Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Free Webinar - Storyboards in the Classroom - Stories, Graphic Organizers, and More

Next Wednesday at 7pm EST Storyboard That is sponsoring a free webinar all about using storyboards in the classroom. I will be hosting the webinar with Storyboard That's founder Aaron Sherman. Aaron and I will share ideas and examples for using storyboards in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. Some of the topics that we will cover include, using storyboards for storytelling, using storyboards for illustrating concepts, and using storyboards as flowcharts. We will also share lesson plans incorporating storyboards into language arts, social studies, and digital citizenship.

Registration is limited to the first 200 people. Click here to register.

Yes, the webinar will be recorded
The recording will be posted on FreeTech4Teachers.com the day after the webinar. It is not necessary to send an email to get the recording.

Reminder - Apps Don't Have To Be Isolated

About a third of the way through my latest Best of the Web presentation I stopped to make the point that many apps and sites can work together even if they were not originally designed to do so. For example, I frequently share examples of using PicCollage and ThingLink together to create interactive multimedia collages. Greg Kulowiec calls this app smashing. You will find lots of examples of app smashing on Greg's blog.

Getting to the point that you can app smash requires becoming comfortable with a variety of apps and or sites. That doesn't happen overnight, it takes time. Set a goal of learning to use one new app or site per month in your classroom and before the end of the year you'll be ready to app smash. You can also enlist the help of your students to develop app smashes. Your students probably have favorite picture or video apps on their phones, ask them what they're using and then brainstorm possible uses of those apps for the next project in your classroom.

How to Search for Publicly Shared Google Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets

Searching by file type and searching by domains is a great way for students to refine their Google searches. Searching for and within a DOC, a PPT, or XLS file can lead students to resources that they might not otherwise have seen. But increasingly a lot of us are creating our documents, slides, and spreadsheets in Google Drive. Many of us are then publishing those files for anyone in the world to see. Thanks to the Google for Education Google+ page, today I was reminded that you can perform a Google search to look for publicly shared Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets. The screenshots below illustrate how to do this.

To search for a public Google Document: enter site:docs.google.com after your search term.
Click image to view full size.

To search for a public Google Slides presentation: enter site:docs.google.com/presentation/ after your search term.
Click image to view full size.
To search for a public Google Drive Spreadsheet: enter site:docs.google.com/spreadsheets/ after your search term.
Click image to view full size.

ExamTime Launches New Mobile Apps for Reviewing Quizzes, Flashcards, and More

ExamTime is a service that launched a couple of years ago for the purpose of providing an online tool for students to use to create flashcards, mind maps, and practice quizzes to help them study. Last year they introduced a study planner tool that students can use to create schedules for reviewing study materials for all of their courses. The study planner allows students to create recurring calendar events to study a particular topic at a given time every day or week. Today, ExamTime launched a free iPad app and a free Android app.

I installed ExamTime's free iPad app this afternoon. One thing that I noticed right away is that you have to create your ExamTime account in your web browser before you can use the app. Once you have the app installed and you're signed-in you can review anything that you have created in your ExamTime online account and or browse through resources that others have shared publicly. You can search for publicly shared resources by entering a keyword or you can simply browse through a list of subject headings. Either way, when you find a resource that you like you can bookmark it and add it to your list of saved review materials.

There are two things that I would like to see added to ExamTime's free iPad and Android apps. First, the search tool would benefit from a filter that would allow you to search for resources according to material type. For example, I would like to be able to refine my search to show only flashcards or only mind maps. Second, ExamTime's new mobile apps don't support creating review materials. Creating review materials still has to be done in your web browser. Hopefully, in the future ExamTime will add resource creation tools to their mobile apps.

Applications for Education
If you and your students are already creating review materials on ExamTime then the mobile apps could provide a good way to take those materials with you wherever you go. On the browser-based side of ExamTime the study planner is a good tool for students to use to get in the habit of studying each topic for a chunk of time on a regular schedule instead of trying to cram the night before an exam.

A Quick Tip on Publishing Twitter Replies

One of the most frequently asked questions in my course on Blogs & Social Media for Teachers is along the lines of, "how do I get more people involved in a conversation?" A simple way to get more people to see your "@" replies in a conversation is to put a period in front of the "@." In the video embedded below I explain and demonstrate how this works.