Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Canva Graphic Design Option I've Overlooked For Years!

Canva is a free graphic design tool that I have been using for years. I even aided the Canva team in the development of their education resources. Canva offers many great templates for creating infographics, posters, social media graphics. But it wasn't until this afternoon that I noticed an option to create a graphic of custom dimensions.

To use Canva create a graphic design with custom dimensions, log into your account then select "custom dimensions" in the upper, right corner of the screen.

Whenever I write about Canva I get emails from teachers who want to know how students under age 13 can use it. The short answer is that Canva supports using G Suite single sign-on which means that students can use their school-issued Google accounts to use Canva even if they don't have active email addresses. The other option is to use a temporary email address service like those listed by Larry Ferlazzo to create accounts.

Here's a video that I made about how to create image collages in Canva.

This video that I made will show you how to use Canva's webpage design and publishing tool.

Immersive Reader - A Fantastic Addition to OneNote

For the last six weeks I have been making a concerted effort to increase my working knowledge of OneNote in order to be able to make better comparisons between it and its competitors. One of the aspects of OneNote that I appreciate is its flexibility. An example of that flexibility is found in a free optional addition to OneNote called Immersive Reader.

Immersive Reader is a free tool that will read aloud the articles that students have in their OneNote notebooks. Immersive Reader does more than just read articles aloud. It will identify to students the nouns, verbs, and adjectives within an article. Students can also choose to have every syllable of word identified for them.

Immersive Reader can be customized by users. Users of Immersive Reader can choose from a variety of languages, choose to the formatting of articles displayed on their screens, and speed up or slow down the pace at which an article is read aloud.

You do need to download and install OneNote and Immersive Reader. Microsoft does have interactive online demonstration of Immersive Reader that you can try here.

One tip about having Immersive Reader read web articles that you have saved in OneNote, remove the URL from the note or else Immersive Reader will read aloud every part of the URL.

Join the 2018 Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group This Week

The 2018 Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group is having its first webinar one week from today. There is still time to join. You can register online right here.

Here are some other questions that are frequently asked about joining the Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group.

1. How many hours does it require?
That’s up to you. I guarantee at least three hours of direct instruction through bi-weekly webinars and a monthly members-only Google Hangout. You can also join into a Slack group for on-going Q&A and discussion throughout the year. If you miss a webinar or Hangout, you can watch the recording the next day.

2. I don’t have a lot of tech skills, but I want to get better. Will I get left behind?
No, you will not. This group was designed to be as inclusive as possible. If you can open your web browser, you can participate and learn in this group. Will it be easy? No, but nothing worth learning is easy to learn.

3. I teach special ed/ ESL/ science/ something else, will I get anything out of this?
Yes. The content of the webinars is designed to so that it can be adapted to a wide variety of settings. Additionally, the intent of the monthly Hangouts and the Slack group is to provide you with opportunities to use me as a sounding board for ideas about implementation.

4. What is the schedule for the first webinars?
All webinars are broadcast live at 4pm Eastern Time. If you miss one, you can always watch the recording the next day.

Building Digital Portfolios – January 9th
AR & VR in the Classroom – January 23rd
Social Media for Teachers & Principals – February 6th
Video Creation as Assessment – February 20th
Copyright for Teachers – March 6th
Programming Simple Apps – March 20th

5. How do I register with a purchase order?
To register with a purchase order just send me an email at richard (at) and I’ll get the process started with you. Of course, you can also register online right here and save your school $50.

5 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2018

Earlier today I went on live on my YouTube channel to share five ed tech tools that I recommend trying in 2018 if you didn't try them in 2017. Watch the video for my explanations of my recommendations then jump to the list to find tutorial videos for my recommended tools.


2. Toontastic 3D

3. Flipgrid

4. Metaverse

5. Book Creator

12 Free Lessons About Rocks, Minerals, and Landforms

Scholastic has a nice resource called StudyJams that contains short videos, slideshows, and quizzes about a variety of topics commonly taught in elementary school classrooms. Rocks, Minerals, and Landforms is one of the topics covered in a unit of twelve StudyJams.

The Rocks, Minerals, and Landforms StudyJams include videos, slideshows, and short quizzes. Some of the StudyJams also include sing along songs for students. The quizzes in each StudyJam are automatically scored and students see their grades as soon as they finish the last question in the quiz.

Applications for Education
Scholastic labels the Rocks, Minerals, and Landforms StudyJams as appropriate for students in grades three through eight. In my review of the twelve StudyJams, I wouldn't have labeled them for students older than sixth grade and even those students might find the lessons too easy to complete.

StudyJams covers other topics in science and topics in math. You can find all of the StudyJams topics here.

How to Automatically Filter Words From YouTube Comments

YouTube can be a great place to share your instructional videos with your students and the world at large. Every video that you upload to your YouTube channel has the potential to reach and help millions of people. With that potential audience of millions comes the potential for annoying and or downright offensive comments. Fortunately, YouTube makes it relatively easy to avoid having those comments appear on your videos. Follow the directions in my screenshots below to set automatic filters for comments on your YouTube videos.

1. Sign into your YouTube account and then select "creator studio." Within your creator studio choose "community settings." In your community settings you can enter words and phrases that you want to have filtered from comments.

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2. In your community settings you can choose to have links automatically blocked from comments.
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3. It is also in your community settings that you can specify the default for comment moderation on your channel. These settings will apply to all videos added to your channel. You can override these settings for an individual video.
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