Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Padlet Adds Helpful New Features

Padlet is one of my all-time favorite tech tools. Over the years I've used it for everything from to-do lists, to mind mapping, to KWL charts, to collaborative bookmarking. Here's an outline of the ways I've used Padlet.  Recently, Padlet added some new features of note.

The Padlet iPad app will now work in landscape and portrait mode as well as any other way you can hold your iPad. Of course, all of the other handy features like scanning a QR code to join a Padlet wall are still in place.

Content filtering has been improved in Padlet. As a Padlet wall owner and or moderator you've always been able to remove inappropriate content. Without owner or moderator rights, you couldn't do anything to indicate that inappropriate content was posted. To remedy that situation Padlet has added a "flagging" option. Now anyone can flag inappropriate content for review.

To learn more about Padlet, check out my playlist of tutorials embedded below.

Use Storyboard to Highlight the Wonderful Things Happening in Your Classroom

This is a guest post from Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

One of the greatest tools that educators have to act as advocates, models, and sources of inspiration for others is social media. Social media has allowed administrators, teachers, and students to take back the narrative of education and tell the story of what learning looks like in their community. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest, there’s no shortage of tools that allow you to share your story. Oftentimes however, we find ourselves so wrapped up in the moment, not sure of the perfect caption, or perhaps unable to post because of network restrictions, that while we take lots of pictures and videos, we are not always immediately able to post them. We tell ourselves we will post them later, only to have a few days go by, and they are left in the camera roll for only your eyes to see.

Welcome Storyboard onto the scene. Storyboard allows you to organize your best moments, both photos and videos, and share them on your social media channels or website in a single post. This could be done at the end of they day, end of the week, or even end of the month to highlight the wonderful things that are happening in your learning community both inside and outside the classroom.

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No story is complete without the voices of everyone in your community. Allow multiple students to share their best moments as you travel on this exciting learning journey together. Create a shared folder where students and parents can join in and share their pictures and videos. When you are ready, organize the best moments and share your story! Want to go back and make an edit, you can add and delete posts anytime.

While Storyboard acts as its own social media feed, the feature that I love most is being able to take your post with all of your best moments and share it on other feeds.  There’s lots of great adventures happening in classrooms across the globe, take a few moments and share your story with the world.

P.S. Storyboard isn’t only for the classroom, you can use it while on your next vacation too!

Looking for some great events to share with Storyboard? EdTechTeacher will host it's 4th annual iPad Summit in Boston later this month, and its 2nd Google Jamboree in December where I will be a featured speaker.

Monday, November 2, 2015

How Hard Drives Work

How Do Hard Drives Work? is a new TED-Ed lesson about a piece of technology that students utilize every day, but often don't understand. The lesson begins with an explanation of the physical components of a hard drive. The lesson then progresses to explain how data is stored. The explanation of bits and bytes is the part of the lesson that students will probably hear and think, "oh, that's what that means."

Besides the explanation of how hard drives work, this lesson does a good job of illustrating how technology improves over time and what that means for future technology development and use.

VocApp - Create Multimedia Vocabulary Flashcards

VocApp is a free service for creating and studying multimedia flashcards. You can use VocApp in your web browser or in their free iPad and Android apps. The purpose of the service is to help students learn a new language.

To create flashcards on VocApp you need to create an account and sign-in. Once you're signed-in you can click "create flashcards" and begin writing out a list of words. Choose the language that you want to learn and VocApp will automatically translate words from English to the language you've selected. On the flashcard creation screen you can add an image to represent the words you're entering into your flashcards. The case of common words, VocApp will automatically add images to your flashcards. To help students learn how to pronounce words, VocApp offers audio support.

VocApp does offer some pre-made flashcard sets for sale, but you don't have to purchase anything in order to use the service to create and study your own flashcards. There is also a large gallery of public flashcards created by other users and made available for free.

Applications for Education
There is certainly not a shortage of flashcard services on the web. That doesn't mean we should ignore it when a new one comes around.  I like to give students a few options and let them choose. Some students may prefer the interface of VocApp over that of similar services. The ability to use VocApp in a web browser as well as on an Android tablet or iPad makes it a good option for BYOD settings.

Use Sketches to Outline a Story on Storyboard Maker

This post originally appeared on one of my other blogs, Android4Schools.com.

Storyboard Maker is a free Android app for outlining a story. In the app you can outline story scenes by sketching frames then writing text to outline action and dialogue in each scene. Here’s how it works; tap the picture field in a Storyboard Maker scene template and a drawing pad appears on your screen. After making your sketch, tap the save icon. Complete the template fields for writing your story’s action and dialogue after your sketch is saved. If you don’t think that a sketch is necessary, you can use the Storyboard Maker templates without adding sketches.

Storyboard Maker is completely free and does not require users to register. Your work is saved directly to your tablet or phone’s camera roll.

Applications for Education
Storyboard Maker could be a good app for students to use during the planning process of a video project. Outlining the dialogue and action before attempting to make the video can help students focus on the most important element of any video project, the story.