Sunday, August 16, 2015

Next Vista Names Their Educational Videos of the Year

Last month Next Vista for Learning asked viewers to vote for the best videos of the 2014-2015 school year. Videos were arranged in three categories; student creations, teacher creations, and collaborative creations (teachers and students producing together). This weekend Next Vista sent out the results of that voting and announced the Videos of the Year. The winners are Literally in the student category, The Digestive System won in the teacher category, and in the collaboration category Team Text Features was the winner. Each of the winning videos is embedded below.

135 Practical Ed Tech Tips

Late last winter I started to organize the screencast videos that I've made over the years. I called the list Practical Ed Tech Tips. Since I started that list I've made an effort to add one or two new screencasts to it every week. The playlist now contains 135 videos.

In the playlist you will find videos about tools for flipping your classroom, videos on managing workflow, social media tips, search strategies, and media production. The playlist also contains videos about tools like Remind, Duolingo, ClassDojo, Classtools, and many other popular web services for teachers and students. The entire playlist is embedded below.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from the world headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. As is typical for this time of year, the humidity is making me long for a desert climate where "at least it's a dry heat." The heat and humidity created the perfect reason to make my dogs for swim today (well Max swims, Morrison just wades in and drinks the pond water). Wherever you are and whatever the weather, I hope that you had a fun Saturday too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create a Jeopardy-style Game in Google Spreadsheets
2. 5 Good Google Tools for Social Studies Teachers - And How to Use Them
3. How to Create a Progress Chart in Google Sheets
4. Jeopardy Rocks - Create a Review Game Online
5. Padlet Now Offers an iPad App - 5 Ways You Can Use It With Students
6. A Quick Way to Access a Countdown Timer on Your Computer
7. Formative - A Possible Replacement for Infuse Learning

Get your classroom blog off the ground and running well in my online course Classroom Blog Jumpstart. The class will be a three night event (August 17, 18, 19) in which I'll cover everything you need to know to create an awesome classroom blog. Learn more about it here.

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

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.
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, August 14, 2015

A Quick Way to Access a Countdown Timer on Your Computer

This morning on my Facebook page someone asked for a recommendation for a countdown timer. The first thing that came to my mind was to suggest using the timer function built into You can simply type into Google search "set timer" followed by an amount of time and a countdown timer is displayed. An alarm beeps when time is up. You can make the timer appear full screen without advertisements by clicking a little box icon to the right of the timer. You can see this feature in action in the video below.

If you're looking for a timer that has a few more features, take a look at Russel Tarr's Classtools Countdown Timer which has two slick features. You can create and set multiple timers on the same page. This means that if you had students sharing in rapid succession you wouldn't have to reset the timer for each student, you simply move onto using the next timer on the page. The second feature of note in the Classtools Countdown Timer is the option to add music to your timers. You can have your countdown timers set to music. Mission Impossible, The Apprentice, and Countdown are the standard music options. You can add other music by using the YouTube search tool built into the timer.

Back to School With BoomWriter Activity Packs

Disclosure: BoomWriter is an advertiser on this blog. 

Every month BoomWriter publishes a new writing lesson plan related to the season or current events. BoomWriter calls these lesson plans activity packs. Each activity pack includes directions for using BoomWriter and a set of vocabulary words for students to use in a writing activity. This month's BoomWriter activity pack contains back-to-school vocabulary words.

If this month's BoomWriter activity pack doesn't offer quite what you're looking for, the gallery of previous activity packs is always available to you.

The idea behind using BoomWriter for this lesson is to have students practice using vocabulary terms in context. Through BoomWriter you can assign word lists to students then monitor their progress as they work toward using each word correctly. You can provide feedback to students through your teacher dashboard on BoomWriter.

If you haven't tried BoomWriter or WordWriter before, check out my demonstration videos embedded below. The first video shows just the perspective of the teacher. The second video shows the perspective of a student receiving an assignment.