Google
 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in April

Every month Google rolls out updates to the products that teachers know and love. Some of those updates are significant and others are just minor tweaks that make life a little easier. Here are some of the more significant product updates that occurred in April.

1. A completely new version of Google Earth was unveiled. The new version was designed to be used in the Chrome web browser, in turn making it available for Chromebook users. Click here to watch my tour of the new Google Earth. And join me in Teaching History With Technology to learn how to use Google Earth in your classroom. 

2. Google Classroom is now available to anyone who has a Gmail address. As long as you have a Gmail address you can create and or join Google Classroom courses. Click here for directions on how to make your own Google Classroom. Join me in Getting Going With G Suite to learn how all parts of G Suite can work together in your classroom. 

3. Speak to Go is a new WebVR experiment that allows you to direct virtual reality with your voice. You can use it in your Google Cardboard viewer or you can use it on your desktop in the Chrome browser. More information can be read here

4. Speaking of VR, Google is promoting a set of virtual reality tours related to Alexander Hamilton's life. 

5. More Street View imagery was added to Google Maps including these great images of California's redwood forests. 

6. Google+, the social network that everyone has, but no one remembers, has a new "Topics" feature that is supposed to help you discover more posts about things you are interested in. 

7. For administrators there is a new option for controlling who can or cannot use Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets in offline mode. 

The Month in Review - April's Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where it's nice to be home after a few days on the road. We enjoyed New Orleans, but this northerner is happy to be back in the cool, crisp weather of spring in Maine. Earlier this week I literally watched the ice go out.

As I do at the end of every month, I have assembled a list of the most popular posts of the previous 30 days. Take a look and see if there is anything that you missed that you can use in your practice.

Here are the most popular posts of April, 2017:
1. More Than 400 Science Animations
2. 10 Math Tutorial YouTube Channels Not Named Khan Academy
3. 7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in March
4. 33 Lessons on Critical Thinking
5. How to Create Appointment Slots in Google Calendar
6. The Periodic Table of Videos - An Update from the Archive
7. Two Free Speech-to-Text Tools
8. 7 Blogging Tools for Teachers Compared and Ranked - Updated for 2017
9. 5 Good Ways for Students to Create Digital Showcases of Their Work
10. Create Your Own Google Classroom - G Suite Not Required

Looking for a keynote or workshop? Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

I am hosting five online courses starting this week.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
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.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

5 Resources for Learning About Aviation - How Airplanes Fly

Today at the WWII Museum in New Orleans I took a bunch of pictures of My Gal Sal including some 3D images that I'll use in VR headsets. Looking at My Gal Sal and some of the other planes in the museum was a treat for someone like me who is fascinated by aviation. When I got back to my hotel room I went through my archives to find some of my favorite resources for learning about flight and how airplanes fly.

The Minute Physics video How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.



The Contest for Human Flight is an interactive site about the competition between the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss. National Geographic has an interactive timeline that complements the episode. In the timeline you can see archival videos of the first airplane flights, images of prototype drawings, and additional passages of text about the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss.

The Wright Brothers - The Invention of the Aerial Age is another good timeline for teaching about the developments made by the Wright Brothers. Dig into the Interactive Experiments section of the timeline and you'll find Engineering the Wright WayEngineering the Wright Way offers interactive simulations in which students learn about wing design by joining the Wright Brothers for test flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

America by Air online exhibit is a series of thirteen online activities that take students through the history of commercial aviation in the United States.

How Things Fly features an interactive module in which students design their own airplanes. The activity starts with a simple and slow airplane that students have to modify until it reaches a target speed and altitude. As students modify the wings, fuselage, and engines of their airplanes they are given instant feedback on the effects of those modifications. In some cases the feedback includes the airplane crashing and the students having to start over again.

5 Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About World War II

This morning I went to the World War II museum in New Orleans. It is a fantastic museum. The museum does a masterful job of mixing artifacts and oral histories into the greater context of World War II. And for folks like me who are fascinated by aircraft the Boeing center is a great place to see vintage aircraft up close. In the Boeing center I stopped and recorded some photospheres in the Google Street View images app and in the Google Cardboard Camera app. The whole experience prompted me revisit some of my favorite online resources for teaching and learning about World War II.

The Science and Technology of WWII provides students and teachers with lesson plans, timelines, essays, images, and learning activities about the scientific and technological developments that took place during WWII. The darkroom section of the website contains thirteen categories of images of WWII scientific and technology developments. The timeline on the website allows students to explore the scientific, technological, and political steps in the development of the atomic bomb. The learning activities section of The Science and Technology of WWII gives students the opportunity to learn about and send coded messages.

