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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

By Search Request - Bibliography Tools for Students

Over the weekend I was looking at the Google Analytics for FreeTech4Teachers.com and noticed that last week one of the most frequently searched terms that directed people to this blog is "bibliography generators." I took that as a clue that more than a few people are interested in that topic. To that end, here are the tools that I frequently recommend for creating bibliographies. As with any tool that automates a process, teach your students to check the accuracy of the citations created by any of these tools.

For Google Docs users the EasyBib Bibliography Creator is my go-to tool for creating bibliographies. The EasyBib Bibliography Creator makes it easy to properly cite resources and format a bibliography in APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Click here for directions for the process of using this add-on.

RefMe is currently my favorite tool for creating bibliographies outside of the Google Docs environment. RefMe offers browser extensions, a free Android, and a free iPad app for saving resources and generating bibliographies from your collection of resources. Watch my video embedded below to learn more about how to use RefMe in your web browser.

Zaption Expands Free Options for Creating Flipped Lessons

Zaption is a popular tool for creating video-based lessons and quizzes. The service operates on a freemium model in which they offer a mix of free and paid options. Last week Zaption announced that the free options have been expanded. Teachers can now utilize all of the video lesson creation tools that Zaption offers. Those tools include adding required questions that students must answer before moving forward in a video lesson. The other enhancement to the free version of Zaption is the removal of the limitation on the number of viewers your lessons can have.

To create a quiz on Zaption you start by creating a "tour" in your account. A tour is a combination of videos, images, and text arranged into a sequence. To add a video to a tour you can search and select one within Zaption. Zaption pulls videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. After choosing your video, start watching it then pause it when you want to add a question. You can add questions in the form of multiple choice, open response, or check box response. When students watch the video they will see your questions appear in the context in which you set them.

Applications for Education
Zaption can be a great tool for creating flipped lessons to share with your students. Students do not have to have Zaption accounts in order to use the tours that you create. The free version of the service used to only allow only one video per tour/ lesson, but it now allows you to include multiple videos within a lesson/ tour.

Skip the Spreadsheet, Use This Add-on to Create Google Docs Word Clouds

This morning I received an email from a reader who had heard that there was a way to create word clouds in a Google Spreadsheet, but needed a little help doing that. She was worried about how to get all of the words in a document into a spreadsheet in an easy manner. My suggestion was to skip the spreadsheet and just use the Tag Cloud Generator Add-on for Google Documents. My video embedded below demonstrates how to create a word cloud within Google Documents.


Applications for Education
Word clouds can help students analyze documents written by others as well as documents of their own creation. By copying the text of a document into a word cloud generator your students can quickly see the words that appear most frequently in that document. Word clouds can also be used to help students see which words that they have frequently used in their own works. Have your students create word clouds of their work during the revision process of writing a story or essay. The word cloud will quickly show students which words they have used the most. Then ask them to think about synonyms for the words that they have used most often in their writings.

Topics like this one and many others will be covered in depth during my spring and summer offerings of Getting Going With GAFE

Tap to Learn Grammar

Tap to Learn produces a bunch of educational apps for Android and iOS. The Tap to Learn Grammar app for Android offers more than 200 self-paced grammar lessons. The lessons don't have videos embedded in them, but there are links to external videos hosted on YouTube. After working through a lesson students can test their new skills in a series of quizzes. Instant feedback is provided in the skills quizzes within Tap to Learn Grammar. The free app records and tracks students' progress for them.

Applications for Education
Using Tap to Learn's Grammar app isn't a revolutionary approach to learning. That said, if you're looking for an Android app that your students can use to practice and track their progress in developing their grammar skills.