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Friday, November 9, 2018

Is Your Feedback Really Effective? - This Google Docs Add-on Will Tell You

Anyone who has ever spent a Sunday afternoon grading essay after essay has at some point wondered, “did anyone listen when I explained homophones?” This usually happened to me around the 27th essay of the day. It’s at about that point that it’s a fair question to ask, “is my feedback effective?” That’s the question that the folks at JoeZoo are trying to help teachers answer.

JoeZoo is a free Google Docs Add-on that teachers can use to add voice and text comments to a students’ paper. But that alone is not what makes it great. What makes JoeZoo stand out from the crowd is the built-in student engagement tracking capability. JoeZoo will let you see which text comments your students read, which voice comments they listened to, and how long they engaged with those comments! Check out the animated GIF below to see how you can track your students’ engagement with the comments that you add to their Google Docs.


As you probably gleaned from the previous paragraph, you can use JoeZoo to add voice comments to your students’ Google Docs. You can mix voice comments with text comments through a document. And to help you save time, JoeZoo has a comment bank that comes pre-loaded with 93 of the most commonly used comments created by teachers. You can edit those pre-loaded comments or use them as written. If you need something other than one of the 93 pre-loaded comments, you can create your own canned comments to add to your students’ documents.

When it is time for students to look at the feedback you have given to them, JoeZoo has a couple of helpful features not found in other free commenting systems. First, all comments are color coded according to comment type. That can make it easier for students to quickly identify all comments related to a particular skill. Second, there is an accessibility feature not found in other commenting systems. That feature is text-to-speech. Not only can students listen to voice comments that you have added to their documents, they can have any of your written comments read aloud too.

So rather than wondering if your students are engaging with the feedback you give them in Google Docs, use JoeZoo and know for sure if they are engaging with your feedback. I can’t promise that using JoeZoo will make grading one hundred essays more fun, but using it will make your feedback process more efficient. Try it today, it’s free!

Disclosure: JoeZoo is an advertiser on this blog. 

Add Adobe Spark Creations Into Book Creator eBooks

Adobe Spark and Book Creator are two of my favorite multimedia production tools. And now you can combine the two! Earlier this week Book Creator announced that you can now embed videos made with Adobe Spark into the pages of Book Creator ebooks. But it's not just Adobe Spark videos that you can embed into your Book Creator pages. You can include graphics and even webpages made with Adobe Spark into the pages of Book Creator ebooks.

In the following video I provide a complete overview of how to create an ebook on Book Creator.



And watch the following video for an overview of how to create things on Adobe Spark.



Applications for Education
For years I have been saying that Book Creator is a good tool for students to use to create digital showcases of their best writing, drawings, pictures, and videos. And since its launch a few years ago I have loved using Adobe Spark to make videos. The integration of the two services provides a great opportunity for students to create videos then include them as part of a larger work that they publish through Book Creator.

The Origins of Ingredients in Thanksgiving Meals

Last week I shared three Thanksgiving-themed projects that you can do this month. Of course, I have many more Thanksgiving resources bookmarked to share with you. One of those is an interesting video from It's Okay to be Smart titled The Surprising Origins of Thanksgiving Foods. Through the video students can learn how the most common, traditional Thanksgiving foods originated and evolved to what they are today. This lesson includes an explanation of how archaeologists and scientists determined that turkeys were one of the first animals to be domesticated in North America. We also learn why the turkeys we find in the grocery store today are so much bigger than those of just a few generations ago.




Try using EDpuzzle to add questions into the timeline of this video. Or use EDpuzzle to simply add some additional notes for your students to read before, during, or after watching the video. My videos embedded below will show you how to use EDpuzzle.




A Handful of Resources for Learning About Veterans Day

This Sunday is Veterans Day (many places will observe it on Monday). The following resources can help students understand the origins and meaning of Veterans Day including how it is different from Memorial Day.

Bet You Didn't Know: Veterans Day. The video explains the origins of the holiday and why its date of celebration has twice shifted in the United States. The end of the video includes an explanation of the differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. PBS News Hour has a basic lesson plan about Veterans Day. That lesson plan includes showing them Bet You Didn't Know: Veterans Day


NBC News offers the following short audio slideshow about the history and meaning of Veterans Day.