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Friday, December 14, 2018

How to Use Flipgrid - From Sign-up to Video Responses

Flipgrid is one of the most popular ed tech tools to emerge in the last couple of years. It can be used as tool for video-based formative assessment, it can be used as an alternative to a classroom YouTube channel, and it can be used to connect classrooms around the world. Those are just a few of the ways that teachers use Flipgrid.

At this time last year I published a video about how to get started using Flipgrid in your classroom. In the ensuing twelve months Flipgrid added a bunch of new features. But the most exciting update of all was that Flipgrid was acquired by Microsoft who then immediately made all of Flipgrid's features free for everyone! So to reflect that fact that all of Flipgrid's features are free, I made an updated video on how to get started using Flipgrid.

This video covers all of the basics that you need to know to get started using Flipgrid in your classroom. In the video you'll learn:
  • How to sign-up.
  • How to create a grid.
  • How to create a topic.
  • The difference between a grid and a topic. 
  • How to post prompts for students. 
  • How to post responses to your students' videos. 


Check out my YouTube channel for more Flipgrid tutorial videos including how to create IDs for students who don't have email accounts and how to grant guest access to Flipgrid topics.

DIY Emojis

Emoji Builder is a fun little site for making your own emojis. To design your own emoji on Emoji Builder you simply pick a base face then add on eyes, mouth, and accessories from menus on the site. When you're done designing your emoji you can download it as a PNG. The site doesn't require any kind of registration.


Applications for Education
I have to admit that it took a long time for me to see the potential uses of emojis in a classroom for anything more than just decoration or distraction. Then in August Tony Vincent published a vocabulary game that uses emojis and I finally saw a clever way to use emojis in a classroom. Emoji Builder could be used to have students create emojis to represent themselves, their emotions, or, as Tony suggested, vocabulary words.

H/T to Lifehacker.

Last Day to Make Readers' Choice Nominations

Last week I posted the nomination form for the 2018 Free Technology for Teachers Readers' Choice Awards. Today is the last day to make nominations. The form will close at the end of the day and I'll be opening the final voting on Saturday. You can use the form embedded below to nominate your favorite educational technology app, site, or service. You can make nominations in one category or all of the categories. Please make only one nomination per category.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Introduction to Using Google Expeditions in Your Classroom

Google Expeditions is one of my favorite virtual reality apps for students and teachers. The app provides hundreds of virtual reality experiences for students. There are VR experiences that can be used in social studies, science, and art classes. The guide mode in Expeditions is fantastic for pacing activities inside of the app. Rather than just having students looking through a VR tour you can direct them to specific places within a tour and ask them questions about the places that you have directed them to. In the following video I demonstrate how to guide students in the Google Expeditions app.


As mentioned in the video you need to make sure that you and your students are using the same wi-fi network. You don't, however, need to all use the same type of device. In the video above I used my Android phone in guide mode and an iPad in the join mode.

The iPad version of Google Expeditions lets students explore imagery by dragging the imagery. The iPhone and Android versions of Google Expeditions are designed for use in a VR viewer. I have used and been happy with the VR viewers from VeeR, Knox Labs, and Printor. Printor offers the cheapest ones at just $5.99.

Get the Google Expeditions iPad app here.
Get the Google Expeditions Android app here.

Join my Teaching History With Technology course to learn more about using virtual reality in history classes. 

Five Short Lessons About the Shortest Day of the Year

The winter solstice is about a week away. I always like to go outside to snowshoe or ski on the solstice just to say to the world that a lack of daylight isn't going to ruin my fun. Not everyone feels the same way about the shortest day of the year. And if you're looking for some resources to help students understand the winter solstice, take a look at the resources I have listed below.

What is a Solstice? is a National Geographic video. The two minute video explains why we experience solstices. The video also explains why the solstice and the first day of winter aren't always the same.


PBS Kids Nature Cat has a cute video that explains the basic concept of winter and summer solstice.



Last year TIME published a video featuring "four things you probably didn't know about the winter solstice." Spoiler alert! You probably knew them, but the video will remind you about those things.


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.


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