Sunday, April 5, 2015

Mailbag - Answers to Questions from Readers

Every week I receive quite a few emails and Facebook messages from teachers looking for recommendations for sites and apps that solve a problem for them or their students. The questions that have broad appeal I like to include in my weekly-ish mailbag post. This week's questions and answers are posted below.

Q1. Long time follower, first time corresponder. I have you to thank for making the transition to Google Drive easier after I participated in one of your small group webinars a few years back. I am a big fan of Creative Commons and shortcuts. Do you know of any tools out there that would automatically include the Creative Commons license on the image? is a Creative Commons image search tool that will include all of the attribution information in the bottom of the image when you download an image. A video tutorial on embedding into a blog can be seen here. (Disclosure: is owned by which advertises on my blog).

Another option is Alan Levine's Flickr CC Attribution helper. I have a video tutorial about that tool available here.

Finally, if your students are only using the images in presentations, Haiku Deck has an integrated CC image search. The attribution comes attached to the pictures found through the iPad and web versions of Haiku Deck. Click here for a video tutorial on Haiku Deck's web app.

Q2. Thank you so much for responding so promptly to my e-mail. All of your comments are quite helpful. If you have time to reply again, I have a follow-up question: How does one submit and upload a Garage Band recording to any of the sites you suggest? I could not get the recording to upload out of DropBox. The file isn't supported in GoogleDrive. Additionally, it will not upload into SoundCloud, AudioBoom, etc. I am not sure what I am missing.

I put together some screenshots that explain how to move a file from GarageBand to SoundCloud (the process is the same for other file hosts too).

Q3. Our students are about to begin a project creating videos through still images and perhaps some recorded video chunks on their phones. I would like to have them be able to do voice overs, but am unsure of a good web based video editor that I can use that 9th graders can navigate and store their information. Do you have any suggestions for me?

WeVideo is a good option. Your students can upload and store images in their accounts. Students would then drag-and-drop images into a timeline record a voice-over while looking at the images. WeVideo can also integrate into a Google Drive account.

If you have a question you can email me or message me through the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page. I try to reply to every email.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts of the Week

Good morning from New York City where I am visiting family and friends. I hope that those of you celebrating holidays this weekend have time with family and friends too.

Back home in Maine this week the weather warmed and lots of snow melted. Max, as you see to the left, is very happy about the melting snow as it has revealed toys that have been buried since November.

Here are this week's most popular posts on
1. 7 Tools for Building Review Games
2. Libraries and Librarians in the Internet Age
3. Send Your Students on a QR Code Treasure Hunt
4. Convert PDFs to Google Docs to Differentiate Instructional Materials
5. Dozens of Alternatives to YouTube
6. A Handful of Ways to Publish Audio Recordings
7. 5 Resources for National Poetry Month

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, April 3, 2015

Find Your National Park

A buffalo I saw while hiking in
Grand Teton NP in 2006.
Find Your Park is a new campaign by the U.S. National Parks service. The purpose of the campaign is to increase awareness of National Parks and their programs. To that end, Find Your Park offers an interactive map of hundreds of national parks and public lands. You can search for a park or public land by name and or location. Clicking on the park's name in the map will take you to more information about the programs at that park.

If you visit one of the parks, Find Your Park encourages you to share your pictures and videos of the experience with the hashtag #FindYourPark. You can also upload your pictures and videos directly to the Find Your Park website.

Applications for Education
As the weather warms and you start to think about outdoor activities for your children or your students, take a look at Find Your Park. Find Your Park could help you discover educational programs happening in a national park near you.

H/T to The Adventure Blog.

Webinar Recording - Best Backchannel and Informal Assessment Tools

Last night I hosted a free webinar about backchannel and informal assessment tools. If you missed it, the recording is now available to view here or as embedded below. In the webinar I covered TodaysMeet, Padlet, Dash 81, Tozzl, Socrative (although it crashed during the session), and Kahoot.

Storyboard That Releases New Teacher Guides for Classic Literature

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on

For the last couple of years Storyboard That has offered great guides to using storyboards in the classroom. The latest update to their Teacher Guides section includes new guides for using storyboards to help students understand classic works including Lord of the Flies, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Oedipus, The Tell Tale Heart, and Animal Farm. The guides include plot diagrams, character diagrams, and vocabulary diagrams. Each guide also includes references to Common Core standards.

In February I hosted a webinar all about the features of Storyboard That and ideas for using it in your classroom. The recording of that webinar is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Storyboard That provides a great way for students to visually organize their thoughts about a topic, to plan a story, or to illustrate their understanding of a story. As you can see in the teacher guides, Storyboard That also provides great visual tools for teachers to use to help students understand big concepts.