Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Edmodo Snapshot - Quickly Create Common Core-aligned Assessments

If you use Edmodo and you have to align your assessments to Common Core standards, Edmodo's new Snapshot tool is for you. Snapshot is a new tool that allows you to quickly create quizzes aligned to Common Core standards.

To create a quiz with Snapshot simply select the Snapshot in your Edmodo account, choose a student group, choose a grade, and choose ELA or Math. By default Snapshot will generate a twelve question quiz to get you started. You can add questions to it by select a specific standard and clicking the "+" symbol next to one of the questions in the question bank. When your students take the Snapshot quiz the results are shown to you in real-time. Learn more about Snapshot in the demonstration video made by Matt Bergman and embedded below.

Applications for Education
Giving students a Snapshot quiz then watching the real-time results could be a good pre-teaching activity useful in determining how to modify your lesson plans.

Three Good Pieces of Google Apps News

Over the last seven days Google has made a few announcements that educators should note. The most significant of those announcements came today with the news of Classroom by Google. Classroom by Google is a new tool designed to help teachers organize workflow inside of Google Apps for Education. Within Classroom by Google teachers will be able to distribute assignments, create folders for students, and push announcements to students. It seems to do most of what can be accomplished by using scripts like GClassFolders and Doctopus. Classroom by Google is not available to everyone yet, but you can register for early access here.

Another announcement of note over the last week is that of the elimination of ad scanning in the Gmail accounts of Google Apps for Education users. Along the same lines, Google removed the option for domain admins to enable advertising within the domain (I don't know of any admins that turned that on anyway).

Finally, this week Google Documents received an update that added the option to crop images and add borders to them. This is very similar to the existing image editing options in Google Presentations. (It appears that image editing in Documents has not been rolled-out to all domains, yet).

By Request - Good Alternatives to Google Image Search

This morning I received an email from a reader that has been frustrated by the results her students are getting when they search on Google Images. Rather than relying on the filters on Google Images to generate good results for students, give one of these other sources of images a try.

The Morgue File photo collection contains thousands of images that anyone can use for free in academic or commercial presentations. The image collection can be searched by subject category, image size, color, or rating. You will find a mix of images that don't require attribution along with some that do require attribution so pay attention to the labels that come with each picture. Morgue File is more than just a source for free images. The Morgue File also features a "classroom" where visitors can learn photography techniques and get tips about image editing.

Every Stock Photo is a search engine for public domain and Creative Commons licensed pictures. When you search on Every Stock Photo it pulls images from dozens of sources across the web. If you click on an image in your search results you will be taken to a larger version of the image, a link to the source, and the attribution requirements for using that picture.

Pixabay is currently my go-to place to find and download quality public domain images. You can search on Pixabay by using keywords or you can simply browse through the library of images. When you find an image you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Registered users do not have to enter a captcha code to download images. Users who do not register can download images, but they do have to enter a captcha code before downloading each picture.

Each time that I visit it the Flickr Commons collection seems to have grown. The Commons contains images that have been contributed by more than five dozen libraries and museums around the world. The images are mostly historical in nature.

Earlier this year the Wellcome Library made more than 100,000 drawings, photographs, paintings, and advertisements available to the world under Creative Commons licensing. The images available through the Wellcome Images library are primarily of a historic nature. You can browse the galleries or search for images by keyword.

Unsplash is a Tumblr-hosted site that adds ten new, free, high-resolution images every ten days. I scrolled through the site for quite a while today and found a lot of nice images. The downside to Unsplash is that the site does not have a search function.

You can find more than 85,000 free images through the Getty Museum's Open Content Program. You can download and re-use the images as long as you give proper attribution for the source of the image. Use the Getty Search Gateway to find images in the Getty Museum's Open Content Program. The Getty Search Gateway allows you to filter your search according to material type, topic, name, source, and location. Once you find an image, click the image's title to be taken to its landing page where you can learn more about it, get the required attribution information, and learn more about the history of your chosen image.

The Wikimedia Commons houses thousands of images that you and your students can re-use. Searching in the Wikimedia Commons isn't the most intuitive process which is why I don't recommend it for younger students. Search the Wikimedia Commons by keyword or browse it by category and topic. 

How many ways can you arrange a deck of cards? - A TED-Ed Lesson

How many ways can you arrange a deck of cards? is a TED-Ed lesson that your students might enjoy trying offline before you show them the answers through the video. Give your students a deck of cards and let them think about how they might determine the answer to the question, "how many ways can you arrange a deck of cards?" When you think they've reached the end of the exercise, have them go through the short TED-Ed lesson.

Two Good Reminders on Teacher Appreciation Day

The classic Taylor Mali explanation of What Teachers Make.

My friend Angela Maiers reminding us that everyone matters.