Thursday, July 12, 2018

A 360° Video That Shows You How to Find the Summer Constellations

NPR's Skunk Bear YouTube channel has recently become one of my favorite YouTube channels. The latest video published on the channel is a 360° video that explains how to find the constellations that are visible in the summer night sky over North America. Because the video is a 360° video you can pan through the video to follow the instructions that are given in the video. You can do that by using your mouse and clicking in the video, holding and dragging in the video on your phone or tablet, or by moving your head while watching the video in a Google Cardboard viewer. Skunk Bear also has a corresponding PDF of directions that you can download (link opens PDF).

In addition to teaching viewers how to identify the constellations the video explains a bit of the history associated with each constellation's name.

Applications for Education
It is a beautiful evening for star gazing as I write this. My kids are in bed, but when they're a little older we'll be outside trying to identify the constellations over us on summer nights. A video like this one will be helpful in that endeavor. Likewise, the SkyView augmented reality app can help you identify constellations wherever you are in the world.

Blended Play - A Blend of Online and Offline Review Games

Blended Play is a service for creating educational games to use in your classroom. Unlike the game creation tools featured in my previous post, all of the games on Blended Play have to be played in your classroom. They have to be played in your classroom because Blended Play games are designed to be projected in the front of your room and students answer questions aloud to progress through the games.

To use Blended Play you first have to create a free account on the site. Once you have created your account you can use any of five game board templates. All games use the same question and answer format. It is just the presentation of the questions and the progress display that changes between games. For example, you can use the same ten geography questions in multiple games. When you are ready to play a game in your classroom simply log into your account, open a game, and select your questions to use in the game. You then project the game on a screen in front of your classroom and when students answer a question correctly, you mark it correct and their game pieces move forward on the digital game board.

Applications for Education
Blended Play is essentially a set of digital board game templates that you can project in your classroom to use for group review activities. It's a nice alternative to the standard Jeopardy or Bingo review activities that have been around since the dawn of time for decades. Using Blended Play isn't going to radically change your classroom, but it could provide a nice way to engage kids in a review activity.

7 Places to Create Your Own Educational Games for Students to Play at Home

The Internet is not lacking for websites that offer games that students can play online. Despite that fact, there are still occasions when you can't find exactly what you or your students need. In those cases you might want to just create your own game instead of conducting more fruitless searches. Here are seven places where you can create your own educational games that students can play at home or in your classroom.

ProProfs Brain Games provides templates for building interactive crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, word searches, hangman games, and sliding puzzle games. The games you create can be embedded into your blog or shared via email, social media, or any place that you'd typically post a link for students. If you don't want to take the time to create your own game, you can browse the gallery of games. Most of the games in gallery can be embedded into your blog. has long been one of my favorite places to find free educational games and templates for creating educational games. On ClassTools you'll find templates for creating map-based games, word sorting games, matching games, and many more common game formats. Use the search function on ClassTools to find the game template that is best for you and your students.

Purpose Games is a free service for creating and or playing simple educational games. The service currently gives users the ability to create seven types of games. Those game types are image quizzes, text quizzes, matching games, fill-in-the-blank games, multiple choice games, shape games, and slide games.

TinyTap is a free iPad app and Android app that enables you to create educational games for your students to play on their iPads or Android tablets. Through TinyTap you can create games in which students identify objects and respond by typing, tapping, or speaking. You can create games in which students complete sentences or even complete a diagram by dragging and dropping puzzle pieces.

Wherever I've demonstrated it in the last year, people have been intrigued by Metaverse. It's a free service that essentially lets you create your own educational versions of Pokemon Go. This augmented reality platform has been used by teachers to create digital breakout games, augmented reality scavenger hunts, and virtual tours.

There was a time when Kahoot games could only be played in the classroom and only created on your laptop. That is no longer the case. Challenge mode lets you assign games to your students to play at home or anywhere else on their mobile devices. You can even share those challenges through Remind. And the latest update to Kahoot enables you and your students to build quiz games on your mobile devices.

Finally, if you're a G Suite for Education user, you should check out Flippity's assortment of game templates. Flippity offers seventeen Google Sheets templates including seven templates for making games like hangman, Bingo, and Memory.

Flippity's Google Sheets Add-on is Working Again!

Back in May I started to get a bunch of messages from readers who were experiencing trouble with the Flippity Add-on for Google Sheets. The trouble was that after years of successful use, people were getting a warning message from Google that said the Flippity Add-on was unverified and not recommended for use. I reached out to the developers of Flippity back in May and was told that they were aware of the issue and were working to resolve it. (By the way, Flippity wasn't the only Add-on that had this trouble in the spring).

This evening I checked on the Flippity Add-on for Google Sheets and it seems to be working again without any problems. I was able to successfully install it and use it in three different Google Accounts. So if you were having problems with the Flippity Add-on for Google Sheets in May or June, give it a try tonight and see if it works for you.