Wednesday, September 23, 2015

151 Practical Ed Tech Tips

Earlier this year 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 151 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, Photos for Class, and many other popular web services for teachers and students. The entire playlist is embedded below.

Happier Icons Coming Soon to ClassDojo

Over the last couple of months ClassDojo has added some great new features like Class Story and Groups. Later this week they'll be releasing another update.

Beginning on Friday you will be able to use a new set of icons for giving feedback to students. As I reviewed the new icon set I saw only one icon that appeared to have a negative mood (a thumbs-down icon). Click here to see the new set of icons and the logic behind the update.

Coggle - Mind Mapping With Instant Messaging

Coggle is a free mind mapping tool that I started using a couple of years ago. Coggle is a collaborative mind-mapping service. This week Coggle received some enhancements to bolster the collaborative aspects of the service.

This week Coggle added more space for longer notes, messages, and comments. The messages feature works much like the chat feature found in Google Documents. Through the messages feature students and teachers can communicate on the same page on which they're developing their mindmaps.

Learn more about Coggle in the video embedded below.

Applications for Education
Creating mind maps is one of my favorite ways to organize ideas and information. I've often had my students create mind maps as an exercise in making visual connections between important concepts, events, and people in a unit of study. Coggle's new messaging and commenting features should help students work together to create better mind maps of concepts they are studying.

To create a Coggle mind map just sign-in with your Google account and click the "+" icon to start your mind map. After entering the main idea of your mind map you can add branches by clicking the "+" icons that appear next to everything you type. To re-arrange elements just click on them and drag them around your screen. You can invite others to view and edit your mind maps. You can also just invite others to view by sending them an email through Coggle. All Coggle mind maps can be downloaded as PDFs or PNG image files. You can also save and organize Coggle mind map files in your Google Drive account.

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.

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