Friday, June 7, 2013

CNN Student News Reviews the News of the School Year

Today is the last day for CNN Student News until the new school year starts in the fall. The bulk of this morning's edition of CNN Student News is a look back at the biggest news stories of the school year. CNN Student News includes a ten question quiz about the year's news. You can find the episode here or watch it as embedded below.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What QR Codes Can Do For You!

During one of my workshops this afternoon at Carondelet High School some asked for suggestions about using QR codes. Here are some of the uses that I suggested.

TagMyDoc is a tool that allows you to apply a QR code to Word documents and PDFs that are stored on your computer. Upload your document then TagMyDoc creates and applies a QR code to it. You can print the document with the QR code on it or simply project the QR code for your students to scan and get a copy of the document on their mobile devices. is Google's URL shortening tool. When you shorten a link with a QR code is created for it too. To find the QR code, click the "details" link after your shortened URL has been made. The details page also shows you how many times your link has been used. This is useful to me if I want to make sure that all of my students have used the link. If I see that the link or QR code has been used 17 times, but I have 25 students, I immediately seek out the students who haven't followed the link.

QR Voice is a free tool that allows you to create QR codes that when scanned will play a short audio message. To create your message and QR code you can record a voice message by clicking the microphone icon on QR Voice or you can type in your message. Either way you're limited to 100 characters. QR Voice is offered in Spanish, English, Japanese, and Portuguese. Teachers could use QR Voice to create QR codes that they then print and attach to objects in their classrooms or schools. Then have students try to identify those objects in the language that they're trying to learn. To check their answers students can scan the QR code and hear the correct answer on their phones or tablets.

QR codes can be used to combine the physical world with the digital world. Terri Eichholz wrote a guest post about how she has used QR codes to create interactive bulletin boards in her school. You can read how she did it here

Using Primary Sources to Learn About Lincoln

Under His Hat is a website produced by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation for the purpose of showcasing some digital versions of primary source materials about Abraham Lincoln. The materials on Under His Hat are arranged into eight sections or chapters about Lincoln's life. Within each section you can click on featured materials to enlarge them. A lesson plan suggestion is included with primary source material. Some of the materials are also accompanied by audio and video recordings.

Applications for Education
Helping students learn to analyze primary source documents can be challenging. The lesson plans on Under His Hat could help you help your high school students learn to analyze primary sources while learning more about a historical figure whose basic biography they probably know.

The New Version of Google Forms Finally Arrived on Google Apps for Edu

This afternoon at Carondelet High School I gave a short presentation about Google Forms. Just as I finished saying that the new version of Google Forms isn't available yet in Google Apps for Education, the new version popped-up in our browsers! Now everyone can take advantage of the new features of Google Forms. One of the best features of the new version is the option to include pictures in your questions. Watch my video below to learn how to add pictures to Google Forms.

Dispatch - Combine and Share Resources from Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive

Wouldn't it be great if you could pull together and organize in one place your files and notes from Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and Box? With Dispatch you can do just that. In Dispatch you can also upload files from your computer and store them in your account. The primary purpose of Dispatch is to provide a place in which you can create a group of collaborators to share files, exchange notes, and plan projects.

Applications for Education
Dispatch could be a fantastic tool for teachers working in teams to share resources and plan lessons together. Not all members of the group have to use Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and Box. If one member uses Drive and another uses Evernote, both can contribute to the Dispatch group.