Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Schedule Assignments in Google Classroom

For quite a while now you have been able to save announcements and assignments as drafts in Google Classroom. But the problem was that you would then have to go back and post them when you wanted students to see the posts. Beginning today that is no longer the case. About an hour ago Google announced that you can now schedule assignments, announcements, and polls to appear at a later time in your Google Classroom stream.

To schedule an assignment in Google Classroom simply select the scheduling option when you're drafting an assignment. You can pick the day and time at which you want your assignment to be visible to your students.
Applications for Education
The scheduling option in Google Classroom could be used in much the same way that I have used scheduled blog posts over the years. Rather than having to post an assignment or quiz on the morning that you need students to see it, you can write and schedule things in advance.

Join my online course to learn how to get the most out of Google Apps for Education. You can earn three graduate credits through the course. 

Soon You Will Be Able to Email Parents from Google Classroom

One of the complaints that I often hear about Google Classroom is that there isn't a good way for parents to know what has been shared with students within the classroom. This afternoon Google announced that a solution to that problem is coming this fall. This fall Google will introduce an option for parents and guardians to sign-up to receive daily or weekly email digests of upcoming assignments and announcements. Student progress will also be included in the email digest.

According to the announcement it appears that administrators will have to invite parents/ guardians to receive the daily or weekly digest via email. Administrators will also set policies for notifications.

BandLab - Collaboratively Create Music Online

BandLab is a free service that enables you to create music in your web browser or through free Android and iOS apps. In BandLab's you can create soundtracks using any of the virtual instruments that are provided. You can also speak or sing to record a track. Within the BandLab editor you can mix your tracks together to create a song. If you have existing audio files on your computer, you can upload those to incorporate into your BandLab creations.

BandLab is designed to allow you to collaborate with others. To collaborate you first have to create a band in your BandLab profile then invite other users to join your band.

Applications for Education
BandLab offers one way for high school students to collaborate to create music. That music could then be downloaded and used in other places like as background music in a video. BandLab could also be used to create simple podcasts.

One aspect of BandLab that teachers should be aware of is the public profiles that can be followed in the BandLab community. Those profiles feature the creations of other users. It doesn't appear that those creations are moderated for language.

AZ Screen Recorder - Create Screencasts on Your Android Device

AZ Screen Recorder is a fantastic free app for creating screencasts on your Android phone or tablet. Unlike a lot of Android screencasting apps AZ Screen Recorder does not require you to have root access to your device nor does it require you to mirror to another device to record.

To create a screencast with AZ Screen Recorder on your Android device simply install it then open it and tap the record icon. You will see a three second countdown timer appear on your screen and then you'll be recording. You can talk over your recording to explain what you're showing on your screen. When you're done just tap the stop button and your recording is saved on your device. You can share your recording directly to Google Drive, YouTube, or any other file storage service that is connected to your Android device.

Applications for Education
I often receive emails from teachers who want to create tutorial videos or have students create screencasts on Android devices. AZ Screen Recorder is a great option for doing that. See my sample AZ Screen Recorder recording in which I demonstrate the Padlet Android app.

Come to the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp to learn more about screencasting on Android devices, iPads, Chromebooks, and laptops. Only six tickets remain.

How Much Energy is Consuming by Watching a Video?

There are a lot of things that we do every day that consume more energy than we realize. One of those things is watching videos on the Internet. I did not know that until last week when I watched a Minute Earth video titled, This Video Has Consumed "X Amount" of Energy. The "x amount" is a reflection of the constantly changing title of the video. The more times it is watched, the more energy it consumes. Watch the video for the full explanation of how energy is used in delivering a web video to your screen.

Applications for Education
The video does a nice job of using AA batteries to illustrate how much energy is consumed by watching a video. AA batteries are objects with which most students are familiar in terms of how long they last in common electronic devices.

To continue the lesson have students use National Geographic's Personal Energy Meter to see how much energy they consume. They might be surprised at how much energy they actually use.

Consider using VideoNotes to use this video as part of a flipped lesson. Learn how in this video.