Showing posts with label online lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online lessons. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Lumio - Connect With Your Class

Disclosure: Lumio is currently an advertiser on

Lumio is a new online learning platform that you can use to create and deliver engaging lessons wherever you are and wherever students are. I’ve spent the last two weeks testing it out and I can confidently say that I haven’t been this excited about a service like this one in a long time. As soon as I saw it in action my mind filled with possibilities for using Lumio in all kinds of classrooms.

What is Lumio?
At its core Lumio is a tool for creating online lessons and activities and for your students. You can create lessons and activities from scratch using the tools provided by Lumio or you can use templates provided by Lumio to create activities. Additionally, Lumio lets you import Google Slides, PDFs, PowerPoint slides, and other files to build your own online lessons and easily add interactive activities. There’s also an option to include ad-free YouTube videos in your lessons. Finally, math teachers should take note of Lumio’s integration of Desmos for adding interactive graphing calculators to their lessons.

Lumio activities can be completed by students in and out of the classroom.. You can lead the activity with teacher-paced mode, or switch to student-paced at any time to let students explore and learn on their own. Either way, students access assigned activities through a class code, from any device with a browser. That class code never changes so it will, hopefully, eventually be memorized by students. And if they don’t memorize it, their devices will store it for them.

In Lumio you can create lessons, games, quizzes (team and individual), virtual manipulatives, graphic organizers, and video-based activities.

For a broad overview of Lumio, watch this short video.

How Does Lumio Work?
To get started, head to and click “Get Started for Free.” You can then sign-in using your Google account or your Microsoft account. Once you’ve signed in you can jump right into making your first activity or lesson. Alternatively, you can take a look at the “getting started” guide provided by Lumio. That guide includes a helpful student view of activities. (Side note, I wish that more companies would provide a student view of their products).

How to Create Your First Assessment Activity
To quickly get a sense of how Lumio will work for you and your students, I’d start by creating a simple formative assessment activity. To do that just click on “Add Activities” in your teacher dashboard. You’ll notice that there are dozens of activity templates. Pick “Response” and that will bring up a template that you can use to create a short set of questions for your students to respond to. These can be multiple choice, true/false, poll, or open-response questions. Once you’ve written your questions you can preview your activity and then save it in your account. All activities that you create are accessed from your teacher library.

To give an activity to your students, simply find it in your teacher dashboard then click “Start.” The next screen will show you the activity in progress along with your students’ responses in real time. Students will see your activity as soon as they enter your class code on the Lumio student log-in page on their computers, tablets, or phones.

Answers to all Response activities that students complete in Lumio are saved in your Lumio account. You can export a record of the responses and scores (if applicable) as a spreadsheet or CSV file.

Watch my short demo here to see how quickly you can create and deliver an assessment with Lumio. The demo also includes the students’ view of a Lumio activity.

Dozens of Lessons and Activity Types
In the section above I outlined making and giving a formative assessment in Lumio. Creating and delivering formative assessments is certainly not all that can be done with Lumio. In fact, a quick look through the “explore” section in your Lumio teacher dashboard will show you dozens of ideas for using Lumio to teach all kinds of lessons. You’ll find that the lesson resources are organized into collections that you can browse through manually or refine according to grade level and subject area. All of the pre-made lessons can be copied directly into your Lumio account where you can use them as written or modify them to fit your needs.

Lessons and practice activities like virtual manipulatives can be student-paced or teacher-paced. And just like the assessment activities, students access lessons and practice activities by simply entering the class code.

A great example of a Lumio lesson with embedded student activities is found in Increasing Motivation. This short lesson contains a dozen slides in which students read some quotes about motivation, match quotes to authors, brainstorm some ideas about motivation, and engage in short discussions. The Increasing Motivation lesson is designed as a teacher-paced lesson for use with a live class (in-person or virtual).

The Increasing Motivation lesson includes a mix of activities for students to complete. You can start the lesson with the title slide, introduce the lesson, then give students time to complete the first activity which is a virtual manipulative activity called “match ‘em up.” In that activity students match pictures of famous people to statements about them. After they’ve completed the “match ‘em up” activity you can then advance the slides to the next talking point, talk with your students, and then move to the next student activity in the lesson.

