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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Blended Play: New Website for Creating Online Games

Blended Play is a free online portal where teachers of any subject and grade level can create games to review material. There are currently four games that teachers can select from including Mountain Climber, Viking Fleet, Sushi Takeover, and Space Sale. The games are played by teams of students and no devices are needed. The game is projected for all students to see and you can decide if you want the questions to be displayed along with the game or if you would prefer to read the questions out loud and only display the game.

Applications for Education
This would be a fun way for students to review material. Teachers could even have each student write questions then they could select the best questions to use as a review.


Autocrat Document Merge


Autocrat is a document merge tool that allows you to take data from a spreadsheet and use it to create a customized document or PDF. Autocrat can also be used to merge data from a spreadsheet into a single Google Slides presentation. All of this happens through the use of merge tags which match corresponding headers on a spreadsheet. The merge process can be done manually or it can be configured to happen automatically each time a new forms is submitted.

Applications for Education
Autocrat makes it easy to create customized certificates. It is also a fast and easy way for administrators to provide feedback to teachers after a walkthrough evaluation.

For additional information check out the Autocrat user guide.



Stupeflix is Closing - Try These Alternatives

Stupeflix, one of my go-to video creation tools for the last eight years, is shutting down in 2018. In a message posted on their website, the Stupeflix team explains that the service is now closed to new users. Current Stupeflix users who have created accounts on the site will have until August 2018 to use the service. I wouldn't wait that long to start looking at other options.

Alternatives to Stupeflix
Sharalike is one option to consider when you want to create an audio slideshow. The concept behind Sharalike is much like the one behind Stupeflix. To create an audio slideshow on Sharalike simply import some images from your computer, your Android device or from your iPad, drag them into the sequence in which you want them to appear, and then add some music. Sharalike offers a small collection of stock music that you can use or you can upload your own music.



Adobe Spark's video creation tool seems to get more popular by the day. Some key features of Adobe Spark's web app include an integrated Creative Commons image search tool, the option to download images as JPEGs, and the option to download your videos as MP4 files. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create images, web pages, and videos with Adobe Spark in your web browser.




Animoto has stood the test of time and continues to be a fan favorite for making audio slideshow videos. Animoto offers a web app, an Android app, and an iOS app. All three apps let you quickly add music to a selection of your favorite pictures. You can upload pictures or import them from a number of social networks including Instagram.

Typito is a good tool for creating simple videos. Typito is designed for making audio slideshows like those you might have made in the old YouTube photo slideshow tool or with Animoto. Typito offers a bit more control over the editing process than Animoto does. Watch the video below to see a demonstration of Typito.

Teen Ink

Teen Ink is a platform that publishes the work of teens who are 13-19 years old. Since its inception 25 years ago over 55,000 teens have had their work published on this platform. There are no writers on staff at Teen Ink. All of the work shared on the site is created by teens from around the world.

There is a forum where teens can request help and feedback on their writing as well as provide feedback to their peers. Different categories on the site include poetry, fiction, nonfiction,  art, and photography. Teens also write reviews on television shows, music, movies, books, and games. Teen Ink also includes a section on colleges which features links to resources, reviews of schools, essays, and articles.

Applications for Education
Teachers could use work for this site as exemplars. It is also a great site for students to visit to see work from other students who are similar in age. There are also resources on the site that teachers can incorporate into lessons as well as numerous contests that students can enter.

25 G Suite Add-ons & Chrome Extensions for Teachers & Students

G Suite for Education on its own provides a powerful set of tools for your classroom. G Suite gets event better when you start to use the Add-ons available for Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. On a similar note, Google's Chrome browser becomes a better tool when you start to add some extensions to it. But finding the right Add-ons and extensions can be time-consuming. That's why I put together this document that highlights my favorite Add-ons and extensions. (The version of the document embedded below is available to download via Box.com. If your school blocks Box.com, you will not be able to see the document).


Join me on November 30th for Getting Going With G Suite. The live course will teach you everything you need to know to successfully use G Suite tools in your classroom.