Friday, January 8, 2016 Now Offers Free Video Conference Calls

Last summer I wrote about how pleased I was with the performance of We continue to use it at MindRocket Media Group for all of our conference call needs. This morning I learned that now offers free video conference calls.

The video conference call feature of allows you to have up to 25 people in your call. You can use your computer's audio or your phone to connect to the call. An attendee list shows you who is in the call and allows you to instantly chat by text with anyone in the call.

As you might have noticed in the video above, you do have to install the desktop client in order to use the video conference calling feature. The desktop client is available for Mac and Windows users.

Applications for Education
Whether it is to collaborate with colleagues or to talk with parents about their children, from time to time you could find yourself in need of a free conference call service. The new video calling feature in could be a good tool to use for those calls.

And if you just need voice for your conference calls, is easy for everyone to use. Dialing a phone number and entering an access code when prompted is all it takes to get people to join a voice-only conference call on

82 Google Tools Tutorial Videos

I offer online and in-person workshops on Google Apps for Education, but I'm aware that sometimes all a person needs is just a two or three minute demonstration on a particular tool in order to get understand it. That's why a few years ago I started to create short tutorials on a variety of tools that Google makes available to students and teachers. Those tutorials are available in my Google tools playlist on YouTube. The playlist includes tutorials on features in Google Maps, Blogger, Google Sites, Google Classroom, Google Forms, Google Sheets, and Google Docs. My entire Google Tools Tutorials playlist is embedded below.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

16 Ways to Use TinyTap in Your Classroom

TinyTap is a fantastic free iPad app and Android app for building fun and interactive review games. With the app you can create games based on pictures, diagrams, videos, and icons. Students can play your games on their iPads, Android tablets, or in the web browser on their laptops. Speaking of playing games, TinyTap recently published a game that features sixteen ways to use TinyTap in your classroom. That game is embedded below.

TinyTap games can be shared through Google Classroom as well as through email and social media.

Dog Detective - Do You Speak Dog?

If you have followed this blog for more than a month or two, you've probably figured out that I am passionate about dogs and animal rescue. My personal Facebook feed is littered with updates from the various shelters and rescue groups that I support. Yesterday, a neat resource came through my feed that I think is worth sharing here too.

Be a Dog Detective is an article and video that illustrates what a dog's body language can tell you. The visuals show examples of happy dogs, scared dogs, territorial dogs, and dogs that want to play. Further, Be a Dog Detective shows you when it might be safe to pet a dog and when to leave a dog alone. The video is embedded below.

How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were?

How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were? is a new TED-Ed lesson that answers a question I often had in school. In the lesson we learn how scientists examine the melanosomes of fossilized feathers to determine the colors of some dinosaurs. The lesson explains how the physics of light and color eventually lead scientists to their conclusions.

How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were? is appropriate for middle school and high school students. Read below the video for some resources appropriate for elementary school students.

Dinosaster is an online game in which students move a dinosaur across a timeline in a Mario Brothers-like style of running and jumping. The object of the game is to hit each dinosaur bone along the way. When a new bone is grabbed a new fact card about a dinosaur appears on the screen. The object is to get all the cards and discover why the dinosaurs became extinct.

The Natural History Museum hosts a directory of names, facts, and figures for more than 300 dinosaurs. One of the ways that you can search through the database is by country. Select the "in your country" option to find the dinosaurs that may have roamed the land in what is now your country. The search results will display a grid of drawings the types of dinosaurs in your country. Click on the images to learn more the dinosaurs.

The Walking With Dinosaurs apps (free iPad appfree Android app) use a bit of augmented reality to take students on a virtual walk with dinosaurs. To use the apps you have to print out the "targets" that when scanned reveal a dinosaur's story. The apps also allow your students to include pictures of themselves in settings with the dinosaurs that they learn about through the app.