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Showing posts with label Teaching With Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teaching With Technology. Show all posts

Thursday, July 10, 2014

App Smashing ThingLink and PicCollage

In my previous post I shared a video and five ideas for using PicCollage in the classroom. A sixth idea for using PicCollage is to turn your collage into an interactive collage by using ThingLink. ThingLink is a free service available as an iPad app and as a browser-based tool. In the video below I demonstrate how you can use the two apps together.

How to Use PicCollage - And Five Ideas for Using It In Your Classroom

PicCollage is one of my favorite Android and iPad apps. It is a free that allows you to quickly arrange pictures, video, text, and stickers into collages. From the app you can share your collage to Google Drive, Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, and many other file sharing services. In the video below I demonstrate how to use it without creating a PicCollage account. Below the video I have five ideas for using in your classroom.


Five ways to use PicCollage in your classroom:
1. Students can develop collages to use as visual introductions of themselves to their new classmates at the beginning of the school year. Have your students create a collage of things that they like to do for fun or their favorite things about school.

2. As an exercise in blogging without writing your students can create collages to summarize a fun day, a weekend, or what they learned during the week at school.

3. When the holiday greeting card season approaches, consider having students create and send digital greeting cards that they develop on PicCollage.

4. As part of a book report assignment have students develop book covers for books they've read. Along the same lines, have them create collages about their favorite parts of books that they have read.

5. Students who struggle to get started on a descriptive writing assignment could benefit from first creating a photo collage about the event or concept that they need to write about. In thinking about the images that they select, they're also thinking about what they will say about each image.

Update: Terri Eichholz suggests using PicCollage for creating mini-yearbooks. Read her post here.

Cram Adds Audio Support for Their Online Flashcards

Cram is an online flashcard service that I've featured a couple of times over the years. On Cram you can search through a database of more than 50 million online flashcards. As you browse through the flashcards you can add them to sets that you create and store in your account. This week Cram added audio support to the service.

Cram's audio support is found in the new text-to-speech function. To use this feature students simply click on the audio icon to activate the audio feature. A fairly natural-sounding voice gives precise pronunciations for the words on each flashcard. Students can opt to hear the front, back and hint on each card. Audio support is available in eighteen languages.

Applications for Education
The new audio support option on Cram makes it a good tool for students who need help remembering how to pronounce new-to-them words.

I mentioned above that Cram offers access to more than 50 million flashcards (their count, not mine). It that database doesn't have what you're looking for you can create your own flashcards on Cram and still use the audio support option. Cram gives you tools to create your own flashcards. You can create flashcards on an individual basis or in a group by importing a CSV file.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New "Replace Image" Function Makes it Easier to Edit Google Slides

In their on-going quest to make Google Slides as robust as Keynote and PowerPoint, the Google has added a new slide editing tool. You can now right-click on any image your slides to quickly replace it with another image. In the past you would have had to delete the old image then insert the new image and in the process lose the size formatting. The new "replace image" function allows you to swap images without losing the size formatting.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Padlet Mini Offers a New Way to Organize and Share Bookmarks

Padlet is one of my favorite tools for hosting brainstorming sessions, collecting exit ticket information, and creating collaborative KWL charts. I often use it in my workshops to create a place for participants to share the things that they are creating.

This week Padlet released a new tool called Padlet Mini. Padlet Mini is a Chrome extension that you can use to bookmark websites. When you click the Padlet Mini extension in your browser you will be presented with the option to save to one of your existing walls or create a new Padlet wall.

Applications for Education
Padlet Mini will be perfect for one of my favorite uses of Padlet. That is to have students share links to interesting pages, pictures, and videos that they find about a topic that we are studying in class. I typically give students 15-25 minutes in class to find and share. When time is up we have classroom discussions about the things they shared. Padlet Mini will make it a bit easier for students to share links, images, and videos. By the way, when you view YouTube videos through Padlet you don't see any of the "related" videos that are in the sidebars on YouTube.

All Socrative Users Will be Moved to Socrative 2.0 This Weekend

Last winter Socrative released version 2.0. For the last nine month users have had the choice to use version 1.0 or 2.0. That choice is going away this weekend as all users will be moved to Socrative 2.0. To help you with the transition Socrative offers an updated user guide (link opens a PDF) and a set of new videos about Socrative 2.0. One of the videos is embedded below.


Disclosure: MasteryConnect, Socrative's new parent company, is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

8 Options for Playing or Creating Geography Games for Kids and Adults

After last week's post about Google's new geography game, Smarty Pins, I received a couple of requests for geography games that have a little more focus than the random nature of Smarty Pins. Here are some of the more popular geography games that I have reviewed and used with my own students over the years.

