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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Google Drive Updates You Might Have Missed This Week (I did)

If you're like me, you probably don't install every update to your iPad apps as soon as they are released. I usually do that once a week. When I updated the Google Docs app on my iPad this morning I discovered that it now offers real-time spell checking. In looking back at the Google Drive Blog I discovered that this feature has been out since Wednesday.

Other Google Drive for iOS and Android updates that you might missed this week include updates to Sheets that allow you to hide rows and columns. Google Sheets itself (the web version) has new options for locking a sheet or range and sharing it with only some of the collaborators on a file.

Applications for Education
If you're using Sheets with students, the option to lock them into only part of spreadsheet could be helpful in focusing them on a specific subset of data within a much larger data set.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the BETT Show in London. I've been here for a couple of days meeting with developers of educational technology products. I've also been fortunate to spend time meeting with teachers and school leaders here to learn about their challenges and successes. Last night's TeachMeet BETT offered a great opportunity to see teachers talking about their successes with technology in their classrooms. The TeachMeet BETT event was kicked-off by Sir Ken Robinson giving a short talk to the crowd. If you haven't seen or heard Sir Ken Robinson talk in the past, take a look at one of his TED Talks.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Charts Comparing Popular Ed Tech Tools
2. Students Can Build and Launch Virtual Rockets on Rocket Science 101 from NASA
3. 100 Word Challenge - A Fantastic Blogging Activity for Students
4. Seesaw - Students Build Digital Portfolios on Their iPads
5. Memrise - A Nice Platform for Studying Languages, Math, Science, and More
6. Word Dynamo - More Than Just Vocabulary Games
7. Some of My Favorite Resources for Introducing Google Earth & Maps Beyond Social Studies

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference this year? Click here to learn more about professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Versal is a great tool for building interactive online course components.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting iPad Summit San Diego in February.

Friday, January 23, 2015

MyStudyLife - A Student Planner for All Platforms

About eighteen months ago I wrote about a nice planner app for students called MyStudyLife. At the time MyStudyLife was only available as a Windows 8 app and as a web app. This afternoon at BETT 2015 I met the lead developer of MyStudyLife and learned that the service is now available on iOS and Android too.

My Study Life allows students to organize tasks according to their course schedules. When students start using the app they have to enter their courses. After entering their courses into My Study Life students can start to enter tasks into each course. Each task is assigned a due date. Students' My Study Life homepage shows them the tasks that have due dates approaching.

Applications for Education
Whether or not a planner helps a student is usually determined by whether or not the student gets in the habit of using it. My Study Life could be an excellent service for students to get into the habit of using to keep track of their assignments.

Try Citebite for Linkly Directly to Quotes from the Web

Cite Bite is a simple tool for creating a direct link to a passage of text on a webpage. It's a simple process to create a direct link to a quote using Cite Bite. To use the service just copy and paste the chunk of text you want to share into Cite Bite. Then copy and paste the url of the source into Cite Bite. Cite Bite then creates a url that you can share with others to send them directly to the quote you want them to read.

Applications for Education
Cite Bite could be a handy little tool for those times when you want all of the students in your classroom to read and discuss a passage from an online article. While you could probably accomplish the same thing by just posting the source link on your classroom blog, the benefit of Cite Bite is that it will automatically highlight and direct students to the passage you want them to discuss.

Seesaw - Students Build Digital Portfolios on Their iPads

From the developers of the popular iPad app Shadow Puppet Edu comes a nice new app called Seesaw. Seesaw is a free iPad app through which students can create a portfolio to document the things they have learned. Students can add artifacts to their portfolios by taking pictures of their work (in the case of a worksheet or other physical item), by writing about what they've learned, or by shooting a short video to record something they have learned. Students can add voice comments to their pictures to clarify what their pictures document.

To get started with Seesaw create a free classroom account. Students join the classroom by scanning a QR code (you will have to print it or project it) that grants them access to your Seesaw classroom. As the teacher you can see and sort all of your students' Seesaw submissions.

Seesaw allows parents to create accounts through which they can see the work of their children. As a teacher you can send notifications to parents when their children make a new Seesaw submission.


Applications for Education
As is pointed out in the video above, portfolios made through Seesaw could provide excellent information to share with parents at conferences. It's also a good app to use in an art class in which students have created things that aren't easy to file and keep track of for the entire school year. Students could take a picture of their artwork then talk about it in the Seesaw app.

Update 6:44 EST 1/23 - Larry Ferlazzo covered this app last night (I didn't realize until now) with a great take on its potential for use with ELL/ESL students.

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