Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taking the Lead Video Contest

This is rather short notice, but if you're looking for a video project for your students to do this week, SchoolTube and the Association for Middle Level Education are hosting a video contest for students between the ages of 10 and 15. The contest asks students to produce short (3 minutes or less) videos about taking the lead in their classrooms, schools, and communities. The videos will be displayed at the Association for Middle Level Education's annual conference in November. Winning videos will receive Best Buy gift cards for their creators' classrooms. The entry deadline is October 24.

If you're looking for some web-based video production tools, my current favorites are WeVideo and Creaza Education.

Slide Rocket EDU Launches in Google Apps

Slide Rocket, a feature-rich presentation tool that I initially reviewed more than three years ago, launched a new education product today. Slide Rocket EDU is a free service for collaboratively creating multimedia slideshows online.

Slide Rocket EDU is available as a free application through the Google Apps Marketplace. This means that when you add Slide Rocket EDU to your Google Apps for Education domain your staff and students will be able to log-in, create, and save their work using their Google Apps account. The Slide Rocket presentation below offers a good overview of what they offer to education users.

Applications for Education
If your school uses Google Apps for Education, I encourage you to check out Slide Rocket. Slide Rocket offers far more multimedia options, transitions, and animations than you can find in Google Docs presentations. As a teacher you could use Slide Rocket EDU to share course notes online.

Put Common Core Standards on Your Blog or Website

Disclosure: Mastery Connect is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers

Back in June, Mastery Connect launched a free Android and iPhone app that enables you to locate any and all of Common Core standards for math and language arts with just a couple of clicks. Now you can put that same app functionality directly into your blog or website with the Mastery Connect Common Core widget. Try it out as embedded below.

Applications for Education
If you have a section of your school's website dedicated to faculty resources the Mastery Connect Common Core widget could be a helpful addition to that site.

New Presentation Options in Google Docs

One of the few drawbacks to using Google Docs to create presentations has always been a lack of transition and animation options. Today, Google addressed that issue by introducing a new set of Google Docs presentation tools. The new Google Docs presentation tools include transitions and animations like those that you might find in PowerPoint. There is also a new selection of slidedeck themes.

Applications for Education
I always kind of liked that Google Docs presentations didn't have transitions and animations because without those things my students were able to focus on the messages of their presentations rather than the visual effects. However, not everyone agreed with me on that. The transition and animation options remove one of the obstacles to school adoption of Google Apps for Education.

What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media

This blog post comes from the shameless commerce division of Free Technology for Teachers. As some readers know, I do some writing outside of this blog. One of the writing projects I worked on last year was a contribution to What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media. The book was organized and edited by Chris Lehmann and Scott McLeod. The contribution that I made along with Carl Anderson is a chapter about online mind mapping tools and strategies. In all there are thirty-six contributing authors. The book is available now through Amazon.