Seterra offers a large collection of free geography quizzes. The there are dozens of quizzes covering everything from country identification to identifying physical geographic features like mountains, rivers, and seas. There are seven categories of quizzes arranged by continent. Seterra's quizzes are available in sixteen languages. Seterra's quizzes available as a free download for Windows computers. The games can also be played in an online version. If you download the quizzes you can keep track of your scores on your computer. The online version of the games do not allow you to keep track of your scores.

GeoGuessr is an addictive geography game that has become quite popular since its launch earlier this year. You can create your own GeoGuessr games by using GeoSettr. When you visit GeoSettr you'll see two screens. A map with a Pegman on your left and the Street View imagery for the Pegman's current location on your right. Move the Pegman around, zoom-in if you like, until you find the location that you want people to guess. When you've found the right location click "set round" to save the location. When you've set five rounds (locations) your game is assigned a URL that you can distribute. Just like any other GeoGuessr game when someone plays your GeoSettr game he or she will try to use the visual clues in the Street View imagery to guess the location. After making a guess GeoGuessr shows you the correct location and how far away from the correct location your guess was.

Place Spotting is a website of geographic riddles. Place Spotting is based on the Google Earth platform. Place Spotting users can create their own geographic riddles or try to solve riddles created by others. The search feature on Place Spotting lets users search for riddles based on level of difficulty, language, region, or creation date.

Capital Toss is a free geography game from ABCya (disclosure: an advertiser on this site). The game has a state capitals mode and a country capitals mode. In both modes of the game works the same way. The name of a state or country appears at the bottom of the screen and three rows of capital names scroll across the top. When the correct capital name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. After ten correct answers players can choose a new ball. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

Toporopa is a provider of educational and entertaining quiz games about Europe. In all Toporopa offers eighteen games in six languages. The games are primarily interactive identification games. For example, in the Capitals of Europe game players earn points by clicking on a country then entering the name of that country's capital. In Battles of Europe players earn points by dragging the name of a battle to its proper location on the map.

Create Your Own Geography Games
Mission Map Quest, developed by Russel Tarr, is a map-based tool for creating virtual treasure hunts. The concept is simple, you create a series of clues that your students need to follow to identify places around the world. You can add as few or as many clues to your Map Quest as you like. When you're ready to have students try your Quest just give them the web address of the challenge or have them scan the QR code assigned to your Quest.

GeoGuessr was mentioned above. You can create your own GeoGuessr game by using GeoSettr. When you visit GeoSettr you'll see two screens. A map with a Pegman on your left and the Street View imagery for the Pegman's current location on your right. Move the Pegman around, zoom-in if you like, until you find the location that you want people to guess. When you've found the right location click "set round" to save the location. When you've set five rounds (locations) your game is assigned a URL that you can distribute.

On QuizGeo you can browse and play pre-made geography quizzes or create your own quizzes. All of the quizzes operate in the same fashion of presenting you with a place name and requiring you to click on that place on a map before time expires. To create your own games you need to register on QuizGeo. After registering, creating your quiz is easy to do. To create a quiz just name it, click submit, then click "add questions." To add questions just enter a place or address in the search box then outline that place using the pointer provided and click "save question." You can add as many places to your quiz as you like.

An Interactive Look at the History and Distribution of Baby Names in the U.S.

How Baby Names Spread Across the U.S. is an interactive map that showcases the history and distribution of baby names. The map draws on data from the U.S. Census Bureau to show the popularity of baby names since 1911 through 2012. Enter a baby name into the search box and click "go" to see the distribution of that name. You can place your cursor over a state to watch the data for just that state change. I did this with the name Michael and the state of Wyoming to learn that from 1926 to 1930 none of the babies born in Wyoming were named Michael.

The map was developed by Brian Rowe and published on The Guardian's Data Store.

Applications for Education
How Baby Names Spread Across the U.S. could be the start of an interesting research exercise for social studies students. You could have students pick a name, perhaps their own names, and try to determine why that name is more popular in one state or region compared with another.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Week In Review - The Snappy Edition

A snapping turtle crossing the
road in Norway, Maine.
Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. Earlier today while walking back to my truck after getting coffee at my favorite coffee shop, Cafe Nomad, I saw a snapping turtle trying to cross the road. I stopped to make sure he didn't get hit by traffic. The nice thing about small towns is that people have time to let turtles cross the road.

