Friday, October 31, 2014

The Month in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Happy Halloween! If you celebrate the occasion, I hope you have fun this evening. It's the end of the month and as I do every month I have put together a list of the most popular posts of the month.

Here are the most popular posts from October, 2014:
1. Create a Word Cloud Within Your Google Documents
2. PhotoMath Could Change the Way We Think About Teaching Math
3. Math Chat - Solve Problems Together in Real Time
4. By Request - Five Good Math Sites and Apps for Elementary School
5. New Features Added to Google Classroom
6. Simple Google Search Tools and Strategies for Students
7. Your Life On Earth - How the World Has Changed In Your Lifetime
8. How to Search Twitter for Educational Content
9. Try the New Add-ons for Google Forms
10. A Handy Sheet of Google Search Modifiers

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Class Charts provides a fantastic way to track students' behaviors.
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.
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, Chicago, and Atlanta.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
BoomWriter and WordWriter are fantastic tools that help students develop their writing skills.

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How to Invite Guests to Google Calendar Events

Google Calendar offers some nifty little features that can bring quite a bit of organization to our busy lives. One of those features is the option to invite people to meetings and events via email sent from your Google Calendar. The screenshots below outline that process. (Click on the images to view them in full size).

Step 1: Create event and open your event's details.

Step 2: Add guests.

Step 3: Send emails.

Short Explanations of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. If your state or province practices Daylight Saving Time, you'll be rolling back your clocks before bed and gaining back that hour of sleep you lost in the spring. Students may be wondering about the reasons for Daylight Saving Time. The following videos offer concise explanations of Daylight Saving Time.

And although it's not about daylight saving time, this TED-Ed lesson about the standardization of timezones is worth watching.

Getting Ready for GAFE - A Practical Ed Tech Webinar Series With Graduate Credit

This month I ran a webinar series titled Getting Ready for GAFE. The webinar sold out and some people who wanted to join, couldn't. So I've partnered with The Midwest Teachers Institute to offer the course again. This partnership allows me to offer the course with a graduate credit option.

Has your school recently transitioned to Google Apps for Education? If so, this course offers everything you need to know to take advantage of the great things that GAFE offers to teachers and students. Getting Ready for GAFE is a Practical Ed Tech webinar series designed for teachers and administrators who are new to using Google Apps for Education. Getting Ready for GAFE is a five week course covering everything you need to know to to integrate Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Sites into your practice this year.

Getting Ready for GAFE costs $147. (Register by November 8th with the discount code "PETGAFE" to save $15). Three graduate credits are available for the course through my partnership Midwest Teachers Institute and Calumet College of St. Joseph. Graduate credits require an additional fee and completion of weekly assignments. To register for the graduate credit option you must first register for the course here then click here to register for the graduate credit.

Classes begin on November 24th.

Click here to register for the November/December course.

Course highlights:

  • Get to know Google Drive.
  • What makes Google Docs better than your old word processor.
  • Tips & tricks for getting the most out of Google Docs
  • The ins and outs of Google Slides.
  • Customizations you didn’t know about.
  • Using Google Drive to store and share all of your digital creations (even those old files you made years ago in Word).
  • Take control of your schedule with Google Calendar.
  • Using calendars to keep your students, their parents, and your colleagues informed about happenings in your classroom.
  • Using Google Calendar as a reservation system for parent-teacher conferences.
  • Google Sites As Your Online Hub
  • Create a website that students and their parents will want to visit.
  • Using Google Sites as a blog.
  • Designing and developing digital portfolios in Google Sites.
  • Using Google Sites for wiki projects.
  • Google Classroom to Streamline Your Workflow.
  • Organizing assignments for distribution.
  • Managing multiple classrooms from one place.
  • Giving feedback through Google Classroom.

What’s included? What does it cost?

Registration is $147. Click here to register.

The graduate credit option costs an additional $450. Click here to register for graduate credit. Note: you must also register for the course here. Registration is not confirmed until payment has been received. Cancellations received less than seven days prior to the start of the course are not eligible for refunds.

