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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

ReCall Study Time - An Extension to Get You Back on Task

ReCall Study Time is a Chrome extension that is designed to help you stop wasting time on social media sites and get back on task. With the extension installed and enabled you'll see a big reminder to get back on task whenever you try to open Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, or Instagram in a new browser tab. You can ReCall Study Time to block you from those sites for two hours or for 24 hours.
Applications for Education
ReCall Study Time could help some students stay on task when they're studying or working on homework. Of course, it is easy enough to disable the extension so ReCall Study Time provides suggestions rather than truly blocking social media sites.

Stay Focusd is a similar Chrome extension. Stay Focusd works by setting daily time limits for viewing social media sites.

Edublogs Publishes an Extensive Guide to Classroom Podcasting

Podcasting has had a resurgence over the last couple of years. Part of that resurgence is due to the increase in easy-to-use tools for creating podcasts as well as an increase in platforms through which you can listen to podcasts. Anchor.fm is one of those easy-to-use podcast creation tools. I featured it in a video in my tip of the week in late February. The folks at Edublogs were kind enough to share it with their followers and include it in their new comprehensive guide to classroom podcasting.

The Edublogger's Guide to Podcasting includes examples of student-created podcasts, examples of teacher-produced podcasts, directions for recording a podcast, and directions for publishing a podcast. And if you are worried about running out of topics for podcast episodes, you don't need worry because The Edublogger's Guide to Podcasting includes 50 ideas for student podcasts.


You can create a podcast with the microphone built into your phone, your laptop, or your tablet. But if you want to improve the sound quality I recommend getting a Blue Designs Snowball iCE microphone (affiliate link). I have two of them that I've lugged all over the world, dropped them from a TSA security checkpoint table, and lent them out to people in my workshops for years. They work as well today as they did the day they were new.

Realtime Board - Collaborative Whiteboard With Change Tracking and Voting

Realtime Board is an online whiteboard tool that I have been recommending for the last half-dozen years. At its basic level Realtime Board provides a blank canvas on which you can type, draw, and post pictures. You can connect elements on your boards through a simple linking tool. Over the last couple of months it has had a few significant updates.

Realtime Board now includes an activity tracking feature. This feature is similar to the "version history" that is found in Google Docs. Activity Tracking will let you see the changes that have been made to a shared Realtime Board whiteboard. Another important new feature is the option to vote for favorite suggestions added to a board. You can set the voting period to be as short as one minute or as long as 99 hours. Watch the following video for an overview of some of the other Realtime Board features that were recently updated.


Applications for Education
One of the reasons that I like Realtime Board is that it provides both a blank drawing canvas and a the option to use sticky notes. The drawing canvas is great for students who prefer to sketch ideas while the sticky note option is great for students who would prefer a bit more order and structure.

Realtime Board grants teachers and students access to all premium features for free. In order to get the premium features for free you do need to complete the form here.

Poetry Lesson Plans Incorporating Word Mover

April is National Poetry Month. This is a great time to remind you of Read Write Think's Word Mover app for iOS, Android, and web browser.

Word Mover from Read Write Think is a free app that helps students develop poems and short stories. When students open the Word Mover app they are shown a selection of words that they can drag onto a canvas to construct a poem or story. Word Mover provides students with eight canvas backgrounds on which they can construct their poems. If the word bank provided by Word Mover doesn’t offer enough words they can add their own words to the word bank.

Applications for Education
Read Write Think offers free, detailed lesson plans that incorporate the Word Mover app. There are lesson plans suitable for students in grades 3 through 12. In all cases the lesson plans incorporate students constructing some type of poem from the words displayed within the app.