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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Whisper for Google Classroom

Whisper is a brand new Chrome extension that works within Google Classroom. Whisper allows you to quietly send a message to an individual student or your entire class. This is perfect for those times when students are completely focused on their assignment and you don't want to interrupt them by making a verbal announcement. When we stop students while they are working, it can be almost impossible to get them all back on track. Whisper solves this issue by allowing teachers to share important messages without disrupting the class by talking.

Click here to read the directions for how to get started with Whisper.

Google Tour Builder

Google Tour Builder allows users to tell stories using Google maps, images, videos, and text. It is a fantastic tool for students to use to show what they know about different topics. Maybe students are summarizing the chapters of a book and each placemark represents a different chapter. Or perhaps students create a tour to share summaries of current events happening around the world. There are many different ways to incorporate Google Tour Builder into the classroom. In this video, I will walk you through how to get started and show you some of the basic features of this tool.

Click here to read a recent post on Google Tour Builder.


In order to share your tour, click the Done Editing button. This will give you the option to change the privacy settings and grab a link to share.

Three Things That Can Help You Teach With Video

Whether you want to make your own instructional videos or you just want to make sure that your students are learning something from the videos that you share with them, there are a few basic things that you should know.

1. Short and sweet.
Two well-made videos that are each two minutes long are better than one video that is four minutes long. Check out the research the Wistia published last summer. Check out the research the Wistia published last summer. Based on data from more than 500,000 videos played more than one billion times, Wistia determined that there is a significant drop-off in viewer engagement after the two minute mark.

Not every concept or topic can be boiled down to two minutes, but the point is that brevity is best when it comes to videos. This is true whether you're having students make videos or watch videos.

2. Outline
Writing an outline for a video that you are going to make will save you time in the long run. Writing that outline will help you cut out tangents and filler material. (Save those tangents for subsequent videos).

3. Video as supplement, not replacement. 
Even the best videos can't entirely replace good classroom instruction and good books. Look at the videos you make and share with your students as supplements to your instruction and their reading, not complete replacements. When you look for a video to share with students, think about the gaps that it fills in your instruction or the gaps that you will have fill after students watch the video.

Learn more about teaching with video in the upcoming Practical Ed Tech course, How to Teach With Video

Google Arts and Culture:


Today we are going to continue exploring Google Arts and Culture. We have already looked at the history of the project as well as the art collection so today we are going to check out historical events and historical figures.

Historical events are a collection of hundreds of historic world events going all the way back to 3100BCE. When you open a collection you will find primary sources, usually in the form of photographs and video as well as background information about the event. Some of the collections include stories that include even more information and primary resources. These collections are a fantastic supplement to what students are learning about in history and government classes.

The historical figures collection is packed full of biographical information about hundreds of people going back over 5000 years! Each collection contains links to artifacts associated with each person. For example, if you select James Madison, you will be able to view a desert cooler from his personal collection, a letter that he wrote to Benjamin Harrison, and a letter he received from John Quincy Adams.

Applications for Education
Both of these collections provide teachers with new and exciting ways to teach students about historical events and the people associated with them. They can be used to introduce students to events or fill in the gaps that are so often present in textbooks.