Monday, February 22, 2016

Google's Guides to Apps Accessibility

This morning I received an email from a reader who wanted to know if I had any resources about user accessibility of Google Apps. I couldn't think of a better resource to share than Google's own guides to Google Apps accessibility.

Google offers two Google Apps accessibility guides. There is a guide for administrators and a guide for users.

The Google Apps user guide to accessibility is designed for end users. The user guide is divided into sixteen sections. In the first section you will find recommendations for the best screen readers to use while using Google Apps on Mac, Windows, and Chrome OS computers. The other sections of the guide are devoted to specific products within the Google Apps suite including Google Classroom. Each section contains information on accessibility shortcuts, screen reader instructions for each app, and in some sections you will find how to videos like this one for using a screen reader with Google Docs.


The Google Apps administrator guide to accessibility covers much of what you will find in the user guide, but also includes recommended settings to apply within your Google Apps admin console.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Collaboratively Create Reminders & Task Lists on Pinside

Pinside is a free online sticky note service. Pinside can be used to create boards of notes for yourself or boards to share with others. You can create a mix of private and shared notes within one account. Sticky notes on shared Pinside boards are designed for creating to-do lists. As each item on the the notes is completed you and or your collaborators can delete completed items.

Applications for Education
Pinside could be a good little tool for students working on group projects to assign tasks to each other and check them off as they go. Pinside could also be used by students to create a board of action items for each of the courses that they are taking.

Elementary School Lessons About Fossils and Rocks

The American Geosciences Institute produces K-5 GeoSource which is a site that hosts lesson plans and other educational resources for teachers. K-5 GeoSource has a very Web 1.0 look to it, but if you do a little digging you'll find some helpful materials. A few of the resources that I looked at were this free chart about types of rocks (link opens PDF), a science fair project guide, and a short Earth scientist career guide.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, K-5 GeoSource isn't the fanciest site you'll find on the web and it lacks any kind of interactive element for students. If you just need to find some ideas to use in your classroom, K-5 GeoSource could be worth bookmarking. The most useful aspect of the site might be the science fair project guide that you and your students could work through to plan a hands-on Earth science project.

Summarize the Day With Pic Collage

Creating collages can be a good way for students to organize their thoughts in a visual manner. In creating their collages they are organizing images that may later become writing prompts for them. I've had students create collages as a way to summarize field trips. Pic Collage is the app that I like for doing that activity. Pic Collage is a free app available for Android and iOS devices. The collage you see above is a very basic use of the app on my Android phone.

After creating a collage students can add interactive elements to it by using Thinglink. Watch the two videos that I made and embedded below to learn how to use Pic-Collage and ThingLink to create interactive collages.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Week in Review - Thinking About Summer on the Coldest Day of Winter

Skiing across Moosehead Lake.
Good morning from Maine where the snow flurries are reminding us that winter is still here. Last Sunday we had the coldest day of the year at -17F! It was on that day that I announced that there will be two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps this year. There will be one tailored to schools that have 1:1 Chromebook programs and one for everyone else. Both Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps will be held in July. You can learn more about them here. Discounted early registration is available now. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp has sold out every year for the last three years.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 7 Tools for Creating Multimedia Quizzes Compared in One Chart
2. Quizalize - Create Interactive Review Games to Play Synchronously or Asynchronously
3. 3D Printers in Elementary School
4. PicLits - Inspire Creative Stories Through Pictures
5. 7 Blogging Platforms for Teachers Compared and Ranked
6. How to Create Video-based Quizzes on Blubbr
7. How to Use Find & Replace in Google Docs

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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. 
SlideModel offers great PowerPoint templates for teachers. 
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.
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EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.