Wednesday, February 8, 2023

New Padlet Feature! Present Padlet Walls as Slideshows

Padlet has been one of my go-to tools for more than a decade. That staying power is due in large part to the flexibility of the tool and that the team and Padlet continues to add more and more helpful features for teachers. The latest feature added to Padlet is an option to present all of the notes on a Padlet wall as a slideshow. 

Now when you want to display the notes that your students have added to a Padlet wall you can simply click on the slideshow button on the righthand side of the screen to display each note in order in full screen. Take a look at my screenshot below to see where to find the Padlet slideshow button.

This feature is currently available to anyone who has opted-into the beta channel for Padlet and will be available to all users later today. 

Applications for Education
The new Padlet slideshow option could be very handy when you're trying to review with your whole class the contributions that they've made to a Padlet wall. I can see this being particularly useful when going through a set of KWL responses as it allows you and your class to focus on one item at a time without the distraction of other notes appearing in the background.

How to Set Expiration Dates for Google Docs

Setting access expiration dates is one of the many "hidden" or frequently overlooked features of Google Documents. This is a feature you can use when you want to share a Google Document with a person or group of people for a limited time. By setting an expiration date you can grant access for as little as an hour or as much as a year. In the short video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to set expiration dates for Google Docs. 

Video - How to Set Access Expiration Dates for Shared Google Docs



Much like you can set expiration dates for individual Google Documents, you can share your Google Drive folders and individual files for set durations of time. Watch How to Set Expiration Dates for Google Drive Folders & Files to learn how to place time limits on your sharing settings.



Applications for Education
Setting expiration dates for shared documents is helpful when you want to encourage your students to review a document before a specific time. It's also helpful when you want to publish something like a syllabus, but you don't want to have it published and live on the web indefinitely.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Learning About Languages and The Mysteries of Vernacular

Last week I wrote a blog post titled Two Lessons for a Wicked Cold Day. After publishing that post it occurred to me that readers who are not familiar with New England may be wondering why I chose the word wicked. Sure enough, someone emailed me last night to ask what I meant by "wicked cold." In New England we tend to use the word "wicked" as an adjective in place of extreme or very. For example, the Boston Celtics played wicked good defense against the Detroit Pistons last night.

The New England-style use of wicked originated is just one of many mysteries of vernacular. For more mysteries of vernacular lessons, take a look at TED-Ed's Mysteries of Vernacular series. Each of the 26 lessons focus on one word that is often used by English speakers. A history of the word's origins and evolution of its use is featured in each video lesson. The entire playlist is embedded below beginning with the word "yankee."



Words of the WorldWords of the World is a collection of videos featuring historians and linguists explaining the origins of and history of the use of words in the English language. The videos attempt to put the words into a somewhat modern context. For example this video about the word "guerrilla" makes reference to Che Guevara. The video I've embedded below explains the word "coup."


Langscape is an interactive map created at the Maryland Language Science Center. The Langscape interactive map displays more than 6,000 markers representing more than 6,000 languages. Each marker represents the native language of that location. Zoom-in and click on a marker to learn more about the language. When you click on the marker you will be able to find more information about that marker through links to pages on EthnologueLanguage Archives, and Wikipedia. Those pages will provide information about whether or not the language is extinct and its origins.

Three Tools for Detecting Writing Created by AI

If you haven't heard, AI writing tools are the hot edtech topic of the year so far. Your students are probably using them whether you know it or not. And if your middle school or high school is trying to ban them, your students are definitely using them (tell teenagers what they can't do and they'll do it). 

Almost as quickly as new AI writing tools emerge, new tools to detect writing created by AI are emerging. I've tried three of them so far. All three are demonstrated in this short video. Watch the video as embedded below or skip down to read about the tools featured in the video. 

Video - Three Tools for Detecting Articles Written by AI



GPTZero is a free tool that analyzes text to determine whether or not it was written by an artificial intelligence program. There are some features of GPTZero that make it a bit different from some of the other AI detection tools that I've tried. First, in addition to accepting text that you copy and paste into it, GPTZero lets you upload PDFs, Word docs, and TXT files to analyze them. Second, GPTZero will highlight for you the parts of an article that it determines to have a high likelihood of being written by an AI tool. Third, GPTZero provides a perplexity score and a burstiness score to illustrate how it was determined that a document was or was not written by an AI tool. 

AI Text Classifier is a free tool from Open AI, the makers of ChatGPT, that will detect whether or not a passage of text has been written with ChatGPT and similar AI writing tools. To use AI Text Classifier you do need to have registered for a free account on Open AI. Once you have an account you can use AI Text Classifier. To use AI Text Classifier you simply have to paste a block of writing (at least 1,000 characters, roughly 175 words) into the text field and click the submit button. AI Text Classifier will then rank the writing as very unlikely, unlikely, unclear if it is, possibly, or likely written by AI. For the record, AI Text Classifier classified my article about detecting writing created by AI as very unlikely to have been written by AI. 

AI Writing Check is a free tool created by the collaborative efforts of the non-profits Quill.org and CommonLit. AI Writing Check is a tool that was created to help teachers try to recognize writing created through the use of artificial intelligence. To use AI Writing Check you simply have to copy a passage of text of 100 or more words and paste it into AI Writing Check. The tool will then tell you the likelihood that the writing has or has not been created by artificial intelligence. That's all there is to it. AI Writing Check isn't foolproof and as is pointed out on the site, students can still develop ways to get around tools designed to detect AI-generated writing. It's also worth noting that it can't handle more than 400 words at a time. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Lesson Plans for The State of Union Address

Tomorrow night President Biden will give the annual State of the Union Address. C-SPAN Classroom offers more than one hundred resources for teaching and learning about The State of the Union Address in historical and current contexts. If you don't have time to review all of the resources that C-SPAN Classroom offers (honestly, who does?), then just jump to this lesson plan

Lesson Plan: The State of the Union Address features a short video about this history of The State of the Union Address and three short clips of past addresses. There are guiding questions and a note-taking chart for students to use while watching the clips. For those of you who plan to have students watch all or part of President Biden's 2023 State of the Union Address, the lesson plan includes templates for note-taking, a bingo board game to play while watching The State of the Union Address, and a list of guiding questions. 

Applications for Education
One of the things that I appreciate about C-SPAN Classroom's Lesson Plan: The State of the Union Address is that it provides students with some historical context while also providing guidance for helping students identify current topics of importance to the country.