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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Immersive Reader on iPads

When I was at the BETT Show last month I learned about the planned expansion of Microsoft's Learning Tools including Immersive Reader. Part of that expansion rolled out yesterday with the addition of Learning Tools for Word on iPads.



You and your students can now use Immersive Reader on their iPads in the Word app. Immersive Reader will allow your students to change the spacing of words, change column size, and change page colors. But most significant is the read aloud function of Immersive Reader for Word. If you're not familiar with how Immersive Reader works, take a look at the video here.

Don't Make This Blogging Mistake

I spent about six hours on Monday and Tuesday trying to fix a formatting problem on PracticalEdTech.com. It was an infuriating little problem that was driving me batty. I Googled solutions, I tinkered with the CSS, I uninstalled plug-ins that I thought were conflicting, and I was about to give up when I diagnosed the problem. It was a two second fix once I realized my mistake. Watch the following video for the explanation of the mistake that I made and how to avoid making the same mistake that I made.

Love Your Presidents Sale!

It's Valentine's Day today and President's Day is coming up so I'm having a sale on three Practical Ed Tech courses. I'm calling it a "love your presidents sale."

During this sale you can save 20% on my Teaching History With Technology and G Suite for Teachers courses. You can take 20% off when you purchase the Ed Tech Starter Kit. Just use the code "presidents" during registration to get the discount.

Use code "presidents" to save 20%

In Teaching History With Technology 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.


G Suite for Teachers is an on-demand course that 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.


The Ed Tech Starter Kit provides you with four hours of professional development in the form of four on-demand webinar recordings. The webinars included are Search Strategies Students Need to Know, Fun With Formative Assessments, Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners, and How to Build a Classroom Blog. All webinars are accompanied by printable handouts for your reference.

5 Ways to Record Notes With OneNote for Android

Back in December I decided that I needed to spend some time giving some of Microsoft's products a good, honest try. I did this to be able to give a more balanced comparison to rival Google products. Some of the Microsoft products I don't like as much as Google's offerings, I still prefer Google Forms. And some of Microsoft's products I like better than the Google equivalent. For example, I now like OneNote more than Google Keep.

Much to the surprise of many, I have recently switched to using OneNote for most of my bookmarking, note writing, and to-do lists. Before I started using it I knew that OneNote on a laptop was more robust that Google Keep. But it wasn't until I started using the Android version of OneNote that I was sold on it. Here are five ways to take notes with OneNote for Android.

1. Bookmarking
I love being able to quickly choose to save either a link or a whole page. Sometimes I save whole pages because that helps me remember why I bookmarked a link in the first place.

2. Picture notes
I use a physical whiteboard in my office to make lists, write reminders to myself, and to brainstorm. Before I erase anything I take a picture that I crop and save in OneNote.

3. Voice Notes
I don't use this option that often, but I like knowing that I can add a recording as a stand-alone note or add it to another note including a to-do list.

4. Checklist
Whenever I'm starting to feel like there is too much on my plate, I make a list of tasks and attack them one-by-one.

5. Scribble Notes
Math is hard to type. OneNote's drawing tools are easy to use to handwrite anything including math problems.

Nine Ways to Add Notes to Padlet Walls

A few weeks ago Padlet added the option to record audio directly in a note. By my count, that marked the ninth way that students can added notes to a Padlet. I made the following video to explain and demonstrate all of the types of notes that can be added to a Padlet wall.


Nine types of notes that can be added to Padlet.
  • Text
  • Hyperlinks
  • File upload
  • Video recorded with webcam/ mobile phone camera.
  • Audio recorded directly on Padlet.
  • Scribble/ free hand drawing on Padlet.
  • Pictures taken with webcam/ mobile phone camera.
  • Google Search to add image, video, GIF, or link. 
  • Google Map.
Bonus Items:
If you enable these options, you can comment and or vote on the notes added to a Padlet wall. 

Blue Whales in Virtual Reality

Blue Whale VR is a free virtual reality app that provides a 360 tour of a blue whale's anatomy. The app isn't terribly interactive. The only interactive element is that students can move around the whale during the tour. If you don't have VR viewers, you can access the tour through this YouTube video.


The app could be a good to pair with this TED-Ed lesson titled Why Are Blue Whales So Enormous? The video that the lesson is based on uses some neat animations to explain how much blue whales eat, how the eat, and why they need to eat so much.