The World at War is an interactive timeline about FDR's decisions during WWII. Click on any of the key decisions listed to learn more about those decisions. The decisions are interspersed amongst other key events of WWII. None of the event descriptions are terribly detailed, but the timeline does provide a nice general overview.

History Animated is a resource that I first started using with students in 2009. History Animated provides animations of battles of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the US Civil War, and US Campaign in Europe in WWII, US Pacific Campaign in WWII. In each of the three series of animations you will see the animated movement of armies displayed on a map. Each animation is accompanied by captions describing the strategies of the armies as well as the results and consequences of each battle. The animations will make great supplements to classroom instruction. The animations are a significant improvement over drawing or pointing to places on a map.

The BBC's World Wars In-depth series contains some great audio, visual, animated, and text resources for learning about WWII from start to finish. WWII In-depth contains a timeline overview of the war. From there you can jump-off in a number of directions to explore details about WWII.

The Wikimedia Commons' Atlas of World War II contains dozens of maps related to World War II. Some of the maps are blank outline maps, but most are labeled. In the Atlas of World War II you will find maps of battle locations, shifts in control, and possession of territory. The collection of maps is arranged by region.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from New Orleans where Isla and I have been spending time exploring while mom is at a conference here. This is a completely new-to-me travel experience as we're up early and wandering the city before almost anything is open. This morning we were the first in line to buy tickets for the WWII Museum. If you get the chance to see that museum, do it!

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you're having a great weekend. If you're plans include trying some ed tech tools, take a look at those featured in this week's most popular posts.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. GE Teach Tour Builder - Create Google Earth Tours for the Web
2. 10 Math Tutorial YouTube Channels Not Named Khan Academy
3. This Online Audio Editor Is Beautiful
4. Two Free Speech-to-Text Tools
5. Create Your Own Google Classroom - G Suite Not Required
6. Story Cubes - Templates to Help Students Plan Stories
7. Getting Going With G Suite - An Online Course

Looking for a keynote or workshop? Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

I am offering five different online courses over the next four months.


Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
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.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp Early Bird Discounts Available for One More Day

The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps have sold out every year that I've hosted them. This year promises to not be an exception to that pattern. Four registrations for the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp arrived yesterday. Those four got in at the early bird discounted rate. There is just over 24 hours left to register for either the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp or the BYOD Camp at the early bird discounted rate. Click here to learn more about both events.

Your registration includes sixteen hours of hands-on learning in a friendly environment. Of course, I'll also feed you breakfast and a hearty lunch during both days too.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Two Free Speech-to-Text Tools

This morning on Practical Ed Tech Live I answered a request for a free speech-to-text tool. There were two that I suggested. One was Dictation.io and the other was Dictanote.

On Dictation.io you can simply click "start dictation" then start having your voice transcribed into a text document. No registration is required in order to use Dictation.io. More than two dozen languages are support on Dictation.io. The video embedded below provides a demonstration of Dictation.io.



In Google Chrome you can use the Dictanote Speech Recognizer app available for free through the Chrome Web Store. To use the Dictanote Speech Recognizer just install it from the Chrome Web Store, launch it, then click the microphone to start taking and recording your voice. The Speech Recognizer will type out your text when you finish recording. You can then copy and paste your text to the paragraph box below the Speech Recognizer or to a document you have open in Google Docs.

The History of the Zamboni

The Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing. And even though the Bruins are now eliminated and my childhood team, the Whalers, abandoned me like a bad prom date long ago one thing remains the same, the Zamboni cheers for no one. The Zamboni company produced a poster on the evolution of the Zamboni and some images and a video about how it works.


Applications for Education
If you have students that are passionate hockey fans, you could grab their attention with a short science lesson about refrigeration and ice.

And if you're looking to make your own Zamboni, Red Green has a tutorial for you.

Practical Ed Tech Live - Recording and Questions

This morning I recorded a new episode of Practical Ed Tech Live. This episode was a little short because I was recording with a special guest who was a little antsy. The questions that I did answer are listed below. As always, please send me your questions and I'll answer them in the next episode.


Question 1:
I am looking for some speech to text apps / software that is FREE.

Question 2:
How do I get you to stop posting on my Facebook?

Question 3:
Volume Envelopes as per https://beautifulaudioeditor.appspot.com/docs did not work for me. Any ideas why?

Question 4:
I watched your video about Google Calendar appointments, thank you for that. My question is about sharing the calendar. Can I share the calendar with another teacher and have her see the appointments too?

Question 5:
I tried the GE Teach Tour maker that you recommended. Is there a way to add audio to the tour? I’d like to have my students explain each site in their own words. We are a Chromebook school.

