Wednesday, January 7, 2015

PicCollage, ThingLink, and A Visit to the USS Alabama

On Monday I had a great day working with teachers in Pensacola, Florida. I was supposed to fly home on Tuesday morning, but US Airways had other plans for me and I ended up spending a whole day in Mobile, Alabama. I made the most of the day by visiting the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. I highly recommend taking a tour of the park if you find yourself with free time in Mobile. I took a lot of pictures while I was there and I've put the best ones (by comparison to my usual terrible picture-taking skills) into a Pic-Collage. I then took my Pic-Collage and dropped it into ThingLink to add some additional information to the things in my collage. That ThingLink is embedded below.

Watch the two videos that I made and embedded below to learn how to use Pic-Collage, PicMonkey, and ThingLink.

Using Timelines as Digital Portfolios and Reflections on Learning

We often think of creating timelines as just an activity for history lessons. There are other ways besides history lessons to use timelines in a classroom. One of those ways that I've been sharing in my workshop about multimedia timelines is the idea of having students build personal timelines as digital portfolios.

Building timeline can be a good way for students organize the things they have learned created in the course of a school year. Creating a multimedia timeline is a good method of displaying the things that students have created in the course of the school year.

Creating a timeline of things learned:
Read Write Think's Timeline Creator is a good tool for students to use if you just want them to create timelines of things they learned during the school year. I would have them add an entry or two for every month of the school year. The entry doesn't have to be terribly detailed as I'm just looking at this activity as a reflection and summary activity. RWT's Timeline Creator does not require students to have an email address or register for an account.

Creating a multimedia timeline as a digital portfolio:
Through a multimedia timeline creation tool students can combine videos, picture collages, audio recordings, and or Google Maps that they have made during the course of the school year. Again, I would have students add one or two items for each month of the school year. There are two multimedia timeline creation tools that I really like right now. Those are Timeline JS and HSTRY.

Timeline JS is a great tool if your school is using Google Apps for Education. Timeline JS creates a timeline based on entries made in a Google Spreadsheets template provide by Timeline JS. Your entries can include links to videos, images, and maps. I made a video on how to use Timeline JS. That video is embedded below.

HSTRY is the other multimedia timeline builder that I like a lot. HSTRY is a favorite of mine because as a teacher you can create an online classroom in which you monitor your students' work. 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.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to Use Doctopus and Goobric to Grade Google Classroom Assignments

On Sunday afternoon I had one of the "rabbit holes of the Internet" adventures that has me jumping from one link to another. It started by reading about these Google Classroom Hacks that Peter Vogel shared and ended with watching two videos about using Doctopus and Goobric to grade Google Classroom assignments. Doctopus and Goobric are Google Sheets Add-ons. In the videos embedded below Justin Brink demonstrates how to use Doctopus and Goobric with Google Classroom.

Sleep or Cram? - The Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep

I've always been a fan of going to bed and getting up early rather than staying up late to cram for a test or put some finishing touches on a project. Students don't always believe that getting up early is a better option than staying up late. A new TED-Ed lesson titled The Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep might convince them to go to bed. In the lesson, embedded below, we learn how sleep "resets" the brain. The video also explains how memories are formed and retained by our brains.

Find and Cite Creative Commons Images in Edmodo

Photos for Class is a free Creative Commons image search engine that was launched in late November. The service is designed to help students find and accurately cite images. Images downloaded through Photos for Class have proper attributions automatically added to them. This service is now available in Edmodo too.

Photos for Class can be found in the Edmodo app store. The app is free. You can install Photos for Class Edmodo app with just a couple of clicks. Once installed all of your students can start searching for and downloading Creative Commons licensed images.

Applications for Education
I always advocate for students to use their own pictures or public domain pictures in their projects. For those times when appropriate public domain images cannot be found and taking their own pictures isn't practical, a search for Creative Commons-licensed images through a tool like Photos for Class is a good tool for students to use.

Disclosure: Photos for Class is owned by Storyboard That. Storyboard That is an advertiser on