Thursday, March 3, 2016

Great Tools for Creating Backchannels & Informal Assessments

Yesterday at the NCTIES 2016 conference I hosted a three hour workshop on creating and using backchannels and informal assessments in the classroom. The tools that we used are featured in the slides below. Videos and the group's discussion posts are available on this Practical Ed Tech page.

Best of the Web - Spring 2016

This afternoon at the NCTIES 2016 conference I had the privilege to once again give my Best of the Web presentation to a packed room (conservative guess of 350 people). The presentation features short overviews of my favorite new and or updated ed tech resources of the last year. Almost all of today's presentation featured things that I haven't included in past Best of the Web presentations. The slides from the presentation are embedded below.

How to Use Google's My Maps in Your Classroom

This morning at the NCTIES 2016 conference I facilitated a short workshop on using Google Maps and Google Earth in the classroom. Both tools are so robust that it is hard to cover everything you can or could do with them in just 90 minutes. To support the workshop I have a bunch of additional resources available on this Practical Ed Tech page.

One of things that I introduced in the workshop was the idea of having students collaborate and create multiple layers on a map. Directions for doing that included in the slides embedded below.

Here are some good uses of creating maps with multiple layers.

  • Multiple layers could be used for showing data differences on a year over year or month over month basis.
  • You could display the same data with different base layers for comparison.
  • Students working collaboratively on a map can be responsible for editing their own layers on the same map.
  • If you’re using Google My Maps to have students create literature trips, they can create a different layer for each chapter of a book.
  • Students mapping the history of an event like the U.S. Civil War could create a different layer for each year of the war.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Register Early and Save $75 on Two Great Summer PD Events

This summer I will once again be hosting professional development events in Maine. This summer I will host the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp on July 11-12, 2016 and the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp on July 18-19, 2016.

Both events are hands-on explorations of how to use free technology tools in your classroom. These two day workshops are based on my framework for using technology to help students discover new information, discuss their ideas, and demonstrate their knowledge. Registration in each event is limited to 25 participants to ensure that every participant gets the attention he or she deserves. A healthy breakfast and lunch is included on both days.

The Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp on July 11th and 12th is for people who work in schools that have BYOD programs and 1:1 laptop programs (Mac or Windows), iPads, Android tablets, Windows tablets, or who have shared computers in a classroom or lab setting. Click here for registration information.

The Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp on July 18th and 19th is for people who work in schools that have 1:1 Chromebook programs or are interested in learning more about Chromebooks in education. This two day event is very similar to the BYOD event but is tailored to address the unique aspects of teaching with Chromebooks. As you might expect, there will be quite a bit of attention given to using Google Apps in the classroom. Click here for registration information.

Register early and save!
Register for either event by April 30th and you will save $50 compared to standard registration. If you are subscribed to the newsletter you can take an additional $25 discount when you register online by using the discount code "subscriber."

Quickly Dictate Notes in Multiple Languages on is a good tool to add to yesterday's list of free tools for dictating notes. On you can simply click "start dictation" then start having your voice transcribed into a text document. No registration is required in order to use More than two dozen languages are support on The video embedded below provides a demonstration of

Applications for Education doesn't require students to register in order to use it. It also supports more than two dozen languages. Those two aspects of make it accessible to students who don't have Google Docs accounts and to those who don't speak English as their first language.