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Monday, November 21, 2016

A New Facebook Page for Practical Ed Tech Tips

Many readers of this blog are already familiar my Practical Ed Tech weekly newsletter in which I share my favorite tip of the week and a short list of the most popular posts from this blog. Last night I decided to create a Facebook page to complement that newsletter.

The Practical Ed Tech Facebook page will feature my tip of the week, but it will also feature posts from other bloggers and video producers in the ed tech world. For example, this morning I featured a podcast produced by Dr. Wesley Fryer and a blog post from Larry Ferlazzo. And because the page isn't labeled as "free" I'll be able to share a wider variety of tips including things like articles on purchasing hardware and software. I hope you will follow the new page.

Use Google Earth to Create Narrated Tours of Mars & the Moon

Last night I published a video about how to make simple Google Earth tours. This morning I was greeted by an email in which a reader asked me if it was possible to create tours of Mars by using Google Earth. The answer to that question is yes. You can use Google Earth to create tours of Mars and of the moon by using the same process used to create tours of the Earth. The only difference is that you need to change from "Earth view" to "Mars view" or "Moon view." In the following video I demonstrate how to create, save, and share a narrated tour of Mars and the moon.

Record History on Thanksgiving Day

For many Americans Thanksgiving is one of the few times, perhaps only time, that extended family gathers together. It can be a great time for grandparents and grandchildren to talk to each other. I know that my mother cannot wait to talk to Isla even though she's only three months old and doesn't say much yet. As I mentioned in a post last month, StoryCorps wants people to record some of the conversations that happen between generations of families during Thanksgiving.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an initiative intended to facilitate conversations between students and adult family members over Thankgiving weekend. StoryCorps has released a toolkit for teachers to use to guide students in the process of recording interviews with family members. In the toolkit you will find an interview planning sheet and two pages of interview question suggestions. The toolkit recommends using the StoryCorps mobile apps to capture the conversations. The StoryCorps mobile apps includes question prompts and a suggested script for conducting interviews.

As an alternative to using the StoryCorps apps, your students could record by using The History Project's free recording and timeline tools. That tool lets you make audio recordings to add to a timeline of events.

A Quick, Last-minute Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

American Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Some schools are closed this week while others are open for the first few days of the week. If you're school is open and you're looking for a quick Thanksgiving lesson activity, try this idea that I originally shared a few years ago.

1. Create a Padlet wall for your students on which they can share what they are thankful for this year.

2. Let students create drawings of what Thanksgiving means to them then take pictures of those drawings to post on your Padlet wall.

3. Use Padlet as a KWL chart on which students share what they know about the origins of Thanksgiving and what they would like to know more about.

Don't forget to take advantage of the new comments feature in Padlet. It offers a great way to give your students direct feedback on their notes.