Create Your Own Google Classroom - G Suite Not Required

Last month Google began allowing anyone who has a Gmail address to join Google Classroom classrooms. This week that option was extended to allow anyone who has a Gmail address to create his or her own Google Classroom online classroom.

Teachers who are already using Google Classroom within a G Suite for Education account already know how to create a new classroom. For people who have been waiting to try it, here's what you need to do:

1. Sign-in with your personal Gmail account at classroom.google.com.
2. Click "+" in the upper, right corner of the screen and choose "create a class."
3. Complete the required basic information about your class (title, section, topic).
4. Invite people to join your classroom. To do this select "students" while viewing your classroom. In the "students" section you will find a classroom invitation code that you can distribute. Alternatively, you can invite people to join by sending emails directly from your Google Classroom account.

Applications for Education
There are plenty of online course tools that are more robust than Google Classroom. However, the really good ones are not free. That said, Google Classroom is adequate for many online courses and as a supplement to in-person classes. Now that Google Classroom is open to the world, we could see all kinds of new courses popping-up on the web. We could see high school students creating courses to teach others about hobbies. We might see teachers using it to create professional development courses.

How to effectively use Google Classroom and all elements of G Suite will be covered in my online course Getting Going With G Suite. The course starts next week. Graduate credit is available. Learn more here and register here

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Penguins and 3D Printers

We went to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas today and saw endangered African penguins. Seeing the penguins immediately reminded me of the story of Purps the Penguin.

Purps is a penguin at the Mystic Aquarium who was helped by middle school students who designed and printed a walking boot for Purps when she was injured. With the help of their school's library media specialist, Sue Prince, the students in a Mystic, Connecticut middle school created the boot for Purps. The whole story can be found in the video embedded below.


To me, this story is another great example of students putting their heads together to solve a problem with the help of their teacher and the help of technology.

How to Subscribe to a YouTube Channel

I have a few YouTube channels that I enjoy and look forward to their next uploads. I subscribe to those channels so that I'm notified when new videos are uploaded and whenever those channels host live streams. A few of the channels I'm subscribed to are SciShow Kids, Tom Richey, and Minute Earth. If you're a high school history teacher, I'd recommend subscribing to Tom Richey's channel and sharing it with your students. In the following video I demonstrate how to subscribe to a YouTube channel.

The first part of the video shows you how to search within a YouTube channel. This is a great way to search within a trusted source for additional content.


Tomorrow at 9:30am EDT I'm hosting a YouTube Live session in which I'll answer your ed tech questions. You'll find that Q&A on my YouTube channel.

Three Tips for Getting More Out of Webinars

About nine or so years ago I watched a webinar for the first time. I can't remember exactly what the webinar was about (it was something about Second Life), but I do remember thinking that I didn't get "it." After that I watched bunch of free webinars about all kinds of things because that's what I thought I should do to be a modern teacher staying current in his practice. Finally, in late 2011 I paid to join a webinar and something weird happened, I got a lot more out of the experience. Since then almost every webinar I've attended, both free and paid, has been a good learning experience. Here's what I figured out about learning from webinars.

1. Participate in live webinars, don't just watch them.
Every webinar platform has some kind of chat or Q&A feature. Use it! Use it to ask the presenter questions. An experienced webinar presenter will be able to handle questions in realtime. Don't be afraid to ask clarifying questions. Even when I'm attending webinars about things with which I'm already familiar, I make an effort to think of questions to ask. This forces me to tune-in and listen with more focus than if I was just listening in the hopes that something said by the presenter will jump out at me.

2. Close Facebook and take notes.
If I cannot attend the live version of a webinar, I still find great value in recorded webinars. When I watch recorded webinar I focus on it the same way I would during a live session. That means closing Facebook and taking notes in my notebook. In that notebook I write the questions that I want to send to the presenter via email.

3. Act on webinar ideas quickly.
When I participate in a webinar my participation isn’t over until I actually act on what I was just taught. Just like in a traditional classroom setting, it’s important to try for yourself what was just demonstrated for you. Do this as quickly as you can.

If you’re ready to try learning through webinars, take a look at the online courses that I'm offering this summer. And if you're a subscriber to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter, check your email for a discount offer that was sent on Wednesday.

Practical Ed Tech Live - Tomorrow Morning With a Special Guest

Tomorrow morning at 9:30 EDT I am hosting another edition of Practical Ed Tech Live in which I will answer your questions about all things ed tech. This week's episode will be coming to you live from the waterfront in New Orleans with a special guest. That guest is my daughter Isla Quinn. Why we're broadcasting from New Orleans will be revealed in tomorrow's show.

