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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Weather, Whiteboards, and Adventure - The Month in Review

The end of February has arrived. How did the second month of the year go for you? It was a busy one for me as I did bit speaking at conferences, hosted a few webinars, did some writing that will eventually appear in a book, and planned the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. In there I still managed to get in a good, solid workout on 25 of 28 days. Speaking of working out, have you visited Ed Tech Fitness, yet?

These were the month's most popular posts:
1. An Online Lab for Learning About Weather Patterns and Forecasts
2. Six Online Whiteboard Drawing Tools
3. A Comparison of Blogging Services for Teachers and Students
4. Ten Search Strategies Students Should Try
5. CleverPDF Offers 20 Ways to Work With PDFs in Other Formats
6. Two Image-based Search Challenges to Use With Your Students
7. How to Use Google Slides to Create Choose Your Own Adventure Stories


Now Booking Summer Workshops!
Summer might feel a long way away right now, but I'm already booking my summer workshop calendar. If you'd like to have me come to your school this spring (I have two May openings) or summer, please take a look at my speaking page and fill out the short form at the bottom of it.


The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is happening on July 15th and 16th. I've secured a beautiful location for it that offers lots of activities for the whole family within walking distance. Register in February and you'll save $70! Registration is now open here.

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.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.

How to Create Your First Website With Google Sites

There are lots of excellent tools for creating your first classroom website. I'm often asked which one is the best one to use. My usual advice is to try Google Sites if your school uses G Suite for Education. I make that recommendation because when you sign into Google Sites with your G Suite account you'll be able to add items from any part of your Google account to your Google Site. That means with just one click you can add documents, slides, pictures, calendars, and more to your Google Sites website. In the following video I demonstrate how to create the first pages of your first Google Sites website.


You can find more Google Sites tutorials right here on my YouTube channel.

3 Ways to Use Google Sites in School

1. Create a wiki. Invite students to collaborate on a Google Site. Put each student in charge of one page that he/she is responsible for updating. I used to do this with my U.S. History students when we studied the Roaring 20's. Each student had a page that he/she had to update with information about a cultural or political topic.

2. As a digital file cabinet: If you have documents like permission slips or lunch order forms that you want your students' parents to be able to easily download, consider adding a page to your site where those documents are displayed.

3. As a digital portfolio: Google Sites can be used by students to create digital portfolios featuring their best works and accomplishments. I would encourage high school students to develop a digital portfolio that they can share with university admissions officers. Teachers should also consider developing a digital portfolio of their best lesson plans, credentials, and references to include when they apply for teaching positions.

Recording of Yesterday's Live Q&A

Yesterday afternoon I hosted the first Practical Ed Tech Live Q&A of 2019. I did about 25 of them in 2017 but didn't do any in 2018. So I figured it was time to bring it back. In the broadcast answered a handful of questions from readers. If you missed it, the recording is now available to view on my YouTube channel and on Facebook.


The list of questions that I answered can be seen in this Google Doc.

I'll host another live Q&A next Wednesday at 4pm ET. Subscribe to my YouTube channel or Facebook page to be notified when the broadcast begins.

Metaverse Studio - Create Your Own Augmented Reality Learning Experiences

Metaverse Studio is a tool for creating your own augmented reality learning experiences. I have been using Metaverse since its launch almost two years ago. Over those two years it has evolved to make it easy for any teacher or student to create augmented reality learning experiences. With Metaverse you can create interactive, augmented reality games and challenges for students to complete on their phones or tablets.

Programming your own AR experience is done through Metaverse Studio. Metaverse Studio is a block programming (sometimes called visual programming) interface. This means that you don't write code. Instead of writing code you create your augmented reality experience by selecting commands and selecting pieces of media from a menu. Put the commands together in the proper sequence and your augmented reality experience can be used on any iOS or Android device. At first glance the Metaverse Studio might look a little intimidating, but after a couple of tries it becomes rather intuitive. It also helps that Metaverse has recently launched a new set of clear video tutorials. The first of those can be seen here.



Moving Your Metaverse Experiences to Phones and Tablets
Once you have created an AR experience in Metaverse Studio you will need to get it onto your students' phones or tablets. When you have finished creating your AR experience in Metaverse Studio hit the "publish" button in the upper, right corner of the editor. The publish button will provide you with a QR code that students can scan to open the experience. The publish button will also give you a link that you can have students open on their phones or tablets. When your students make augmented reality experience in Metaverse they can publish them in the same manner that you can.



Make Collections of Augmented Reality Experiences
Metaverse has a brand new feature designed specifically for teachers and students. That feature is called "collections." The purpose of collections is to provide a place for you as a teacher to have all of your students submit their Metaverse projects. You could arrange your collections according assignment or by class. For example, if you gave your class the assignment to build an AR game about geometry, you would then create a collection called "geometry game" and all students would submit their games to that collection. Collections is a paid feature of Metaverse Studio, but you can try it for free by entering the code "ARforEDU" after clicking on "collections" in your Metaverse Studio account.


What Can You and Your Students Do With Metaverse Studio?
Metaverse Studio can be used to create augmented reality experiences that work as "breakout games,"  as digital scavenger hunts, and as guided tours.

Here's an example of a guided tour made with Metaverse.


And check out this example of using Metaverse Studio to create a breakout game for an 8th grade ELA class.


Disclosure: Metaverse is an advertiser on this blog.