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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jeopardy Rocks - Create a Review Game Online

Jeopardy Rocks is a platform for building Jeopardy-style review games. I reviewed the service around this time last year. Just in time for the new school year Jeopardy Rocks released a couple of new features. You can now create an account on Jeopardy Rocks to save your games for later editing and re-use. You can also now save multiple games in your account. The previous version of Jeopardy Rocks did not have an account option.

Applications for Education
Like nearly all Jeopardy-style review games, Jeopardy Rocks is a simple tool that you can use to quickly create a review game to use with your students.

A couple of similar tools that you might want to explore are eQuizShow and FlipQuiz. Both of those tools offer galleries of public review games that you can use in your classroom.

The Latest Plickers iOS App Update Includes Image Previews

Plickers is one of my favorite tools for quickly taking the pulse of a classroom. From asking questions like "do you get it" to having students vote for a favorite choice, Plickers makes it easy to semi-anonymously gather feedback from students. Students simply hold up a card with a QR code to vote and you scan the cards with your phone or tablet. You can scan the whole room in one swoop and have results instantly appear on your screen.

This week Plickers released an update to their free iOS app. The update includes the option to add pictures to your questions and preview those images on your phone or iPad. Previously you could only add pictures from the browser version of Plickers.

Still confused about Plickers?
Don't worry, it took me a couple of tries with it to see the potential of Plickers.

Plickers uses your iPad or Android tablet in conjunction with a series of QR codes to create a student response system. Students are given a set of QR codes on large index cards. The codes are assigned to students. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. You can ask questions verbally or project them on a screen for students to see. When you're ready to collect data, use the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards held up by your students. Plickers will show you a bar graph of responses. Responses can also be saved in your online Plickers account.

Three ways to use Plickers in your classroom:
1. Quickly taking the pulse of the class. Ask your students, "do you get this?" (or a similar question) and have them hold up their cards to indicate yes or no. You can do this with a saved class or a demo class in the app.

2. Hosting a review game. Create a series of questions in your saved Plickers classroom. To conduct the review have students hold up their cards to respond to each question. Every student gets to respond at the same time and you get to see how each student responded. This is an advantage over many review games in which only the first student to respond has his or her voice heard.

3. Take attendance. In a saved Plickers class each student has a card assigned to him or her. At the start of class just have them hold up their cards to check-in.

5 Good Google Tools for Social Studies Teachers - And How to Use Them

Over the years I've used a lot of Google tools in my social studies classes. Some of those tools, like Wonder Wheel and Notebook, no longer exist, but many still do. Here are my five go-to Google tools for social studies classrooms. How to videos accompany each tool featured below.


1. Google Maps & Earth. In addition to zooming and panning across places in a way that a paper map could never replicate, Google Maps and Google Earth provide great tools for illustrating stories in a geographic context. The videos below demonstrate how to use Google Maps and Google Earth Tour Builder.



2. The Google News Paper Archive can be a great place for students to find old news articles about the topics they're studying in your classroom. Watch the video below to learn how to use it.



3. Google Books provides students with access to hundreds of thousands of books and periodical articles that are in the public domain. I like to create bookshelves within Google Books to help my students get started accessing some of the titles that will be useful to them.



4. Google Scholar is a research tool that is often overlooked by students. Google Scholar provides students with access to court opinions, patents, and peer-reviewed scholarly works. See the features of Google Scholar in my video embedded below.



5. Timeline JS is technically not a Google tool but it does work with Google Sheets. Timeline JS provides a template for creating and publishing multimedia timelines through a Google Spreadsheet.


Learn more about how to use these tools in your classroom in my online course Teaching History With Technology

Padlet Now Offers an iPad App - 5 Ways You Can Use It With Students

Late last night I checked my email before bed and found a note from Nitesh Goel in Padlet's marketing department, announcing that Padlet has finally released a dedicated iPad app. The iPad app functions in all of the same ways as the web app with one additional feature that teachers are going to love. Now when you want students to join one of your Padlet walls you can have them scan a QR code with the Padlet iPad app to instantly join the wall on their iPads. To get the QR code you must create a Padlet wall then open the sharing settings to find the QR code to project or print. If you need help creating a Padlet wall, click here to find three Padlet tutorial videos.

Applications for Education
I've previously shared a number of ideas for using Padlet in the classroom. The five most popular of those ideas are outlined below.

Padlet as a simple blogging platform:
Padlet walls can be arranged in free-form, grid, or stream layouts. Creating a Padlet page in the stream format could be a good way to create a simple, collaborative blog for students. You could create the page, select "stream" format, and make the page accessible for students to write short posts on. Their posts could include images and videos. If you want to, you can password protect your Padlet pages and moderate messages before they appear on your Padlet page.

Padlet Mini as a bookmarking tool:
Padlet Mini is a Chrome extension that you can use to bookmark websites. When you click the Padlet Mini extension in your browser you will be presented with the option to save to one of your existing walls or create a new Padlet wall. Click here for a video on using Padlet Mini.

Padlet as a KWL chart:
Padlet can be used to create a KWL chart that students can contribute to anonymously (or not anonymously if you want them to sign-in). Create a wall, make it public, and ask students to share what they know and what they want to know about a topic. If you allow anonymous posting you might get contributions from shy students who might not otherwise speak-up in class. Of course, if you allow anonymous commenting you should have a conversation with your students about what an appropriate comment looks like. (You could also turn on moderation and approve all notes before they appear). Padlet works well when projected on an interactive whiteboard.

Padlet for group research and discussion:
A few years ago I showed my special education students a short (18 minutes) video about cultural changes that took place in the US during the 1920's. After the video we discussed what they saw. Then I had students search online for other examples of cultural change in the 1920's. When they found examples they put them onto a Wallwisher (Padlet's previous name) wall that I projected onto a wall in my classroom. The wall started with just text being added to the wall and quickly progressed to YouTube videos being added to the wall. Once every student had added a video to the wall we stopped, watched the videos, and discussed them.

Padlet as a showcase of your students’ work:
If your students are creating digital portfolios, creating slideshows, or producing videos you could use Padlet to display all of your students’ best work on one page. Create the wall, call it something like “my best work this year,” and have your students post links to their works.