Monday, September 29, 2014

The Solutions to Common Stains Found in One Great Database

Stain Solutions is a handy website developed by Susan Taylor at the University of Illinois Extension. The site is a database of dozens of common stains and the solutions to remove them. Click on a stain in the chart and you will be taken to a list of the ingredients needed to make a solution that will remove your chosen stain. Directions and warnings are provided along with the solutions.

Applications for Education
I don't know of any teacher who hasn't stained work clothes themselves or had them stained as the result of a student mishap. I've stained enough neckties to create a drop-cloth. Coffee, ink, and markers seem to be the leading causes of those stains. Solutions to remove all those stains can be found on Stain Solutions.

H/T to LifeHacker.

Video Book Reviews in the Common Craft Style

This evening on the Common Craft blog I saw a video in which someone reviewed The Art of Explanation by making a video in the Common Craft style. The producer of the video, Bruce Herwig, wrote a blog post explaining the lessons he learned in the video production process.

Applications for Education
I've written about book trailers a handful of times in the past. (Most recently in this post in June). Usually those projects are focused on having students produce something that will get other students interested in a book. The approach that Bruce Herwig uses in the video above is slightly different as it focuses more on providing a clear overview of the book rather than just trying to hook viewers into reading the book. That approach could be a good one for high school students to use as a means to providing reviews of non-fiction works that may not have the entertainment value of fiction works.

Long Awaited Features Added to Google Forms

Whenever I lead a workshop about Google Forms teachers always ask if there is a way to limit response and if there is a way to randomize the order of the questions in the form. Starting today the answer is yes. Google has finally added those options to Google Forms.

Limiting form responses to one per person is now a simple matter of checking the box labeled "only allow response per person." That option appears above the title of your form.

Randomizing the sequence in which questions appear on your Google Forms is now just a matter of clicking the box labeled "shuffle question order." With that box selected each person viewing your form will see the questions in a different sequence.

Click the image to view it in full size.
These new features are available now to anyone using a Gmail account to access Google Forms. According to Google's official Google Apps Updates blog the new features will be rolled out to Google Apps for Edu and Business users over the next two weeks.

There were some other new, but less significant, features added to Google Forms today. Those features include shortened URLs for sharing Forms, the option to search with the help menu, and limiting "grid style" questions to one response. 

I don't think that the shortened Forms URLs will be terribly useful because the shortened URLs cannot be customized and they are case sensitive just like URLs. I prefer to use Bitly to create custom shortened URLs. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Freeplay Music - Another Good Place to Find Music for Multimedia Projects

Earlier this week I shared a list of good places to find free music and sound effects for your students to use in their multimedia projects. The next morning Kinshasa Msola emailed me to with the suggestion of adding Freeplay Music to that list. I'm glad that she did because Freeplay Music was a great suggestion.

Freeplay Music hosts more than 15,000 music files that your students can download to use in their multimedia projects. The Freeplay Music education license allows students and teachers to use the music for free within the confines of the school. Publishing those projects on YouTube requires a slightly different though still free license. You can find the details of the licenses here.

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine. By the time most of you read this I will be fly fishing on my favorite lake in the state. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have fun things planned too. If part of your weekend includes getting caught up on ed tech news, take a look at this week's most popular posts on Free Technology for Teachers. On a related note, my Practical Ed Tech tip of the week email contains this list and is sent on Sunday evenings only. You can join that email list here.

The most popular posts of the week:
1. Frequently Overlooked Google Search Tools and Strategies
2. How to Create Trading Cards for Historical and Fictional People, Places, and Events
3. How to Share Materials By Using Files and Folders on Google Sites
4. Comics in the Classroom - Webinar Recording
5. CK-12 Introduces Dozens of Interactive Physics Simulations
6. Resources for Teaching About the Sights and Sounds of Autumn
7. ContextU - A Good Digital Textbook on the American Revolution

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.
GoSocialStudiesGo is an online textbook for social studies students.

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