Monday, January 18, 2016

NEW! Nearpodize Your Classroom from Your iPhone

This guest post is from Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

The world of mobile teaching and learning seems to be getting smaller and smaller and Nearpod is no exception. Last week, they brought their interactive and dynamic tool to iPhone.  At a time where the idea of a “phone” being used for teaching and learning still makes many uneasy, Nearpod created yet another avenue to show the value of using smartphones in the classroom as a means to enhance the learning experience for both teachers and students.

App Overview

When opening the app, you are presented with three options:
  • My Library – access and launch presentations that you have created from your computer
  • Explore – find lessons by grade level and subject area
  • Join – experience Nearpod as a student and join a presentation

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When launching a presentation from your phone, you can navigate the presentation in much the same way as you would using your laptop.  Question responses show on the screen, and you can share the results with your audience. This is particularly helpful when presenting with students, in a meeting, or at a conference, enabling you to step away from the podium and truly engage with your audience.

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Use of proximity and audience engagement is especially important when modeling to students what great presentations look like.  Oftentimes, students stand behind podiums ready to read off the slides as they have seen many others model for them.  However, Nearpod encourages interaction and engagement through asking thoughtful questions that assess understanding, provoke discussion, stir controversy, and allow for reflection.

Ways to Get Started

Upon first glance, many mistake Nearpod for a glamorized version of direct instruction. However, when you begin using it, you will see that the list of ways in which it can be used grows by the day.  Now that Nearpod lessons can be run from your phone, it’s one more way to model great digital citizenship and effective use of technology.

Here are a few ways that you can make the most of this new app:
  • Instead of launching a keynote or PowerPoint, Nearpodize your lesson by opening the presentation with Nearpod, add some questions, and launch it live with your phone.
  • Facilitate meetings with faculty, administrators, parents or any other school wide presentation using your phone so that you can interact more closely with them.
  • Let students practice their presentation skills using their phone.
  • Pair Nearpod with visible thinking routines such as, “Think, Pair, Share” to generate class discussion.

Want to learn more? Sabba Quidwai and Beth Holland will be presenting on Nearpod at the February 2-3, 2016 EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit. You can also learn more from the Nearpod team themselves as they will be exhibitors at that conference.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Week in Review - Mornings With Max

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where I am home after a great week at FETC in Orlando. It was long week and a good week of meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. I went to the conference to learn and to record some media for MindRocket Media Group. Much of what I learned and recorded with be appearing on EdCircuit in the next few days.

As fun as it is to attend a conference, it's always nice to come home. My dog, Max, has not left my side all morning except when we played fetch in the fresh snow earlier. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you're doing something fun just like I am with Max.

The week's most popular posts:
1. 4 Helpful Gmail Settings for Teachers & Students
2. 12 Lessons on How the Human Body Works
3. 10 Good Video Sources for Social Studies Teachers and Students
4. Create Video-based Polls on ClipChoose
5. Have You Tried Kahoot's Ghost Mode?
6. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
7. Numberock - Math Music Videos for Kids

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.
KidzType provides a fun way to teach and learn typing skills.

Two Ways to Record Skype Calls on a Mac

Yesterday's post about Skype Translator prompted someone on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page to ask about how to record Skype calls on a Mac. There are two methods that I have used to record Skype calls over the years.

Record video of a Skype call:
I use a rather simple method to capture video of a Skype call. I simply open Screencast-O-Matic on my Mac then frame the Skype the window. When I'm ready to start recording I simply press record on Screencast-O-Matic and capture the video. One flaw in this method is that I cannot use a headset during the call because it won't capture audio from both parties. So make sure you're in a quiet place and just rely on your Mac's internal mic and speakers.

Record audio of a Skype call:
On a Mac you can record audio of a Skype call by using QuickTime. The screenshots below provide directions for recording a Skype audio call by using QuickTime. After recording your call you can take the audio file and use it Garage Band or another audio editing tool like Audacity to edit the audio.

Step 1: Call your contact. You can call by connecting to a Skype contact or you can call by dialing a phone number.
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Step 2: While your call is in progress open QuickTime and select "New Audio Recording" from the "File" drop-down menu.
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Step 3: Choose an input source for recording your call. Unless you have another microphone connected to your Mac, select "Built-in microphone."Click the red "record" button when you're ready to start capturing the conversation.
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Step 4: After your call has ended, save the recording then export it to your desktop as "Audio Only." You will then be able to use the audio recording in the sound editor of your choice.
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Friday, January 15, 2016

4 Free Tools for Creating & Playing Interactive Quiz Games

Earlier this week I wrote about "ghost mode" being the talk of the Future of Educational Technology Conference in Orlando. That post prompted a few people to ask me about other quiz game platforms. I've used a bunch of them over the years. The following are interactive quiz game tools that I've used with great success in my classroom and or in my workshops.

Kahoot:
This is the obvious one to include in this post as it did inspire the post. Kahoot provides a fun way to gather feedback from a group through their phones, iPads, Chromebooks, or any other device that has a web browser and an Internet connection. You can include pictures and or videos as part of each question that you create and share in a Kahoot activity. Players are awarded points for answering correctly and quickly. Or you can turn off the points system to use Kahoot in a non-competitive environment.

Socrative Space Race:
Socrative is a free student response system that allows you to gather feedback from students through any Internet-connected device. One of my favorite aspects of Socrative is the variety of ways in which you can pose prompts and questions to your students. The Space Race feature has been a hit everywhere that I've shown it over the years. The Space Race feature allows you to create virtual teams for answering questions or prompts. The screen students see masks  their classmates' names, but as the teacher you can see your students' names and download a report of students' responses.

Quizalize:
Quizalize is a free quiz game platform. Students play your quiz games on their laptops or tablets by going to the Quizalize website then entering their names and a class code. Students are awarded points for correctly answering questions quickly. Students are given feedback instantly on every quiz question that they answer. A total score is presented to students at the end of every quiz. Creating quizzes on Quizalize is a simple process. To get started just name your quiz and tag it with a subject label. As you write each quiz question you can include a picture and up to four answer choices. You can specify a time limit of 5 to 120 seconds for each question. Quizalize offers a marketplace in which you can find quizzes created by other users. Some of the quizzes are free and others are sold for a dollar or two. To be clear, creating and playing your own quizzes is completely free.

Triventy:
Triventy uses a concept that is similar to Kahoot. To play a Triventy quiz game the teacher projects the game questions at the front of the room and students answer the questions on their mobile devices or laptops. Points are awarded for answering correctly. Bonus points are awarded for answering quickly. Students join the quiz game by going to Triv.in and entering the game pin assigned to your game.

Skype Translator Is Now Available to All Windows Users

Last spring Microsoft made a preview edition of Skype's translation tool available to Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 users. The limitation of the preview edition was that all parties in the call had to install the preview edition. This week Microsoft announced that Skype Translator is now a native part of Skype for Windows. This means that anyone using Skype on a Windows computer will be able to utilize Translator.

Skype Translator will automatically transcribe and translate as you talk. At this time Translator supports Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. In instant text Skype messaging Translator supports 50 languages.

To use Skype Translator in Windows simply open Skype as usual then click the globe icon in the upper, right corner of the app. If the globe icon isn't visible, make sure you have updated to the latest version of the app.
Image courtesy of Microsoft PR. 
Applications for Education
As demonstrated in the video embedded below, the realtime translation option in Skype will open up more possibilities for connecting classrooms through activities like Mystery Skype.