Friday, April 28, 2017

Two Free Speech-to-Text Tools

This morning on Practical Ed Tech Live I answered a request for a free speech-to-text tool. There were two that I suggested. One was and the other was Dictanote.

On you can simply click "start dictation" then start having your voice transcribed into a text document. No registration is required in order to use More than two dozen languages are support on The video embedded below provides a demonstration of

In Google Chrome you can use the Dictanote Speech Recognizer app available for free through the Chrome Web Store. To use the Dictanote Speech Recognizer just install it from the Chrome Web Store, launch it, then click the microphone to start taking and recording your voice. The Speech Recognizer will type out your text when you finish recording. You can then copy and paste your text to the paragraph box below the Speech Recognizer or to a document you have open in Google Docs.

The History of the Zamboni

The Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing. And even though the Bruins are now eliminated and my childhood team, the Whalers, abandoned me like a bad prom date long ago one thing remains the same, the Zamboni cheers for no one. The Zamboni company produced a poster on the evolution of the Zamboni and some images and a video about how it works.

Applications for Education
If you have students that are passionate hockey fans, you could grab their attention with a short science lesson about refrigeration and ice.

And if you're looking to make your own Zamboni, Red Green has a tutorial for you.

Practical Ed Tech Live - Recording and Questions

This morning I recorded a new episode of Practical Ed Tech Live. This episode was a little short because I was recording with a special guest who was a little antsy. The questions that I did answer are listed below. As always, please send me your questions and I'll answer them in the next episode.

Question 1:
I am looking for some speech to text apps / software that is FREE.

Question 2:
How do I get you to stop posting on my Facebook?

Question 3:
Volume Envelopes as per did not work for me. Any ideas why?

Question 4:
I watched your video about Google Calendar appointments, thank you for that. My question is about sharing the calendar. Can I share the calendar with another teacher and have her see the appointments too?

Question 5:
I tried the GE Teach Tour maker that you recommended. Is there a way to add audio to the tour? I’d like to have my students explain each site in their own words. We are a Chromebook school.

Create Your Own Google Classroom - G Suite Not Required

Last month Google began allowing anyone who has a Gmail address to join Google Classroom classrooms. This week that option was extended to allow anyone who has a Gmail address to create his or her own Google Classroom online classroom.

Teachers who are already using Google Classroom within a G Suite for Education account already know how to create a new classroom. For people who have been waiting to try it, here's what you need to do:

1. Sign-in with your personal Gmail account at
2. Click "+" in the upper, right corner of the screen and choose "create a class."
3. Complete the required basic information about your class (title, section, topic).
4. Invite people to join your classroom. To do this select "students" while viewing your classroom. In the "students" section you will find a classroom invitation code that you can distribute. Alternatively, you can invite people to join by sending emails directly from your Google Classroom account.

Applications for Education
There are plenty of online course tools that are more robust than Google Classroom. However, the really good ones are not free. That said, Google Classroom is adequate for many online courses and as a supplement to in-person classes. Now that Google Classroom is open to the world, we could see all kinds of new courses popping-up on the web. We could see high school students creating courses to teach others about hobbies. We might see teachers using it to create professional development courses.

How to effectively use Google Classroom and all elements of G Suite will be covered in my online course Getting Going With G Suite. The course starts next week. Graduate credit is available. Learn more here and register here

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