Monday, April 20, 2015

How to Create Map Review Activities on Thinglink

Thinglink Classroom combined with Thinglink's remix function can provide you with a nice way to build image-based review activities. One example of this is taking an image of a map and inserting questions on top of it. After building your questions on top of the image share it with your students and have them remix it to answer your questions. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to go about creating a map-based review activity in Thinglink.

Coggle Adds Resizable Text to Their Collaborative Mind Map Service

Coggle is a free mind mapping tool that I started using a couple of years ago when it was in beta. Coggle is a collaborative mind-mapping service. Recently, Coggle was updated to make it easier to emphasize portions of your mind map. To bring attention to a specific part of a Coggle mind map you can now just click and drag the corner of a box in the map to have the font size increase.

To create a Coggle mind map just sign-in with your Google account and click the "+" icon to start your mind map. After entering the main idea of your mind map you can add branches by clicking the "+" icons that appear next to everything you type. To re-arrange elements just click on them and drag them around your screen. You can invite others to view and edit your mind maps. You can also just invite others to view by sending them an email through Coggle. All Coggle mind maps can be downloaded as PDFs or PNG image files. You can also save and organize Coggle mind map files in your Google Drive account.

Applications for Education
Creating mind maps or webs is one of my favorite ways to organize ideas and information. I've often had my students create mind maps as an exercise in making visual connections between important concepts, events, and people in a unit of study.

ArcGIS Online - Introduce Students to GIS Beyond What Google Maps Offers

The one hundred or more posts that I've written about Google Maps over the years is indicative of how much I like what can be done with Google Maps in classrooms. That said, when you're ready to move beyond basic placemarks there are more robust mapping tools than Google Maps. One of those tools is ESRI's ArcGIS Online.

ArcGIS Online is an expensive product for anyone that is not in a K-12 school. If you work in or attend a K-12 school then ArcGIS Online is free through ESRI's ConnectED program. Click here to apply for a free subscription.

ArcGIS Online provides students with the ability to create mash-ups of geographic data on a map. Students can add data layers to the whole map or to a section of a map. Students can use data that they select from the ArcGIS library or upload their own data files.

Applications for Education
Take a look at these five lesson plans to get a sense of the possibilities that ArcGIS Online offers. Each of the lessons can be conducted without the need to register for an ArcGIS Online account. After looking at those five lesson plans you can jump into AGO Skillbuilder to find more than 70 progressively more challenging activities for students. The ESRI blog also contains some great example of using GIS in the classroom.

g(Math) for Google Forms Now Supports Handwritten Responses

Thanks to John Stevens this morning I woke up to the news that g(Math) for Google Forms can now be used by students to respond to questions that you have written in Google Forms. g(Math) had previously only supported the creation of questions in Google Forms. That alone was a great feature as it allowed you to easily insert graphs and equations into your Google Forms. This update allows your students to use the same Add-on to reply to your questions.

g(Math) for Forms now allows your students to create graphs and equations while answering your Google Forms questions. It even includes an option for submitting handwritten responses.

John Stevens put together a post outlining, with screenshots, the steps to deploying g(Math) for Forms for students. I created a short video of the process that includes the perspective of the teacher and the student. That video is embedded below.

A couple of important points to note about using g(Math) for Forms. First, your students don't have to deploy it, you deploy it for them. Second, send your students to the "deployed URL" to complete the form instead of the usual "live form URL."

Ideas for Using Pear Deck in Your Classroom

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

As more schools go 1:1, teachers often feel challenged to make their traditional lessons and activities more interactive. One of my favorite tools is Pear Deck because it allows a teacher to take a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF and incorporate various student activities to check for understanding and engagement. Pear Deck is free for students and teachers (with a higher end, paid premium model) and it fully integrates with Google Apps for Education.

When you sign in to your Pear Deck account, create a new interactive lesson by selecting “New Deck.” You can then create a slideshow from scratch or import a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF. Once you have imported an existing document or created your presentation within Pear Deck, you can go through and edit the slides incorporating free response (text), free response (number), and multiple choice questions within the slide. If you have the premium option (they offer a free 30 day trial) you can also use draggable features as well as freehand drawing for students to demonstrate understanding, such as crafting an image, indicating a point on a map, and more.


This can allow you to do a quick check for understanding or have students engage with the material as you present. It’s also a great way to deliver engage students with bell ringer activities or an exit ticket. Check it out and play with it in your classroom!

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