Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Scrawlar - Share Drawings and Documents Without Using Email

Scrawlar is a free whiteboard and document sharing service that I recently tried after reading about it on Larry Ferlazzo's blog. Through Scrawlar teachers can create online spaces in which they and their students can share drawings and documents. After entering the room a teacher can create a drawing on a whiteboard or create a document to share with all of the students who have access to the Scrawlar room. Students can share their works with the teacher too.

To use Scrawlar the teacher has to register with an email address. Students join the online room by entering the class code that the teacher created during the set-up process. Students do not have to enter email addresses to join the room, just their names and the class code.

Applications for Education
Scrawlar works in the web browser on iPads, Android tablets, Chromebooks, and laptops. The drawing tools could be great to use during mathematics lessons in which you want students to demonstrate how to solve a problem and share it with you. Typing mathematics is often a challenge that distracts students from focusing on solving the problem, by using the drawing tools that distraction is removed.

Developing Literacy Skills Through Comics & Graphic Novels

Over the last few months I've shared an ebook about digital storytelling with comics and a list of tools for digital storytelling with comics. This morning I found another great resource for teachers interested in teaching literacy skills through comics and graphic novels.

Comics in Education is a website run by Dr. Glen Downey for the purpose of sharing activities and ideas for using comics and graphic novels in literacy education. Head to the classroom section of the site to find five literacy skills development activities that can be completed online or offline. Those activities include wordless narratives, graphic poetry, cave art, visual note-taking, and symbolic language in words and images. In the classroom section you will also find curriculum connections and explanations of the rationale for using comics with all students.

Applications for Education
The documents in the classroom section of Comics in Education are hosted on Scribd. I have visited quite a few schools that block Scribd. If you visit Comics in Education and are unable to view the activity documents, check with your IT person to see about gaining access to Scribd.

Now You Can Add Attachments to Remind 101 Messages

Remind 101, the popular free service for sending text messages to groups of students and or parents, has added a fantastic new feature in the form of the option to add attachments to your messages. The attachment option allows you to add pictures and other files to your messages. You can even pull files from your Google Drive or Dropbox account to send as attachments. If you've ever sent a text message with an attachment the process will feel very familiar. Remind 101 has complete directions for the attachment process here.

Applications for Education
Remind 101's new attachment option could be great for sending pictures of things on your whiteboard, sending exemplars of assignments, or sending additional copies of rubrics to your students and their parents.

H/T to the US History Teacher's Blog for sharing this Remind 101 update. 

Lingua.ly Releases a Mobile App for Learning a New Language

Lingua.ly is a free language learning service that initially launched as a Chrome app. This week Lingua.ly released an Android app (iOS coming soon) to help you learn a new language. The Lingua.ly mobile app creates flashcard activities based on the words that you select. To get started select the language that you're studying (Lingua.ly supports 20 languages) then enter words by typing them or pasting them into your account. After entering your words Lingua.ly creates flashcards with pictures. The app will read the words to you. After studying your flashcards Lingua.ly will search for web articles that utilize the words you're learning.

The Lingua.ly Chrome extension allows you to double-click on on any word in a webpage to hear it pronounced, read a translation, and read a definition. The words that you double-click are added to your Lingualy account where you can review them in a quiz format.

H/T to TechCrunch

Student AR - A Great New Assessment Tool

From Aurasma to Google Glass, augmented reality tools are all around us. Although I've had an invitation to buy Google Glass, I haven't been convinced that it is a good use of my money until today. Student AR is a new augmented reality application that works in Google Glass. The app allows you to simply look at a student, snap a picture, and record an observation about that student's behavior. All of your observations can be synced to your ClassCharts, ClassDojo, or Edmodo account where students and their parents can access all of your observations.

Applications for Education
The most outstanding feature of Student AR is that through the use of augmented reality you no longer have to actually read a student's paper or pay attention while watching his slideshow presentation. By simply looking through your Google Glass while using Student AR your students' work is automatically graded according to a rubric released today by the Common Core in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates in consultation with Salman Khan. Click here to read the official press release about Student AR.

Update at 2:50pm EST: This was an April Fool's Day joke. Like many others, I like to have a little fun on this day. While this was done for fun, April Fool's Day jokes like this one and the numerous ones that Google releases do provide material for teaching students to be critical evaluators of the things they find online.