All live sessions are recorded. The recordings are made available to all participants to stream and or download.

Participants will receive digital handouts with directions for everything demonstrated in the webinars.

Participants have access to a dedicated discussion forum to use throughout the course.

When is it?

The live meetings are held at 7pm Eastern Time on November 24th and December 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd.

This sounds great! How do I register? What will I need to participate?

The easiest and cheapest way to register is by completing the registration online with a credit card or PayPal.

Click here to register.

To register for graduate credit, first complete the form here then complete the MTI form here.

Purchase Orders and school checks will only be accepted if four or more people from the same district register together.

The courses will be hosted through GoToTraining. To participate in the course you will need a laptop or desktop computer with an updated browser (Chrome or FireFox is ideal).

Nice Things People Have Said About My Webinars and Presentations:
I am finding your GAFE webinar so helpful!! 
K. Sloan
Your keynotes were spot on and your professionalism was extremely appreciated.
Lindsay Bellino, Director of Online Communities, Pearson OLE
Your keynote was excellent and set a great tone for the whole conference.  
Gary Seastrand, Brigham Young University

About the costs and my decision to advertise these opportunities on my blog:
Sometimes when I advertise one of these webinars I get messages from people who are upset that I am advertising it here and or that I am charging for it. I understand why some people feel that way. I thought long and hard about how to offer these opportunities. In fact, I thought about it and talked about it with trusted advisors for a year before offering the first webinar series last year. The purpose of this blog and my goal for years has always been to help people use free technology in their classrooms. The tools and strategies featured in my webinars and at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp are free to use. However, my time for teaching isn't free. Further, I pay licensing fees to GoToTraining and to Wistia for hosting all of the media content of the courses.

5 Tools to Combine With ThingLink for Creating Multimedia Collages

As I have written many times in the past, ThingLink is one of my favorite tools for playing with media. Last week I published a video about using ThingLink in conjunction with PicMonkey to create interactive multimedia collages. PicMonkey isn't the only tool that pairs well with ThingLink. Here are five other tools that can be used in conjunction with ThingLink to create multimedia interactive collages.

Picadilo is a free image editing and collage creation service that offers a lot of useful tools. To use Picadilo you do not have to create an account on the service. The best aspect of Picadilo's collage creator is that after selecting a basic layout for your collage you can further customize it by dragging the edges of each image to instantly re-size them.

Fotor is a free image editing tool available in your web browser, as a desktop application for Mac and Windows, as iPad app, as an Android app, and as a Windows 8 application. Fotor can be used without creating an account. On Fotor you can crop images, apply filters, add picture frames, insert clip art, and add text to your images. You can also create image collages on Fotor.

Canva is a great service for creating infographics, slides, and photo collages. On Canva you can create infographics, slides, and photo collages in much the selecting a template then dragging and dropping into place background designs, pictures, clip art, and text boxes. Canva offers a huge library of clip art and photographs to use in your designs (some of the clip art is free, some is not). You can also import your own images to use in your graphics. Your completed Canva projects can be saved as PDF and PNG files. Canva offers a free iPad app that works in much the same way as the web version of the service.

PicCollage is one of my favorite Android and iPad apps. It is a free app that allows you to quickly arrange pictures, video, text, and stickers into collages. From the app you can share your collage to Google Drive, Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, and many other file sharing services. You can also simply save your collage to your tablet's camera roll.

Google Drawings and Google Slides can both be used to create simple collages. Into each service you can import images from your desktop or your Google Drive account. You can drag and drop images into any placement that you like. Both tools now include options for cropping images and adding borders. Word art is available to use in each service too. When you're ready to use your collage in ThingLink, download it as a PNG or JPG file.

How to use your collages in ThingLink:
ThingLink can be used in your web browser or on your iPad through ThingLink's free iPad app. In both cases you can import your image collages into your ThingLink account. Once imported you can tag your images. Each tag on the image can include a video, an audio recording, a link to website, text, or another image. Click here for a video on how to use ThingLink.

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