Monday, September 15, 2014

An Interactive Map of George Washington's Life offers a handful of nice online resources for learning about the life of George Washington. One of the featured resources is an interactive map that is titled Washington's World. Washington's World includes a timeline and dozens of placemarks. Students can explore the map by panning, zooming, and clicking on the placemarks. Students can also click markers on the timeline to jump to corresponding placemarks on the map.

Applications for Education
Washington's World is a great map, but some of the information in the placemarks is incomplete or not present. A good assignment for U.S. History students would be to create their own version of the map and fill in the missing details. Google Maps and Google Earth could be good platforms for students to use to create their own versions of Washington's World.

H/T to Google Maps Mania.

Use Google Drive and Chromecast to Share & Display Videos Without YouTube

Last month I shared directions for privately sharing videos through Google Drive. This morning through The Next Web I learned that Chromebook users who also have a Chromecast device can project their videos from Google Drive. To do this you will have to use the development version of Chrome OS and have the Google Cast extension installed. With those two items in place you will be able to project the videos stored in your Google Drive account.

Applications for Education
Using Google Drive to share videos is a great option when you or your students have videos that you want to share, but don't want to make public for the whole world to see on YouTube. Chromebook using teachers users who want to share and project videos without using YouTube should investigate this new option to project videos stored in their Google Drive accounts.

How to Customize Your Characters in Storyboard That Comics

Disclosure: Storyboard That is a long-term advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

A couple of weeks ago I shared the news that Storyboard That now offers fully posable characters. You can use these characters to customize the positioning of legs, arms, and head tilts of your characters. You can also change the facial expressions of your characters. In the video below I demonstrate how to use these features.

Storyboard That is offering a back-to-school 25% discount on their premium plans

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Piano Maestro Offers a Fun Way to Learn to Read and Play Sheet Music

Cross-posted from one of my other blogs,

Piano Maestro (formerly known as Piano Mania) is a neat iPad app from Joy Tunes. The new Piano Maestro app offers lessons on playing the piano. Students place their iPads on their pianos or electronic keyboards to view the lesson as they play along. The app offers challenges of varying difficulty from simple one-hand lessons to complex lessons requiring the use of both hands. Students earn points for completing each lesson and mastering new songs. Teachers can check their students’ progress by having students use the “connect to teacher” feature of Piano Maestro.

Piano Maestro is free to download and access for basic lessons. More difficult lessons and the larger catalog of music requires purchasing the premium features. But this fall Joy Tunes is offering Piano Maestro’s premium features for free to registered music teachers and their students. The premium features includes a library of more than 800 songs including pop music songs from artists like Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift.

Mark Your Calendar for an Afternoon of Free Webinars About Google Apps

As I mentioned last Monday, on October 7th Simple K12 is hosting an afternoon of free webinars about Google tools for teachers. I will be conducting two webinars that afternoon. In my webinars I'll share some of my favorite Google Search strategies, ideas for teaching search strategies, and using Google Forms and Spreadsheets to streamline workflow. Click here to register for this free PD opportunity.

The webinars will start at 1pm Eastern Time and run until 5pm Eastern Time. I realize that the schedule is troublesome for a lot of teachers. I asked Simple K12 about availability of the recordings. This was the reply, SimpleK12’s webinar recordings are available to Full Access members of their site and are available 24-48 hours after the event. If you don’t have your membership, we recommend signing up for the Free Live Event you are interested in so that you can receive email notices of similar future events. Another similar event is being scheduled for the end of October. I will pass on those details when I have them.

These free webinars are designed for folks who are new to using Google tools.  Teachers who would like to pick up some tips for teaching others how to take advantage of the great things that Google has to offer will also enjoy the content of these webinars. Click here to register.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time in these webinars.