Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Use Google Sites File Cabinet Templates to Create a B-Roll Media Gallery

Over the years I've written a lot about the idea of creating b-roll galleries of images, videos, and sounds for your students to use in their multimedia projects. In building a gallery of media that you and your students have created, you're building a resource that students can dive into when they need media for their projects. Google Sites is one platform on which you could build a gallery of media. Use the "file cabinet" template to create a page in your Google Site. Then use Custom Page-level Permissions to allow your students to upload and download media on that page. Video directions for using Page-level Permissions are available here.

Click image to view in full size. 
Click image to view in full size. 
Click image to view in full size. 

Remind Launches Support for Spanish in Their Mobile Apps

Remind, the popular text messaging service for teachers, has just announced that they are now supporting Spanish in their free mobile apps. To use Remind in Spanish download the app then make sure that your iPhone or Android phone settings are set to Spanish.

I emailed Remind's CEO Brett Kopf to ask if teachers would have to install the app twice or send messages twice in order to reach students and parents in Spanish. Here's what he had to say,

"No, bilingual teachers don't have to use a separate Spanish app to send messages to students/parents in Spanish. They can type in Spanish, just as I am now: "Me lla mo Brett" (My name is Brett). The new version has a user interface that is 100% in Spanish -- no translation needed. This helps bilingual teachers bridge a challenging language gap and communicate more effectively with students/parents who are not as fluent."

Applications for Education
Anytime that you can engage with more students and more parents, it's a good thing. This update to Remind's mobile apps will help teachers keep more parents informed about the good things happening in their classrooms.

Two Ways to Share Bundles of Links With Your Students

Trying to get all of your students to the same set of websites at the same time can be a frustrating experiences. Just a couple of mistyped characters can create a frustrating experience for everyone. One way to avoid this situation is to post all of your links on one course webpage or in a blog post. Another solution is to use a link bundling service that will group all of your links together into one package. Then instead of sending out a bunch of individual links you can just send one link that will open all of the bundled links for your students. Here are two services that you can use for just that purpose.

Bitly is one URL shortener that I have been using for years. It's simple to use, especially if you use the bookmarklet, allows you to customize URLs, and it offers good statistics about the use of your links. Bitly offers an option for bundling bookmarks into one package that you can share with just one link. Bitly bundles can be created collaboratively if you invite other Bitly users to bundle links with you. The nice thing about Bitly is that you can view how many times a link has been used. So if you have 25 students and the link has only been used 20 times, you know that at five students aren't where you need them to be.

LinkBunch is a free service that you can use to quickly send a group of links to your friends, colleagues, and students. To use the service just visit LinkBunch, enter the links that you want to share, and click "Bunch." When you click on "Bunch" you will be given a URL to share with anyone you want to see the links in your bunch. When someone clicks on the URL for your Bunch he or she will be able to open the links you bunched together.

300,000 Facebook Fans! Wowza!

I checked in on the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page this morning and saw that it has exceeded 300,000 likes for the first time. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to check the page and hit the Like button. I never thought that 300,000 people would like anything that I do. After 7+ years of writing this blog I continue to be amazed that a guy with a laptop in a very small town in Maine can reach so many people. Thank you!

If you haven't seen the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page it is a place where I post what I think are the best posts from this blog. Not all of the posts on the blog appear on the Facebook page. On the Facebook page I occasionally publish older posts from this blog that are still useful.