Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads? - And Two Other Interesting Dog Lessons

My dog Max, like a lot of other dogs, tilts his head whenever I ask him a question like "do you want to go for a ride?" or "do you want a treat?" I assume that Max does this because he's excited. But there may be other reasons why Max and other dogs tilt their heads. The following Brain Stuff video explains three reasons why dogs tilt their heads.


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 Dogs "See" With Their Noses? is a TED-Ed lesson that provides a great explanation of how a dog's nose works. The most interesting part of the video is the explanation of how dogs' senses of smell allow them to identify friends, foes, and potential threats. The video is embedded below. You can find the full lesson here.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts of the Week

Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. This week Max and I had two visitors to my office. My friend Sam's dog named Humbird has stayed with us all week. Yesterday and today we've also hosted my friend Jess' puppy named Fionn. Max has been a good dog host by sharing his toys and treats.

In other news, I'm spending the weekend getting ready for the NCTIES conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. This will be my fifth year in a row at NCTIES. It is one of my favorite events of the year. If you're going to be there, please say hello.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 13 Google Forms Tutorial Videos
2. Six Timeline Creation Tools for Students Compared In an Updated Chart
3. History in Motion - Create Multimedia History Stories
4. 35 Permission Slip Templates
5. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
6. How to Blur Faces & Objects in YouTube Videos
7. 7 Blogging Platforms for Teachers Compared and Ranked

Professional Development Opportunities!
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.

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

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.
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.

Friday, February 26, 2016

How to Create Interactive Writing Assignments to Share Through Google Classroom

Wizer is a neat tool for creating a variety of interactive assignments including writing assignments, multiple choice quizzes, and labeling assignments. You can distribute your Wizer activities to your students through Google Classroom or through the use of a link and pin system.

In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to create an assignment in Wizer, how to distribute it, and how to view your students' responses to an assignment.

Open eBooks - Thousands of Free eBooks for Students and Teachers

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo this morning learned about a new program that will provide Title I schools with access to thousands of free ebooks. Open eBooks is a program organized by the White House's ConnectED initiative. Through the program Title 1 schools as well as libraries, preschools, and community programs serving populations that have 70% or more students in need can access thousands of free ebooks on iOS or Android devices.

The ebooks in the Open eBooks collection come from the following publishing partners Bloomsbury, Candlewick, Cricket Media, Hachette, HarperCollins, Lee & Low, Macmillan, National Geographic Kids, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster. Through the Open eBooks app students can access up to ten books at a time.

To register for the Open eBooks program, click here. You can find all of the qualifications for the Open eBooks program here.


Improved Voice Commands and More New Google Apps Features Released This Week

A few months ago Google adding voice typing as a native feature in Google Docs. This week they improved the voice typing feature by adding a slew of new commands. You can now use voice commands to do things like add and edit tables, select and highlight text, and format text. A complete list of voice commands can be found here.


The Google Sheets Android app received an update this week. The next time you update the app you will be able to view images that are included in your spreadsheets.

The Google Slides Android app was updated this week. The latest version of the app allows you to choose and change the themes of your presentations.

Applications for Education
Of these three updates, the improved voice typing is the most significant one for students and teachers. Voice typing and voice commands in Google Docs should prove to be a benefit to students who need more accessibility options in Google Documents. For more about Google Docs accessibility see the Google Apps user guide to accessibility.