Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Week, Month, and Year In Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining over a crisp winter morning. It finally feels like winter here. I have a special edition of the week-in-review to share before I head out for a few runs on the local ski mountain.

This week I took some time off to visit family and friends and to ski. I hope that all of you who were on school vacation had a restful week too.

In December I had the privilege to speak at events in Massachusetts and in Kansas. This month I'll be going to the FETC and BETT conferences. If you're going to be at either one, please say hello.

2015 was a year of highs and lows for me. I chronicled many of those highs and lows in a post on Worms In the Fridge.

Here are the most popular posts from December, 2015:
1. 10 Good Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms Add-ons for Teachers
2. 5 Great Things You Can Do With Google Sheets
3. A Short Overview of 12 Tools for Creating Flipped Classroom Lessons
4. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
5. 15 Good Tools for Quickly Gathering Feedback from Students
6. 11 Apps and Sites for Learning to Code
7. EDPuzzle Now Has a Google Classroom Integration
8. 10 Good YouTube Channels for Math Lessons
9. A Great List of Web Tools That Don't Require Registration
10. 5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently

On January 5th I'm starting a new section of Getting Going With GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Three graduate credits are available in that course. More information about that course is available here.

On January 11th I'm starting a new section of Classroom Blog Jumpstart. More information about that online class is available here.


Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
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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.

Friday, January 1, 2016

10 Things Students Can Do With Google Keep

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in November, 2015.

At the end of October Google added a drawing option to Google Keep. The drawing tool in Google Keep offers a large variety of line colors and thicknesses. Drawings can be added to existing notes or can be created as stand-alone notes. And like other Google Keep notes, drawn notes can be shared from Keep to Google Docs. Creating drawings is just one of many ways that students can use Google Keep. Here are ten ways that students can use Google Keep on Android devices.

1. Draw notes.
2. Make to-do lists.
3. Type notes.
4. Color-code and sort notes.
5. Create reminders.
6. Share notes with other students.
7. Share task lists.
8. Record voice notes.
9. Take picture notes.
10. Send notes to Google Docs.

By the way, this post was drafted in Google Keep.

Dozens of Great PowerPoints for AP History Students & Teachers

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in November, 2015.

As I've mentioned in the past, Tom Richey produces great instructional videos for students taking AP US History, World History, and Government courses. Recently, I learned that he's also publishing many of the PowerPoint presentations that appear in his videos. From his PowerPoint page you can download any of Tom's dozens of presentations on US History, European History, or World History. Tom also offers a couple of presentations on US Government.

Google Chrome users who have the Google Slides app installed can quickly open all of Tom's PowerPoints directly in their browsers then save the slides in their Google Drive accounts. People who don't use Chrome or Google Drive can simply download the original PowerPoint files from Tom's website.

Applications for Education
Slides without a voice aren't nearly as helpful as slides with a voice. That said, reviewing these PowerPoint files might help students recall a point that you've made in a lesson. Likewise, viewing the slides might help students recall something from a related reading assignment.

How to Gain Access to Thousands of Free eBooks for Kids

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in October, 2015.

Zing is a service offering thousands of free fiction and non-fiction ebooks to teachers and students. On Zing you can browse for books by topic, language, or reading level. You can read the books in your web browser on a laptop or tablet. Zing is more than just a repository of free ebooks. In the Zing reader students will find a built-in dictionary and tools for taking notes while they read. In the video embedded below I demonstrate some of the features of Zing.

You Can Write Music in Google Docs

As I do every year, I am taking this week to relax, recharge, and ski with friends. While I'm away I will be re-running the most popular posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in October, 2015.

VexTab Music Notation is a Google Documents Add-on that lets you write music notation in Google Documents. With the Add-on installed you can write standard music notation, drum notation, and guitar tablature in a Google Document. To do this simply open the Add-on from your Add-on's menu, select "insert VexTab," then start writing. When you have finished writing a segment click "insert notation" to add it to your document. The inserted notation appears as an image in your document. Click here for a tutorial on writing VexTab notation.

Applications for Education
VexTab Music Notation could be a good Add-on for students in a music theory course who have been asked to write a few bars of music. The Add-on could also be useful to teachers who want to create some sample music as an instructional aid.