Saturday, April 11, 2015

Analyze My Writing - Way More Than Word Clouds

A couple of days ago I received an email from the developer of Analyze My Writing. At first glance I thought it was just another word cloud tool like Wordle. Then when I really looked at it I realized that there was much more to it than a word cloud generator.

Paste your text into Analyze My Writing and it will generate a ton of information about your writing. Analyze My Writing will give you a break-down of the readability of your writing on five indices. The analysis will include listings of the most common words and most common word pairs in your writing. A listing of how frequently you use punctuation and punctuation types is included in the analysis provided by Analyze My Writing. Finally, a word cloud is included at the end of the analysis of your writing. The word cloud and the graphs of your

Applications for Education
Analyze My Writing could be a great resource for high school and college students to use in editing their works. Beyond the readability of the their papers students will receive important information about the words and phrases they have used repetitively in their writings.

The Week In Review - The Winter Never Ends

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where the winter seems to never end. Twice this week we woke up to a few inches of new snow. The upside to the never-ending winter is that we have plenty of snow for skiing. Skiing is what I'll do after creating a list of the week's most popular posts. Wherever you are and whatever the weather is like, I hope that you have something planned for your weekend too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Tools for Creating Multimedia Quizzes - A Comparison Chart
2. Create a Simple Check-out/ Check-in System With Google Forms
3. Create a Lab / Room Scheduler in Google Sheets
4. Office Lens - Digitize Handwritten Notes and Diagrams
5. How to Create a Multimedia Timeline on HSTRY
6. 5 Email Etiquette Tips for Students - Some for Teachers Too
7. Crash Course and SciShow for Kids

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.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
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 10, 2015

RefME Web Clipper Makes It Easy to Cite Webpages

RefME is a service designed to help students create bibliographies. The RefME mobile apps allow students to scan a book's barcode and have the reference information added to a folder in their online RefME accounts.

After creating a RefME account students create their first projects in RefME. A project is essentially a folder for the citations that students are going to create for a paper. Students select a project name then add a reference to it by scanning the barcode on a book or periodical. When they have finished scanning all of their references (they can also add references manually) student can export their lists of citations to Evernote, email the list, or create a Word document of citations on the RefME website.

This month RefME launched a Chrome extension that makes it easy for students to create citations for any webpage including pages that only feature videos. With the RefME Web Clipper installed students can simply click the extension whenever they want to create a citation for a page. The extension will format a citation and add it to the student's chosen folder in his or her RefME account. The extension be used to highlight portions of a page to add to the citation too.

Applications for Education 
RefME could be a great tool for students to use to keep track of their reference materials as they put together research projects. The option to manage multiple projects could be helpful to students who are working on multiple research projects at the same time.

How to Print a Google Form and or Save it as a PDF

Using Google Forms can be a good way to create a quiz for your students to take. Unfortunately, if not all of your students have access to the web then you might need to print copies of the quiz. I was recently asked how to do this so I shot the following video to demonstrate how to print a Google Form.

Learn a New Language With the Help of Friends on HelloTalk

Disclosure: HelloTalk is running an ad campaign this month.

HelloTalk is a service designed to help students learn a new language. The service operates through free Android and iOS apps. On the HelloTalk apps you can find flashcards, text to speech tools to help you understand how words should be pronounced, speech to text tools to practice your pronunciations, and translation tools are included in the app. HelloTalk currently supports seventeen languages.

A few months ago Nik Peachey, whose work I have long respected, featured HelloTalk in a webinar. The webinar recording has expired but the slides are still available here.

HelloTalk provides a social network component that allows users to connect with native speakers of the languages that they are trying to learn. The connection with native speakers is intended to help learners develop an understanding of a new language in a conversational setting. I was concerned about students under 18 being contacted by adults through the HelloTalk network so I asked the developer about measures taken to prevent this. Here's what he said,
  • "anyone above 18 can't search anyone below 18 (you can verify this by looking at HelloTalk account Settings/Who Can Find Me or Custom Search. Users under 18 can only search for users up to age 22. We deliberately set these rule to protect teenagers."