Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Quick Tip for Better Webcam/ Skype Call Recordings

In my video workshop and in my blogging workshop I often talk about using simple webcam videos to post messages for students and or have students post video blog entries. One tip that I always share is to elevate your laptop to get your laptop's webcam to your eye level or slightly higher. When your laptop is elevated to your eye level it is easier to look into the camera instead of looking down at the screen. The added benefit of elevating your laptop is that people won't be looking up your nose when they watch your video.

The next time you're going to record a webcam video, record a Skype call, or record a Google+ Hangout, elevate your laptop's webcam to eye level and your videos will look better than ever.

70 Google Apps Video Tutorials

Over the last year I've expanded my efforts to create useful tutorial videos for teachers. One of the playlists I've focused on of late is my set of Google Apps tutorial videos. 70 videos are now in that playlist. In the playlist you will find tutorials on Google Sites, Blogger, YouTube tricks, Google Calendar settings, Google My Maps, Google Docs, Slides, Spreadsheets, and many other Google products. The playlist can be viewed here or you can view it as embedded below.

An Easy Way to Digitally Sign Documents

This evening I received an email from a friend who was looking for advice on how to sign and email a document without printing it because she didn't have a working printer at home. My suggestion was to use HelloSign. HelloSign makes it easy to sign PDFs and Word documents without having to print them. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use HelloSign in your web browser. HelloSign is also available as an Android and iOS app.

Applications for Education
In the course of the school year there are plenty of documents that we all have to sign for one reason or another. You could print those documents, sign them, then scan them. Or you could use HelloSign to sign them within your web browser and never have to print or scan them at all.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Week in Review - It's About Being Connected

Good evening from an airplane somewhere over Massachusetts. I'm currently flying home from an awesome conference in Delaware. On Friday afternoon I spent some time with teachers in the Colonial School district and I was impressed by how connected and collaborative they are. Then I spent today with nearly 300 other teachers at the Colonial Tech Conference who were just as connected through Twitter, Voxer, and other networks. As this is Connected Educator Month, it was great to see so many connected teachers in one place.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Write Music in Google Documents
2. Create a Thematic Picture Story On Thematic
3. Depression Quest - An Interactive Lesson About Depression
4. Three Examples of Using Instagram in K-12 Settings
5. How to Create Trading Cards for Historical and Fictional People, Places, and Events
6. How to Use Padlet - My Most Popular Tutorial Video
7. Turn-o-Phrase - A Fun Way to Learn Colloquial Phrases

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.
PortfolioGen is a professional portfolio tool for teachers.  
Southeastern University offers online M.Ed programs.

Tools & Strategies for Discovery, Discussion, and Demonstration

The third presentation that I gave today at the Colonial Tech Conference was titled Discovery, Discussion, and Demonstration. For this short presentation I did not use slides. Instead, I demonstrated a handful of my favorite educational technology tools and strategies for using them. Here's what I shared:

We looked at using interesting images as the basis of search challenges that we give to students. The idea here being to get students to consider information visible to them before starting to search. We then looked at tools that students (and some teachers) overlook when conducting searches. Those tools were Google Scholar, Google Books, and searching by file type and domain.

In this section we tried out Dotstorming, Padlet, and Formative.

On Dotstorming you can create a space for people to post digital sticky notes. Those notes can contain text and or images. That part of Dotstorming is just like Padlet. What makes Dotstorming different is that once the notes are posted, you can have people vote for their favorite notes. As the creator of a Dotstorming space you can restrict the number of votes that each person can cast. For example, you could say that each person gets two votes and once those votes are cast they're prevented from casting any more votes. After the voting is completed, you can sort the notes according to the number of votes they received.

Formative is a tool for gathering feedback from students in real-time. One of the best features of Formative is the option to have students sketch responses to questions. They can sketch on their tablets, Chromebooks, or laptops and submit those sketches to you in realtime. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how the draw responses function works in Formative.

Padlet is a tool that I've been recommending for years. You can use it as a micro-blogging platform, as an exit ticket tool, as a brainstorming space, or as a KWL chart. Learn all about Padlet in the videos below.

In this section we looked at the idea of using video blog entries. We also looked at the digital portfolio tool, SeeSaw.

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