Friday, June 16, 2017

Group Discounts for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps

The first of this year's two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps is just six weeks away. Group discounts are still available to school districts that are sending four or more people. A group of four can save $600 when they register together compared to the standard registration.

Registration for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps includes 16 hours of hands-on professional development in small groups. Breakfast and lunch is included both days.

Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp - Save $600 or more when you register a group!

Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp - Save up to $2000 when you register a group!

Snap - A Great Way for Students to Try Programming

Earlier this week I Tweeted that anyone who is going to the ISTE conference in San Antonio needs to put Gary Stager's presentation titled Logo at 50: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas on his or her calendar. Understanding the development of Logo is key to understanding how many of the programming apps we have in classrooms today came to be. One of those programs is Snap.

Snap! is a drag-and-drop programming interface designed to help students learn to program. Snap! uses a visual interface that works in your browser on your laptop as well as on your iPad or Android tablet. To design a program in Snap! drag commands into a sequence in the scripts panel. The commands are represented by labeled jigsaw puzzle pieces that snap together to create a program. You can try to run your program at any time to see how it will be executed. After previewing your program you can go back and add or delete pieces as you see fit.

Snap! may remind some people of Scratch. That is because the Snap! developers call their program "an extended re-implementation of Scratch." The potential benefit of Snap! over Scratch is that teachers who have a mix of iPads, Android tablets, and laptops in their classrooms can have all of their students use the same programming interface.

Owl Eyes - Guide Students Through Classic Literature

Owl Eyes is a free tool that provides teachers with a good way to provide students with guidance while they are reading classic literature. Owl Eyes provides teachers with tools to insert annotations and questions into classic literature. Students can see the annotations and questions that their teachers add to the digital text. Teachers have the option to create online classrooms through which they can monitor their students' progress through a text and view their students' annotations and answers to questions. The texts available through Owl Eyes are mostly classic works that are in the public domain.

The short videos embedded below will help you get started with Owl Eyes. I highly recommend watching them in order to save yourself from some frustrating clicking without results.

Applications for Education
Owl Eyes could be a good tool for guiding students through some difficult classic literature. I would like to see its library expanded to include more texts that are accessible to younger students.

I couldn't find an option to upload my own texts on Owl Eyes. Until then, I will probably continue to use Google Docs to help students as they read difficult primary source documents. That process is outlined here.

Three Places to Find Public Domain Video Clips

On Wednesday I published suggestions for places to find public domain images. Then yesterday I received an email from a reader who was wondering about public domain video options. These are the three resources that I suggested to her.

The Internet Archive is the first place that comes to mind when I am asked for a source of Public Domain media. The Moving Image Archive within the Internet Archive is an index of more than 1.7 million video clips. Most of what you will find in the Moving Image Archive can be downloaded in a variety of file formats. You can search the archive by keyword or browse through the many categories and thematic collections in the archive. One important thing to note about the Internet Archive is that you probably don't want students to search it without supervision. In fact, I'd probably just create a folder of footage from archive that I share with my students.

The Public Domain Review is a website that features collections of images, books, essays, audio recordings, and films that are in the public domain. Choose any of the collections to search for materials according to date, style, genre, and rights. Directions for downloading and saving media is included along with each collection of media.

The National Parks Service offers more than 4,000 videos that are in the public domain. You can search for videos according to National Park or National Forest. All of the public domain videos can be downloaded. Some of the files are quite large so keep that in mind if your school has bandwidth limitations and you plan to have all of your students searching for videos at the same time.