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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Join Me at a Free PD & Networking Event in Chicago

A few months ago the folks at Otus reached out to me about speaking at a professional development and networking event in Chicago. I'm happy to announce that everything has come together nicely and on April 29th I'll be speaking in Chicago at the Aloft hotel.

I will be speaking about how we can help students learn, work, and live independently. And, of course, there will be plenty of references to the role that technology plays in helping students learn, work, and live independently. After my talk there will be time for networking over refreshments and appetizers. If you're in the Chicago area, I hope that you can join us.

This event is free, but space is limited. Please register early through this Eventbrite page.

About Otus:
Otus is a free platform for developing and delivering course materials to your students. You can create, collect, and grade reading and writing assignments, quizzes, polls and surveys, and develop resource libraries in Otus. Otus also has tools for managing attendance and other day-to-day classroom tasks.

TinyTap Partners With Oxford University Press to Create Interactive Picture Dictionaries

TinyTap is a great tool for creating games and other interactive activities for students to play online, on their iPads, or on their laptops. Back in January I shared 16 ways to use TinyTap.

This week TinyTap announced a partnership with Oxford University Press that resulted in the creation of nine interactive picture dictionaries for kids. Unfortunately, it appears that only three of the dictionaries are available for free and others require you to be a "pro" subscriber to TinyTap. The picture dictionaries cover the following topics:

  • at home
  • at school
  • community
  • The United States
  • Health
  • Life Science
  • Physical Science
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Math

JoeZoo Express Makes It Easy to Grade in Google Docs

JoeZoo Express is a free Google Docs Add-on that could change the way that you grade students' work in Google Documents. JoeZoo enables you to give feedback on students' Google Documents by simply highlighting text then selecting feedback statements from a huge menu of options. For example, in my sample document I highlighted text then chose the category of "structure" within the structure category I then chose to tag the sentence with the comment "awkward." When a student sees the feedback he or she will also see an explanation of "awkward" and how he or she can fix it.

JoeZoo Express doesn't limit you to using just feedback phrases that they have listed. You can create your own feedback phrases and explanations.

Teachers who want to use rubrics to give feedback and grades can do so within JoeZoo Express. JoeZoo offers a free rubric builder tool. You can customize the rubric to meet your specific needs. The rubrics that you create can be saved and inserted into students' documents when you are grading their work.

Applications for Education
JoeZoo Express could save you a lot of time when you're giving feedback and grading students' work in Google Documents. The initial set-up of JoeZoo, including creating rubrics and custom feedback phrases, could take a while but should prove to be a time-saver in the end.

JoeZoo Express does integrate with Google Classroom. You can import your Google Classroom rosters into JoeZoo to streamline the process of returning work to your students.

Learn how to use Add-ons like this one and many others in my online course Getting Going With GAFE. Check out my other online courses offered this summer

MoveIt - A Chrome Extension to Keep You Active

MoveIt is a free Chrome extension that aims to help you avoid sitting in front of your computer for too long. At intervals of your choosing MoveIt will prompt you to get up and complete a short exercise. You can set the intervals to be as frequent as every five minutes or as infrequent as every hour. You can also disable MoveIt altogether for the times when you absolutely cannot be interrupted. An overview of MoveIt is included in the video below.


Sworkit Kids is a free Android and iOS app that also offers prompts for short physical exercises your students can do in your classroom.