Sunday, September 6, 2015

An Easy Way to Create Video Blog Entries

One of the things that I always mention in my workshops on classroom blogging is the idea that blog posts don't have to be limited to text. In fact, they don't need to have text at all if you are having students make video blog entries. Posting video blog entries can be a great way to have students share reflections on things they have learned and experience in your classroom during a week.

Blogger makes it easy to create video blog entries. The following screenshots outline the process for posting video blog entries on Blogger. (The directions assume that you already have created a blog on Blogger).

1. Select the video icon in the post editor.
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2. Choose "from your webcam" then grant Blogger access to your webcam. Finally, click record.
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3. Use the recording button to stop and start the video recording.
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4. Click select to insert your video into your post.
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5. Publish your post just like any other Blogger post.
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A Round-up of Recent Google Classroom & Drive Updates

Last week Google released a bunch of updates that could affect Google Apps for Education users. I covered all of them either here or on one of my other blogs. Here's a round-up of all of the updates.

1. Share to Classroom is a new Chrome extension that will let you push webpages to your student's screens. They will not need to click any links, the pages will just appear on their screens. Read more about it here.

2. Explore is a new feature of Google Sheets. Explore provides suggested graphs and charts based on the data in your spreadsheets. Click here to learn more.

3. The research function in Google Docs is now available in the Google Docs Android app. Learn more here.

4. There is a new way to access the Google Drive templates gallery. Watch a video here to see the new option.

5. Voice typing is now a native feature of Google Documents. It works quite well. See it in action in a video here.

6. The Google Drive iOS app will soon allow you to select multiple files for offline access. More information is available here.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Week in Review - Back to School Fun

A great sign in a school cafeteria.
Good morning from the world headquarters in Woodstock, Maine where the weather is perfect for a long weekend. This week I had the privilege of speaking at the first day of school for staff in Tamworth, New Hampshire. The opportunity to meet and work with teachers all over the world is the best thing that comes from writing this blog. Thank you to those teachers who joined me in Tamworth this week to learn about Google Apps and making videos. If you would like to have me visit your school, click here for more information.

One of my favorite things about visiting schools is taking pictures of fun things that I find on the walls. This week I found the sign you see to the left. I thought it was a nice cafeteria reminder for kids.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Six Tools for Creating Online Timelines - A Comparison Chart
2. Share to Classroom - Get Your Students on the Same Webpage With Ease
3. Formative - Quickly Gather Responses Sketched by Students
4. About Downloading YouTube Videos...
5. 5 Good Google Tools for Social Studies Teachers - And How to Use Them
6. My Two Ground Rules for Collaboratively Taking Notes
7. Eight Alternatives to Google Image Search

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.
MasteryConnect offers a series of apps for identifying standards. 
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.
Lesley University offers online education programs for teachers.
HelpTeaching offers online tests and printable resources for teachers.  
King University offers online M.Ed programs.

Have You Tried Voice Typing In Google Docs? - It's Easy to Use

A bunch of new features were added to Google Apps this week. The latest one that I have tried is voice typing in Google Docs. In the past there were some Chrome extensions that could enable you to do that, but now voice typing is a native feature of Google Docs. To use voice typing in Google Docs simply open the "tools" drop-down menu and select "voice typing." When you make that selection a microphone icon will appear in the margin of your document. Once the icon appears, click it, allow Google to access your microphone, and start talking. Your spoken words will almost instantly appear on in the document.

I tested voice typing in Google Docs and was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy. I was also pleased with how it responded to my prompts to insert punctuation. A complete set of voice typing functions is available here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Find and Create Graphing Problems in the Desmos Teacher Resources

Desmos is a free graphing calculator that is available to use in your web browser and as an Android and iPad app. The Desmos calculator performs all of the functions you would expect to see in a graphing calculator with a couple of extras that you don't find in typical graphing calculators. Desmos allows you to share your equations and graphs. Desmos graphs your equations as you type them and redraws them as you alter your equations.

Applications for Education
Desmos offers a good collection of resources for teachers. The teacher resources page features a dozen pre-made activities that you can distribute to students. The activities take advantage of the functions in Desmos while helping your students learn about graphing, problem modeling, algebra, and geometry. Once you've reviewed some of the pre-made activities in Desmos you can use the Desmos activity builder to create your own lessons and distribute them to your students.