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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Goals, Wishes, and Cold - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're experiencing a stretch of cold days that hasn't been seen since the 1970's. How cold is it? Earlier this week I referred to Tuesday's high temperature of 7f as a "warm day." I took advantage of that warm day by going out to hike up and ski down Saddleback Mountain near Rangelely, Maine. That's just one of the things that I did during my week off. If you had the week off, I hope that you were able to do something fun too.

All week I ran republications of some of the most popular posts of the year. Therefore, this week's round-up of the most popular posts is kind of a best of the best list. New blog posts will resume on Monday.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Track Progress Toward Goals With This Google Sheets Template - Best of 2017
2. The Things I Wish Every Teacher Knew About Technology - Best of 2017
3. My Five Most Frequently Recommended Google Forms Add-ons - Best of 2017
4. Three Alternatives to Google Classroom - Best of 2017
5. 21 Tools for Conducting Digital Formative Assessments - Best of 2017
6. 22 Videos That Can Help Students Improve Their Writing - Best of 2017
7. How to Add Spoken Audio to Google Slides - Best of 2017

Online Professional Development
Despite it being a vacation week more people registered for the 2018 Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group. And a bunch of people took advantage of the 30% discount available on my Teaching History With Technology course and my G Suite for Teachers course.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Click here to book me today.

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.
MySimpleShow offers a great way to create animated videos for free.
Metaverse enables anyone to create amazing things.
Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
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.

Grids, Timelines, and Notes in Google Slides - Best of 2017

As I do during this week every year, I am taking some time off to relax and prepare for the new year. Every day this week I will be featuring the most popular blog posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in September.

This week Google added a handful of new features to Google Slides. Some of them are features that teachers and students have been requesting for years.

Please note that some of the following new features may not appear in your G Suite for Education account for a couple of weeks. All of these features are available now for users logged-in with a Gmail address.

1. Quickly insert pre-formatted timelines and other diagrams.
Now when you open the "insert" drop-down menu you will see an option for diagrams. Choose that option and you'll be able to insert a variety of pre-formatted diagrams including timelines. All of the content within the diagrams can be edited.

2. Add-ons for Google Slides.
There are now seven Add-ons available in Google Slides. Those of interest to teachers and students include Lucidchart, Pear Deck, and Unsplash. Unsplash provides high resolution photographs to re-use for free.

3. Grid view of presentations.
There is now a grid option under the "view" drop-down menu. This lets you see all of your slides in a grid and re-arrange slides by dragging them into different sequences in the grid.

4. Google Keep notes integrated into slides.
Google Docs integrated Google Keep notes earlier this year. That allowed you to drag your Google Keep notes directly into a document. Now you can do the same in Google Slides.

5. Skip a slide without deleting it. 
If you are in the habit of duplicating your own presentations then deleting a slide or two for different audiences, the new "skip slide" function could appeal to you. This function lets you specify a slide or slides to be skipped in a version of a presentation. Skipping a slide doesn't delete it, it just prevents it from being displayed when you're in the full screen presentation display.

Learn more about how to use Google Slides in your classroom in my on-demand course, G Suite for Teachers

One Day Left to Save 30% on Two Practical Ed Tech Courses

Providing online professional development courses is one of the ways that I am able to fund Free Technology for Teachers. I offer those courses through my Practical Ed Tech website. All month long I've offered a 30% discount on two on-demand courses. Those discounts will expire tomorrow night at midnight (Eastern Time).

This course is designed for teachers who would like to infuse some new technology and new ideas into their history lessons. In this course you will learn how to develop engaging and challenging learning activities through the use of tools like Google Earth and Maps, video production tools, and virtual reality. You will also learn how to help your students become better researchers. See the outline of lessons here.
Click here to register. Use the code "december18" to save 30%.

This is the new on-demand version of my very popular Getting Going With G Suite live course and workshop. This course was designed for teachers who are new to using the powerful the tools within G Suite for Education. In this course you’ll learn everything you need to know to feel comfortable using all of the core G Suite tools with your students. This course is more than just a series of “how to” videos. You’ll be provided with concrete examples of activities that you can use and adapt to use in your classroom.
Click here to register. Use the code "gsuite18" to save 30%.

Ten Things You Can Do With Google Forms - Best of 2017

As I do during this week every year, I am taking some time off to relax and prepare for the new year. Every day this week I will be featuring the most popular blog posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in August.

Google Forms and Google Sheets is the part of G Suite for Education that I get most excited about teaching to others. That is largely because once a person understands the basics of how Google Forms and Google Sheets work, the potential applications for school use are almost limitless. Here are ten ways that I often use Google Forms.

