Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quizalize - Create Interactive Review Games to Play Synchronously or Asynchronously

There is certainly not a shortage of interactive quiz platforms available to teachers today. Platforms like Socrative and Kahoot have turned boring review activities into fun games that students want to play all the time. The trouble with those platforms is that to get the most out of them all of your students need to play at the same time. That's where Quizalize is trying to be distinguish itself in a crowded market.

Quizalize is a quiz game platform that will remind you of Socrative or Kahoot. Like Kahoot, 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. What's different about Quizalize is that you can have students play a quiz game as a classroom activity or you an assign to them to play at home. Either way that they play students receive immediate feedback and can track their own progress on a game when they play it multiple times.

In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to create, distribute, and track quiz games in Quizalize.

How to Use Find & Replace in Google Docs

The latest addition to my playlist of more than 90 Google Apps tutorials videos addresses a question that I received in my email this morning and probably receive every few weeks. That question is, "does Google Docs have a 'find and replace' function?" The answer is yes. You can locate "find and replace" in Google Docs under the "edit" menu or use "ctrl + H" to open the menu. The video embedded below demonstrates how to find and use "find and replace" function in Google Docs.

A Convenient New Way to See Who Has Access to Your Google Drive Folders

Creating shared Google Drive folders provides teachers and students with a great way to contribute to a pool of B-roll media, to share study guides, or to collaborate on research projects. Keeping track of who has access to those folders can be a bit cumbersome. That will soon change as Google announced yesterday that a new view of shared Google Drive folders is coming soon. Over the next couple of weeks you will notice a new "people icon" to Google Drive folders. You will now be able to hover your cursor over the "people icon" to see a list of people who have access to your folders.

Applications for Education
The best way to have students avoid accidentally using copyrighted images or videos in their own projects is to use media that they've created themselves. One of the strategies that I frequently recommend to teachers as a way to help students avoid any copyright issues in their work is to use media from a classroom b-roll gallery. You can build this gallery by having students contribute pictures, video clips, and sounds to a shared Google Drive folder. In the video below I demonstrate how to create a shared Google Drive folder.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PicLits - Inspire Creative Stories Through Pictures

PicLits is an excellent site for finding creative writing prompts. PicLits aims to provide inspiration for writing short stories. PicLits tries to reach this goal by providing users with images upon which they can build their writing. To get writers started, PicLits provides a list of words which can be dragged and dropped into sentence form. If you don't want to use or don't need a word list, you can select the "freestyle" option to begin free-form writing.

Applications for Education
The idea of PicLits is not to write a full story within the images, but rather to use the images as the inspiration for longer pieces. In that regard PicLits could be a good source of inspiration for the reluctant writers in your classroom.

4 Videos That Help Students & Parents Understand Financial Aid

The FAFSA and financial aid packages offered by universities can be difficult for the first-time college student to navigate. And if you're a first generation college student it can be even more difficult because you may not know who to turn to for advice. Fortunately, a lot of high school guidance departments are doing more than ever to help students understand the FAFSA and financial aid. Planet Nutshell produced two good videos that will also help students and parents understand the FAFSA and financial aid. The videos are embedded below.


Choosing Financial Aid in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.



Borrow Wisely: FAFSA in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.

Understanding how federal student loans are different from private student loans can help students and their parents choose the best financial aid package. The following two videos, also from Planet Nutshell, do a nice job of explaining private vs. federal student loans.



Understanding Federal Student Loans in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.



Federal vs. Private Student Loans in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.

These videos were produced by Planet Nutshell with funding from the U.S. Depart of Education, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, and the Utah Education Network.