Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. The sun is shining and the temperature is cool, but not cold. In other words, it's a perfect day for a walk in the woods with Max as we search for a "Charlie Brown Christmas tree." But before we do that, I have this week's list of the most popular posts.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 15 Good Tools for Quickly Gathering Feedback from Students
2. EDPuzzle Now Has a Google Classroom Integration
3. Chronas - Interactive Historical Map and Data Sets
4. Fake or Real? - A Fun Google Search Challenge
5. Four Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Week
6. A Great List of Web Tools That Don't Require Registration
7. Create Interactive Year-in-Review Timelines

By popular request, I am offering a new section of my online course Getting Going With GAFE. The course carries a graduate credit option. The first meeting is on January 5th. All registration information can be seen here. Remember, subscribers to the Practical Ed Tech newsletter receive a discount on courses.

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.
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.

Three Customizations You Should Know How to Apply to Your Classroom Blog

Creating a blog is one of the first things that I recommend to teachers who are looking to improve the way that they distribute information to students and their parents. I also frequently recommend using blogs to have students share their writing as well as audio and visual projects. Once the basic blog is created using Blogger or WordPress (including platforms like Edublogs which are powered by WordPress) then we'll start to look at ways to customize the blog. There are three customizations that I often recommend. Those are scheduling blog posts, pinning or featuring blog posts, and restricting access to posts. The three videos embedded below demonstrate how to do those things.

How to schedule blog posts to appear on a later date and time:

How to create pinned or featured blog posts:

How to restrict access to blog posts:

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Best of Free Technology for Teachers - Survey Results

Last week I posted a Google Form in which I asked readers of Free Technology for Teachers to vote for their favorite ed tech tools. At midnight last night I closed the survey and Google Forms compiled the results for me. Below are the tools that were the most popular in each category.

Video creation: 
iMovie for iPad (free with new iPads) won by a slight margin over Animoto and WeVideo.

Audio creation/ editing:
SoundCloud came out on top. That one surprised me a bit. It is also interesting to note that this is the category that received the fewest overall votes.

Creative Commons/ Public Domain Image Sources:
Flickr - The Commons took 26% of the votes while Photos for Class and Pixabay took 20% and 18% of the votes respectively.

Digital Portfolios:
Google Sites took this category in a landslide with 37% of the votes. The closest competitors were SeeSaw and Weebly which had a combined 36% of the votes.

Blog/ Website platform:
Blogger took this category with Google Sites and Weebly not too far behind.

Quiz / Formative Assessment Tools:
It wasn't much of a surprise to me that Kahoot was the top vote getter in this category. Everywhere I go people rave about how much they love Kahoot.

Teacher-Parent-Student Communication Apps:
Remind had nearly 50% of the votes and crushed the competition in this category.

Other/ Write-ins:
This was a space for folks to suggest tools that might not have fit in another category. In this section HSTRY was written more than any other tool. The comments in the form spoke to the versatility of HSTRY as folks wrote about using it as an assessment tool, a portfolio tool, and as a timeline tool.

The complete spreadsheet of results is available here.

Why Rivers Have Deltas - A MinuteEarth Lesson

Why Do Rivers Have Deltas? is a new video lesson from the folks at MinuteEarth. In the two and a half minute lesson we learn how deltas are formed, the role of the ice age in creating deltas, and why some rivers have more pronounced deltas than others.

Sources consulted in the making of the video are available in the show notes on YouTube.

Applications for Education
This video could be used as a short introduction to the topic of erosion. It's not long enough or deep enough to be a complete lesson, but it could become part of a larger flipped lesson. Take a look at using one of these five tools to create a flipped lesson.

10 Tutorial Videos for 10 Student Response Tools

Earlier this week I posted a list of fifteen free student response tools. I plan to make video tutorials on how to use all of them. So far I have ten tutorial videos for ten free student response tools. All of those videos are included in the playlist embedded below.

The ten tools featured in the videos below are GoFormative, DotStorming, Twitter Polls, 81 Dash, Tozzl, TodaysMeet, Meeting Words, Padlet, Otus Plus, and Answer Garden.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more tutorials on useful ed tech tools. I release a new video at least once a week.