Wednesday, September 23, 2015

SpeakPipe Now Uses HTML5 - Collect Voicemail Messages on Your Blog

SpeakPipe is a neat tool that I've added to classroom blogs for a few years now. SpeakPipe allows me to collect voicemail messages through my blog. Until this week SpeakPipe was Flash-based which meant that folks visiting the blog through a mobile device couldn't leave a message. This week SpeakPipe switched to HTML5 which will allow more people to use the SpeakPipe widget to leave voicemail messages through blogs.

With SpeakPipe installed on your blog anyone can click on the "send voicemail" button and leave a message for you. When a visitor clicks the "leave voicemail" button she will be prompted to allow access to her computer. Then the visitor can start recording a message for you. Visitors can, but don't have to, enter their names and email addresses for you. You can listen to and download the messages left for you in your SpeakPipe inbox.

Applications for Education
When installed on a school website SpeakPipe provides a good way for parents to leave voicemail messages. SpeakPipe messages can be downloaded to your computer so if you need a simple way for students to record their voices for use in a multimedia project, SpeakPipe might be handy to have on your classroom blog.

Help Next Vista Pick Winning Videos and Inspire Your Students at the Same Time

As I've stated here many times, Next Vista for Learning is my favorite place for students and teachers to share the educational videos that they create. Throughout the year Next Vista hosts a number of video creation contests for students and teachers. The latest contest just wrapped-up and now Next Vista is looking for a little help in picking the winners.

The latest Next Vista contest has nine finalists spread across three categories; student submissions, teacher submissions, and teacher-student collaborative submissions. If you have some time to watch the finalists in one or all three categories, please do so. Consider watching the videos with your students and asking them to vote for their favorite videos. Judging the finalists could be a great way to inspire your students to create their own videos. Similarly, watching the finalist videos might give you some ideas for a video project of your own. Click here for the judging form and list of finalist videos.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Writer's Workshop - A Selection of TED-Ed Lessons

TED-Ed is one of my favorite YouTube channels. I'm subscribed to it and I receive an alert on my phone whenever a new video is added to the channel (click here to learn how to do the same). Within the TED-Ed YouTube channel you will find a number of curated playlists. One of the playlists that I recently noticed is called The Writer's Workshop. The playlist is embedded below.

Applications for Education
TED-Ed's The Writer's Workshop is a good place for students to find some quick lessons on punctuation and grammar. Students who are ready to take their writing to a new level could benefit from the TED-Ed videos on irony, introductions, and building fictional worlds.

SeeSaw Offers Three Ways for Students to Sign In and Create Digital Portfolios

Disclosure: SeeSaw is an advertiser on

SeeSaw is one of the most popular new ed tech tools of 2015. I've been using it and showing it in my presentations since February and everywhere I've gone, it has been a hit. SeeSaw is a free tool for teachers and students to use to create digital portfolios. SeeSaw can be used on iPads, Android tablets, Chromebooks, and laptops. Through the service students and teachers can build digital portfolios that feature students' digital work as well as images of physical work.

Initially, SeeSaw only offered one way for students to join and that was through scanning an individual QR code or entering an individual student code. There are now two other ways for students to join SeeSaw. There is a class code option that is designed for younger students that are sharing devices. These students can scan a QR code or enter a class code then choose their names from a list (you have to enter their names in advance). Students who have email addresses and or Google Accounts can use those credentials to join SeeSaw and create a digital portfolio. Click here for complete details on all of SeeSaw's sign-in options.

Share Your Haiku Deck Presentations to Google Classroom

Haiku Deck is an excellent alternative to using Power Point or Google Slides to create presentations. Haiku Deck's themes, templates, and integrated Creative Commons image search tool have made it a popular tool in schools. Haiku Deck recently added a "share to Google Classroom" option that should make it easier for you and your students to share presentations with each other. Watch the video below to see how it works.

And if you're curious about how Haiku Deck works, check out the tutorial here.