You can join tomorrow's live broadcast by joining us on my YouTube channel. Subscribe to my channel and you'll receive a notification when the broadcast goes live. Watch this video to learn how to subscribe to a YouTube channel.

Tomorrow morning I'll answer questions that are submitted live on the broadcast. I will also answer questions that have been submitted in advance. Please use the following form to submit your questions.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Love a Good Keynote...But I'll Take the Workshop

I love to listen to a good keynote presentation. Dan Meyer's Math Class Needs a Makeover is still one of the best I've seen in terms of challenging status quo in education. Angela Maiers and Vicki Davis speak with passion that is infectious and unsurpassed. And when I am given the opportunity, I enjoy giving the keynote at a conference. That said, I enjoy even more the opportunity to spend hours working with teachers in hands-on workshops because at the end of the day I know for sure that those teachers are walking away with something new that they can use. That is why I every spring I start to get excited about the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps.

The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps provide you with sixteen hours of hands-on learning in a small, collaborative environment. I hope that you can join us this year. Discounted early registration is available for five more days.

Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp registration form. 


Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp registration form. 

This Online Audio Editor Is Beautiful

Beautiful Audio Editor is a free audio editor that you can use in the Chrome and Firefox web browsers. Beautiful Audio Editor lets you record spoken audio directly and or import audio that you have previously recorded in MP3 and WAV formats. You can edit and blend multiple tracks in the Beautiful Audio Editor. When your audio editing project is complete you can download it as an MP3 file, download it as a WAV file, or you can save it in Google Drive.

For the last few years I've recommended using Twisted Wave to record and edit audio on Chromebooks. Beautiful Audio Editor offers more options and is what I'll be using on Chromebooks from here on.

Applications for Education
Beautiful Audio Editor could be a great tool for your students to use to create podcasts on their Chromebooks. The use of multiple track editing will let your students fade-in music or other canned introductions. Likewise, they'll be able to splice in audio samples in the middle of spoken tracks and or under spoken tracks as background music.

Learn more about using Chromebooks in your classroom when you attend the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp.


Live Video of Owls, Ospreys, and More

Explore.org offers the largest collection of live nature webcams on the web. In the gallery of live webcams you will find video feeds featuring owls in their nests, ospreys in their nests, and bald eagles in nests, and video feeds featuring puffins. As it is spring in the northern hemisphere, the bird videos feeds are the best they will be all year because birds will soon be hatching in those nests seen the webcams. For the last ten minutes I've been listening to and watching the nest of this Great Gray Owl in Montana.


Applications for Education
Birds aren't the only animals featured in the Explore webcams, they just stand out right now because the rest of the year the nests will be empty. Your students can certainly explore all of the other webcams on Explore that feature polar bears, tigers, goats, and many other mammals. All of the webcam feeds have a little pop-up menus that contain more information about the animals featured in the feeds. All videos can be streamed via YouTube or the Explore website. I kind of like just having the owl webcam on as soothing background noise, students might like that too.

Explore.org does have a dedicated education section that offers free lesson plans based on the videos available to stream and or download.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Telegra.ph - Multimedia Publishing That Doesn't Require Registration

Telegra.ph is a free publishing tool that I featured last week in Three Simple Platforms for Publishing Writing. In that post I made an error in saying that it didn't allow you to include videos in your stories. A reader named Dan emailed me this morning to correct me and explain that you can include videos in Telegra.ph stories. I then made the following video to show how you can publish a multimedia story on Telegra.ph. One of the best aspects of Telegra.ph is that you don't have to register in order to use the service. Watch my video below to learn more about how to create and publish a story on Telegra.ph.

Try This Fun, Free AR App for Outdoor Lessons

Spring is here in the northern hemisphere and those of us in northern climates are ready to get back to playing outside without wearing seven layers of clothing. This is the time of the school year when my students always ask about having class outside. If you're an elementary school teacher who is ready to get your kids outside for a lesson, take a look at Plum's Creaturizer.

Plum's Creaturizer from PBS Kids is a free iOS and Android app that lets students create fun cartoon creatures then place them into outdoor settings through the use of augmented reality. The purpose of the app is to have students learn and show how the characteristics of an animal help it thrive in its environment. In the following video I demonstrate how the app works (apologies for the background noise, I recorded this video outside to show how the AR feature works in real settings).

Edublogs Publishes a Report on the State of Educational Blogging

Edublogs, a popular student blogging service, recently published the findings of their annual survey to gather feedback from teachers, students, and school administrators about their use of educational blogs. This year 688 people completed the survey, down from 777 last year, but up from the 587 two years ago. Sue Waters wrote a detailed report of the survey's findings. There are a few items from the survey that jumped out to me. The use of tablets is on the decline. Only half of the respondents indicated that they work or learn in a 1:1 environment. Almost half of all student blogs are private.

