Monday, March 23, 2020

A Solution to Zoom "Not Responding" on Windows 10

On Friday morning I started having problems with every Zoom meeting that I tried to launch or join on my Windows 10 computer resulting in the annoying "application not responding" message. I didn't have the same problem on my Mac.

Based on the response to a Tweet that I posted, I wasn't the only one with the problem of the Zoom Windows 10 client freezing. To fix the problem I tried all of the usual tricks of restarting my computer, uninstalling and reinstalling the Zoom desktop client, and disabling every application that I thought might be creating a conflict. I even made sure that the driver for my graphics card was updated. None of those things fixed the problem. Finally, late this afternoon there was an update from Zoom that fixed the problem.

Zoom's notes about the update simply state "minor bug fixes." I'd say it's more than a minor bug fix. I know that Zoom's employees are probably working double-time in the current climate so I'm glad that they were able to release an update rather quickly. The lesson in this for all of us to make sure we have a second option getting things done. I used Google Hangouts today when Zoom wouldn't cooperate for a meeting I had scheduled.

While we're on the topic of Zoom, here's my tutorial on how to host a meeting with it.

How to Collect and Organize Images in Google Classroom

A friend of mine who teaches phys ed had the idea to have his students submit pictures as evidence of doing phys ed activities at home. He asked me for advice on how to best collect and organize those pictures. I recommended posting the assignment in Google Classroom and collecting the images that way. In the following video I demonstrate how that process looks from the perspective of a teacher and from the perspective of a student.

This process can be used for collecting any kind of file that you want to request from your students. For example, you could collect and organize video files and audio files this way. I only used image files in the demonstration because that's what I was specifically asked about.

WriteReader Templates Can Help Students Start the Writing Process

WriteReader is a great tool for creating multimedia stories that I've featured a half dozen times or more over the years. The last time I wrote about it they had just added some new page styles. Last week WriteReader unveiled a new feature that I think a lot elementary school teachers will like.

WriteReader now offers you the option to create templates to distribute to students. To create a template you simply start creating a book in your account and then toggle on the "Templates" option that appears over your book as you're editing it. Here's a video on how to create a book in WriteReader and the screenshot below shows you where the new templates option appears.

Applications for Education
WriteReader published a fairly extensive blog post containing some suggestions on how the templates feature could be used by teachers. One of the things they suggested was using WriteReader books to help students learn new vocabulary words by writing about words that are represented by images the teacher inserts into a book template. That process could easily be reversed by having students add images that represent words added to the template by their teacher.

My first thought when reading about the templates feature in WriteReader was that it could be helpful in getting students started on a creative writing activity. You could write a page or two then have students complete the story. Alternatively, write the ending for a story and have students write a beginning for it.