Monday, July 22, 2013

Two Minute Geology Lessons

Two Minute Geology is a newish series of videos from The Two Minute Geology videos provide short lessons on things like Ice Age floods geology, erratic boulders, and petrified wood. I've embedded the video about erratic boulders below.

Applications for Education
Two Minute Geology videos on their own certainly aren't going to replace your own lessons about geology, but they could certainly be part of flipped classroom lesson. 

Three Ways to Make Useful QR Codes for Your Students

This morning I did a very simple QR code activity at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. QR codes were distributed on the tables in the room and two codes linked to prizes while the others linked to my blog. Creating that activity reminded me of Terri Eichholz's guest post from last year about creating interactive bulletin boards through the use of QR codes.

Here's a snippet from Terri's post mentioned above, First, I mixed up the artwork and poetry on the board so that they weren’t matched with each other.  Then I placed QR codes on the artwork that led the reader to an audio file in which the artist/poet read his or her poem.  I also placed QR codes that led the reader to Google Forms online that allowed the viewer to vote on their favorite pieces of art and poetry

Here are three tools that you can use to create QR codes to use in an activity like Terri's: 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 Droid's QR Code Generator allows you to create QR codes that link to websites, chunks of text, phone numbers, email addresses, contact information, calendar events, and location coordinates. To create your QR code simply complete the information fields that you want to link to then select the display size for your QR code.

Russel Tarr developed the QR Treasure Hunt Generator. The QR Treasure Hunt Generator provides you with all of the things you need to get started creating your own QR codes and using them in your classroom. To use the QR Treasure Hunt Generator type out a series of questions and answers, generate the QR codes using the tool Russel Tarr provides, then print and display the codes around your classroom or school. Click here to view a sample QR Treasure Hunt.

You Shouldn't Be an Instructional Technology Coordinator If You Don't Understand This...

I realize that this post comes from the pages of, I'm tired of writing about this and you are probably tired of it too, but I have to talk about copyright, creative commons, and plagiarism again. Today, I discovered yet another blog that is copying and pasting posts from my blogs and those of many other edubloggers without permission. Unfortunately, the person behind the blog that is carrying out the practice of copying and pasting the posts did not lift  the post I wrote last month about why you can't just copy and paste posts from another person's blog without their permission. Even worse, according to his Google Profile the person running the offending blog ( is a School Technology Integration Coordinator. So I have to ask, how can you be in a technology leadership position and think that it is okay to copy and paste the work of others without their permission?

After asking the person running the offending blog to take down all of the content that he has used without permission I sent him some links to some of my blog posts about plagiarism and copyright. These are the links that I included:
1. How to Share the Blog Posts You Like
2. Fair Use, Copyright, and Educational Blogging

And some more related resources:
What To Do When Your Work Is Plagiarized
5 Good Lesson Plans for Teaching Copyright
Copyright On Campus - A Six Minute Exploration of the Nuances of Copyright

Geodia - A Timeline and Map of Mediterranean Archeology and Culture

Geodia is a free history resource hosted by the University of Texas. Geodia uses a combination of a timeline and Google Map to outline the history of Mediterranean archeology and culture. You browse the site by clicking items on the timeline to have them appear on the map. You can also browse and click through regions and cultures on the right side of the Geodia map to be taken to corresponding sections in the timeline and map.

Applications for Education
Geodia could be a good resource for students in a history course to explore to see the places and cultures they're studying in their correct geographic context. In that regard Geodia could be good to add to a reference page for history students.

H/T to Google Maps Mania.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

5 Services for Creating & Sharing Audio Recordings Online

Adding an audio message to your classroom blog or website can be a good way to help deliver important messages to your students and their parents. Posting an audio message, even if it covers the same content as a written message, can increase the chances that a visitor to your blog will take notice of something important. Adding an audio message to your blog or website is not difficult to do. Here are five free services that you can use to add an audio message to your blog or website.

Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. You don't even have to create an account to use Vocaroo. All you need to provide is a microphone. I used the microphone built into my MacBook to make the recording below. To create a recording just go to, click record, grant Vocaroo access to your mic, and start talking. After completing your recording, Vocaroo gives you the choice to publish it or to scrap it and try again. Vocaroo provides the option to embed the recording anywhere. Vocaroo provides the embed code for you. You can also download your recording, just look for the download link at the bottom of the page (it's small and easily overlooked).

SoundCloud is an online service for recording, hosting, and sharing audio tracks. You can use SoundCloud to upload and share audio recordings that you have stored on your computer. SoundCloud can also be used for directly recording a spoken track. One of the really neat features of SoundCloud is the option to comment on tracks as they are playing. To make a comment just play the track, click on it, then type your comment in the comment box. Your comment(s) will be attached to the spot in the track that you clicked on while listening. June 2020 update: SoundCloud no longer offers a built-in recording option.

Audioboo is a free tool for creating audio messages to share on the web. Using Audioboo you can record messages on your mobile device using Audioboo's free Android or iPhone apps. You can also record messages directly on the Audioboo website. Messages that you create can be shared by embedding your recording into a blog or website. You can also share messages by posting them to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Update June 2020: I no longer recommend this service.

Audio Pal is a free service that allows you to quickly and easily record audio messages to post your blog or website. You can record your Audio Pal message by phone, through your computer's microphone, or by uploading a recording. Messages are limited to sixty seconds so you must be succinct. After you've recorded your message, Audio Pal will play it back to you. If you like the recording, keep it. If you don't like your recording, click re-record. When you have a recording with which you're happy, enter your email address and an embed code will be sent to you almost immediately.

Record MP3 is another free tool for recording audio messages. To record a message using Record MP3 just grant the Flash recorder access to your computer, click record, and start talking. When your recording is complete you will get a link that you can post online or email to anyone you want to hear your recording. Update June 2020: I no longer recommend Record MP3.