Tablet use on the decline
Based on my observations at conferences and the conversations that I have had with school leaders over the last year, this is not surprising. In short, the rise of affordable Chromebooks combined with some of the peculiarities/frustrations of trying to type on tablets makes Chromebooks and other affordable laptops a better choice for blogging.

Only half of respondents in 1:1 environments
If you haven't started a classroom blog because you don't have dedicated laptops for each student to use, this survey proves that you don't need 1:1 to use blogs in your classroom. You might need to give students more time to complete a blogging activity and or plan it a little differently than those in 1:1 environments, but you can still use blogging effectively in your practice. Strategies for classroom blogging are covered in detail in Blogs & Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders.

Half of student blogs are private
I have mixed feelings about this statistic. On one hand I recognize the need to protect student privacy and making a blog private is one way to do that (as is teaching students not to reveal personally identifying information/ sensitive information). On the other hand, making the blogs private limits the opportunity for students to have their work shared with a global audience. Unfortunately, the survey results don't include explanations from respondents in regards to why they made their students' blogs private.

If you haven't tried blogging with your students or you want to try again, take a look at my comparison of classroom blogging tools.



Join Blogs & Social Media for Teachers & School Leaders to learn how to make blogging a successful part of your practice.

GE Teach Tour Builder - Create Google Earth Tours for the Web

GE Teach is a fantastic project developed by Josh Williams. Josh and his students were some of the first to use the new version of Google Earth in a classroom. In fact they used it before it was available to the public. (Click here for a video overview of the new Google Earth). The new version of Google Earth works differently than the old version, particularly when it comes to building tours. Josh built a free tool that makes it relatively easy to create and publish tours to view in the new version of Google Earth.

GE Teach Tour is a free tool that you and your students can use to create tours to play in the new web version of Google Earth. To get started head to geteach.com/tour/ then enter a title for your tour. The next step is to give your first placemark a title and to enter a description of the location you're featuring with that placemark. To place your placemarks in your tour you can either manually enter latitude and longitude coordinates or you can click on the map to insert your placemarks. Finally, to add images to your placemarks you will have to link to publicly available images that are in your Google Drive account or on another image hosting service like Flickr (by the way, linking to images found on sites that prevent hotlinking won't work).

When you have completed all of the steps to build your tour in GE Teach you will then save the file as a KML that you then import into Google Earth. (Click here for directions on importing KML to Google Earth). Once your KML file is loaded it will play your tour just like the default Voyages that you can find in Google Earth.

Applications for Education
GE Teach Tour could be a great tool for teachers who want their students to create Google Earth tours on their Chromebooks. Students can use GE Teach Tour to create things like Google Lit Trips, to map stories, or to construct a tour of significant landmarks in a region.

We'll be covering how to use Google Earth and Google Maps in more detail in Teaching History With Technology starting on May 8th.

H/T to the Google Earth Blog

Monday, April 24, 2017

Free, Live Online Review for AP Government Exam

On May 2nd two of my favorite history teachers, Keith Hughes and Tom Richey, are hosting an online review session for students who are taking the AP Government exam. The free, live session will be held at 8pm EDT on May 2nd. You and you're students can join the session here. Watch Keith's promo video embedded below to learn more.

How to Control What Appears in Your Facebook Feed

This afternoon I received an email from a reader who was quite upset that I was posting on her Facebook account. Since I'm not in the business of hacking the social media accounts of my readers, I think she meant that she was seeinf a lot of the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook posts in her stream. The only people who control what you see in your Facebook account are you and Mark Zuckerberg's employees. You can adjust what you see when you sign into your Facebook account by using the various visibility controls that Facebook makes available to users. The following video that I made will give you a crash course on how to adjust what you see on Facebook.

Story Cubes - Templates to Help Students Plan Stories

Read Write Think's Cube Creators provide templates designed to break the writing process into six distinct parts. There are templates for writing biographies, mysteries, short stories, and a blank template that you can customize. Students enter the required information into the online template. When the template is completed, it can be printed with lines for cutting and folding to create an actual cube.

Applications for Education
Cube Creator templates could help students get started on a writing assignment when they're confronted with writer's block. The templates also provide guidance for outlining and formatting a story. These templates are suitable for elementary school use.

Getting Going With G Suite - An Online Course

Next Tuesday at 7pm Eastern Time I am starting a new section of my popular online course Getting Going With G Suite. Once again this course will offer a graduate credit option.

