Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Week in Review - The Winds Are Changing

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where the wind is howling as the temperature is dropping. At this time of year around here we see a lot of rapid shifts in the weather. The shifts make it hard to plan outdoor activities (I should have ridden my bike before the wind picked up) and it creates some really cool colors in the sky like that in the picture to the left. From my office window on Thursday I shot a neat video of a thunderstorm rolling in. You can see that video here on my Instagram feed.

Speaking of summer. I'm offering a few online PD opportunities this summer. Teaching History With Technology begins in July, Getting Going With GAFE is offered in June and July, and Blogs & Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is offered in July. 

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Making the Most of Google Keep
2. Ten Great Tools for Telling Stories With Pictures - A PDF Handout
3. Create Animated Videos and Presentations at the Same Time on Wideo
4. Dozens of Story Starters in One Free eBook
5. A Crash Course for Kids on Weathering & Erosion
6. Try Scratch Jr. for Programming Fun on iPads and Android Tablets
7. How to Create, Edit, and Share Notes on Google Keep

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.

Friday, May 29, 2015

How to Create, Edit, and Share Notes on Google Keep

After yesterday's post about making the most of Google Keep I received a few emails from readers wanting to know a bit more about how Google Keep works. To answer those questions I recorded the short video that you see embedded below (click here if you cannot see the video).

Ten Great Tools for Telling Stories With Pictures - A PDF Handout

Composing a story from scratch comes naturally to some people. For the rest of us creating a story from scratch can be a struggle. Over the years I’ve found that using pictures helps a lot of students get started on crafting stories. In some cases I’ve had students create collages to represent elements of a story. In other cases I’ve had them choose five pictures and write two hundred words about each. Being asked to write two hundred words about five pictures feels a lot less daunting than being asked to write one thousand words in one shot.

The PDF embedded below (click here if you can't see the embedded document) outlines how to use ten of my favorite free tools to create image-based stories.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chemistry and Counterfeiting - A TED-Ed Lesson

How to Spot a Counterfeit Bill is a fun TED-Ed lesson about money. In the lesson students learn about the chemistry of counterfeit detection. In other words, they learn why and how those highlighter pens work on when a store clerk runs one over a twenty dollar bill.

The lesson on counterfeiting could pair nicely with another TED-Ed lesson about the value of money. What Gives a Dollar Bill Its Value? is a nice TED-Ed lesson on the influence of the United States Federal Reserve banks on the value of currency. The lesson includes a short piece about the correlation between inflation and the overall health of the U.S. economy.

Create Animated Videos and Presentations at the Same Time on Wideo

Wideo is a neat service for creating animated, Common Craft style videos in your web browser. I've been using and talking about the service for a couple of years now. Recently, Wideo added a new feature that allows you to generate presentations from your videos.

When you create a video in Wideo you do so by dragging and dropping clipart and text in storyboard frames. You set the position and animation sequence for each element in each storyboard frame. When you have completed your storyboards Wideo generates a video for you. The new presentation mode in Wideo will allow you to present each frame of your video independently just like in a slideshow. Watch the video below to learn more.

Applications for Education
The presentation mode in Wideo could be useful for having students talk about the process of constructing the stories they tell through videos. Wideo can be a great tool for students to use to bring their creative short stories to life. Wideo could also be used by students to create animated explanations of historical events, to animate biographies, or to teach other short lessons.

The free version of Wideo limits video length to 45 seconds. 45 seconds is long enough for a lot of video projects.