Watch my short demo here to learn more about finding lessons in Lumio, modifying them, and using them with your students.

Virtual Manipulatives, Graphic Organizers, and More!
As I mentioned above, there are dozens of lesson and activity types that you can create and share with your students through Lumio. Here’s a list of my favorites:
  • Shout It Out - A group brainstorming activity.

  • Monster Quiz - Students compete in teams to hatch monsters via correctly answering questions and encouraging their classmates.

  • Label Reveal - Students learn names of parts of an image or diagram.

  • Super Sort - As the name implies, students sort lists into categories.

  • Six Word Summary - Students distill a topic into six connected words.

  • Frayer Model - This is a digital version of the classic Frayer Model graphic organizer for learning vocabulary words.

  • Musical Notes - Digital sheet music paper for students to compose on and or for you to use to create lessons.

  • Currency - For elementary school teachers teaching lessons about money, there is lots of virtual currency for you to use as virtual manipulatives in lessons like this one about money.

Compatibility and Accessibility
Students can complete Lumio activities on just about any device. They can use Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS computers to complete activities. They can also use Android and iOS mobile devices to complete activities that you share with them. Basically, if it has a modern web browser, it can be used to complete a Lumio activity.

When you create a lesson or activity in Lumio you have the option to record audio instructions for your students. Your audio recording can be up to five minutes long. Students can play it back as many times as they need while working on an activity in Lumio.

Get Started!
It’s quick, easy, and free to start using Lumio. Just head to the site and sign-in with your Google or Microsoft account and start making your first assessment or lesson.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

TeacherMade Adds More Features to Make Your Online Lessons Better

Disclosure: TeacherMade is an advertiser on

Back in September I wrote a lengthy piece about a new service called TeacherMade that was made by a teacher for teachers like you and me. Since then I’ve mentioned it in a few webinars and published a video about it. Every time I mention it I hear back from people saying how much they use it and love it! According to TeacherMade, more than 200,000 teachers have used it this year! 

TeacherMade continues to improve every month. In this post I’ll highlight some of the features of TeacherMade that are new since the last time I wrote about it.

What is Teachermade? 
Before jumping into what’s new with TeacherMade, let’s recap the core functions of the service.

You can use TeacherMade to turn your PDFs, Word docs, Google Docs, and pictures into online activities. And if you choose to make your activity a graded one, TeacherMade will automatically score responses for you. There are thirteen question or prompt formats that you can add to your TeacherMade activities. My favorite of those are the “Hotspots” and matching responses. Some of the other response types include typical multiple choice, true/false, and short answers. There’s also an option to have students respond to questions with fractions, mixed fractions, numbers, formulas, and Algebraic expressions.

My Favorite TeacherMade question types.
Hotspots allow you to have your students click on an image or document to identify things in response to your question. One example of this from my own classroom is having students click on an image of the inside of a computer to identify parts that I have listed. Another example, not from my classroom, is having students click on words in a document to identify parts of speech that are listed by their teacher.

The matching responses option in TeacherMade is my other favorite response type. I like using that option to have students match event names to sequences. For example, in my PC repair class students need to know the boot order of a Windows 10 computer. In a TeacherMade activity I can list the steps of the boot order then have students match them to their numbers 1-10. Literature teachers could use that approach for designing an activity in which students match excerpts of a novel to its place in the story arc.


New TeacherMade Features!
TeacherMade recently introduced a Pro version of their service. The Pro version is free to all registered users for the rest of this school year (ending July 1, 2021). TeacherMade Pro builds upon and enhances all of the core features of TeacherMade that I outlined above and in this blog post back in September.

Highlights of TeacherMade Pro include:
  • Audio recording.
  • New highlighter and drawing tools.
  • Annotating/ marking student responses.
  • Teacher/ Student feedback threads.
  • Integration with Learning Management Systems
  • Integration with Google Classroom
  • Integration with Canvas
  • Integration with Schoology

Of all of the new features available in TeacherMade Pro, the ones that I’m most excited about are audio recording, Google Classroom integration, and drawing/annotating student submissions.