This course offers everything you need to know to take advantage of the great things that G Suite offers to teachers and students. Getting Going With G Suite is a webinar series designed for teachers and administrators who are new to using Google Apps for Education. Getting Going With G Suite is a five week course covering everything you need to know to integrate Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Sites into your practice.

Getting Going With G Suite costs $147. (Subscribers to the Practical Ed Tech newsletter receive a discount code). Three graduate credits are available for the course through my partnership Midwest Teachers Institute and Calumet College of St. Joseph. Graduate credits require an additional fee and completion of weekly assignments.


The course will meet on May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 7pm Eastern Time. The live meetings are recorded for folks who register but cannot attend every live meeting.

ViewedIt - Quick and Easy Screencasting

ViewedIt is a free Chrome extension that makes it quick and easy to create and share screencast videos. With the extension installed you can record your entire screen or just one window tab. ViewedIt will let you record yourself with your webcam too. The best part of ViewedIt is that you can track who watches your video.

To record on ViewedIt you simply have to click the extension icon then choose what you want to record. When you're done recording your video is automatically stored on ViewedIt. From ViewedIt you can share your video via email and social media. If you choose to share via email, you will be able to track who watched your video.

The shortcomings of ViewedIt are that it doesn't let you download your videos and it doesn't let you upload your videos to YouTube.

Applications for Education
ViewedIt could be a good screencasting tool for teachers who use Chromebooks and want to share tutorial videos with their students. Being able to track when your students watch your videos could prove to be handy.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

10 Math Tutorial YouTube Channels Not Named Khan Academy

One of the most popular posts of all time on this blog featured math tutorial YouTube channels for high school and college students. That post was originally created as a response to an email from a reader who was seeking suggestions for math videos that were not on Khan Academy. This evening I took some time to update my list of math tutorial channels on YouTube that are not Khan Academy. Here's the new list.

Yay Math! features an excited teacher teaching mathematics lessons to his students. The videos capture just the teacher and his whiteboard with some feedback from students. The videos cover topics in Algebra and Geometry. You can check out the Yay Math! companion website to learn more about Robert Ahdoot, the teacher featured in the videos.

WowMath.org is developed by high school mathematics teacher Bradley Robb. His YouTube channel has more than six hundred videos covering topics in Algebra and Calculus. You can access the videos on a mobile version of WowMath too.

Patrick JMT offers of hundreds of videos covering topics in Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus. The channel also includes tips for answering math questions on the SAT and on the GED.

Numberphile is a neat YouTube channel about fun number facts. There are currently thirty-three videos in the Numberphile collection. The videos cover things like 998,001 and its Mysterious Recurring DecimalsPi and Bouncing Balls, and 1 and Prime Numbers.

Bright Storm is an online tutoring service. On their YouTube channel Bright Storm provides hundreds of videos for Algebra I, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Precalculus, and Calculus. Bright Storm also offers some SAT and ACT prep videos.

Ten Marks is another online tutoring service that offers mathematics tutorial videos on their site as well as on their YouTube channel. Some of the lessons in their playlists include lessons on units of measurement, decimals, fractions, probability, area and perimeter, and factoring.

Math Class With Mr. V features seven playlists made by a mathematics teacher teaching lessons on basic mathematics, geometry, and algebra. In all there are more than 300 video lessons. Like most mathematics tutorials on YouTube, Math Class With Mr. V uses a whiteboard to demonstrate how to solve problems.

The Open University is one of my go-to YouTube channel for all things academic. A quick search on The Open University reveals seven playlists that include lessons in mathematics. The lessons that you will find in these playlists are more theoretical than they are "how to" lessons.

The New Boston is primarily a channel for computer science lessons, but it also has some good playlists of geometryalgebra, and basic mathematics lessons.

Math Doctor Bob's YouTube channel offers nearly 700 video lessons on statistics, algebra I and II, calculus, geometry, and much more. The lessons feature Doctor Bob giving the lesson in front of a whiteboard so you see him and don't just hear his lessons.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Kitchen Science - Let's Make Butter

SciShow Kids recently released a new video titled Let's Make Butter. The video provides directions for making butter in your kitchen then goes on to explain the science of what happens in the process of making butter.


Applications for Education
Rainy days like the one we're having here in Maine are perfect for kitchen science lessons. My daughter is a little too young for this activity, but if you have kids of elementary school age, this could be a nice rainy day science lesson.

Practical Ed Tech Webinar FAQs

Starting in May and running through the end of August I will be hosting five different professional development webinars for teachers and school administrators. I recorded the video embedded below to answer some of the questions that are most frequently asked about my Practical Ed Tech webinars. Watch the video and you'll get the discount code for the webinars as well as a chance to see a guest appearance from one of my dogs.


