Monday, May 11, 2015

Use Google Scholar to Support Student Research

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

If you have asked your students to engage in research, then undoubtedly they have returned with a fresh list of results from a Google search. It can be a challenge in this era of search engine algorithms to teach students to engage with more traditional research methods and tools. Google Scholar is a great way to introduce them to this work while simultaneously working in a mode that is more familiar to them.

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar is a Google search engine that allows you to look specifically for academic articles, theses, books, technical reports, abstracts, patent information, and case law. Just like Google’s search engine, you can use basic and advanced search options and find articles that are related to one another. It is important to note that Google Scholar does not contain everything. Much of the material you find may require a subscription to that specific journal article or to use a service like JSTOR. Therefore, this is a good tool to use in conjunction with other search methods and a great way to incorporate librarians into lesson plans and activities.

Just like a traditional Google Search, you can simply enter a keyword or phrase and find all relatable content. You can also do an “advanced search” to limit results to keyword, title, date, source, etc. One of the features I really like about Google Scholar is that if you find a good article or source, you can also select “related articles” to advance your research. You can also save the article to your own Google Scholar Library for later reference.

Google Scholar Search Results

If there is a topic that is of special interest to you (a research project you are working on, a pet project, or just a subject of interest), you can also create an alert to email you when something is published on that set topic. Simply click on the down arrow in the top right of the page, select “create alert,” enter your search query, the number of results that you want, and press “create alert.” Now, your research can even come directly to your inbox.

Google Scholar Alerts

Google Scholar is an excellent tool to expand your Google Searches and teach students about academic research and sources. While it doesn’t replace traditional databases or the skills of a good librarian, it is a great supplement to traditional tools. Also, if you like to research while you browse, look at adding the Google Scholar Chrome Extension.

EdTechTeacher will be offering a number of Summer Workshops that will be addressing Google Scholar as well as other research tools. In particular, you may be interested in Teaching English with Technology, Teaching History with Technology, as well as Reading, Writing, & Research.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

By Request - Five Options for Creating Videos on Chromebooks

On Friday I posted Seven Steps for Creating Videos in Your Classroom. Since then I've had a handful of people ask for suggestions for tools for creating videos on Chromebooks. These are the tools that I frequently recommend. All of these tools work well in your web browser so they're not limited to just Chromebook use.

Wideo is a neat video creation service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online through a simple drag-and-drop process. A couple of months ago Wideo started offering templates to help users start their video projects. Wideo templates provide a basic framework for a video's theme. A couple of the templates that might be of interest to teachers are the slideshow template and the curriculum template.

WeVideo is an online video creation tool that I have written about extensively over the last few years. WeVideo offers templates that new users can follow to create their first videos. Advanced WeVideo users can skip the templates, use the full editor, and apply themes to their videos by choosing them from the themes menu in the editor. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. WeVideo's Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. WeVideo also offers an Android app and an iPhone app that students can use to capture images and video footage to add to their projects.

Magisto is a video creation tool that allows you to quickly drag videos and images from your desktop and or Google Drive account to your Magisto account. From the videos you upload, Magisto will select the best portions to remix and blend with images. After you've uploaded the media that you want mixed, select a theme and music for your video. Magisto creates your video after you've completed the steps of uploading media, selecting a theme, and choosing music. The final video is emailed to you. In addition to the web-based service Magisto offers a Chrome app, an Android app, and an iPad app

PowToon is a great tool for creating animated videos online. PowToon provides a drag-and-drop editor for creating animated videos. The videos that you create feature digital paper cut-outs on a colorful background. Think of PowToon as an online tool for creating videos in the style made popular by Common Craft. PowToon provides drawings of people and objects that you can arrange on blank canvas. After adding your narration to the arrangement you can publish your video.



Within YouTube there is a free tool for creating audio slideshows. You supply the images and YouTube supplies the audio track. You can pick from thousands of audio tracks to match to your slides. After adding your slides and selecting an audio track you can add speech bubbles to your slides. I demonstrate all of these steps in the video embedded below.

Talking History - Audio Documentaries and History Lessons

Talking History is an oral history website produced by SUNY Albany for the purpose of sharing history lessons and audio artifacts. Every week Talking History publishes two audio segments about various historical topics. One of the segments features historians talking about an event or theme in history. The other segment features an audio artifact about an event or theme.

Applications for Education
As a history teacher I know that there are a lot of places on the web to find text-based artifacts and visual artifacts, but it can be a challenge to find good audio artifacts. Talking History could be a great resource for history teachers looking to bring audio artifacts into their classrooms.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Elementary School Math Games for Touchscreen Computers and Interactive Whiteboards

On the Woodlands Junior School's games website you will links to hundreds of games appropriate for use by elementary school students. The games are divided into three categories; maths, literacy, and science. Each category is further divided by topics specific to each subject. In the video below you will see me demonstrating two mathematics games appropriate for K-2 students. Those games are Give the Dog a Bone and Shark Numbers.


In addition to the mathematics games Woodlands Resources includes sections for science and literacy games. The first couple of science games links that I clicked led to pages that had been moved so I'm not sure how often the science section is updated. The literacy section features games that use British English so teachers of American students may not find them all that useful.

Applications for Education
Elementary school teachers that are looking for some good mathematics games to add to their lists of resources would do well to check out the links on the Woodlands Resources site. While none of the games are ground-breaking in what they offer, they are fine as fun practice activities for kids.

The Week In Review - Riding the Wave

The beach in Gimli, Manitoba
Good morning from Maine where I am home after spending a few days in Gimli, Manitoba at the Riding the Wave of Change conference. A big thank you to the conference organizers for inviting me and to everyone that came to my presentations. It was a pleasure to connect with people I have known online for years and to meet new people. It's making connections that make conferences fun.

Traveling to Manitoba took a bit more out of me than I anticipated so the posting here was a little slower this week. I'll be back on regular posting schedule next week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 20 Good Map Creation Tools for Students
2. What2Learn - Create Your Own Review Games
3. Thousands of Elementary School Math Practice Activities Aligned to Common Core Standards
4. How to Eliminate Choices as They're Used on Google Forms
5. 12 Good Tools for Creating End-of-Year Review Activities
6. A Short Summary of Best Practices for Using Images in Blog Posts
7. Three Helpful Updates to the Google Classroom iPad & Android Apps

PD Opportunities With Me
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.
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.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
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.