Saturday, November 21, 2015

Create Motivational Posters and Cards on Big Huge Labs

Big Huge Labs offers a great collection of free tools for creating digital products with your pictures. Some of the tools that they offer include motivational poster creators, magazine cover creators, and trading card templates.

The Trading Card generator that allows you to create trading cards about people, places, and events both real and fictional. To create your card you simply upload a picture or import one from Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook then add some text details about the person featured in the card.

Applications for Education
There are a lot of ways that educators and students could use the free products offered by Big Huge Labs. The magazine cover generator could be used by students as the cover page to a biography or autobiography writing assignment. The poster templates could be used to create posters about classroom rules. The badge template could be useful for the first days of school for students and teachers to learn each other's names and express some personality at the same time.

The Big Huge Labs Trading Card generator could be used by students is to create a set of trading cards about characters in a novel, to create a set of cards about people of historical significance, or to create cards about places that they're studying in their geography lessons.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good morning from Maine where I'm starting to prepare for Thanksgiving by going to the grocery store for the cranberry sauce and ingredients to bake the rolls that my sister-in-law has requested I bring this year. In this week-in-review I want to say thank you to everyone who has followed and shared my blog over the years. Next week will be the seventh anniversary of Free Technology for Teachers. I couldn't have kept it going without all of you. Thank you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Good Typing Instruction and Practice Sites for Kids
2. 10 Good Resources for Geography Awareness Week
3. Three Good Ways to Use All Those Pictures Students Take
4. Padlet iPhone App Now Available - 5 Ways to Use Padlet in School
5. Three Activities for Geography Awareness Week
6. Frequently Overlooked Google Search Tools and Strategies
7. Tools for Creating Animations in Your Browser or On Your Tablet

There are still some seats available in my popular online course Getting Going With GAFE. The course starts on November 24th and runs for five weeks. There is an option to earn three graduate credits for completing the course. Click here to learn more.


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.
AlfaTyping offers great, free typing lessons for kids. 
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. 
Southeastern University offers online M.Ed programs.

Sketch Nation Introduces Kids to Programming Ideas Through Game Creation

Sketch Nation is a free service that students can use to create their own simple video games.

Through the Sketch Nation platform students can develop their own games by selecting a game template then customizing it to their preferences. To develop their customized games students draw backgrounds and characters. Alternatively, students can import pictures to use as backgrounds and characters. In the advanced editor students can customize the actions within a game.

Sketch Nation works on iPads, on Android tablets, and in any modern web browser on your laptop.

Applications for Education
Sketch Nation isn't as robust as platforms like Scratch, but it does provide students with a nice introduction to some of the concepts of programming and game design. Click here for examples of teachers using Sketch Nation in their classrooms.

Thanks to David Kapuler for sharing Sketch Nation. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Zaption Presenter Now Available to All Users - Make Interactive Video Presentations

Earlier this month Zaption announced a beta testing period for a new feature called Zaption Presenter. That feature is now available to all users.

Zaption Presenter will let you present a video in the front of the room and or stream it to your students' devices. Your students will be able to use Zaption Presenter ask questions directly from their devices while the video plays. Teachers can add questions to the presentations on the fly and have those questions appear on students' devices. Click here to take a tour of Zaption Presenter.


Applications for Education
Using Zaption Presenter could be a great way to keep students engaged in videos that you show to students. You can insert questions into your Zaption presentations on the fly and ask students to respond to those questions from their mobile devices and laptops. When you share a video through Zaption Presenter the video appears on students' screens along with any questions or comments that you have added.

Can't Wait for Google Expeditions? - Try This Alternative Method

Earlier this year Google made a big announcement about their Expeditions Pioneer Program. In that announcement they released a list of places that they would be visiting in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and the United Kingdom to give demonstrations and provide kits for Expeditions virtual field trips. Unfortunately for many of us, Google's plan for expeditions didn't include visits near us. If you're in that boat, Amy Mayer has good news for you.

In a recent blog post Amy Mayer explained how you can create your own version of Expeditions in your classroom. Her method includes the use of the Streetview app for Android or iOS and Google Cardboard. Google Cardboard isn't free, but it is very affordable. Check out Amy's post to learn how to create your own version of Expeditions virtual field trips.