Of course, you can always email me at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com if you have questions that aren't answered in the video or on the webinar registration pages.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from rainy Maine. The rain doesn't stop us from playing outside, but it's not quite as fun as playing in the sun. I am hopeful that all of our April showers will soon be replaced by May flowers. Speaking of things happening in May, next month I'm kicking off my summer schedule of Practical Ed Tech professional development webinars. Join me for one or all five of my courses and you'll be ready to start the next school year with lots of new ideas about using technology in your classroom. Of course, if you're the type of person who prefers an in-person learning environment, the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps are for you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Tour of the New Google Earth - Google Earth in Your Browser
2. More Than 400 Science Animations
3. The PeriodicTable of Videos - An Update from the Archive
4. SeeSaw Now Directly Accepts Google Drive Files
5. WriteReader and Sesame Street Partner to Help Kids Create Multimedia Stories
6. Loopy Makes It Easy to Create Animated Simulations
7. 5 Good Ways for Students to Create Digital Showcases of Their Work

I am offering five different online courses over the next four months.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
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.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Three Simple Platforms for Publishing Writing

I recently finished making a couple of videos that teach people how to create self-hosted WordPress blogs. Using a self-hosted WordPress blog is the way to go if your goal is to create a robust platform to showcase your professional work. But creating a blog like that could be overkill for those who just want to find a quick and easy to way to publish their thoughts online. The following three platforms reside somewhere between Creed Thoughts and full-fledged blogging platforms.

Telegra.ph gives you a simple place to publish your writing and pictures without the need to create an account on the site. To publish you simply go to telegra.ph and start writing. You can include pictures in your writing, but you cannot include videos. Your writing will be given its own URL that you can share with those you want to read your work. The whole process of publishing on Telegraph is quick and easy. Here's my first Telegraph entry.

Draft is a free, collaborative writing platform that provides a distraction-free environment. When you write in Draft you won't see anything but the text in front of you. Draft is stripped of options for messing about with font colors or inserting pictures. Anyone who has an email address can participate in editing a document in Draft. Draft is a nice option for people who don't have access to Google Docs and or those who just want to focus on the text and not worry about playing around with font styling.

Page O Rama is a free service for quickly creating stand alone webpages. Creating a webpage with Page O Rama is very simple. Just visit the Page O Rama homepage, select a web address, title your page, and start typing. Page O Rama offers a good selection of text editing tools including page breaks. If you want to, you can add images to your Page O Rama pages too. If you think your page is something that you're going to want to edit and update occasionally, you can enter your email address to create an administrative log-in.

5 Good Ways for Students to Create Digital Showcases of Their Work

As I look at dreary weather outside my window it doesn't feel like the end of the school year is near, but it is getting near for many people. The end of the school year is when many of us start to think about summative activities for our students to do to show what they have learned over the course of the year. Having students create a showcase of their best work is a good way to have them reflect on the school year while also showing you and their parents what they've learned. Creating a digital showcase makes it easy for parents to see what their children think are their best works. Here are five ways that your students can create a digital showcase of their best work.

Adobe Spark's webpage creator offers a fantastic way to create simple webpages in which your students can include images, text, and videos. Consider having your students arrange their pages chronologically so that the top of the page shows their work at the beginning of the year and then as viewers scroll down they see your students' latest work. Click here for a video tutorial on how to use Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark works in your web browser and is also available as an iOS app.

Tackk is a free service on which your students can create a page to announce an important event, to advertise an event, or to show off their best digital works. To create a Tackk page you do not need to register for an account, but unregistered Tackk pages expire after seven days. If you register for the service your Tackk pages stay up indefinitely. Tackk offers an edu version which lets students integrate their G Suite accounts, Edmodo accounts, or Office 365 accounts. Creating a Tackk is a simple matter of uploading an image then adding text in the customizable fields above and below an image. In addition to images Tackk pages can accommodate videos, audio files, and maps. Learn more about Tackk in my video here. Tackk can be used in your web browser. It is also available as an Android app and as an iOS app.

SeeSaw offers a fantastic way for students to organize a digital portfolio that they can share publicly or privately. The most outstanding feature of SeeSaw is the option for students to record videos in which they talk about the artifacts in their digital portfolios. And as was explained in a post earlier today, SeeSaw now makes it easy for students to import items from the G Suite for Education accounts.

