Thursday, August 20, 2015

Free Webinar - Using Storyboards & Graphic Organizers in the Classroom

Next Wednesday night (August 26th) at 7:30pm EDT I will be presenting a free webinar on using storyboards in the classroom. During the webinar I will share ideas and examples for using storyboards in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. Some of the planned for the webinar include, using storyboards for storytelling, using storyboards for illustrating concepts, and using storyboards as flowcharts. I will also share lesson plans incorporating storyboards into language arts, social studies, and digital citizenship.

Click here to register now!
The live session is full. You can register for the recording here.

The webinar is sponsored by Storyboard That. Aaron Sherman, the founder of Storyboard That, will be on the webinar with me to answer technical questions and share his insight from the feedback he's received from thousands of educators over the last couple of years.

This webinar has filled up every time that I've hosted it in the past. Space is limited so register early.

Yes, the webinar will be recorded.
  Register here to have the recording emailed to you even if you cannot attend the live session. 

Copyright and Creative Commons Explained

Last night during my class about classroom blogs we had a short discussion about copyright, Creative Commons, and public domain media. As I always do, I made the recommendation that students should always try to use their own media before looking for public domain and or Creative Commons licensed media. Before starting any blogging activity or other multimedia presentation assignment, I think it is good to review with students the basics of copyright and Creative Commons. The following two videos from Common Craft provide excellent overviews of these topics.

For a more in-depth look at copyright for educators, watch Dr. Wesley Fryer's Slideshare on the topic. Six years after he released it, it's still one of the best resources on the topic.

Common Craft videos can be viewed for free online but to download them or embed them you do have to be a subscriber to their service. Disclosure: I have an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft.

Updated Comparison of Blogging Platforms for Teachers

Last winter I published a series of charts in which I compared popular ed tech tools for things like blogging, informal assessment, and video production. As is to be expected in the tech world, some of the tools in those charts have changed. Therefore, I'm now going through each chart and updating it. The first one I've updated is this chart comparing five popular platforms for creating classroom blogs. The chart is embedded below as a PDF. You can also get the Google Docs copy here.

The Practical Ed Tech Handbook - Download It Today

If you have been wondering why I've only published one blog post in the last 36 hours, your answer has arrived. For the last couple of days I've been assembling a collection of my favorite ed tech resources and organizing them into a PDF that I'm calling The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. This isn't just a list of my favorite resources. I've included ideas for using these resources and in many cases I've included links to video tutorials about my favorite resources.

In The Practical Ed Tech Handbook you will find resources arranged in seven categories; communication with students & parents, web search strategies, digital citizenship, video creation, audio production, backchannels & informal assessment, and digital portfolios.

The Practical Ed Tech Handbook is embedded below. You can also grab a copy of it here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Handle Your Email More Efficiently With These Tools

Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with my email inbox. As soon as it gets close to empty, it fills up again. I'm sure you can relate.

While I'm still not the best at handling my email efficiently, I do have a few tools that have helped me become a little more efficient. 

Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome is a convenient Chrome extension that I've recently started using. The extension enables me to create keyboard shortcuts for words and phrases that I frequently use in emails. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of how this helpful Chrome extension works.

Add Reminders is a Google Sheets add-on that enables you to send emails from a spreadsheet. The add-on will format your spreadsheet so that you simply enter reminder messages and email addresses then specify a date on which you want your reminders sent. The Add Reminders Add-on allows you to send the same reminder to everyone in your email list or you can send individualized reminders to everyone in your email list. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use the Add Reminders Google Sheets Add-on.

The Add Reminders add-on for Google Sheets is great if you just need to send reminder emails. However, ff you want to create custom, personalized emails then you're going to need a slightly different spreadsheet script. Doing this requires adding a script to a Google Spreadsheet containing email addresses. It might sound complicated, but it really isn't. Watch the short video below from the Google Developers team to learn the process.