1. Manage classroom lending libraries. In other words, keep track of the stuff students and colleagues borrow from me.

2. Create self-grading quizzes. This can save a ton time grading formative assessments.

3. Create self-paced review activities. I often include videos within the review activities.

4. Make digital Break-out games. The data validation and go-to-section-based-on-answer logic makes this possible.

5. Collect contact information for participants in club activities. Likewise, collect and share (with permission) contact information for parents of students in club activities.

6. Create and manage sign-up sheets. You can set time limits and response quantity limits for your sign-up sheets.

7. Manage student blog entries.

8. Conduct surveys. I've conducted surveys to use as exit tickets from class and to get feedback from students at the end of a semester.

9. Organize group research projects. Google Forms can help your students keep track of who is doing which task(s) and who has done which task(s).

10. Manage donations of classroom supplies. Google Forms can help you keep track of donations and donation requests so that you don't end up with 98 glue sticks but nothing to actually glue.

Register for Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners to get started on using Google Forms for any or all of these purposes. 

A Fun Geography Game for All - Best of 2017

As I do during this week every year, I am taking some time off to relax and prepare for the new year. Every day this week I will be featuring the most popular blog posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in September.

Earlier this week Maps Mania published a list of ten geography games that are based on Google Street View imagery. Looking through the list reminded me of a geography game that is fun although it is not based on Street View imagery. That game is GameOn World.

GameOn World is a multiplayer geography game developed by a high school teacher and his student in Portland, Maine. The game is similar in structure to that of Kahoot. In GameOn World the teacher selects a game category (cities, places, and timeline are three of the nine categories) and starts the game. The students join the game by going to GameOn.World and entering a game pin. In the location and timeline games, students answer the questions by moving a placemark on a map or selecting a date on a timeline. In some of the other games students answer by choosing a number on a sliding scale.

Copyright Lessons for Students and Teachers - Best of 2017

As I do during this week every year, I am taking some time off to relax and prepare for the new year. Every day this week I will be featuring the most popular blog posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in September.

As many of you know, I spent much of my week dealing with a copyright infringement issue. As a result of that I have been doing more reading about DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) than ever before. One piece that I read was this article from attorney Sarah F. Hawkins. The article didn't have much that was new to me, but I am bringing it up because one of the comments posted under the article points to the larger problem of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of copyright as it pertains to the Internet.

Here's the beginning of the comment:
I run my own travel consulting page on a large social media platform, I recently used a google image of a hotel. This morning I received an invoice for $3500 because I used this image, I did not know about copyright infringements as it was just an image on google.

That comment reflects the way that a lot of people misinterpret Google Image search. Unless you use the advanced search filter to find only Creative Commons licensed images, most of what you find through Google Images is copyrighted. Google doesn't host the images or license the images. Google Images is simply a search engine. Giving an image credit to Google Images is not citing the source and even if Google was the source, unless it is labeled as Creative Commons or Public Domain, you can't use the image without permission. The exception being in the case of fair use. But even then just because you're using it for an educational setting doesn't mean it automatically qualifies your use as fair use. I explained this scenario in more detail in this post in 2014.

On a similar note to the Google Images scenario, citing Facebook as the source of an image does not mean that you can use the image without permission. I explained this in more detail in this post.


Resources for teaching Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use.

The following two videos from Common Craft provide excellent overviews of these topics.




For a more in-depth look at copyright for educators, watch Dr. Wesley Fryer's Slideshare on the topic. Eight years after he released it, it's still one of the best resources on the topic.




Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is a resource for kids produced by the Library of Congress. Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is intended to help elementary school students understand the purposes and functions of copyright. There are four sections to Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright. The first section, Copyright Exposed, features a short cartoon that explains how copyright protects artists. Files on Record, the second section, chronicles important historical developments in copyright law. The third section, Reading the Fine Print, answers common questions and addresses common myths about copyright laws. The last section, Steps to Copyright, instructs students on registering their own works for copyright protection.

Disclosure: I have an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft.

Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship - Best of 2017

As I do during this week every year, I am taking some time off to relax and prepare for the new year. Every day this week I will be featuring the most popular blog posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in August.

The new school year is when we think about all of the new apps and sites we want to use with students. As we do that it's also important to think about teaching digital citizenship. Whether our students are in Kindergarten or are in high school, before we send them out on the web we should be teaching them digital citizenship. The PDF embedded below, click here if you cannot see it, features my favorite digital citizenship resources for elementary, middle, and high school students.