Monday, September 1, 2014

Powtoon Is Giving Away Free Accounts to Teachers - Create Animated Videos Online

PowToon is a great tool for creating animated videos online. The standard free version of PowToon is fairly limited (videos are limited to 45 seconds). Currently, PowToon is giving away 50,000 classroom accounts for free. The classroom accounts include 60 student accounts that will have access to PowToon's advanced features including longer export times.

PowToon provides a drag-and-drop editor for creating animated videos. The videos that you create feature digital paper cut-outs on a colorful background. Think of PowToon as an online tool for creating videos in the style made popular by Common Craft. PowToon provides drawings of people and objects that you can arrange on blank canvas. After adding your narration to the arrangement you can publish your video.

Two Free Android Apps for Creating Flipped Lesson Videos

While there are plenty of iPad apps and web apps for creating flipped lesson videos, it is difficult to find good Android apps for the same purpose. If you're an Android user, take a look at this pair of apps.

Clarisketch is a free Android app that has great potential for classroom use. The app allows you to take a picture or pull one from your device’s camera roll and then add your voice to it. While you are talking about your picture you can draw on it to highlight sections of it. Completed projects are shared as links to the video file hosted on Clarisketch. You can share the link to your Clarisketch video and have it play on nearly any device that has a web browser. See my sample here.

WeVideo is a cloud-based video editing service that I have been promoting in my workshops for a couple of years. WeVideo's Android app allows you to create and edit videos on your tablet or phone. If you're looking to create a slide-by-slide instructional video in which you or your students talk about what's happening on the screen, then WeVideo could be a good choice for you. Wes Fryer recently wrote a great post about his experience with the app. In that same post Wes also did a nice job of comparing it to some similar iOS apps.

Create Digital Portfolios with WeLearnedIt for iPad

Cross-post from my other blog,

WeLearnedIt is the latest offering from Adam Bellow and eduClipper. WeLearnedIt offers many of the great features of eduClipper that you currently enjoy along with additional digital portfolio elements. Through the WeLearnedIt iPad app you and your students can create digital portfolios that contain files from Google Drive, Dropbox, links from the web, images and videos captured with your iPad, and whiteboard videos created within the WeLearnedIt app.

Applications for Education
The best aspects of WeLearnedIt are found in the feedback and sharing tools. Teachers can assign grades to elements of students’ digital portfolios. Grading is not limited to assigning scores. Teachers can give written feedback on each submission. Rubrics for assignments are available through the app too. School-wide implementations (a fee-based option) of WeLearnedIt allow teachers and administrators to share assessment data.

This Thursday, September 4th, Adam Bellow will lead a webinar about all of the great features of WeLearnedIt. You can register for that free webinar here.

Disclosure: I have a small advisory and equity interest in eduClipper.

Two Short Lessons on the History of Labor Day

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer in North America. Schools that started in August had a long weekend and the rest will start this week. If you're looking for a short explanation of Labor Day to share with students, take a look at the two videos below.

History of the Holidays is a series of videos from History. Each installment explains a different holiday. The Labor Day video is embedded below.

Why Do Americans and Canadians Celebrate Labor Day? Is a new TED-Ed lesson. The video is embedded below. You can find the full lesson here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August's Ten Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from Maine where I had a busy day of fishing and walking with my dogs. I hope that all of you had an equally good weekend. At the end of every month I take a look back at the ten most popular posts of the month. Writing this post gives me a chance to see what I should write more of and it gives you a chance to catch neat things that you might have missed earlier in the month.

The ten most popular posts from August, 2014.
1. Two Good Random Name Selection Tools
2. Math Word Wall Posters for Elementary School Classrooms
3. Two Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Week
4. Seven Web-based Tools for Delivering Flipped Lessons
5. Great Google Search Strategies Every Student Can Use - Infographic
6. 20 Good Map Creation Tools for Students
7. Five Good Resources for Teaching Digital Safety and Citizenship to Elementary School Students
8. NEWSELA + Google Docs = Differentiated, Collaborative Reading!
9. WordWriter - A New Way of Learning Vocabulary Through Writing
10. Two Ways to Explore the News Through Maps

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference? Click here to learn about my keynote and workshop offerings. 

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.
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, Chicago, and Atlanta.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
BoomWriter and WordWriter are fantastic tools that help students develop their writing skills.

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