In other news, this week I wrapped-up my Practical Ed Tech webinar series, Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders. I also concluded the June offering of Getting Ready for GAFE and started the July section. Seats are still available in the August section of Getting Ready for GAFE. Click here to register.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Plickers - The Student Response System for Classrooms That Aren't 1:1
2. Gmail+1 = Student Email Addresses to Register for Online Services
3. Notezilla Helps Students Learn Classical Music
4. Mocomi Offers Hundreds of Short Video Lessons for Kids
5. Create Interactive Videos On ThingLink Video
6. Developing Good Credit Habits - A Game for Teaching Personal Financial Responsibility
7. By Request - Good Alternatives to Google Image Search

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference? Click here to learn about my keynote and workshop offerings. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
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.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
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Maker Camp is Back for 2014 - Online Camp Starts Monday

Again this summer MAKE magazine and Google are hosting a virtual Maker Camp for teenagers (students under 13 can participate with adult supervision). The virtual camp starts on Monday, July 7th at 11am PST. Maker Camp is a series of Google+ Hangouts featuring new DIY projects that students can do at home or at school as individual projects or as group projects. A new project is posted each day. Daily Google+ Hangouts will offer tips for completing each project. Students can share their projects in the Maker Camp Google+ Community. Maker Camp runs for six weeks. Learn more in the video below or jump to the outline to read about the focus of each week of the camp.

A Complete Guide to Using Socrative 2.0

Disclosure: MasteryConnect, Socrative's new parent company, is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Last month Socrative was acquired by MasteryConnect. MasteryConnect's CEO has already said that Socrative will continue to be offered as a free service to teachers. To that end, Socrative has released an updated user guide for teachers. The updated 33 page guide walks you through everything you need to know to start using Socrative 2.0 in your classroom.

Some of the highlights of the Socrative User Guide (link opens a PDF)  include using your Google Apps account to log-in, creating and managing quizzes, aligning quizzes to Common Core standards, and running whole-class and individual response reports.

Socrative is one of a handful of back-channel and informal assessment tools that I often share with teachers. You can find a comparison of those tools in this handy chart.

Applications for Education
One of my favorite ways to use Socrative is to host a team "space race." A space race is a competitive format for quizzes. Space race can be played as a team or individual activity. Each correct answer moves a rocket ship across the screen. The first person or team to get their rocket across the screen wins. Your space race questions can be pulled from a quiz that you have stored in your Socrative account.

The most basic, yet powerful use of Socrative is found in the single response activities. These activities allow students to reply to your prompt or question without entering their names. In a single response activity you verbally pose a question or prompt to your students and they respond with a word, sentence, or multiple choice selection. The anonymous reply format is useful for surveying students when you’re asking them to submit responses to questions or prompts that they might be reluctant to share in an open format.

Take or Create a Google Maps Tour of the Tour de France

The Tour de France started today. We may never ride in the race, but we can virtually tour this year's race route through Google Maps. Just as they have for the last few years, Cycling the Alps has published a Google Maps tour of the race. You can zoom in on the course, see the elevation profiles of the stages, and navigate through the stages using Streetview imagery.

Applications for Education
Rather than just viewing a tour of the Tour de France, have your students create their own virtual tours with the Google Earth Tour Builder. Students can use the Google Earth Tour Builder to create placemarks containing pictures, videos, and text about the unique aspects the towns in which stages of the Tour de France conclude. Click here for a video tutorial on using the Google Earth Tour Builder.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Try Nearpod for Remotely Delivering Content to Your Students' Tablets and Laptops

In an earlier post about the closure of Presentation.io I mentioned Nearpod as an alternative option for remotely delivering content to your students. Nearpod is a service that teachers can use to create quizzes, polls, and multimedia presentations. Those materials can be shared directly to students through the Nearpod student app. The app is available on iOS, Android, Windows 8, and in your web browser. Teachers can view their students' responses individually or as a whole class. Students can reply to prompts from the teacher. Prompts can be slides, quizzes, polls, videos, and PDFs.


Applications for Education
In a 1:1 classroom Nearpod offers a great way to deliver lessons and quizzes to students. The free version of Nearpod allows you to deliver content to up to 30 students at a time. The feedback mechanisms available to students allow you to quickly get a sense of your students' comprehension of the lessons that you deliver to them.

Plickers - The Student Response System for Classrooms That Aren't 1:1

Plickers is a neat student response system that I learned about at ISTE 2014. Plickers uses a teacher's iPad or Android tablet in conjunction with a series of QR codes to create a student response system. Students are given a set of QR codes on large index cards. The codes are assigned to students. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. When the teacher is ready to collect data, he or she uses the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards to see a bar graph of responses.

