Monday, December 29, 2014

Group Reading With Google Docs

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year.

Using the commenting feature of Google Documents is a good way to create a record of classroom conversations about an article that you have shared with your students. Using the commenting feature is also a good way to have the conversation about an article occur entirely online. In the video below I give a demonstration of how to do this.

How to Add Fonts to Google Documents & Slides

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. 

Earlier today I posted the picture you see to the left on my Google+ page with the comment "I decided to play with some new fonts found in Google Drive." A couple of people asked how I added new fonts.

To access and add custom fonts to your Google Drive Documents and Slides select "add fonts" from the bottom of the font selection menu that you've always used in Google Drive. Selecting "add fonts" will open up a new menu in which you can mix and match fonts to your heart's content. The screenshots below provide visual directions.
Click image to view full size. 
Click image to view full size. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

By Request - A Comparison of 5 Tools for Building Classroom Websites

Well it appears that my series of charts comparing ed tech tools is catching on because today I received my first suggestion for a chart topic. The suggestion was for a comparison of website creation tools. In the chart below I compare five popular tools for building classroom websites. You'll notice that the last column of the chart contains links to tutorials on how to use each service. You can find a Google Docs copy of the chart here or download it through the Box.com widget embedded below.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

5 Blog Platforms for Teachers Compared In One Chart

Maintaining a blog is my first suggestion whenever I am asked to give a recommendation for a good way to keep parents informed about what is happening in classrooms. The blog can be updated by teachers or by students and teachers. To help teachers decide which blogging platform could be best for them and their students, I created the following chart. The chart compares eight key elements of five common blogging platforms.

You can download this chart as a PDF through this Box.com link or click here to see it as a Google Document.


This is the eighth comparison chart in the series of PDFs that I have been creating in the hopes that they provide people with a quick way to select the best tools for them. This little project started because I am often asked to recommend "the best tool for X." Unfortunately, it is difficult to definitively state that one tool is the best because there are so many variables to account for in making that judgement. The age of your students, the technology that you have access to, your instructional goals are all factors that can influence what the best tool is for you. What's best in my situation and what's best in yours can be quite different. Hopefully, these charts will help you select the best tools for you and your students. The other charts are linked below.

Seven Alternatives to Google Image Search - Comparison Chart
11 Free Mind Mapping Tools Compared In One Chart
5 Timeline Creation Tools Compared - Chart
Nine Popular Student Response Tools Compared In One Chart
5 Web-based Audio Recording and Editing Tools Compared - Chart
5 Tools for Creating Multimedia Quizzes - A Comparison Chart
Five Tools for Creating Multimedia Textbooks - A Comparison Chart

The Week in Review - The Week's Most Popular Posts

Max enjoys his new toy.
Good evening from Maine where we enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather today. This week the number of posts was down a bit as I took some time to enjoy Christmas with my family. I hope that all of you have enjoyed some downtime this week too. Next week is traditionally the slowest week of the year for web traffic. Next week will feature the 25 most popular posts of the year.


Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Tools for Creating Multimedia Quizzes - A Comparison Chart
2. Five Tools for Creating Multimedia Textbooks - A Comparison Chart
3. Nine Popular Student Response Tools Compared In One Chart
4. 5 Free iPad Apps for Drawing and Sketching Notes
5. Two Good Random Name Selection Tools
6. Build Model Atoms and More on the NOVA Elements App
7. How to Save Links In Facebook

In January I am offering an online course titled Blogging and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders. Graduate credit is available for the course. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
HelloTalk connects students with native speakers to help them learn a new language.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
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 hosting iPad Summit San Diego in February.
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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