Google Sites might be the obvious choice for teachers who work in schools that use G Suite for Education. Google Sites will let you create a site on which you give each student his or her own page to manage. By doing that you're only tracking updates on one classroom site as opposed to trying to keep track of each student's individual sites created in a service like Adobe Spark or Tackk. Another good feature of Google Sites is that it is designed for importing files from Google Drive which makes it easy for students to showcase their best docs, slides, videos, and drawings. The downside to using Google Sites is that it rejects a lot of third party embed codes.

ClassDojo's Student Stories offers a convenient way for your students to create a portfolio that their parents can see while they're also checking all of the other information that you share with them through the ClassDojo platform. Student Stories puts students in charge of assembling their portfolios. Their portfolios can include digital work as well as physical work that they take pictures of with a camera on a mobile device or on a laptop. You moderate your students' submissions before anyone can see them. To submit work students simply scan a class QR code then add their submissions. Watch the video embedded below to see how it works. Click here for a PDF of directions on how to use Student Stories.


Three Tools That Help Students Analyze What They Write

Probably every high school teacher since the dawn of time has asked his or her students to have someone else proofread their essays before turning them in for a grade. Unfortunately, students don't always comply with that request. And even when they do get someone to proofread, some items might go undetected. That's why an online writing analysis tool can be helpful to students. Here are three free services that help students analyze their writing.

Slick Write is a free tool that helps you analyze your writing or that of others. To use Slick Write you can write new text in the provided text editor or copy and paste chunks of existing text into Slick Write's text editor. Either way Slick Write will provide you with an analysis of your writing. That analysis will include typical things like a word count, a readability score, and an estimated reading time for your document. Slick Write will also analyze your use of adverbs and prepositional phrases throughout your document.

The Hemingway App, found at Hemingwayapp.com, provides students with lots of helpful information about their text. To use the service students just paste some text into the Hemingway editor and it will provide you with a bunch of information about that text. Hemingway highlights the parts of your writing that use passive voice, adverbs, and overly complex sentences. All of those factors are accounted for in generating a general readability score for your passage. The short video embedded below shows how easy it is to use Hemingwayapp.com to analyze your writing.



Paste your text into Analyze My Writing and it will generate a ton of information about your writing. Analyze My Writing will give you a break-down of the readability of your writing on five indices. The analysis will include listings of the most common words and most common word pairs in your writing. A listing of how frequently you use punctuation and punctuation types is included in the analysis provided by Analyze My Writing. Finally, a word cloud is included at the end of the analysis of your writing.

Loopy Makes It Easy to Create Animated Simulations

Loopy is a free tool for creating your own animated simulations or illustrations of a concept. This free animation tool is designed to showing relationships between two or more parts of a system. It's perfect for showing cause and effect or for showing a workflow system.

To create an animation on Loopy you simply have to click on the blank canvas to place a circle that represents the start of a system. Then click on the canvas again to add another element to your system animation. To connect the two (or more) pieces you use a drawing tool to connect them. Once you've drawn the connections you can add cause and effect commands by selecting them from the Loopy editor.

Applications for Education
It took me a few minutes of playing around and remixing existing simulations to get the hang of how Loopy worked. Once I had it figured out, I quickly saw the potential for Loopy animations to help students understand how systems work. Give your students some time to use Loopy and they could create animations to illustrate their understanding of cause and effect relationships in science and engineering.

H/T to Lifehacker

SeeSaw Now Directly Accepts Google Drive Files

SeeSaw is a great tool for creating digital portfolios with your students. SeeSaw lets students create digital portfolios that include pictures, documents, presentations, and videos. Your students can even use SeeSaw to record a video of themselves talking about an artifact in their portfolios.

This week SeeSaw made it easy for Google Drive users to add files to their SeeSaw portfolios. Whether you use Google Drive on your iPad, your Android phone, or on your laptop, you can quickly move slides, documents, drawings, and spreadsheets from Google Drive to a SeeSaw portfolio. The following videos show you how SeeSaw's Google Drive integration works.





Applications for Education
If your school is using G Suite for Education, SeeSaw's new Google Drive integration is for you and your students. This integration will let your students quickly find the best examples of their work and share them in a concise portfolio format. And with SeeSaw's video recording option you can have your students record themselves explaining why they chose the items they placed into their portfolios.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Create Sesame Street Fan Fiction on WriteReader

WriteReader recently announced a partnership with Sesame Street that essentially lets students use Sesame Street artwork in their own multimedia stories. As I wrote on Monday, it's essentially fan fiction for elementary school students. Take a look at the following video to see how your students can create their own multimedia Sesame Street stories by using WriteReader.


If you've never tried WriteReader, watch my short video embedded below to learn more about how it works.



Disclosure: WriteReader is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com