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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Supercharge Student Self-Editing Skills with this Writing Checker for Google Docs

Analyzing your own writing with a critical eye can be hard to do. I know, I try to do it every day and I still miss things that a fresh set of eyes quickly picks up. Like me, students often struggle to critically analyze their own writing. Peer editing is one solution to that problem. Another solution is to use an online writing checker the one that JoeZoo offers as a Google Docs Add-on. JoeZoo's Monkey Checker is a customizable tool that students can use to evaluate their own written work and teachers, of all subjects, to save a lot of time assessing student work.

Five Key Features of JoeZoo's Monkey Checker
  • JoeZoo's Monkey Checker is a part of the JoeZoo Google Docs Add-on that you can get right here. Once it is installed you can begin customizing how it works for you and your students.

  • You can pick the spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules that you want the Monkey Checker to identify. Many services will identify all errors, but if you want students to be responsible for self-identifying small errors and let Monkey Checker identify the bigger errors, you can have it do that. Or you can use the customizations to set different rules for different classes. For example, I might have Monkey Checker flag all errors for my ninth grade students and only have it flag bigger errors for my eleventh grade students. 

  • Many grammar, spelling, and punctuation checkers will automatically fix errors for students. Monkey Checker only suggests corrections. I like that because it forces students to look at their mistakes and make corresponding corrections.

  • Errors are color coded within Google Docs. Errors of the same type are color coded and grouped for easy identification by students and teachers. This makes it easy to quickly identify the type of mistake that a particular student makes most often.

  • The Monkey Checker tracks students' self-editing progress and reports that information to teachers in a word cloud format. 
Want to see these features in action? Watch this short video to see how you and your students can benefit from using JoeZoo's Monkey Checker for Google Docs.



Bonus item!
  • An originality checker is built into JoeZoo's Monkey Checker. Sometimes students don't intend to do it, but they end up including too much of another person's work in their own papers. The originality checker lets teachers instantly check if a student copied any part of their work from other students in the class  


Disclosure: JoeZoo is an advertiser on this blog. That said, I was writing about JoeZoo and including it in workshops long before they started advertising. 

5 Good Places to Find Public Domain Video Clips

There are plenty of places to find public domain images online. But finding public domain video clips isn't quite as easy as finding public domain images. Part of the reason for that is the cost associated with hosting videos. Should you find yourself or your students in need of public domain video clips to mix into video projects, try one of these five places that host public domain videos that you can download.

Last month the Library of Congress launched the National Screening Room. The National Screening Room currently offers about 300 videos. The videos are digital copies of films made in the 19th and 20th centuries. You can browse the collection by date, location of the filming, and subject. You can also search for videos that are parts of other LOC collections. All of the videos in the National Screening Room can be viewed online and or downloaded as MP4 files.

Flickr is known for hosting millions of images, but it also hosts lots of videos. The advanced search tools within Flickr make it easy to find videos that have Creative Commons licenses or have a public domain designation. With just one click those videos can be downloaded to your computer. Watch my video embedded below to learn how to find public domain videos on Flickr.



Pixabay has been one of my go-to sites for public domain images for years. Pixabay also offers public domain video clips that you can download for free. To find video clips on Pixabay simply choose "video" from the drop-down menu that appears in the right edge of Pixabay's search box.

Stockio, like Pixabay, offers a mix of public domain pictures and videos to download for free. To download a video from Stockio simply click the "download" button that appears to the right of all videos. Registration is not required in order to download videos from Stockio.

The Public Domain Review is a website that features collections of images, books, essays, audio recordings, and films that are in the public domain. Choose any of the collections to search for materials according to date, style, genre, and rights. Directions for downloading and saving media is included along with each collection of media.

Learn more about mixing public domain videos into your own video projects in my upcoming course, Video Projects for Every Classroom

Captions, Dice, and Ninjas - The Month in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're ready for some Halloween fun. Last year we had more than 600 trick o' treaters come to our house! And if the weather is nice we'll have that many again this year. But Halloween isn't the only thing happening today. It's the end of the month and as I do every month I have put together a list of the most-read posts of the last month. Take a look and see if your favorite made the list.

October was a busy month here are the Byrne Instructional Media world headquarters. I started the month by working with teachers of Sigsbee Charter School in Key West then I was off to West Virginia for a conference followed by a conference in Connecticut. In there I taught two professional development courses too. If you're interested in having me come to your school or conference, please get in touch.

These were the most popular posts in October:
1. 250 Google Tools Tutorials for Teachers
2. How to Create Storyboard Templates in Google Slides or PowerPoint
3. Virtual Dice and Random Number Generators
4. Using Brush Ninja and Screencastify to Make Science Presentations
5. TED-Ed Explains Why Students Should Read Classics
6. How to Use Automatic Captioning in Google Slides
7. Seven Good Places to Find Writing Prompts
8. Two Detailed Presentations About Copyright for Educators
9. Virtual Reality Book Tours
10. Case Maker - Civics Lessons Built on Primary Sources

Online PD in November
In November I'm hosting three online professional development opportunities. Those are Video Projects for Every Classroom, Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners, and Teaching History With Technology. Click here to learn more about all three opportunities.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Book Creator is a great tool for creating multimedia books.
Kami is a great tool for annotating and collaborating on PDFs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students.