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Friday, February 5, 2021

Filters, Captions, and Other Zoom Features You Might Have Missed

A few weeks ago I published an article in which I mentioned that Zoom didn't have a native transcription or captioning feature. Within minutes of hitting publish on that article, people emailed me to point out that I was wrong. I'm thankful for that because it opened my eyes to a feature that I was overlooking because it's buried in the settings of my Zoom account. That's an example of how tools like Zoom are constantly evolving. 

Another feature of Zoom that I recently started using, and discovered quite by accident, is filters and frames. These let you place fun borders around yourself during your Zoom meetings. These can also be used to virtually place things like party hats on your head. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to enable captions, frames, and filters in Zoom meetings. 


Applications for Education
The captions and transcripts in Zoom make it easier than ever to make your online instruction accessible to more students. Previously, you needed either a third party service or someone to type captions for you during Zoom meetings. 

The frames and filters are fun to use, but aren't a significant update in the way that automatic captioning is. That said, after a long week of teaching online it can be fun to let students play with the filters and frames to break-up the usual routine of a Zoom class. My students liked using them on Friday.  

Three Good Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources

I'm currently developing a new version of my popular online course, Teaching History With Technology (you can see a preview last year's course here). Part of that process has been revisiting collections of primary sources and some of the tools that I recommend for teaching lessons based on primary sources. Here are three of the many resources that I'm featuring in the course. 

Historical Scene Investigations
Historical Scene Investigation contains thirteen cases in which students analyze "clues" found in primary sources in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. For example, in the case of The Boston Massacre students have to decide if justice was served. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the primary source documents and images they are provided. HSI provides templates for students to use to record observations from the evidence.
 
HSI is produced by College of William & Mary School of Education, University of Kentucky School of Education, and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program. My video overview of HSI is available here.

Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America is a good place to locate primary source documents to use in your history lessons. The DPLA offers more than 100 primary source document sets that are organized by subject and time period in United States history. Depending upon the time period the DPLA primary source sets include documents, drawings, maps, photographs, and film clips. A list of points to consider accompanies each artifact in each set. Teachers should scroll to the bottom of the page on each artifact to find a teaching guide related to the primary source set.

World Digital Library
The World Digital Library is a resource that I started using back in 2009. At that time it was just a small collection of about 1,200 digitized primary source artifacts from libraries around the world. Today, the World Digital Library hosts more than 19,000 digitized primary source artifacts to view and download. You can search the WDL by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. My favorite way to explore the WDL is by browsing through the interactive maps that are available when you click on the globe icon in the site's header. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in multiple languages.

What's the Difference Between a Primary and a Secondary Source?
If you're looking for a good video explanation of the differences between primary and secondary sources, the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota History Center offers this good and concise explanation for students.

Magnetic Poetry With Google Jamboard and Google Classroom

Earlier this week a reader emailed me looking for an alternative to Read Write Think's old Word Mover activity which is no longer available because of the deprecation of Flash. Word Mover was essentially an online version of the old refrigerator word magnets that were popular in the 90's. While the producers of Magnetic Poetry do offer an online version, it's not well-suited to classroom use. My suggestion is to try using Google Jamboard and Google Classroom to create a "magnetic poetry" for your students. 

On Google Jamboard you can create a set of sticky notes with words on them. You could color code the sticky notes to make verbs one color, adjectives another color, and nouns a third color. Once you've made your word bank you can then divide the Jamboard and add directions for writing a poem with the words in the word bank. Finally, share your Jamboard as an assignment in Google Classroom. When you share it in Google Classroom make sure that you choose the option of "make a copy for each student" so that students have their own copies to work on without having to manually make copies for themselves. 

In this short video I explain how to use Google Jamboard and Google Classroom to create online magnetic poetry assignments for your students.