Saturday, May 18, 2019

Summer Reading, Portfolios, and Animations - The Week in Review

Good evening from sunny and windy Paris Hill, Maine. It was a great day for playing outside and that's exactly what my little family did today. I had a nice long bike ride through part of the White Mountain National Forest that ended with meeting my daughters at a playground besides the Androscoggin river. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you had a fun and relaxing day too.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Ten Great Tech Tools for Social Studies Lessons
2. Rivet - A Reading App from Google
3. 5 Ways for Students of All Ages to Make Animated Videos
4. How to Use the New Version of Google Books
5. 5 Good Options for Making Digital Portfolios
6. ReadWorks Offers Free Summer Reading Packets
7. Easy Notecards and Flashcards

Thank You for Your Support!

How to Make an Animated Timeline in Google Slides

Eighteen months ago I published a video about how to use Google Slides to create a timeline. Yesterday, that video hit 50,000 views. I watched the video again and realized that I could use the animation tools in Google Slides to add animations to my timeline. So yesterday I made a video about how to do that. In the following video I demonstrate how to create an animated timeline in Google Slides.


If you like this video, please take a look at my YouTube channel for hundreds of other tips on using educational technology tools.

How to Find Games & Quizzes in Google Earth

This week Google added a new round of Where in Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego? The new game follows up on the popularity of the first Where in Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego? that was launched in March. The new game has players help Carmen Sandiego find Tutankhamun’s Mask.



That's not the only game that you can find in the web, Android, and iOS versions of Google Earth. If you go into the Voyager mode in Google Earth you will find other games and quizzes to try. The quizzes are neat because when you answer a question correctly you automatically zoom to the Street View imagery of the location. Check it out in my video below.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Fishbowl - A New Professional Network for Teachers

This week Fishbowl joined Free Technology for Teachers as a new advertiser on the site.

Fishbowl is a professional networking service for professionals in many fields including education. Based on that description you might think it's just another LinkedIn or Twitter, but you'd be wrong. Fishbowl features dedicated communities for discussions about the issues that matter most to them. Fishbowl makes you verify your identity, but lets you post questions and responses anonymously. That enables you to ask sensitive questions or respond to sensitive questions without jeopardizing your privacy.

Here's a good example of discussions that can happen in Fishbowl. In the Fishbowl teachers community there is currently a discussion about taking "mental health days." That's a question that you might not want to discuss on Twitter or LinkedIn because everyone can see your real name and where you teach. On Fishbowl you can post in that discussion and have your screen name appear as simply "teacher in Maine."

Fishbowl is designed to be used on your phone or tablet. Fishbowl is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. After you install the app you will have to verify your identity by using either a professional email address (not Gmail, Yahoo, etc) or your LinkedIn profile. Once you've verified your identity it's time to add a bit of information about where you work. That doesn't mean naming the school district it simply means adding the type of school, the state/province it's in, and what you do there. Once you've done that you can start joining discussion groups and participate in conversations. When you post you can choose to use your name or simply use "Works at School in State X" or "Subject X High School Teacher."

I like that Fishbowl provides a place to ask questions and engage in discussions that you might not otherwise feel comfortable discussing on places like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. I think this could be a great for new teachers who have a lot of questions and not a great support system around them. But just like any other network, you still want to be responsible with the information that you share and be mindful of how written words aren't always read the way you intended for them to sound. The other thing that I like about Fishbowl is that as of right now, posting on the network doesn't have the "popularity contest" aspect that can pop-up in things like #edchat on Twitter.

You can find the Fishbowl apps right here and start joining discussions today.

Common Craft Explains URLs

We enter URLs into our web browsers every day, but have you ever wondered what all the parts of those URLs mean? The URL can give us information about the type of website we're visiting, the security of the site, when a page was created, and much more. What's in a URL is the topic of the latest Common Craft video.

By watching URLs (Web Addresses) Explained by Common Craft viewers can learn what each element of a URL means, the difference between top-level domains and subdomains, and how URLs are connected to web servers.


You can preview all Common Craft videos on their website. You do need a subscription in order to download them or embed them into other pages. All Common Craft videos come with a lesson plan that you can download.

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