Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Week In Review - Back in Maine

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where I have finally recovered from the jet lag of my return from the Future Schools Expo in Sydney. Again, thank you to everyone who came to see me speak at that event. I'm home for the next month and during that time I'll be conducting a lot of webinars and working on a project that I've put on the back burner for the last month. But before I do any of that I'm heading out to ski in a fundraiser for Maine Adaptive Sports. I hope that you too have fun things on your schedule this weekend.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Good Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms Add-ons for Teachers
2. Five Ways Students Can Share Videos Without YouTube
3. How to Create an Audio Slideshow With Annotations in YouTube
4. How to Sign Documents That Have Been Emailed to You Without Printing Them
5. Journey to the Centre of the Earth - An Animated Infographic
6. Two New Apps That Are Great for Recording Audio Interviews
7. 5 Free Tools for Creating Whiteboard Videos

This week I opened registration for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp being held on July 13 &14. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is a two day, hands-on learning experience for teachers. This year's event is being held in downtown Portland, Maine just a few blocks from the ocean, great dining, and iconic lighthouses. Register by April 16th to save $50 on registration.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Versal is a great tool for building interactive online course components.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
PresentationTube provides a good way to use PowerPoint to create flipped lessons.
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 host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.

Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Post to Blogger via Email

Google's Blogger service makes it easy for teachers to quickly create a classroom blog. If your school uses Google Apps for Education you can make Blogger one of the services available within your domain thereby making it even easier to post on Blogger. One shortcoming of Blogger is that there isn't an obvious way for you to moderate students' posts before they go live on a group blog. The solution is to use the "post via email" setting in Blogger. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use this setting and explain a bit more about it.


Click here to find screenshots of the process outlined in the video.

I'll be covering topics like this one and many more in my upcoming Practical Ed Tech course Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders.

How to Follow a #Hashtag Across Multiple Social Networks

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about using Tagboard to follow a hashtag across multiple social networks. As I wrote back then, the beauty of Tagboard is that I can follow a hashtag and see all of the Tweets, Instgram, Facebook, and Google+ posts about it in one place. This enables me to quickly catch up with what people are sharing about an event or saying in a chat like #edchat. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Tagboard.

Two New Apps That Are Great for Recording Audio Interviews

This week I tested two new apps for recording audio interviews. Both of these apps can be used by students without creating any kind of new online accounts. Neither one is entirely perfect, but they're both quite good.

Opinion is a free iPad app for creating short audio recordings. To record simply open the app and tap the big red recording button at the top of the screen. When you're done talking, tap the recording button again to stop the recording. You can chop your recording into smaller pieces by tapping on your recording then tapping the scissors icon to cut your recording. Opinion recordings can be shared to a variety of places on the web including SoundCloud and Evernote. Opinion limits you to ten minutes of recording before you have to either upgrade or eliminate older recordings.


StoryCorps has a new app called StoryCorps.me that Larry Ferlazzo raved about earlier this week. The app is available for iPhone (it will also work on iPads, it's just a little grainy looking) and Android devices. StoryCorps.me will try to force you to create a StoryCorps account, but you can use it without creating an account. Creating an account will allow you to publish your recordings on the StoryCorps website.

StoryCorps.me is designed to help people conduct and record great interviews. The app includes a set of questions that you can use in your interview. The question sets are varied depending upon the relationship that you do or don't have with your interviewee. While recording your interview you can swipe through the questions to help you keep the interview on track. Completed recordings can saved on your device and or shared with the StoryCorps community.

Applications for Education
The Opinion app could be a good choice if you just want students quickly create a simple recording. Students might use Opinion to record a quick reflection on what they learned during the week. If they have SoundCloud accounts Opinion makes it easy to create an on-going audio blog.

StoryCorps.me will take a little more time for students to set-up than they will spend setting-up the Opinion app. That said, StoryCorps.me is the app that I would want students to use when they are recording podcasts involving two or more people. Being able to see the questions while they record should help students keep their interviews concise and on track.

Consumer Education at the Mall

The FTC offers a lot of good resources designed to help students and adults become savvy consumers. One of the resources they provide for students is an online environment called Consumer Education at the Mall. This virtual mall features animated lessons, games, and other activities that help students understand advertising methods, product pricing, and privacy protection. The virtual mall also has a section in which students can learn about common consumer scams.

The consumer education mall has four sections. In the west terrace students learn about advertising methods and truth in advertising rules. The west terrace also includes a game in which students have to match advertisements to their intended audiences. In the consumer education mall's food court students learn about how competition between businesses can be a good thing for consumers. In the food court students students also learn how supply and demand affect prices. The mall's security plaza is where students head when they want to learn about consumer privacy protections, what kind of personal information is safe to share and which kinds are not safe to share. In the mall's east terrace students discover why enticing prices, give-away promotions, and flattery isn't what it appears to be on the surface.

Applications for Education
The activities in Consumer Education at the Mall are designed for students in upper elementary grades and middle school. You could have students attempt to go through all of the activities in one sitting or you could break it up into sixteen smaller lessons for your students. The FTC provides PDF fact sheets for each activity in the consumer education mall.