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Friday, March 27, 2020

Free Course - A Teacher's Guide to Creating Common Craft Style Videos

For more than a dozen years Common Craft videos have been used by teachers to help students understand topics including digital citizenship, personal finance, and many big technology concepts. One of the things that makes Common Craft videos popular is the clear and concise manner in which information is presented using a whiteboard, simple cutouts, and voice over. That style has become known as the Common Craft style and many teachers including myself have had students make videos using that style. Now Common Craft offers their own free course for teachers who want to make Common Craft style videos in their classrooms.

A Teacher's Guide to Creating Common Craft Style Videos is a free self-paced course that contains five modules. The modules start with the key concepts of the Common Craft style before moving onto walk you through the tools you need (and don't need), the planning process (a downloadable template included), and the final production steps. Throughout the course there are examples of work done by teachers and students.

And if you have never seen a Common Craft video before, here's a good one to get started.


For those looking to do a little more reading about the Common Craft style, take a look at The Art of Explanation written by Lee LeFever.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Anchor Offers a New Way to Remotely Record Podcasts With a Group

Anchor is the service that I have been using since last August to produce my weekly Practical Ed Tech Podcast. I use Anchor because Anchor makes it incredibly easier to record, edit, and publish my podcast to all of the major podcast networks at once. In other words, with just a couple of clicks my podcast gets distributed to Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and a handful of other networks. You can see my whole process outlined in this video and blog post.

Most of my podcast episodes are solo efforts, but I have done a handful with guests including this one with Scott McLeod and this one with LT Rease Miles. I used Zoom to record those episodes and then publish them through Anchor. While that process works, it could be easier. Fortunately, Anchor has introduced a new way to record podcasts with remote guests.

Anchor now lets you record with up to four remote guests even if they don't have Anchor accounts. To do this just open the Anchor app, click record, and then click "invite friends" to send them a link to join you in your recording. Guests can open the link in Firefox, Safari, Edge, or the Anchor app (Chrome support coming soon) and start recording with you. The whole process is demonstrated in this new video from Anchor.


Applications for Education
If you're looking for a way to have your students create podcasts while your school is closed, Anchor's new remote recording option could be just what you need. Anchor offers some ideas for podcast topics here or you could head to the Story Corps Great Questions page to look for some podcast topics.

How to Quickly Turn Any Document or Webpage Into a Practice Quiz

On Tuesday I wrote about the new version of Knowt that will let you import any of your Google Docs, Word docs, or any public webpage into a notebook. Once in your notebook it just takes one more click to have a practice quiz created for you. As I demonstrate in the following video, Knowt will generate quizzes with three question formats and will generate multiple quizzes from the same document or webpage.


Knowt has a product for teachers coming soon. The teacher version will let you create notebooks and practice activities to share with your students. You can register for early access to the teacher version right now.