Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MyHomework Student Planner

MyHomework is a digital student planner which can be used on virtually any device. There is a paid version of the app that is available for $5 per year, but the free, ad supported version allows students to do quite a bit. Students can track individual assignments, track classes, and receive due date reminders. If teachers are using the teacher version of the app called, students will be able to join those classes to view assignments and announcements.

Applications for Education
Most students could benefit from extra help figuring out how to get organized. In addition to classes, students could add extracurricular activities and their work schedule if they have a job. This app is an easy way to help busy students stay on top of their work.

Why You Should Give Google Sites Another Try

Google Sites was not always the most user-friendly product. It was confusing, clunky, and  difficult even for people who were comfortable using technology. While Google updated other products on a regular basis, Sites largely ignored. Then the new version was released and it was not just an update, it was an entirely new product.

The updated version could not be easier to use. You simply click anywhere to add URL's, images, or text. You can also insert items directly from Google Drive, embed websites as iframes, and upload a variety of file types.

Google Sites are a great platform to use for classroom websites because you can create static pages to house resources that will be used throughout the entire year. Teachers can create a page on a classroom website that has links to student assignments and projects which makes it easy for parents to see what is happening in class. There is a brand new update to Google Sites that allows users to nest up to five pages. This makes it even easier to customize the way Sites are organized. 

Students can create their own Google Site to use as a portfolio of their work. Maybe it will showcase their work for just one class or maybe it will be a collection of their best work that they will curate from one year to the next. Google Sites are also a great platform to use for collaboration on group projects.

If it has been a while since you used Google Sites, this would be a great time to give them another try.

How to Match Colors Using ColorPick Eyedropper

ColorPick Eyedropper is a Chrome extension that allows you select a color from a webpage. This extension comes in handy when it is important to create a near perfect match or when you want an exact color.

Once you install this extension, click the dropper and drag the crosshairs around the page. You will see that each time you scroll over a new color, a new combination of letters and numbers appear. These are often referred to as hex color codes. As soon as you find the color you want, click on it to lock in the hex color. Copy the number and use it in use it to create customized colors in Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings.

Similar extensions include ColorZilla, Eye Dropper, and ColorHexa Search Tool. You can learn more about hex colors here.

Applications for Education
Understanding how to use hex colors in presentations is a useful skill for anyone who creates presentations. It helps us use different tools to their fullest potential and have more control over how our finished products look.

SpeakPipe Now Works on iPads

SpeakPipe is a neat tool that I have been recommending for years. It is a tool that you can add to your blog to collect voice messages from blog visitors. The messages are automatically recorded and transcribed for you to listen to and or read. Unfortunately, until now it didn't work if your blog visitors were using iPads. That recently changed when SpeakPipe pushed an update for Safari.

SpeakPipe now works in Safari on iPads and iPhones that are using iOS 11.

Applications for Education
When it is installed on a classroom blog SpeakPipe provides a good way for parents to leave voicemail messages. Having your messages in SpeakPipe lets you dictate a response that can then be emailed back to the person who left the message for you.

SpeakPipe offers another tool called SpeakPipe Voice Recorder. SpeakPipe's Voice Recorder is a free tool for quickly creating an MP3 voice recording in your web browser on a laptop, Chromebook, Android device, or iOS device. To create a recording with the SpeakPipe Voice Recorder simply go to the website, click "start recording," and start talking. You can record for up to five minutes on the SpeakPipe Voice Recorder. When you have finished your recording you will be given an embed code that you can use to place it in your blog or website. You will also be given a link to share your recording. Click the link to share your recording and that will take you to a page to download your recording as an MP3 file.

SpeakPipe's Voice Recorder does not require you to register in order to create and download your audio recordings. The lack of a registration requirement makes it a good choice for students who don't have email addresses or for anyone else who simply doesn't want to have to keep track of yet another username and password.

Students could use SpeakPipe's Voice Recorder to record short audio interviews or to record short audio blog entries.

Teachers could use SpeakPipe's Voice Recorder to record instructions for students to listen to in lieu of having a substitute teacher read instructions to their students.

Padlet Now Has Voting and Grading Tools

Padlet has added a couple of new features that bring it even closer to being an all-in-one formative assessment tool. Padlet now lets you vote on the notes added to a wall and grade the notes added to a wall. This is all done through the new "reactions" setting in Padlet.

Voting on Padlet notes can be done through the use of a "thumb" icon, a "like" icon, or a star icon. The "thumb" icon will let your students vote up or vote down each note on a wall. The "like" icon just lets you show that you like a note. The star icon will let you give a star rating of one through five on a note.

It is now possible to add grades to notes on a Padlet wall. You can give a score of one through one hundred on each note on a wall. It's important to note that all students will see the scores. So you'll want to use the grading function only after all notes have been submitted and you have made the wall private.

Watch my short video embedded below to learn how to use the new "reactions" setting in Padlet.

Padlet is one of my favorite tools to use for formative assessment. Come to my webinar on Monday to learn more about how I use it and other formative assessment tools.

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