Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Week In Review - A Trip to Sunday River

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where the fog is so thick I cannot see the end of my driveway. Fortunately, the weather is supposed to clear just in time for a beautiful Mother's Day tomorrow.

This week I did some more preparation for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. After meeting with the event coordinator on site at Sunday River, I spent some time taking pictures of neat things around the resort. This picture of the covered bridge over Sunday River is my favorite from the day. Sunday River is one of my favorite places in Maine and I hope that those of you coming to the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp enjoy it as much as I do.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 7 Web-based Tools for Creating Short Video Stories
2. Rubrics for Blogging and Multimedia Projects
3. Learn Art History With Smarthistory
4. Sugar and the Human Brain
5. By Request - Good Alternatives to Google Image Search
6. AnswerGarden - Embed an Open Response Feedback Tool Into Your Blog
7. Project Based Learning - An Explanation and Model Rubrics

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Class Charts provides a great way to record and analyze student behavior information.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.

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Three Free Webinar Recordings About Using Comics in the Classroom

Update February 2015 - Some of the recordings have been taken down as they covered features that have changed since the initial recording was created. 

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

This year I've hosted a handful of free webinars about using comics in the classroom. The three webinar recordings and slideshows embedded below provide a variety of ideas and directions for using comics created on Storyboard That in your classroom. Some of my favorite uses of comics include using them as story prompts, having students create them to tell personal stories, and to illustrate key ideas in a book as an alternative to writing a traditional book report.

Creating a storyboard can be a good way to organize a story and plan a video project. As Rebecca Ray shares in the slides below, creating storyboards can also be a good way to deconstruct and analyze a story.

Share my-lesson-webinar-on-shakespeare from Richard Byrne

The recording of Rebecca Ray's presentation is embedded below.

Friday, May 9, 2014

WeVideo Hub - A Place to Manage Your WeVideo Content

My favorite online tool for creating videos of more than sixty seconds is WeVideo. WeVideo frequently releases tutorial videos for new users. The latest video that they released explains the new WeVideo Hub. The WeVideo Hub is another way of saying your WeVideo dashboard or project management page. The hub is where you can upload media to use across all of your projects and track your usage of WeVideo. The video below shows you what you can do in the WeVideo hub.

First-time users of WeVideo will benefit from watching the following videos.

TenMarks Offers Their Summer Math Program to Parents for Free

TenMarks is a service that offers an online mathematics program designed to supplement your in-classroom mathematics instruction. This summer they are offering their summer mathematics program to families for free.

The TenMarks summer program begins with students taking an assessment. After taking the assessment  an individualized program that adapts to his or her specific needs is created for the student. Each student’s summer curriculum is designed to review concepts from the past year, and get introduced to concepts for the year ahead. TenMarks offers real-time feedback to students and their parents. The feedback measures a student's progress toward a standard or goal. Based upon a student's responses to questions the program automatically adjusts to provide more or less of a type of question.

Tenmarks Animation from Nikki Oetinger on Vimeo.

7 Web-based Tools for Creating Short Video Stories

Yesterday, I wrote a post about Adobe's new digital storytelling iPad app called Adobe Voice. After posting that on Facebook I received a few requests for suggestions for similar tools that can be used in a web browser. Here are some nice web-based tools for quickly creating short videos.

UtellStory is a service for creating and sharing audio slideshows. To create and share your story through UtellStory you can upload pictures, add text captions, add audio narration to each slide, and upload a soundtrack to support your entire story. Completed projects can be embedded into your blog, emailed to your friends, or shared through your favorite social networking sites. Watch UTellStory's introduction here. Creating my first UTellStory project, available here, took me about ten minutes after registering on the site. To create my story I uploaded pictures that I had saved on my computer, but I could have also pulled images from Flickr. Then I added the narration to each slide. In the free version of UTellStory you have thirty seconds per slide and up to two minutes of total audio. I rearranged my slides after recording by simply dragging them into the sequence in which I wanted them to appear.

Sokratik is a newer service (still in beta) for creating audio slideshows. To create a presentation on Sokratik you simply add a picture, video, and or text to each slide and when you're done adding slides you can record your voice over each one.

Narrable is a neat service for creating short narrated slideshows. To create an audio slideshow on Narrable start by uploading some pictures that you either want to talk about or have music played behind. After the pictures are uploaded you can record a narration for each picture through your computer's microphone or by calling into your Narrable's access phone number. You can also upload an audio recording that is stored on your computer. Narrable projects can be shared via email, Facebook, or by embedding them into a blog. is a handy service for recording video and or audio to accompany your slides. allows  you to sync your recorded audio and video to your slides then publish everything as one complete package. Here's how it works; upload a set of slides to your account, then use your webcam to record a video of yourself talking about those slides. Your video and slides will appear side-by-side when you have finished recording. If you don't want to record a video, you can simply record audio only. accepts a large variety of presentation file types. And if you sign-in with your Google account, you can import presentations to from your Google Drive account.

PixiClip is a slick tool tool for creating, narrating, and sharing drawings. PixiClip provides a whiteboard space on which you can draw, upload images to mark-up, and type. While adding elements to your PixiClip whiteboard you can talk and or record a video of yourself talking. In fact, you can't use the whiteboard without at least recording your voice at the same time. Recordings can be shared via social media and or embedded into your blog posts. PixiClip does not require you to create an account in order to use the service. However, if you want to save your recording to re-visit and edit you will need to create an account. Accounts are free and take less than thirty seconds to create.

Animoto is still the old standby in this field. Animoto makes it possible to quickly create a video using still images, music, and text. In the last year Animoto has added the option to include video clips in your videos too. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using AnimotoAnimoto's free service limits you to 30 second videos. You can create longer videos if you apply for an education account.

YouTube Photo Slideshows is one of the frequently overlooked tools built into YouTube. To create a YouTube Photo Slideshow you simply upload some pictures, select transitions, and select some music to play in the video. After uploading your images you can use the annotations tool to add as much text as you like to each frame of your video. If you're working in a school that uses Google Apps for Education, your students can use their log-in credentials on YouTube so they don't have to create separate usernames and passwords. Click here to find complete directions for creating YouTube Photo Slideshows.