Tuesday, April 26, 2016

PBS LearningMedia Introduces New Curriculum-based iBooks

PBS LearningMedia has released a new series of iBooks for K-8 teachers. The series promises to provide teachers with iBooks on topics in math, English language arts, social studies, and Spanish language and culture. Each iBook will include lesson plans, videos, games, and other activities aligned to NCSS, ACTFL, and Common Core standards.

Two iBooks are available now and two more will be released by the end of this month. The two that are available now are All About the Holidays and Beginning Spanish.

All About the Holidays offers lesson plans for 61 holidays. Beginning Spanish is a mapped curriculum for teaching Spanish to students in third through fifth grade.

Nearly 100 TED-Ed Lessons About Nature

In recent weeks I have featured some neat National Geographic videos about cool things in nature like birds that eat dirt and animal migrations in Yellowstone. While those videos are great, they are a bit short. For longer lessons about interesting things in nature, take a look at the TED-ED playlist called Awesome Nature.

96 videos are included in the Awesome Nature playlist. The latest addition to the playlist attempts to explain the odd behaviors of domesticated cats.

Start Your Graduate Degree or Certificate This Summer or Fall

Disclosure: The Educational Technology program at Boise State University is an advertiser on this site. This program has recently expanded its 100% online Ed Tech programs for teachers and has seats available for new students who want to start this summer or fall.

Each year, hundreds of K-12 teachers from across the nation enroll in these high quality programs to earn a master’s degree in educational technology or a certificate in online teaching, technology integration or school technology integration.

The 100% online format is an excellent option for those who live in rural communities or those who prefer to earn a graduate degree at home in their spare time. Most educators work full time and attend classes at a time convenient for them. Those who enroll in the program learn to the best ways to blend new technology and 21st century learning theory with current lesson plans. Course content can be applied to any grade level or subject taught.

The program recently was ranked one of the top online education graduate programs by U.S. News and World Report. The program also has one of the largest number of graduates nationwide each year.

The admission process is simple with an online application. No GRE is required for admission to master's degree or a certificate program. To learn more visit the program website edtech.boisestate.edu

Tuition is affordable and most teachers qualify for some kind of financial aid, regardless of credit history, assets or income. Many can defer student loan payments while they are enrolled in the program. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so class size is limited to 23.

New Ed.S. Degree and Games Certificate will begin this fall. The program will offer two new 100% online programs this fall---an education specialist program and a graduate certificate in educational games and simulations.

To learn more, contact an admission adviser:
Jerry Foster phone: (208) 426-4008 or email: jfoster@boisestate.edu
Dixie Conner: phone: (619) 741-7748 or email dixieconner@boisestate.edu

Telling Stories With Storyboards - Webinar Recording

Last night I hosted a webinar about using storyboards in the classroom. The webinar was sponsored by Storyboard That. Thanks to everyone who joined us live. If you couldn't attend the live webinar, you can now watch the recording on my YouTube channel or as embedded below. The links shared in the webinar are included in this slidedeck.

Four Tools for Creating Screencasts on Chromebooks - A Comparison

In response to my latest Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week I received a bunch of requests for comparisons of screencasting tools that work on Chromebooks. So yesterday I made three screencast videos using three different screencasting tools. Add that to the one that I made on Friday with another screencast tool and you have four options for creating screencasts on a Chromebook. The four options are Nimbus Screenshot, TechSmith Snagit, CaptureCast, and Screencastify. My comments on each are listed below. The list is ranked according to my preference.

Nimbus Screenshot:
Nimbus Screenshot is my favorite tool on this list because of its ease of installation and it is the only tool on this list that provided a customizable countdown timer. I like the countdown timer because it gives me a few seconds to prepare to start talking over my screencast. The other tools just started recording the second that I hit the record button. Nimbus Screenshot was also the easiest to install and configure on my Chromebook.

Screencasts recorded with Nimbus Screenshot can be saved to your local drive or to an online Nimbus account. I chose to save to my local drive then upload to my YouTube channel. You could also save to your local drive then share to Google Drive or another online storage service.

Take a look at the video I created with Nimbus Screenshot.

TechSmith Snagit:
TechSmith's Snagit tool is a close second to Nimbus Screenshot. The only reason that I ranked it slightly lower is that it takes a bit of reading to understand how all of the features work, but that is to be expected when a tool has lots of options. The advantage of Snagit is that you can save your recordings directly to your Google Drive account or YouTube account. Snagit also benefits from being backed by TechSmith who is arguably the leader in screencasting tool development.

From a recording standpoint, I wish that Snagit would include a countdown timer before I started to record. Check out my screencast made with Snagit for Chrome.

CaptureCast is the tool that I featured in a post last week. I put it on the same level as Snagit. CaptureCast was rather easy to install. Your recording length is unlimited. You can record your webcam while recording your screen which you cannot do with the Nimbus tool or Snagit. Set-up of CaptureCast is easy too. For folks who don't want to use YouTube to share recordings, CaptureCast lets you share directly to a Vimeo account. See my CaptureCast sample in this post.

Screencastify might have the most name recognition in this list, but I like it the least of the four tools in this list. In fact, it's definitely the last one that I'd recommend to new Chromebook users. The set-up process asks a lot questions that could confuse new users. The free version limits recordings to ten minutes and puts a watermark on the recording. I was also not impressed with quality of the video recording. See my Screencastify sample to see the watermark and recording quality.

Come to the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp to take a deep dive into creating videos on Chromebooks. Discounted registration is available through the end of the month.

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