Thursday, October 15, 2015

Create a Thematic Picture Story On Thematic

Thematic is a simple service designed for creating and sharing picture stories. Thematic allows you to display up to twenty pictures organized around a theme of your choosing. You can add a line or two of text to each image in your story. Your completed story is displayed in a vertically scrolling format with each of your images occupying all of the available space in your browser. Completed stories can be shared publicly or kept private. Each public story can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, email, or embedding into a webpage. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to create a story on Thematic.

Applications for Education
Thematic could be a good service to use to tell a story about the highlights of a field trip, a research assignment, or a school event. It could also be useful for creating assignments in which students put together a visual timeline of events. Ask students to find pictures related to an event or theme, organize the pictures chronologically, then label them as needed. Students could also use Thematic to create a short biography as I did in the story embedded below.

Mysteries of Vernacular - An Interesting TED-Ed Series

Mysteries of Vernacular is a series of 26 TED-Ed video lessons. Each lesson is focused on one word that often used by English speakers. A history of the word's origins and evolution of its use is featured in each video lesson. The entire playlist is embedded below beginning with the word "yankee."

Applications for Education
Mysteries of Vernacular could be an instructive model for your own lessons combining history and language arts. Have your students pick a word or two that they think is common and research it. Then have them create their own short videos in which they explain the history of those words. You might even have them research the dialect of the areas in which they live.

LOC Student Discovery Sets Put Primary Sources on Students' iPads

The Library of Congress offers some great resources for teachers and students, if you can find them. Fortunately, the LOC seems to be making an effort to make it easier for students and teachers to find useful resources. One such effort is the Student Discovery Sets of primary sources that are available in free iBooks.

There are twelve Student Discovery Sets available as iBooks. Each set is arranged thematically. The sets contain a mix of images, documents, audio recordings, and video clips. Each artifact in each set is accompanied by guiding questions designed to help students analyze what they are seeing, reading, or hearing. Images and texts in the Student Discovery Sets can be annotated with drawing tools built into each iBook.

Applications for Education
The best aspect of the LOC's Student Discovery Sets is the guiding questions that are found within each set. You can use these questions even if you don't have enough iPads or Macs for every student. I would project artifacts from the sets and display the questions as prompts for group discussions in my classroom.

How to Crop & Edit Images in Google Slides

At one point or another your students have probably found themselves creating a slideshow presentation and struggling to find the perfect image for a slide. It happens to me, a lot. Fortunately, if you have an image that is close to what you need, Google Slides makes it easy to crop and edit that image within your slide. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to crop and edit images within a Google Slide.

The video above is the 70th addition to my playlist of Google Apps tutorial videos.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

PBS Students - An iPad App for Finding Educational Content

PBS Students is a new iPad app designed to showcase some of the best educational content for students. Through the app students and teachers can search for educational videos, articles, and diagrams. Some of the the video content can be downloaded directly to an iPad.

PBS Students has incorporated the Learning Media Storyboards tool that was released as a browser-based tool last January. PBS Learning Media's Storyboard tool allows you to create a collection of videos, text, and images organized around almost any topic of your choosing. The collection appears in a collage-like format. Storyboards can be shared via email.

Applications for Education
I was initially excited about the PBS Students iPad app, but my enthusiasm was tempered a bit as I dug into the app.As I browsed through the content I found some items that were not available even though they were indexed in the app. The storyboards function is nice for students who are over the age of 13 as they can save their collections in the app and online. Unfortunately, students who are under the age of 13 cannot save their storyboards.