Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Find Educational Maps In the Google Maps Gallery

Google Maps is a versatile tool that I love to show to students and teachers. Over the years I've seen great uses of Google Maps in mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies. The Google World Wonders project provides a great place to find Street View imagery of famous natural and man-made landmarks, but it is limited to Street View. The new Google Maps Gallery offers a fantastic collection of maps depicting all kinds of data.

In the Google Maps Gallery you can find mapped displays of data sets on topics in science, society, history, politics, and much more. Unlike the World Wonders Project, the Google Maps Gallery is focused on visualizations of data sets.

Applications for Education
The maps in the Google Maps Gallery could provide the spark for research students' research projects. After looking at a particular map or set of maps, have your students investigate the causes linked to the data collected and displayed in a map. For example, I might have students look at this map of worldwide Internet use then investigate the causes of the patterns.

A Comparison of 11 Mobile Video Creation Apps

Tomorrow at the NCTIES 2014 conference I am facilitating a workshop on creating videos with mobile apps. I designed the workshop to accommodate users of iOS and Android devices. In preparation for the workshop I created this chart that compares the features and costs of eleven mobile video creation apps. The chart can be viewed as embedded below or you can grab a copy through Google Drive (click "File" the "make copy" to save a copy for yourself).

This is by no means a comprehensive chart of all the mobile apps that your students could use. Rather this list is based on the recommendations that I will be making during my workshop at NCTIES 2014.

Lucid Chart Adds Interactive Tables and Notations to Mind Maps

Lucidchart is a great tool for creating flowcharts, mindmaps, and graphic organizers. This week Lucid Chart added the option to include interactive tables and notations to your charts. Now you can right-click on any shape in your mind map to write and add a note about it. The new tables option allows you to add spreadsheets to your Lucid Chart flowcharts.

Lucidchart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucidchart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can re-size any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be re-sized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams. Google Chrome users can use Lucidchart offline through the Lucidchart Chrome app.

Applications for Education
Lucidchart charges business customers, but makes all of their tools free for teachers and students. Lucidchart is a good tool for students to use to create charts that explain processes in science or to simply show the connections between key concepts in a course.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Common Core, Book Trailers, and Three Good Tools for Creating Them

In last month's issue of The Digital Shift I featured the site Book Trailers for Readers. Book Trailers for Readers was developed by teacher-librarian Michelle Harclerode. Over the weekend Michelle sent me a link to a nice infographic that she created about book trailers and Common Core Standards. The infographic provides a great outline for the process of creating book trailers. Click here to see Michelle's helpful infographic.

If you want to have your students create their own book trailers in lieu of a traditional book report, you can find a helpful outline of the process here. I have written about the book trailer idea in the past too. The three video creation tools that I currently recommend for book trailer creation are WeVideo, Animoto, and YouTube's Photo Slideshow tool.

WeVideo is my favorite online video creation tool. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. The video editor provides tools for trimming the length of display and or sound of each element you add to your video project. A large collection of transitions and special effects are available in WeVideo's media gallery. The WeVideo Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account.

Animoto is the old-reliable in this list. Animoto makes it possible to quickly create a video using still images, music, video clips, and text. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto. Animoto's free service limits you to 30 second videos. You can create longer videos if you apply for an education account. Animoto offers free iOS and Android apps.

The YouTube photo slideshow creation tools allow you to specify the length of time that each image is displayed for. After uploading your images you can use the annotations tool to add as much text as you like to each frame of your video. Directions for creating a YouTube photo slideshow are available here.

Subtext & Tellagami - Two Apps to Attack Reading Comprehension

This is a guest post from Holly Clark at EdTechTeacher.org an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Subtext and Tellagami are two amazing free apps that can expand the way you discover information about each student’s reading comprehension. By using their combined power, students can produce and publish valuable information about their reading comprehension to help their teachers better understand them as learners.

First, begin with the Subtext App. Subtext is a collaborative reading app - also available a online at Subtext.com - that allows students to collaboratively read together. After you have downloaded the app, sign in using either a Gmail or Edmodo account. Once inside the app, you can search for an informational text or short story and add that selection to a “Group” as explained in the video tutorial below.

Students join the group and read the material - whether it be an eBook, web article, or even a PDF document. Teachers can populate the reading with discussion questions as well as other formative assessments like multiple choice questions. This allows the students to work in a collaborative reading environment where they can work together toward a richer comprehension experience. Instead of reading alone, students have the opportunity to discuss their reading together, and teachers can use their discussions and responses as a rich formative assessment tool. One amazing feature of subtext, is that it allows you to add into the reading videos and images that help the student visualize the text. The Common Core asks that teachers add visuals to texts and Subtext makes this easy to accomplish. See example below.

Once students have commented on and finished the reading assignment in Subtext, it is time to switch apps and complete one additional step. This involves having students make a summative recording of the reading that they just completed. One of the great features of recording an additional segment is the ability to have students explain the main idea of the reading in an articulate and easy to understand way - a speaking literacy that teachers often have trouble finding time to include. This additional step also allows teachers to gather valuable information about each student's reading comprehension. To complete this step, students describe the reading using a recording platform that captures their ideas quickly and easily. In this case, I have chosen Tellegami - a recording app that generates a video of an avatar repeating the recorded ideas of the learner. Here is an example of a summary paragraph using a Tellagami.

After the students have finished these steps, they can share their final product with the teacher by email or by uploading the Tellagami generated video to their Google Drive account and sharing that with the teacher. Teachers now have two ways that they can gain valuable information about student reading comprehension. Together these two apps provide rich information about how the student is doing with reading comprehension.

Learn more about Subtext and Tellagami in a number of the EdTechTeacher Summer Workshops. You can also learn from Holly at the EdTechTeacher Learning Futures Summit.