Audio Recording in TeacherMade
The audio recording function in TeacherMade Pro enables you and your students to make short recordings directly inside of TeacherMade activities. You can use it to record yourself giving directions, clarifying comments, or even as a prompt for students to respond to. Students can use the audio recording function to respond to prompts in TeacherMade activities. For some students that will be a lot easier than writing responses or trying to click the correct response.

The new audio recording function in TeacherMade Pro opens up the possibility of having students in world language courses respond with audio that you can listen to and then provide with feedback.

LMS Integration
The Google Classroom integration, like the other LMS integrations, just makes life easier for teachers and students. It’s a lot easier to share an assignment directly to Google Classroom and have students access it from there than it is to direct them to yet another website that they have to use for your class. The Google Classroom integration also pulls-in your rosters so that you can quickly find your students’ TeacherMade activity submissions in TeacherMade and in Google Classroom.

Draw/ Annotate Submissions
The new option to draw/ annotate student submissions in TeacherMade is one that I can see myself using when looking at long answer responses to TeacherMade activities. For example, when looking at lines of code that students have written I’ll use the drawing tool to point to errors or places for improvement.

A complete list of all of the TeacherMade Pro features is available right here. Again, I’ll point out, the core features of TeacherMade that have been available to all users since the fall are not changing. The TeacherMade Pro is just an add-on that you can use now through July 1st and then will become a paid option.

There are more TeacherMade features in the works. You can see that list here. Some of the highlights are listed below.

New TeacherMade Pro features coming soon:
  • Audio uploads
  • Embedding videos
  • Timed activities
  • Clever integration
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams
  • Real-time student progress monitoring
  • Co-teacher access to activity scores
Finally, if you haven’t tried TeacherMade this year, give it go before the end of the school year. If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to think about end-of-year review activities before final exams. TeacherMade makes it easy to take some of your documents and diagrams from earlier in the year and build review activities on top of them. This video that I made in the fall shows you how to do that.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Live Weather Lessons for Kids Hosted by a Meteorologist

Mallory Brooke is a meteorologist who lives in and is an active part of my local community. In addition to giving weather forecasts on a couple of our local television news stations, she runs a firm called Nor'Easter Weather Consulting. Last night she announced that starting next week she'll be giving live weather lessons to kids via Facebook Live. She's calling it Weather at Your Home.

Mallory Brooke's Weather at Your Home will be on Tuesday and Friday at 10am ET on her Facebook page. According to her announcement (embedded below) she'll take questions from kids and talk about the day's weather and forecast.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

How to Create Video Lessons Without Making Your Own Recordings

In the latest episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast I mentioned that EDpuzzle recently updated their user interface and that I was going to make a video about it. Well I started to make a video just about the updated UI then realized that I could help more teachers right now by making a complete overview of how EDpuzzle works. So that's what I did. In the following I provide a complete overview of how to use EDpuzzle to create video lessons using videos that you find online.

Highlights of the video include:
  • How to create an EDpuzzle account.
  • How to create an EDpuzzle classroom via Google Classroom and without Google Classroom.
  • How to make lessons with videos you've found online.
  • How to make lessons with videos you've created.
  • How students can access and respond to your lessons.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Create, Organize, and Share Lessons In Alchemy SmartBinder

Alchemy SmartBinder is a free service for creating, organizing, and sharing lessons. With an Alchemy SmartBinder account teachers can create lessons that include text, images, videos, audio files, and web links. Each lesson can be aligned to Common Standards and or any other standards system that you use. Each lesson can be shared with students. All lessons are organized in courses in your Alchemy SmartBinder. Watch the short video below for an overview of Alchemy SmartBinder's features.

Applications for Education
I created a sample course and lesson in Alchemy SmartBinder just to see if it is as easy to use as it appears to be. It took me just a minute or two to create my course and my first lesson. Alchemy SmartBinder could be a good tool for organizing your lesson plans and sharing the lessons online with your students, their parents, and other teachers.