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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Practical Ed Tech Live - Featuring Schrute Farms

Earlier today I hosted the latest installment of Practical Ed Tech Live. I started the broadcast by talking about the changes that I have had to make to the RSS feed and daily email from Free Technology for Teachers. After that I answered a handful of questions from readers. Those questions can be read in this Google Document. The video from the episode is embedded below.


Yes, I am wearing a Schrute Farms tee shirt. It was a Father's Day gift.

Important Changes to RSS and Email Feeds

As some of you know, I have been fighting with an exceptionally slimy, dirty, spammy website that has been stealing all of my blog posts, pictures (including those of my daughter) then placing disgusting advertisements next to them. Therefore, for the first time ever I am forced to truncate the RSS feed for Free Technology for Teachers. The daily email is based on the RSS feed so that too will truncated.

Truncating the RSS feed means that you will only see the headline and the beginning of each blog post. You will have to click on the headline to read the full blog post and to watch any videos that are contained within it.

Truncating the RSS feed will, hopefully, make it more difficult for the offending party to steal my work.

I do plan to return to publishing the full RSS feed as soon as I am successful in getting the offending website to stop stealing from me.

YouTube Management Options for Schools

YouTube can be a great source of educational videos to share with your students. I recently read a blog post in which Chris Brogan claimed that his kids go to YouTube to search before they go to Google. The chances are good that you have students who do the same. But for all of the good that can be found on YouTube there is an equal amount of distracting and or inappropriate content that schools want to filter out of search results. One solution is to block YouTube entirely. A better solution is to manage YouTube settings on your network.

G Suite administrators can apply the following settings for signed-in users.

  • Strict Restricted YouTube access. 
  • Moderate Restricted YouTube access. 
  • Unrestricted YouTube access.
Administrators can also apply filtering settings for users who aren't signed into G Suite. This can be done on your network and or on managed devices. More information is available here

Once you have found a video that you want to show in your classroom, consider using one of these five methods to avoid showing "related" content next to the video. 

XtraMath Helps Teachers Help Students Learn Math in Multiple Languages

XtraMath is a free service designed to help teachers and parents help their students learn basic mathematics. The service provides an online environment in which students complete practice activities that are recorded and shared with teachers and parents. Teachers can create classroom accounts in which each child has his or her own log-in credentials. Parents can also be given log-in credentials to see how their children are progressing.

XtraMath offers materials seven languages. Those are languages are English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and American Sign Language.

From your teacher account you can now sort reports according to mastery scores in XtraMath. The following new video provides an overview of how to set-up your XtraMath classroom.

XtraMath Quick Guide: Setting up your class from XtraMath on Vimeo.

Applications for Education 
XtraMath does not remove the need for students to learn directly from teachers and parents. It's not trying to be like Khan Academy. The purpose of XtraMath is to help teachers and parents monitor the progress that their students are making and prepare lessons that meet students where they are.

Fraction Mash - A Neat App for Elementary School Math Lessons

Fraction Mash is a free iPad app that provides a fun way for students to learn about fractions. The app lets students insert two pictures then divide those pictures into grids, columns, pie slices, triangles, or rows. Once their pictures have been divided students select the portions of one picture that they want to combine with the other picture. Students' selections of image portions must equal 1 when the two images are combined. Fraction Mash lets students choose how many pieces each picture is divided into.

When students have completed their image-based fractions problems they can save them to the camera rolls on their iPads. From there they can share them with you in a variety of ways including through Google Classroom. But there is more that your students can do with the fractions mash-ups they make in Fraction Mash. Fraction Mash includes an option for students to write reports about their fraction mashes. The reports templates let students insert the images and the fraction problems they created into their reports. They can then write about the fractions problems that they created and solved. Those reports can be saved and shared with you.