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Monday, April 29, 2019

Taskade 2.0 - Collaborative Notes + Video Chat

At the end of January I published a video overview of a neat collaborative notes and task management tool called Taskade. Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo's latest Ed Tech Digest I discovered that Taskade has been updated with some handy new features. At its core Taskade is the same as it was in January, but these new features might bring in a few more users.

Taskade 2.0 adds a tagging capability to your task lists. As you might imagine, tagging lets you organize and prioritize the most important notes and tasks in your Taskade account. Just like in most task management and note-taking tools, you can create as many tags as you want and apply multiple tags to the same item. Applying multiple tags is something that I would do because from day-to-day or week-to-week I might not remember which tag I had applied to a note so if I can use multiple tags I have a better chance of finding that note when I need it.

The other key addition to Taskade 2.0 is template creation. Templates are intended to be used by teams to follow for meeting notes and task delegation.

Finally, while not a new feature for Taskade 2.0 the service still supports voice and video chat for team collaboration.

Watch this video that I made in January to learn more about Taskade works.

5 Tips for New Google Expeditions Users

Image copyright: Richard Byrne
Google Expeditions is often the first educational virtual reality tool that I introduce to teachers who come to one of my workshops. Here are five tips that I frequently pass along to teachers who are preparing to use Google Expeditions for the first time. If you have never used Expeditions, you might want to watch this short tutorial and then come back to read these tips.

Download Early
A lot people either don't realize it at first or just forget to do it, if you're going to be the Guide in Expeditions, you need to download the Expedition on which you want to guide your students.

You Don't Have to Lucky Dip
If you open the Google Expeditions app on your phone or tablet and you can browse through the VR and AR tours according to broad topics like science, landscapes, and careers. And you can read a little description of each tour, but you don't really know what lessons you might teach with a tour until you open it and go through it yourself. There is another option for finding Google Expeditions VR and AR tours. That option is found in this list of Expeditions spreadsheet owned by Jennifer Holland that Greg Kulowiec shared with me.

The list of Expeditions spreadsheet includes a list of scenes in each tour, a tour summary, and in some cases a link to a lesson plan. Search through the spreadsheet by using "Ctrl+F" "Command+F" on your keyboard.

Talk to Your IT Person (the sooner the better)
If you want to guide your student in Google Expeditions virtual reality tours you will need to make sure that you and your students are on the same network. In many schools students and teachers are on different wi-fi networks. There are a few solutions to this including buying a Google Expeditions kit from a retailer like Best Buy (most expensive option), using a wireless hotspot (not terribly expensive in most cases), or asking your IT person if he/she can set-up a small network for your classroom (this may require bribing said IT person with chocolate or coffee). Your school's IT person can tell you what options are available to you.

You Can Make Your Own Expeditions
Earlier this year Google announced that you can now view tours that you create with their VR Tour Creator in your Google Expeditions app. The catch is that you must use the same Google account for VR Tour Creator as you do for the Google Expeditions app. Watch my videos below for directions on making your own tour and for viewing it in the Google Expeditions app.



Students Can Explore on Their Own
Being able to guide your students on tours in Google Expeditions is great because you can be relatively certain that they are looking at the tour that you want them to view. But there is a lot to be said for letting students explore on their own in Google Expeditions. Fortunately, Google realized this a couple of years ago and introduced Explorer mode which lets students explore VR and AR tours on their own within the Expeditions app. Watch my video below to see how students can do this.

Live Nature Webcams - Lambs, Eaglets, Piglets, and Calves, Oh My!

Image copyright: Richard Byrne
Last night while I was working on a list of alternatives to YouTube I found myself distracted by the live nature webcam streams hosted on Explore.org. Explore.org has hosted live webcam streams for many years with the number of streams growing every year. This is a great time of year to look at those streams as many baby animals are born in the spring.

On Explore.org you will find live streams of an eagle's nest with eaglets in it, a sheep barn, a pig pasture, and a bison watering hole. Those are just three of the dozens of interesting streams you can watch on Explore.org. In fact, there is an entire section dedicated to just showing baby animals.



In addition to live webcams you can use Explore.org find documentaries about animals.

Applications for Education
Watching a webcam of a nest or watering hole could get a little boring after a few minutes. The way that I recommend using Explore.org's webcam streams is to have students pick an animal or animals that they want to watch grow over the course of a few weeks. Have them watch for a few minutes a day and record observations in an online or physical journal. The Google Science Journal app could be a good option for writing those observations.