Applications for Education
Plickers could be a good student response system to use in classrooms in which students don't have laptops or tablets to use. Using Plickers to poll your students instead of asking them to raise hands to indicate if they "get it" or not allows students to reply anonymously by holding up their cards. Have all students hold up their cards at the same time, scan them, and see the results. Students won't know who said they "got it" or not because each code is unique to each student. Click here to learn more about the Plickers cards including how to create your own.

Presentation.io Is Shutting Down in September

Presentation.io is a neat service that allows you to share your slides to your audience members' mobile devices and remotely control the transitions of the slides on their devices. It is a nice way to make sure that all of your students are on the same page with you. Unfortunately, Presentation.io was recently acquired by Cisco and is going to shut down on September 1, 2014.

Nearpod is a good alternative that you might want to consider using. Nearpod is available for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Free Webinar - Using OpenEd to Create Common Core-aligned Assessments

Last week Open Ed released a new tool for creating practice assessments aligned to Common Core standards. The Open Ed assessment tools allow you to associate images and videos with specific questions. This option not only allows you to use media in your questions, but it also allows your students to see suggested review resources when they don't reach a standard on your assessment. Tomorrow, at 3:30pm Eastern Time OpenEd is hosting a free webinar on creating assessments aligned to Common Core standards. You can register for the webinar here.

(I do not know if the webinar will be recorded or not. I'm not affiliated with OpenEd, I just think that it is a good service).

Notezilla Helps Students Learn Classical Music

Notezilla is a neat service that features sheet music synchronized to recordings. As you listen the recording the sheet music scrolls along. You can choose to see a red line moving to indicate the notes being played or choose to not see the red line at all. You can select sections of a recording to hear and see in your Notezilla library.

Notezilla is available to use in your web browser or through an iPad app.

Applications for Education
For the student who is learning to play a new selection Notezilla provides an option to slow the tempo for a recording could be helpful. Students can also choose to turn on or turn off the display of sheet music for specific instruments heard in a recording. Being able to see and hear where their instruments fit into the overall score of a piece could help students be better prepared for the transition from practicing in isolation to rehearsing with a full orchestra or band.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Month In Review - June's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, ME. The month zipped past as I was busy presenting at schools and conferences all over the U.S. It was great to meet so many of you in person this month.

Now that I'm home for a few weeks I am looking forward to enjoying some summer activities like grilling dinner on my deck. I hope that now that school year is over, you're doing some fun things too.

Here are the most popular posts of the month:
1. How to Send Emails from a Google Spreadsheet
2. How to Flip Your Classroom With eduClipper and PixiClip
3. Find Primary Sources from All Over the World on the World Digital Library
4. 30,000+ Images of Art and Artifacts to Download and Re-use for Free
5. Use This Extension To See Your To-do List Every Time You Open a New Tab
6. Essay Map - Provides Step-by-Step Help for Constructing Essays
7. I Tweeted a Google Document and a Neat Thing Happened
8. Zaption - Video Based Quizzes and More
9. Why Book Trailers Are Great Alternatives to Traditional Book Reports
10. Students Can Create Nice Explanatory Videos on Shadow Puppet Edu

Three seats are left at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Seats are still available for my online course Getting Ready for GAFE (start dates in July and August). 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
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.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Mocomi Offers Hundreds of Short Video Lessons for Kids

Mocomi is a nice website featuring educational and entertaining content for elementary and middle school students. The main feature of Mocomi is their collection of more than 300 educational videos. The animated videos provide short lessons on everything from the history of Greek language to explanations of how car engines work.

Applications for Education
Mocomi videos don't offer enough content to be the basis of a flipped lesson, but they could be good to use as introductions to a topic. The videos also provide good model of animated informational videos. Middle school and high school students could follow the model to create their own short videos to demonstrate their understanding of a topic.

Create Interactive Videos On ThingLink Video

ThingLink is a popular tool for collaboratively creating interactive images. Now, you can use ThingLink to create interactive videos too. ThingLink Video (still in beta, but you can register for early access here) allows you to select any public video on YouTube and add interactive pinmarks to it. Each pinmark can contain embeds of other videos, maps, text, and links to other pages of information. Learn more about the ThingLink video in the video below.

I received early access to ThingLink Video and tried it today. The first thing that I tried was taking the video of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address and adding pinmarks to it. I added a pinmark over Lyndon Johnson so that students could click to learn more about the Vice President. Then I took my newly annotated video and added it to a picture of JFK giving his inaugural address.

Applications for Education
ThingLink Video could be a great tool for students to use to add additional information to Animoto videos or other audio slideshow videos that they publish on YouTube. Animoto and similar tools are nice for creating short presentations but they don't offer much in the way of opportunity for sharing additional information about each image in a video. Putting their audio slideshow videos into ThingLink Video is one way that students could enhance their video projects.

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