Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from O'Hare International Airport where I am waiting for a flight to take me home after a great few days of speaking at conferences. On Thursday morning I spoke at ECOO's Bringing It Together conference in Niagara Falls and yesterday I spoke at ISLMA's annual conference in Tinley Park, Illinois. It was an honor and a pleasure to deliver the keynotes at both events. The highlight of both conferences was meeting so many of you who have read my blog for years, thank you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Candy Crime Scene - A Science Lesson
2. Block Posters - Use Standard Printers to Print Posters
3. 5 Ways to Collect Digital Exit Tickets
4. A Handful of Resources for Teaching About Thanksgiving
5. How to Create a Multimedia Timeline
6. 5 Great Activities from Read Write Think
7. The New Google Drive Empowers Language Learners

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

Later this month I'll be offering another section of my Practical Ed Tech webinar series Getting Ready for GAFE. This webinar series has a graduate credit option, click here to learn more about it.

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.
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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Friday, November 7, 2014

Sights and Sounds of the Berlin Wall

Sunday will mark 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. To mark the occasion, SoundCloud (a German company) has produced a 7 minute 32 second recording of sounds of the Berlin wall. The recording is that length to match the amount of time it would have taken for a sound to travel the length of the Berlin Wall. The recording features sounds of guards, dogs, gunfire, and politicians. Along the soundtrack you will see annotations. Each annotation lists a person who died trying to cross the wall.

The Google Cultural Institute has exhibitions about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Visions of Division is a collection of images, videos, and text documenting the history of division of Berlin. The Fall of the Berlin Wall takes viewers through the events leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Watching the fall of the Berlin Wall was one of the moments in my childhood when I realized that I really enjoyed learning about world events. I distinctly remember watching the ABC Nightly News that evening (on and old black and white T.V., we got a color T.V. for Christmas six weeks later). On YouTube I found some clips from that broadcast. I've embedded one of those clips below.


H/T to The Next Web for the SoundCloud recording. 

A Guide to Blogging and Examples of Classroom Blogs

This morning at the ISLMA Conference I gave a short presentation on blogs and social media for teachers and school leaders. There were a few folks who expressed interest in coming to the session, but weren't able to attend so I promised to post the highlights here.

Embedded below you should see my 90 page guide to using Blogger. The guide covers everything from starting your first blog to privacy settings to editing your blog's layout. The guide also includes a glossary of terms frequently used in blogging. Click here to download the guide.




Five important lessons I've learned about using blogs in school:
1. Just ship it. Don’t spend too much time worrying about how the blog looks from a design standpoint because you can always tweak it later. When you’re getting started any of the standard templates from Blogger, WordPress.com, KidBlog, Edublogs, or Weebly will do. The important thing is to get the blog started. As one of my bosses at FedEx used to say, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

2. Send out a blogging mission and permission notice to parents. Your school may not have a policy about student blogging, but it’s still a good idea to send a notice to parents about why their children are blogging. If you work with students under 13, you will want to explain how their privacy will be protected (no faces posted, no last names, pen names, etc). Jen Deyenberg shared a good blogging permission form here. A quick Google search for “blogging permission slips” will generate a bunch of other samples to evaluate.

3. Review Internet safety and etiquette protocols with your students. Planet Nutshell offers an excellent set of cartoon videos on Internet safety.

4. Create guidelines for how the classroom blog is to be used by students. If you’re planning to use the blog for active discussions with students, talk with them about tone. You might make it a classroom activity to develop online discussion norms. If you’re planning to use the blog as place for students to showcase their work, talk with students about how to offer constructive criticism. If the blog is going to include a widget through which students submit assignments, talk about file types and formatting so that you don’t pull your hair out converting a myriad submitted file types.

5. Expect that something will go wrong. You can plan until the cows come home, but there is always something that doesn’t go according to plan. In the case of classroom blogs that could be a mistake you make in posting a link or an inappropriate comment that a student writes. Treat these mistakes like any other mistake that happens in a classroom and turn them into teaching opportunities. If you made a mistake in posting a link or you posted a video that didn’t play correctly, explain what happened to the students so that you can all learn together. If a student posts an inappropriate comment (you should have comment moderation enabled to grab it before it goes live) use that opportunity to review Internet safety and etiquette with the student.

40+ Examples of Classroom/School/ Library Blogs

Bet You Didn't Know - A Short Lesson on Veterans Day

The History Channel has a neat series of short videos called Bet You Didn't Know. These videos provide a short history lesson on various holidays. Veterans Day is next week. If you're looking for a short video about the holiday, check out Bet You Didn't Know: Veterans Day. The video explains the origins of the holiday and why its date of celebration has twice shifted in the United States. The end of the video includes an explanation of the differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.


Applications for Education
PBS News Hour has a basic lesson plan about Veterans Day. That lesson plan includes giving this quiz to students before showing them Bet You Didn't Know: Veterans Day.

For more resources on Veterans Day, see this list created by Larry Ferlazzo.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

5 Tools for Adding Questions and Notes to Videos

A teacher recently emailed me because she was searching for some tools that she could use to add questions and clarifying notes to videos that she shares with her students. These are the options that I suggested.

YouTube has a built-in tool for adding annotations to videos that you own. Open the video editor in your YouTube account and you can add notes, including notes with hyperlinks to other videos, to your videos. Directions for that process are available here.

On VideoANT anyone can add annotations to any publicly accessible YouTube video. To do this copy the URL of a video and paste it into the VideoANT annotation tool. Then as the video plays click the "add annotation" button when you want to add an annotation. To have others annotate the video with you, send them the VideoANT link. You are the only person that has to have a VideoANT account. Your collaborators do not need to have a VideoANT account to participate in the annotation process with you.

eduCanon is an excellent service for creating, assigning, and tracking your students' progress on flipped lessons. eduCanon allows you to build flipped lessons using YouTube and Vimeo videos, create questions about the videos, then assign lessons to their students. Once you have found a video through eduCanon you can add questions to it at any point along its timeline. Students need to answer your questions before they move on to the next portion of your chosen video. You can track your students' progress within eduCanon.

VideoNotes is a neat tool for taking notes while watching videos. VideoNotes allows you to load any YouTube video on the left side of your screen and on the right side of the screen VideoNotes gives you a notepad to type on. VideoNotes integrates with your Google Drive account. By integrating with Google Drive VideoNotes allows you to share your notes and collaborate on your notes just as you can do with a Google Document. You can use VideoNotes to have students submit questions to you and each other while watching videos. Of course, you can insert questions into the conversation for your students to answer too.

Blubbr is a neat quiz creation service that I have raved about since I tried it for the first time nearly three years ago. Through Blubbr you can create interactive quizzes that are based on YouTube clips. Your quizzes can be about anything of your choosing. The structure of the quizzes has a viewer watch a short clip then answer a multiple choice question about the clip. Viewers know right away if they chose the correct answer or not.