to the Spoken platform. Listen to the recording as embedded below.


Applications for Education
Spoken could provide a good way for high school or college students to share audio recordings in which they reflect on learning experiences and or share advice with other students. As a teacher you would have to follow each of your students to hear their recordings.

AudioBoom is a service similar to Spoken that offers a service specifically for students and teachers.

Spoken is currently in beta. You will need to request an invite to use the service. My invitation arrived about 24 hours after my request.

Three Classroom Uses for the Vocaroo Audio Recorder

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

Vocaroo is a simple, free voice recorder that allows users to create an audio recording with just a few clicks. Once recorded, the audio file can remain on the Vocaroo servers and be easily transmitted via a link, or it can be downloaded into several different file types including MP3, Ogg, FLAC, or WAV. Additionally, it can be embedded onto a blog or website or shared via several social media buttons.

Since Vocaroo is web-based, it’s an ideal companion for the Chromebook classroom or any web-based environment. Students and teachers can easily record and share their thoughts with each other. The audio recordings become great opportunities for formative assessment and feedback as well as a neat way to have students double-check their writing for errors.

EdTechTeacher, Vocaroo

3 Classroom Applications:

Formative Feedback

Students can record 30-60 seconds of audio feedback about a new concept, and teachers can then collect links to the audio recordings in a Google Form or via a Padlet wall. Within 30 minutes, teachers could have a pulse on how well their students are understanding the ideas shared.

Peer Feedback

As students give peer-to-peer feedback using the comments function in a Google Doc, they can easily insert a Vocaroo link to provide an audio comment. This is especially helpful when they want to share ideas that are too lengthy to type. Teachers can do the same as they provide feedback to students about their work.

Read Aloud to Catch Mistakes

Prior to submitting a draft of an essay, teachers can require students to read the essay aloud in a Vocaroo recording to catch mistakes and hear their essay. While teachers often encourage students to do this on their own, requiring a link to them reading it aloud would ensure that students see the process through. The link to the recording could be shared in a comment within the Google Doc or even added at the top of the essay. This simple task can help augment students’ oral reading fluency and help them catch potential mistakes that they might not have caught by reading their work quietly to themselves.

To learn more about working with Google Apps, Web Tools, and Chromebooks, EdTechTeacher provides FREE resources on their website