Monday, November 24, 2014

Remind + Vocaroo = A Good Way to Deliver Substitute Lesson Plans

For a few years whenever I knew that I was going to be out of my classroom, I recorded voice messages and posted them on my classroom blog. The messages would contain the substitute lesson plan for the day. Students and the substitute teacher would listen to the plan together. Vocaroo was the tool that I usually used to record those voice messages. When you record on Vocaroo (registration not required) you can talk for a few minutes then share your message by embedding it into a blog post, giving someone the link to it, or by printing a QR code that people can scan to hear your message on their phones. A demonstration of how to use Vocaroo can be found here.

If you don't have a classroom blog, you might want to explore sending messages to students and parents through Remind. Remind is a free service that you can use to send text messages. A few months ago Remind launched the option to distribute voice messages to students and parents. It's a nice option, but your voice messages are limited to 15 seconds. If you use Vocaroo you can record and share longer messages. Record your message on Vocaroo, grab the link to it and post it in a Remind message with directions to click the link. Students and parents who smartphones (and some feature phones) will be able to listen to your voice recording.

How Lungs Work - A Video and an App

How do the lungs work? is a new TED-Ed video lesson. The lesson is appropriate for students in grades seven through nine. Through the video students can learn about the structures and functions of human lungs. Like all TED-Ed lessons the video is followed by a short series of multiple choice an short answer questions.

Applications for Education
After watching the TED-Ed lesson about lungs, your students can learn more through the Living Lungs iPad app. Living Lung is a free iPad app from iSO-Form Medical. The app provides an interactive 3D model of human lungs. Users of the app can speed up or slow down the respiratory rate of the model. This free educational iPad app also allows users to add or remove labeled layers of the respiratory system. And as you might expect you can zoom in, zoom out, and rotate the model on your iPad.

The 5 Most Frequently Used Free Apps on My iPad

A couple of weeks ago I published a list of my most frequently used browser and desktop apps. I created a similar list on That list is now included below.

When I am reading a blog post that I want to save for later, I share it to my Evernote account. I also use Evernote to save Skitch images. Occasionally, I use Evernote to share items from my iPad's camera roll.

Skitch is the tool that I use on my iPad when I want to create an annotated screenshot. I can use Skitch to draw on and label a screenshot to aid my explanation of how an application works. I can also use Skitch to blur or enhance a part of a picture that I’ve taken with my iPad. And if I just want to sketch out diagram and share it, Skitch for iPad lets me do that too.

Even though I can type relatively quickly with my poor technique, I still prefer to handwrite a lot my notes. For that reason, Penultimate is the app that I use to taking notes on my iPad. Penultimate provides a place for you to hand-write notes on your iPad. The app allows you to create multiple notebooks with multiple pages in each. You can change the color and size of the pen strokes that are created when you write in your notebooks. Each page in your notebook can include pictures that you have stored on your iPad or pictures that you take through the Penultimate app. The app provides the option to change the look of the virtual paper on which you write. You can copy and paste content from one page to another and from one notebook to another.

Apps Gone Free
I check this app at 12pm Eastern Time for new apps that are free for a limited time. Some of the apps are only free to download that day while others may remain free for a week or longer.

Google Drive
I don't do much editing of Google Documents through my iPad because I find it much faster to do that on a Chromebook or laptop, but I do use Drive for reviewing Documents that have been shared with me. I also use Drive for storing videos that I have created on my iPad.

How to Create a Jeopardy-style Game in Google Spreadsheets

Around this time last year I shared a neat Google Spreadsheets script called Flippity. Flippity was originally designed to help you create flashcards through Google Spreadsheets. This morning Steve Fortna informed me that you can now use Flippity to create Jeopardy-style gameboards through Google Spreadsheets. In the video embedded I demonstrate how to use Flippity to create a Jeopardy-style gameboard.

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