Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cometdocs - PDF to Word and Many Other Conversions

Cometdocs is a service for quickly converting documents and sharing them with others. Cometdocs will convert your documents to and from Word, PDF, and Excel. When you use Cometdocs to convert a document you can share directly with others via email. After converting your documents Cometdocs also gives you a public URL that you can post for others to use to download your document.

To use Cometdocs just upload a document, select the action that you want performed and enter your email address to share the document. Cometdocs has free and paid plans. The free plan limits you to five conversions per week.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a quick way to share PDFs or Word documents with students, Cometdocs is worth giving a try. You can do some of the same things with Google Drive, but if you're not a Google Drive user then Cometdocs might be for you.

Changing School Districts and Want Offline Copies of Your Google Data? - Use Takeout

This weekend I received an email from a teacher who is changing school districts over the summer. He was looking for an easy way to create offline copies of the files and information (contacts) that he has stored in his Google Drive and Gmail accounts so that the information could then be used again in a different account. My suggestion was to try the Google Takeout tool.

At the Google Takeout site you can create an offline archive of the information in your Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Photos, Books, and many other Google Services. To do so just visit Google Takeout and select the service(s) you want to archive. A list of the file formats that Google will export to is available here.

Free Online Music Theory Lessons offers free online music theory lessons covering everything from basic note recognition to difficult chord inversions. Each activity on the site provides instant feedback. The exercises can be customized to test users on the notes and concepts they need to practice the most. Scroll to the bottom of the exercises page to find the customization options. also offers calculators and tools handy for composing music. And if you just need some staff paper, offers sheet music that you can print.

Applications for Education's lessons and practice activities offer a range of difficulty wide enough for the site to be used by brand new music students and older music students alike.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Opinion Polls - How They Work and Why We Have Them

Turn on any cable news network in the United States right now and your're bound to hear about declared and possible candidates for the 2016 Presidential election. Over the next 18 months we're sure to hear about lots of opinion polls related to the election. When and where did modern political opinion polls start? How are they conducted? How are the results used? Those questions and more are answer in The Open University's Opinion Polls in a Nutshell. The videos are embedded below.

If you are using these videos in a civics class outside of the U.K. there are a couple of parts in the third video that you may need to explain and or modify for your students.

These videos could be turned into short flipped lessons in which you add questions for students to answer. The six tools in this list can help you do that.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where I spent the day walking my dogs and riding my bike. I hope that you had equally relaxing start to your weekend.

This week I had the privilege to give the virtual keynote for the University of South Carolina Upstate's QEP Symposium. I gave my presentation early in the day from a hotel room in Scottsdale, Arizona. Usually, when I give a virtual presentation from home I use a webcam mounted at eye level. In this case I didn't have that option so I improvised by using a three ring binder to angle my laptop's webcam to eye level. If you ever find yourself in the position of giving a virtual presentation remember to angle your webcam so that people aren't stuck with a view up your nose.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Create Rubrics and Email Grades from a Google Spreadsheet
2. By Request - Five Options for Creating Videos on Chromebooks
3. Ten Sites and Apps to Inspire Creative Writing
4. Mystery Science - Great Science Lessons for Elementary School Students
5. Story Prompts - 20 Random(ish) Pictures at a Time
6. How to Privately Share Videos Through YouTube
7. Think Kit - A New Way to Create Diagrams on Your iPad

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.
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.