Monday, June 25, 2018

How to Create a Virtual Tour That Includes Audio Narration

One of the many things that Google announced to coincide with the ISTE conference was the addition of an option to add audio to virtual reality tours created with Google's VR Tour Creator. This is an update to the VR Tour Creator that was launched just a couple of months ago. This update lets you add audio to each of the scenes and points of interest within your VR tours. Watch my new video to learn how you can create a VR tour that includes audio.

As is mentioned in the video, you need to record your audio in a program outside of the VR Tour Creator, save it as an MP3, and then import it into the tour. I used Vocaroo to record the audio used in the demonstration.

Applications for Education
Making their own VR tours could be a great way for students to show what they have learned about places they studied in a geography lesson. Think of making a VR tour as an alternative to a traditional PowerPoint presentation. Students can share their tours with their classmates to view in virtual reality viewers like Google Cardboard.

SeeSaw Unveils a New Activity Library - 1500+ Activities to Use Now

SeeSaw is a great digital portfolio tool that students can use on Chromebooks, iPads, Android tablets, and on any computer that has an updated web browser. Last fall SeeSaw introduced a feature called "Activities" that enabled teachers to create and give assignments in their SeeSaw online classrooms. That feature proved to be a hit! Now SeeSaw is making Activities even better with two new features.

SeeSaw Activity Library
The SeeSaw Activity library contains more than 1500 activities created, used, and submitted by SeeSaw's teacher ambassadors. The library is arranged by grade and subject. When you find an activity that you like simply tap or click the heart icon in the activity's title to save it in your own SeeSaw library. Once you have saved the activity in your library you use it as written or modify it to meet your students' needs.

Improved Activity Sharing
Last week when I talked to Carl Sjogreen, one of SeeSaw's co-founders, he mentioned that workflow is one of the things they've worked hard to improve since Activities launched last fall. To that end, teachers can now share Activities to multiple classes with just one click. Previously, if you wanted to give the same activity to multiple classes you had to manually open each class and assign activities to students. Now that can all be done from one place when you're viewing one of your SeeSaw Activities.
SeeSaw is made up of some of the friendliest people I've had the pleasure to talk with in the ed tech business. If you're at the ISTE conference this week, stop by their booth to see the new SeeSaw features in action.

Google Forms Will Have a "Locked" Mode This Fall (For Some Users)

Last week Google introduced some long-awaited style customization options. This morning Google introduced another long-awaited feature. That new feature is "locked" mode. Locked mode will be a setting that you can activate in Google Forms when you create and distribute a quiz. The locked mode will prevent students from leaving the Google Form until they submit their final answers. Locked mode will be available in the fall.

Before you get too excited about the locked mode for Google Forms, it is important to note that it will only work on Chromebooks that are managed by your school. So if you don't use school-managed Chromebooks you're going to need to find another solution to prevent students from opening new tabs or windows while completing an online assessment. One possible solution is the new Lockdown Browser option from Otus.

A New Look for Kahoot - Coming Soon

Two weeks ago Kahoot added a new game creation capability to their free mobile apps. This week at ISTE they're previewing a new user interface for teachers. The new user interface is based on the one that is now available for Kahoot business users. The new interface features improved collaboration options and improved results reporting. Watch the following video to get a sense of what the new Kahoot interface will look like.

A firm date has not been announced for when the updated interface will be available to teachers. The press release that I received simply said, "by late 2018."

The Web Version of Google Earth Finally Gets a Measuring Tool

Distance measurement has been a feature of the desktop version of Google Earth for as long as I have been using it. So I was surprised when it wasn't included in the browser-based version of Google Earth that was launched last year. This morning Google announced that a measuring tool has finally been added into the browser-based version of Google Earth. A measuring tool has also been added to the Android version of Google Earth and will soon be available in the iOS version of Google Earth.

Google's announcement about the new measuring tool states that it is available now in Chrome (browser) and Android versions of Google Earth. However, as of 11:20 Eastern Time I don't see it in any of my accounts. Once I get a chance to use it, I'll publish a video tutorial on how to use it.

Applications for Education
The measuring tool in the desktop version of Google Earth has always been useful in developing lessons that incorporate math and geography concepts. Tom Barrett's Maths Maps has always been a great source of inspiration on that topic. Now that a measuring tool will be available in the browser version of Google Earth teachers whose students use Chromebooks can avail themselves of some of the ideas that Tom has shared in Maths Maps.