Monday, December 7, 2015

How Does Anesthesia Work? - A New TED-Ed Lesson

This morning TED-Ed released a new lesson that anyone who has ever had a significant surgery may be interested in watching. How Does Anesthesia Work? provides a five minute overview of the history of anesthesia and painkillers used during surgeries. The second half of the video explains the basics of the physiology of how anesthesia works. The lesson is appropriate for high school students taking an anatomy and physiology course.

How Does Anesthesia Work? is the twelfth video that I've added to my playlist of TED-Ed science videos. That playlist is embedded below.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Pearl Harbor

Today is the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which drew the United States into World War II. I have previously shared a small collection of resources for teaching and learning about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Larry Ferlazzo also has a good collection of resources that you should consult. One resource that neither of our lists includes is Five Things You Don't Know About Pearl Harbor. The video, produced by, offers five interesting facts about and related to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Consider using one of these five tools to incorporate this video into a flipped lesson about Pearl Harbor.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Create Holiday Cards on Canva

I use Canva to create a lot of the graphics that appear on the Free Technology for Teachers and EdCircuit Facebook pages. Canva makes it easy for anyone to create great looking graphics in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Recently, I noticed that Canva has added a bunch of templates for creating Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's greetings.

Take a look at the social media posts templates for 800x800px graphics and you will find a bunch of templates containing holiday graphics. Your students can modify the templates by changing the colors, fonts, and graphics. Students can insert their own text into the templates. Completed templates can be downloaded and printed.

Canva works in your web browser. You can also use their free iPad app to create your holiday card designs.

Applications for Education
If you're thinking about giving an assignment in which your students write letters to family members for the holidays, consider adding a splash of color by using Canva's holiday design templates.

5 Great Things You Can Do With Google Sheets

Spreadsheets can be intimidating to a lot of teachers and students. I have to admit that at one time working with spreadsheets was a daunting task for me too. Fortunately, Google Sheets has made it much easier for the average computer user to work with spreadsheets. Once you get the hang of working with Google Sheets there are a lot of great ways to use spreadsheets as a teacher or as a student. Here's a run-down of some of my favorite things to do with Google Sheets in the classroom.

Map spreadsheet data:
One of the overlooked and or misunderstood features of Google My Maps is the option to import spreadsheet data. Provided that your spreadsheet contains at least one column that has location information in it, you can have the data in the spreadsheet displayed as placemarks on a map. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how this can be done.

StoryMap JS is a nice tool for creating mapped stories. On StoryMap JS you create slides that are matched to locations on your map. Each slide in your story can include images or videos along with text. As you scroll through your story there are simple transitions between each slide. StoryMap JS integrates with your Google Drive account. To get started with StoryMap JS you have to grant it access to your Google Drive account. StoryMap JS will create a folder in your Google Drive account where all of your storymap projects will be saved. With StoryMap JS connected to your Google Drive account you will be able to pull images from your Google Drive account to use in your StoryMap JS projects.

Create multimedia timelines from a spreadsheet:
Timeline JS creates a timeline based on entries made in a Google Spreadsheets template provide by Timeline JS. Your entries can include links to videos, images, and maps. I made a video on how to use Timeline JS. That video is embedded below.

Guided/ Automatic Data Visualizations:
The Explore function in Google Sheets will help students see and understand data sets in new ways. Now when students open a Google Sheet they will have the option to click the Explore function to have a set of suggested graphs and charts based on the data in the Sheet they're viewing. The Explore function is found in the bottom, right corner of the Google Sheet you're viewing. The Explore function won't work in every spreadsheet. It is dependent on the spreadsheet having data like locations, currencies, or demographics. See how it works in the video embedded below.

Grade students' assignments:
Flubaroo is a popular Google Sheets Add-on that enables me to grade all at once all of my students' responses to a quiz created in Google Forms. The autograde option in Flubaroo allows you to have students automatically receive their scores after submitting their responses to a quiz you created in Google Forms. The autograde feature will send students an email with their scores and the answer key (you can exclude the answer key). With autograding enabled students do not have to wait for you to run the grading process or wait for you to send emails.

Online Rubric is a Google Spreadsheets Add-on that enables to you create rubrics, enter scores, and email scores to students all from one place. Online Rubric provides very clear instructions for each step of the processes of creating a roster sheet, creating a rubric, and emailing grades to students. The video below provides a demonstration of how to use the Online Rubric Add-on.

Email reminders:
Add Reminders is a Google Sheets Add-on that will set-up your spreadsheet so that you simply enter reminder messages and email addresses then specify a date on which you want your reminders sent. The Add Reminders Add-on allows you to send the same reminder to everyone in your email list or you can send individualized reminders to everyone in your email list. Watch the video below to learn how to use the Add Reminders Add-on.

Verso Adds a New Student View for Teachers an Direct Import of Rosters

Verso is a free service that offers a good platform for delivering flipped lessons to students and gathering feedback from them. Recently, Verso added some helpful new features.

As a teacher you can create Verso classrooms that your students join. Previously, your students had to go to the Verso site and enter a class code to join your classroom. That option still exists but now you also have the option to import students into your classroom by uploading a CSV file containg their names and email addresses.

In your classroom you can post videos, links, and files from your Google Drive account. You can include response prompts with each item that you post. You can specify how many responses you want to gather from each student. When students sign into your Verso classroom they will see every new item you've posted for them. If you've posted a video it will play within the Verso environment. Students can track their completion progress in their account dashboards. The latest version of Verso offers a "student view for teachers." That means that you can now view the classroom as your students do.

Verso offers free iPad and Android apps. Verso can also be used in your web browser.

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