Friday, December 16, 2022

Take a Look at Padlet's New Notification Options

Padlet is a tool that I've been using for over a decade in a wide variety of classroom settings. In fact, I've been using for so long that I've seen it evolve from a simple tool called Wall Wisher in 2009 to the multimedia sharing, brainstorming, and mapping tool that it is today. The latest step in the development of Padlet is a new notification system that many teachers should find helpful. 

The new notification system in Padlet adds new layers of control to the notifications you receive about your Padlet walls and about those that you follow. 

As the creator of a Padlet wall you can now specify whether or not you want to receive notifications when people add new notes, new comments, and new reactions to your wall. You can also receive notifications when someone new follows your wall and when someone invites you to collaborate on a wall. 

Another new option you might find helpful is the ability to follow a Padlet user. That means you can see when they create a new public wall and when they make public comments or reactions to posts on a Padlet wall. 

Applications for Education
I think the new option to get notifications whenever a student adds a post or comment to a wall that you've created for your classroom could be great. Rather than having to manually check to see if students have made submissions outside of classroom hours, you can now be notified when they try to add to a wall you've created for your class.

For ideas on using Padlet in your classroom, take a look at this playlist of ideas and tutorials.

Create Animations from Audio in Adobe Express

I like to end the week with something fun. If you do too, head over to Animate from Audio hosted by Adobe Express. Animate from Audio is a fun little tool that matches your spoken words to an animated character of your choosing. The finished product is a fun little video that you can download as an MP4 and or share on your favorite websites. 

To create a video with Animate from Audio simply head to the site then select the character that you want to animate. Then record your spoken audio. After recording your audio Adobe Express then matches your audio to movements of your chosen character. The more inflection you use in your spoken audio, the more movement you'll see in the character. Watch the video that is embedded below to see how Animate from Audio works. 

Video - Turn Your Audio Into Animation With Adobe Express

Applications for Education
In the video above I hinted at the idea of creating a few talking animations with Animate from Audio and then stringing them together in another video editor. By doing that students could create short videos to bring to life short stories they written. Making animations like that is also one of the many things that I teach in my online course, Animated Explanations.

How to Clip Sections of Your YouTube Videos

A few weeks ago I published an overview of some YouTube Studio settings that you should know how to use. This week while helping someone with one of their videos uploaded to YouTube, I realized that my previous post about YouTube Studio should have included how to clip sections of your videos. To remedy that, I recorded this short tutorial on how to clip sections out of your YouTube videos. 

Video - How to Clip Sections of Your YouTube Videos

Applications for Education
Clipping a section of a video that you've already uploaded to your YouTube account can be a convenient way to remedy a small problem that you didn't notice when you initially uploaded it. For example, after uploading you might notice that you forgot to cut out a section of downtime or transition between scenes (like stage change-overs at school music recitals). You might also use the clipping function to remove the appearance of people who don't want to appear in a published video. The blurring function demonstrated here is also good for hiding people in an uploaded video. 

Some Thoughts About AI in Education

On Tuesday I published a short overview of ChatGPT which is a free artificial intelligence writing tool. I followed that up with a post on Wednesday morning about Canva’s new artificial intelligence writing tool called Magic Write. In both instances I mentioned that I think there are some good things that could come from these kinds of AI tools and there are some bad things that could come from these kinds of tools. Let’s take a look at some of each.

The potential good things about AI writing tools:
Earlier this week I had a meeting with the CEO of a company that is developing a new tool that utilizes AI to generate lesson plan ideas based on some basic input from you. For example, you can enter grade level and topic or standard to have a lesson plan generated. The lesson plan can be modified by simply entering the length of time that you want an activity to be. For example, the lesson plan changes based on whether you enter 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes. For the teacher who has run out of ideas for a lesson plan, this use of AI could be a good thing.

Next week I will publish a blog post about Canva’s new AI feature that turns your documents into slideshows. The potential good of a tool like that is the ability for teachers who have lots of lesson outlines to quickly generate some slideshows that are easy to incorporate into online and in-person classes.

AI writing tools could be the answer to the age-old “I don’t know what to write about” lament of students in language arts classes who have been given a block of “free write” time. A quick entry in either ChatGPT or Canva’s Magic Write will generate a list of creative writing prompts.

On a similar note to generation of writing prompts, an AI tool can generate lists of related research topics for students who have hit a dead-end as well as those who need a little help forming their first queries.

The potential bad things about AI writing tools:
I’ll bet you a year’s supply of my favorite Christmas cookies that there are students who have already used a tool like ChatGPT or Canva’s Magic Write to generate an entire essay and passed it off as their own work. And I’ll bet my favorite bicycle that there will be many more who try to do the same.

As handy as it is to have a list of writing prompts or research queries generated for you, I fear that we’re outsourcing our creativity to an algorithm. That kind of easy resolution when you’re “stuck” doesn’t help to build perseverance or problem solving ability. On a similar note, I worry about collections of AI-generated lesson plans getting packaged together by a big publisher who then sells it as a canned curriculum that every teacher in a school or school district has to follow verbatim.

I’ve seen mention of AI being used to generate narrative report cards about students. On the surface it seems like a time-saver for teachers. Unfortunately, it removes true personalization from the process.

Living With AI
I’m old enough to remember teachers telling students that they couldn’t use internet sources in their research papers. And I remember many raging debates about whether or not students should look at Wikipedia. Hopefully, I’ll live long enough to remember the current debates about the use of AI in education.

AI isn’t going away so we need to figure out how to teach knowing that it exists. I’ve seen some people suggest requiring students to include a level of personalization in their writing and or presentations that “proves” they didn’t use AI. The trouble with that is the AI is improving all the time and soon personalizing via AI will be easy to do.

I’m still thinking about how AI will fit in the context of classrooms. I don’t have a perfect answer and I might not ever get to a perfect answer. But that’s okay because “perfect” is a moving goal anyway when we’re trying to figure out what’s best for the kids in our classrooms today.

By the way, after writing all of the above I asked ChatGPT to write something about the pros and cons of AI in education. The screenshot below shows what it generated. (Click the image to view it in full size).

Popular Posts