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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where I'm relaxing after a fun day of bicycle riding followed by a nice little concert in Freeport. This week I wrapped up my online course Teaching History With Technology. As always I enjoyed teaching the course and I learned a few things that I'll be implementing when I teach the course again this fall. Speaking of fall, the new school year isn't too far away. To help you get ready for the new school year, next week I'll be releasing an updated version of my Practical Ed Tech Handbook. In the last year it has been downloaded nearly 40,000 times.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. ScratchMath - Great Ideas for Using Scratch in Elementary Math
2. Handy, Overlooked YouTube Features
3. Vizia - Create Interactive Video Quizzes
4. A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs
5. 5 Tips for New Chromebook Users
6. Create Animated Videos & More With Animatron
7. My SimpleShow Offers a Good Way to Create Explanatory Videos

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
FrontRow offers adaptive online ELA and Math practice activities.  
Teach n Go is a comprehensive platform for teaching online courses.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories.

Stacked Ball Drop - A Physics Lesson

The Physics Girl is a great YouTube channel that recently appeared as a suggestion while I was browsing the ASAP Science channel. The Physics Girl is Dianna Cowern who produces short physics lessons for students of all ages. Stacked Ball Drop is one of the videos that caught my attention while I was browsing her channel.

In the Stacked Ball Drop Dianna shows viewers that when one ball is placed on top of another and then dropped the ball on top bounces higher than it would if it was dropped alone. Dianna then goes on to explain the physics that is involved in a single ball bouncing as well the physics of two or more balls stacked on top of each other being dropped and bounced. That explanation transitions to how the concepts in the stacked ball dropped are analogous to the formation of super novas.


Applications for Education
This video demonstrates an excellent science lesson for students. After watching the video or a portion of the video you could have students write predictions for what they think will happen if they stack more balls and or use balls of different sizes and densities. Then let them go out and conduct the experiment and record their results.

To create a flipped lesson based on this video try using Vizia, VideoNot.es, or EDPuzzle.

Three Good Ways to Use Word Clouds With Students

Last week's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week featured two good tools for creating custom word clouds. Throughout the week people have Tweeted suggestions about how to use word clouds with students. Here are three word cloud activities suggested by folks on Twitter.

1. SMS World Geography suggested the following:


2.Megan Hartigan shared that she used word clouds to show students how their understanding of mathematics vocabulary grew from September to June.


3. Jen Wagner chimed-in to remind me of her site Guess the Wordle. On Guess the Wordle Jen has posted a collection of word clouds that students look at and then guess what they are about. For example, on Guess the Wordle there is a set of word clouds featuring words that describe states in the United States. Based on the clues in the word cloud students have to guess which state the word cloud is about.