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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Develop Great Interview Questions With the StoryCorps Question Generator

Listening to StoryCorps broadcasts is one of my favorite things about National Public Radio. The StoryCorps website has a couple of good tools for aspiring journalists and anyone else who would like to interview others.

The StoryCorps Great Questions Lists and Great Questions Generator provide you with excellent questions that you can use when interviewing people about their lives or about the lives' of others. The Great Questions Lists is just a list of questions that you can select on your own. The Great Questions Generator will help you select the best questions for the person or people you're planning to interview.

Applications for Education
The Story Corps Great Questions List could provide students with a framework for questions for interviews with parents, grandparents, or community members.

Google Apps Launcher Will Soon Include Docs, Slides, and Sheets

The Google Apps launcher for consumer accounts now includes a direct link to Google Docs. If you don't Docs as one of your first nine icons in the launcher, you can drag and drop it into position. In a couple of weeks Google Apps for Edu users will have a similar option. Docs, Slides, and Sheets will be available to launch with one click from from the Apps launcher.

This isn't a huge update to Google Apps for Education, but it could make launching into Docs, Slides, and Sheets a little easier for new users. You should also be aware that this update will move the Contacts icon from the launcher to the "more" menu under the icons.

Source: Google Apps Update blog. 

Create Your Own Educational Games on Your Android Phone or Tablet

Yesterday I shared some news about TinyTap's latest features. What I neglected to include is that TinyTap is now available as an Android app as well as an iPad app.

The Android version of TinyTap works just like the iPad version. To create a game on TinyTap you upload pictures or take new pictures and arrange them into a set. Then select each image to create questions about it. To create your question press the record button and start talking. When you have finished talking select a portion of your picture to serve as the answer. I created a small game about objects in my house. I took four pictures of things in my house. Each question asked players to identify the objects in my house. For example, when a player sees a picture of my kitchen he or she has to identify the tea pot by touching it.

Applications for Education
One of the ways for using TinyTap that I have shared in the past is to create games to help students learn about their classrooms and school building.

The suggestion I made in yesterday's post about TinyTap's update was to use the new Sound Board option to add narration to flowcharts and other diagrams. A TinyTap Sound Board is an image or set of images to which you add your voice. To create a Sound Board you highlight elements of a picture then record yourself talking about those elements. When a student views your Sound Board he or she can tap on highlighted portions of the image to hear you talking about them. This could be a great option for creating a narration of a flowchart or a diagram.

Short Lessons On the Winter Solstice

The winter solstice is just a few days away here in the Northern Hemisphere. If you're looking for some short explanations of solstices to share with your children or students, take a look at the following resources.

Mechanism Of The Seasons is a six minute video about why the length of daylight we receive in a location changes throughout the year. This video could be helpful in a flipped classroom environment as it covers the same information that your students will review in the National Geographic materials outlined below.

On National Geographic's Education page there are two resources worth noting. The first is a simple illustration of the position of Earth relative to the sun throughout the year. That illustration could support your use of this hands-on activity designed to help students understand the changes in intensity and duration of sunlight on their part of the world throughout the year. Both resources are appropriate for elementary school students.

Sixty Symbols offers an eleven minute video about equinoxes and solstices. It's not a video that most kids will find engaging, but I'm including it because in it you can see a demonstration of how you can use the free Stellarium software in your lessons.

While not about the winter solstice, Why the Full Moon Is Better In Winter is a good companion resource to go with those featured above.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Add Your Voice to Diagrams By Creating TinyTap Sound Boards

Parts of this post originally appeared on my other blog, iPadApps4School.com

TinyTap is a great iPad app for developing your own educational games. I've been a big supporter of the app since it launched a couple of years ago. TinyTap has always been targeted toward the K-3 crowd, but it can certainly be used with older students too. To reflect that TinyTap has uses in older grades, the developers gave the app a bit of a facelift and added some new features.

TinyTap still works the way that it always has, but some of the decorations and animations that were included to appeal to young students are optional rather than default settings.

To create a game on TinyTap you upload pictures or take new pictures and arrange them into a set. Then select each image to create questions about it. To create your question press the record button and start talking. When you have finished talking select a portion of your picture to serve as the answer. I created a small game about objects in my house. I took four pictures of things in my house. Each question asked players to identify the objects in my house. For example, when a player sees a picture of my kitchen he or she has to identify the tea pot by touching it.

The feature of the updated TinyTap app that I like the best is the Sound Board option. A Sound Board is an image or set of images to which you add your voice. To create a Sound Board you highlight elements of a picture then record yourself talking about those elements. When a student views your Sound Board he or she can tap on highlighted portions of the image to hear you talking about them. This could be a great option for creating a narration of a flowchart or a diagram.


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