Monday, June 30, 2014

The Month In Review - June's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, ME. The month zipped past as I was busy presenting at schools and conferences all over the U.S. It was great to meet so many of you in person this month.

Now that I'm home for a few weeks I am looking forward to enjoying some summer activities like grilling dinner on my deck. I hope that now that school year is over, you're doing some fun things too.

Here are the most popular posts of the month:
1. How to Send Emails from a Google Spreadsheet
2. How to Flip Your Classroom With eduClipper and PixiClip
3. Find Primary Sources from All Over the World on the World Digital Library
4. 30,000+ Images of Art and Artifacts to Download and Re-use for Free
5. Use This Extension To See Your To-do List Every Time You Open a New Tab
6. Essay Map - Provides Step-by-Step Help for Constructing Essays
7. I Tweeted a Google Document and a Neat Thing Happened
8. Zaption - Video Based Quizzes and More
9. Why Book Trailers Are Great Alternatives to Traditional Book Reports
10. Students Can Create Nice Explanatory Videos on Shadow Puppet Edu

Three seats are left at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Seats are still available for my online course Getting Ready for GAFE (start dates in July and August). 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.

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A Crash Course on the History of the 4th of July

The 4th of July is this Friday. In the United States the 4th of July marks Independence Day. In the video below John Green offers a short overview of the history of Independence Day and the ways in which Americans have celebrated the holiday since 1776.

As always, Green includes plenty of sarcastic comments throughout the video so if your students have trouble recognizing sarcasm then this won't be an appropriate video for them.

Mocomi Offers Hundreds of Short Video Lessons for Kids

Mocomi is a nice website featuring educational and entertaining content for elementary and middle school students. The main feature of Mocomi is their collection of more than 300 educational videos. The animated videos provide short lessons on everything from the history of Greek language to explanations of how car engines work.

Applications for Education
Mocomi videos don't offer enough content to be the basis of a flipped lesson, but they could be good to use as introductions to a topic. The videos also provide good model of animated informational videos. Middle school and high school students could follow the model to create their own short videos to demonstrate their understanding of a topic.

Videos - How Fireworks Work

This coming Friday the United States will celebrate Independence Day. Cities and towns all over the country will feature fireworks displays to celebrate the day. I'm sure that many of you will be enjoying a fireworks display (I will be at home keeping my dogs calm because they hate fireworks). If you or your children are wondering how the fireworks actually work, take a look at the following videos from National Geographic and Discovery News.

Create Interactive Videos On ThingLink Video

ThingLink is a popular tool for collaboratively creating interactive images. Now, you can use ThingLink to create interactive videos too. ThingLink Video (still in beta, but you can register for early access here) allows you to select any public video on YouTube and add interactive pinmarks to it. Each pinmark can contain embeds of other videos, maps, text, and links to other pages of information. Learn more about the ThingLink video in the video below.

I received early access to ThingLink Video and tried it today. The first thing that I tried was taking the video of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address and adding pinmarks to it. I added a pinmark over Lyndon Johnson so that students could click to learn more about the Vice President. Then I took my newly annotated video and added it to a picture of JFK giving his inaugural address.

Applications for Education
ThingLink Video could be a great tool for students to use to add additional information to Animoto videos or other audio slideshow videos that they publish on YouTube. Animoto and similar tools are nice for creating short presentations but they don't offer much in the way of opportunity for sharing additional information about each image in a video. Putting their audio slideshow videos into ThingLink Video is one way that students could enhance their video projects.

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