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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A New LOC Online Collection - Theodore Roosevelt's Papers

I have always found Theodore Roosevelt to be one of the most fascinating characters in U.S. History. That is why I was excited this morning when I saw an email from the Library of Congress announcing the online publication of Theodore Roosevelt's papers.

The LOC's collection of Theodore Roosevelt's papers is divided into sixteen sections. Included in those sections are his personal diaries, executive orders, speeches, and business papers. One section that I find particularly interesting is the collection of the scrapbooks that he kept. Like most online Library of Congress artifacts, you can download copies of Roosevelt's papers.

Applications for Education
This is a tremendous collection of primary sources about the 26th President of the United States. The documents within the collection could be used in a service like DocsTeach as part of analysis, comparison, or sequencing activities.

New Accessibility Options in Flipgrid and Other Microsoft Products

This week Microsoft unveiled a slew of new accessibility options for the services that teachers and students use most. One of those features is the inclusion of Immersive Reader in Flipgrid.

Immersive Reader is a free service that students can use to have text read aloud to them. Immersive Reader not only reads aloud it will also highlight parts of speech and individual syllables within every word on a page. What this means in the context of Flipgrid is that students who need assistance accessing directions or discussion prompts can now use Immersive Reader to hear those directions and prompts read aloud.

Office Lens is another Microsoft product that now includes Immersive Reader. This free app (available for Android and iOS) will now let you take a picture of text and have that text read aloud through the use of Immersive Reader.

More implementations of Immersive Reader as scheduled for later this fall. Those implementations include real-time translation and the math pane in OneNote. Read more about those features in Microsoft's announcement of the expansion of Immersive Reader implementation.

Common Craft Releases Its 101st Explainer Video

This week Common Craft published their 101st explainer video. The latest video is about understanding terms of service agreements on websites and apps.

Like nearly all Common Craft videos Terms of Service Agreements begins with an analog example before transitioning to the digital application of that example. In this case the analog example is signing a form at a water park then seeing your picture used in an advertisement a couple of weeks later. That example is symbolic of what can happen if you don't read the terms of service on a website or app. For a real-life example of this, read about how Delta attempts to claim ownership of your photos if you use one of their hashtags.


You can watch Common Craft videos on their website. Displaying them for classroom use does require a subscription or license. Many of the videos include a downloadable lesson plan.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Wakelet Makes it Easier to Organize Bookmarks

Wakelet is quickly becoming a popular choice amongst teachers who want to create collections of notes that can include text, videos, links, and pictures. Students can use it for the same purpose and share their collections with their teachers.

This week Wakelet added a new feature to their Chrome extension. The Wakelet Chrome extension now let's you drag any open tab into a collection in Wakelet. You can even build a collection of open tabs. Watch this twelve second video to see how Wakelet's Chrome extension works.


Applications for Education
One of the ways that teachers can use Wakelet is to create collections of sites and videos about the topics they're teaching. Then within that collection make sections that correspond to sub-topics. That way students could go to a collection then quickly jump to a section of resources that corresponds to the topics that they need to review before an exam.

How to Design a Custom Certificate in Google Slides

On Monday I shared tutorials for two ways to send personalized certificates via Google Forms and Google Sheets. What I didn't include in those tutorials was how to create a custom certificate without using the default certificate template found in Google Slides. In the following video I demonstrate how you can design your own customized certificates in Google Slides.


In the video I used Pixabay to find borders to use in my certificate. That's not the only source that you can use. Any site that offers public domain imagery could be used in the same way to design your own certificates.