Thursday, December 4, 2014

HSTRY - Create Multimedia Timelines in an Online Classroom

Last night I posted a chart comparing the features of five free multimedia timeline creation tools. Thanks to a comment by Robert McNulty on the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page I learned about a fantastic new timeline creation tool. HSTRY is a multimedia timeline creation tool that will work on your laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or tablet.

With a HSTRY account you can build timelines in a vertical scroll format similar to that of a Facebook feed. To start the process pick a topic and upload a cover photo. To add events to the timeline just click the "+" symbol and select the type of media that you want to add to your timeline. You can add videos, images, audio, and text to the events on your timeline.

Applications for Education
There are two features of HSTRY that make it stand-out from the crowd. First, as a teacher you can create an online classroom in which you can view all of your students' timelines. Second, as a teacher you can build questions into timelines that you share with your students. You can even build-in explanations of the answers to your questions.

HSTRY is free to use to create and share timelines. They do offer some pre-made timelines for sale.

Autodesk's Design Software is Now Free for Students and Teachers

Autodesk has offered a number of their mobile apps for free for a while. This week they made all of their software available for free to students and teachers. All of Autodesk's free design software can be found here.

If you're wondering what you can do with Autodesk's software in your classroom, check out Autodesk's Digital Steam Workshop. Autodesk's Digital STEAM Workshop is your one-stop shop for design projects ideas. Explore the projects section of the Autodesk Digital STEAM Workshop to explore the possibilities for using Autodesk's design programs in your classroom. You can explore the possibilities by selecting a design tool, a subject, a skill level, and the length of time you have to dedicate to a classroom project. When you select a project you will be taken to a page containing the steps you and your students need to take in order to complete your chosen project.

Autodesk offers a self-guided ecourse to help teachers get a better sense of how Autodesk's software can be used in math, science, and engineering lessons. The course is divided into three sections; Getting creative with Digital STEAM, Defining your student design challenge, and Enhancing teacher software skills.

Try EDpuzzle's Chrome Extension to Save Videos for Flipped Lessons

EDpuzzle is a neat tool allows you to add your voice and questions to educational videos. Recently, thanks to David Kapuler, I learned that EDpuzzle offers a Chrome extension. EDpuzzle's Chrome extension enables you to save YouTube videos directly to your EDpuzzle account. This means that instead of having to search within EDpuzzle for videos you can simply browse YouTube like you normally do then just click the EDpuzzle extension to save the video. Once a video is saved you build your questions around it.

For those who haven't tried EDpuzzle, it is a nice tool for building flipped video lessons. You can insert into saved videos your own voice comments and text comments. You can also create a series of questions to go along with your chosen video. Questions are inserted along a timeline that matches the video. That means that your students don't have to wait until the end of a video in order to answer the questions you've created.

Applications for Education
EDpuzzle can be a good tool to use to create short review videos or flipped lessons for your students. You can also have students use EdPuzzle to annotate videos by pointing out important aspects of videos by using the voice comments option and or the question building option.

Peep and the Big Wide World Is Now Bilingual

The popular PBS Kids website Peep and the Big Wide World is now available in Spanish.

Peep and the Big Wide World offers a great collection of online games, videos, and offline activities designed to help pre-K and elementary school students learn and develop math and science skills. The online games cover skills like pattern recognition, color and shape recognition, distances, and counting.

The educators and families sections of Peep and the Big Wide World offer great activities designed to extend the science and lessons provided in the Peep and the Big Wide World videos. When you're on the video page you will notice that there is a suggested Anywhere Activity listed with each video.

In addition to the browser-based activities Peep and the Big Wide World offers nine free iPad apps and Android apps for students. The apps offered are very similar to the games provided in the browser-based version of Peep and the Big Wide World. Unfortunately, the apps are not bilingual.

Applications for Education
Peep and the Big Wide World is a good place to find resource for pre-K and early elementary school science and mathematics lessons. In your next newsletter or blog post for parents point out the family activities section in which parents can find activities to do with their children to support what they're learning in your classroom.

The 2014 Edublog Awards Voting Is Open

The voting as opened for the annual Edublog Awards. These are awards designed for educators to recognize the best/ most helpful/ most influential bloggers and services of the year. I have been fortunate to have won an award five times. This year I have been nominated again in three categories: Best Individual Blog, Best Ed Tech / Resource Sharing Blog, and Lifetime Achievement.

If you're inclined to vote, I encourage you to vote for Larry Ferlazzo for Best Ed Tech / Resource Sharing Blog. Larry shares more than anyone I know and he has been doing it longer than almost everyone on the list. 

There is a popularity contest element to these awards. Just because a blog or website isn't popular enough to get to the top of the list does not mean that it's not valuable. Please take a look at the full lists in each category. Even if you don't vote, you can discover some good resources by browsing through the lists.

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