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Monday, October 5, 2015

ClassDojo Makes Translation Available to All Class Story Users

Six weeks ago when ClassDojo launched their Class Story feature some users noticed that there was a translation option available to them. This feature has now been enabled for all users of Class Story. The translation feature allows parents to select the language in which they want to read Class Story updates. The translation feature is available when viewing Class Story in your web browser. The feature will be available in the ClassDojo mobile apps soon.

Applications for Education
The new translation option in Class Story could help teachers keep more of their students' parents informed about things happening in their classrooms. Class Story itself provides a good middle ground between being a full-fledged blog and a simple SMS update delivery system.

Good Tools for Student Writers

StoryToolz offers a good collection of free tools for student writers. Writers who are struggling to come up with ideas for fiction stories will like the story starters featured on StoryToolz. StoryToolz has three tools that you can use to get story ideas; Random Conflicts, Half Title Generator, and Story Idea Generator. In addition to the writing prompts tools StoryToolz offers a few tools to help you edit your work. The Cliché Buster analyzes your work to find clichés that you have used in your writing. The Readability tool analyzes your text to estimate a reading level on several scales.


Applications for Education
StoryToolz offers tools that are useful to almost every student. Students in creative writing courses could benefit from the story idea generators. Likewise, teachers can use the tools to find prompts to give to students. The writing analysis tools could be used by students to help them edit their writing before giving it to you or a peer for editing.

How to Use Voice Typing in Google Documents

Over the weekend I posted a note on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page about using voice typing in Google Documents. There were a lot of questions posted about how to access and use the voice typing feature in Google Documents. To address those questions I created the short video that is embedded below.


Key points about voice typing in Google Docs:
1. You must use the Chrome web browser.
2. You must speak clearly.
3. A list of voice typing commands is available here.
4. It appears that voice typing has not been rolled out to every domain, yet.

Historical Investigations for Students to Complete

One of my favorite ways to get students to attempt to connect pieces of historical evidence is to present the with a challenge or "mystery" that must be solved. I started doing this many years ago when I was teaching about Chinese history. I continued using this method when I began teaching U.S. History. If you want to try the same method, the following two resources will help you get started.

Historical Scene Investigation offers a fun way for students to investigate history through primary documents and images. Historical Scene Investigation presents students with historical cases to "crack." Each of these thirteen cases present students with clues to analyze in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. The clues for each investigation come in the forms of primary documents and images as well as secondary sources. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the documents and images. At the conclusion of their investigation students need to answer questions and decide if the case should be closed or if more investigation is necessary.

Who Am I? A History Mystery is a fun and challenging activity from the Smithsonian's The Price of Freedom online exhibit. Who Am I? presents players with six historical characters that they have to identify using the text and image clues provided. To solve the mystery players have to match the visual artifacts to each character. The Price of Freedom offers a series of detailed lesson plans and videos for six major events and eras in US History. Those events and eras are War of Independence, Wars of Expansion, The Civil War, World War II, Cold War/ Vietnam, and September 11.

Record your Presentations with Present.me

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

Present.me is a great tool that you can use to record your presentations. You can create a video recording of yourself, a voice over, or simply a looping slideshow!

EdTechTeacher FTFT Present Me

The process is quite simple. Just create a free account on the Present.me education website (you are limited to three videos a month and and are limited to live recordings, no uploaded video). You can upload your presentation directly or via Google Drive as a .ppt, .pptx, .pdf, Google Doc, and even a Prezi! Next, you select whether you want to record your presentation with a video, a voice over, or just the presentation itself. You can even stop, go back, and trim if you make a mistake.


When you finish, your video is published on the Present.me site, Social Media platform of your choosing, or even via email; you can also get the embed code and publish it to a blog or website. This is a great tool if you are interested in flipping your lessons, teaching an online course, or want students to create their own content.

For more ideas, EdTechTeacher has a list of presentation app suggestions for any device. You can also join their instructors as well as educators from around the world at their fourth annual EdTechTeacher iPad Summit, November 17-18, in Boston.