Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Search for Publicly Shared Google Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets

Searching by file type and searching by domains is a great way for students to refine their Google searches. Searching for and within a DOC, a PPT, or XLS file can lead students to resources that they might not otherwise have seen. But increasingly a lot of us are creating our documents, slides, and spreadsheets in Google Drive. Many of us are then publishing those files for anyone in the world to see. Thanks to the Google for Education Google+ page, today I was reminded that you can perform a Google search to look for publicly shared Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets. The screenshots below illustrate how to do this.

To search for a public Google Document: enter site:docs.google.com after your search term.
Click image to view full size.

To search for a public Google Slides presentation: enter site:docs.google.com/presentation/ after your search term.
Click image to view full size.
To search for a public Google Drive Spreadsheet: enter site:docs.google.com/spreadsheets/ after your search term.
Click image to view full size.

ExamTime Launches New Mobile Apps for Reviewing Quizzes, Flashcards, and More

ExamTime is a service that launched a couple of years ago for the purpose of providing an online tool for students to use to create flashcards, mind maps, and practice quizzes to help them study. Last year they introduced a study planner tool that students can use to create schedules for reviewing study materials for all of their courses. The study planner allows students to create recurring calendar events to study a particular topic at a given time every day or week. Today, ExamTime launched a free iPad app and a free Android app.

I installed ExamTime's free iPad app this afternoon. One thing that I noticed right away is that you have to create your ExamTime account in your web browser before you can use the app. Once you have the app installed and you're signed-in you can review anything that you have created in your ExamTime online account and or browse through resources that others have shared publicly. You can search for publicly shared resources by entering a keyword or you can simply browse through a list of subject headings. Either way, when you find a resource that you like you can bookmark it and add it to your list of saved review materials.

There are two things that I would like to see added to ExamTime's free iPad and Android apps. First, the search tool would benefit from a filter that would allow you to search for resources according to material type. For example, I would like to be able to refine my search to show only flashcards or only mind maps. Second, ExamTime's new mobile apps don't support creating review materials. Creating review materials still has to be done in your web browser. Hopefully, in the future ExamTime will add resource creation tools to their mobile apps.

Applications for Education
If you and your students are already creating review materials on ExamTime then the mobile apps could provide a good way to take those materials with you wherever you go. On the browser-based side of ExamTime the study planner is a good tool for students to use to get in the habit of studying each topic for a chunk of time on a regular schedule instead of trying to cram the night before an exam.

A Quick Tip on Publishing Twitter Replies

One of the most frequently asked questions in my course on Blogs & Social Media for Teachers is along the lines of, "how do I get more people involved in a conversation?" A simple way to get more people to see your "@" replies in a conversation is to put a period in front of the "@." In the video embedded below I explain and demonstrate how this works.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Try Vialogues to Build Discussions Around Videos

I've featured VideoNotes a few times over the last year because it is a good tool for building discussions around YouTube videos. It's a great tool, but it doesn't work with videos that aren't already hosted online. Vialogues is a free service that allows you to build online discussions around videos hosted online and videos that you have saved on your computer.

Registered users can upload videos to Vialogues or use YouTube videos as the centerpieces of their conversations. After you have selected a video from YouTube or uploaded a video of your own, you can post poll questions and add comments that are tied to points in the video. Your Vialogue can be made public or private. Public Vialogue's can be embedded into your blog or website. Embedded below you will see a Vialogue that I started around John Green's video about the Vikings.

Applications for Education
Vialogues could be a great tool to use to publish questions for your students to answer while they are watching a video that you have created or found online. You could also use the comments in Vialogues to simply call attention to a specific point made in a video. I'm thinking that I would write comments like, "make sure you know this when you write your essay."

How to Add a Creative Commons Image Search Tool to Your Blog

Disclosure: Photos for Class is owned by Storyboard That. Storyboard That advertises on this blog.

Photos for Class is an image search engine that only locates images that are labeled with a Creative Commons license. When students download images from Photos for Class the images include the attribution that they need to include when they re-use the image. This week Photos for Class published a couple of widgets that you can embed into your blog. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to add the Photos for Class image search widget to your blog.

The video above is the 66th that I've created and added to my Practical Ed Tech Tips playlist.