Monday, May 2, 2016

Live AP Exam Review Hangouts on Air

The AP exams for US History, European History, and Government are coming up this month. Teachers and YouTube sensations Keith Hughes and Tom Richey are hosting a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air for students who would like some review help before the exams. Every night this week they are hosting a different hangout for different aspects of the exams. Check the schedule for the list of what is covered each night.

The review hangouts will be posted on Tom's YouTube channel and Keith's YouTube channel. Students should take a look at the other videos on their channels for more review lessons.

Front Row - Adaptive Math & ELA Practice for K-8 Students

Disclosure: Front Row is currently an advertiser on

Front Row is a service that offers teachers a nice way to deliver practice math and ELA activities to their students. The central feature of Front Row is that students are given practice activities based upon their individual needs.

To get started with Front Row teachers register and create class rosters. Students then join their teacher's class by entering a class code on the Front Row student website or on the Front Row iPad app for students. Once students have joined your class they complete an evaluation assignment to determine a baseline of their current skills in an area. Subsequent assignments can be adapted based upon that baseline information. In both the Front Row web app and iPad app students have digital scratch paper to use as they figure out answers to questions.

Front Row is available in a free edition and in a paid school-wide edition. The paid edition offers additional reporting data for teachers and administrators.

Applications for Education
Front Row could be a good tool for tracking students' progress in mathematics and ELA then giving them practice activities that help them improve in areas the areas in which they are not as strong as they could be. Front Row won't replace the need to work with students individually, but it could help you identify which areas to focus on with them.

Annotating PDF Files on Chromebooks with Kami

This is a guest post from Avra Robinson (@AvraRachel) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

As a teacher, for years, I loathed the PDF file.  It was that file that I couldn’t edit or manage very easily.  I’d print off hard copies for my students, but when I started teaching technology, I was eager to discover a way to digitally annotate PDF files.  I wanted students to be able to highlight information in a variety of colors, underline key terms, and draw or type on a PDF file using a computer or Chromebook

connect more apps to google drive 
Kami, formerly Notable PDF, is the streamlined, easy-to-use solution to my PDF hopes and dreams! With Kami, students can view and annotate PDF documents from within the Chrome Web Browser, so it is a perfect tool for Chromebook and laptop users.  Once annotated, the files are stored in Google Drive, which makes integration with Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom possible, too.

To get started using Kami, simply install the app from the Chrome Web Store.   As the app installs, if you are signing in with a Google Apps for Education account, you will be prompted to select that you are an educator.  At that point, Kami allows you to explore the premium features for 30 days, though the basic features provide ample opportunity for teachers and students.

Tech Tip: Once the app is installed, teachers and students may need to manually connect it to Google Drive.  In Google Drive, select the red NEW button & scroll down to More.  From there, select “Connect more apps,” and search & connect Kami.  By creating this connection between Google Drive & Kami, students and teachers can choose to have Kami be the default app that opens PDF files if desired.

To begin using Kami, students and teachers simply launch the app, and drag or click to import a PDF file from the hard drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box. There is also an option to open a recent file that has been edited in Kami.  From there, students can start marking up their documents.

There is a wide variety of annotation tools including highlight, strikethrough, underline, add comments, add text, free draw, and an eraser tool.  In the premium version, there are some added capabilities of inserting shapes, signatures, and voice-to-text features.

toolbar broken down kami

Saving couldn’t be easier with Kami, as it can be set to sync to Google Drive.  Students and teachers can also export the file to other locations.  Each time the file is exported, the option to export both the original and annotated copies exists.  Additionally, because Kami files are stored in Drive, Google Classroom integration is made possible!  Teachers can annotate a PDF file with directions, further explanation of content, or guiding questions, and then push it out in an assignment in Classroom, selecting the option for each student to get his or her own copy.  Students can open the file in Kami,further annotate the file, and then submit!

Google Classroom make a copy for each student

The easy-to-use annotation features in Kami make utilizing PDF files easy and fun for students and teachers!

Learn more Google Apps Tips & Tricks from Avra Robinson this Summer! EdTechTeacher also has a wealth of Google resources on web site.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

An Animated Tour of the Water Cycle and Water Treatment

The US Environmental Protection Agency offers some nice resources for teaching about the water cycle and water treatment. Thirstin's Water Cycle takes students on an animated and narrated tour of the water cycle from water, to vapor, to clouds, to rain. Thirstin's Tour of a Water Treatment Plant takes students on a narrated tour through a typical water treatment facility found in the United States.

Applications for Education
Both of Thirstin's narrated tours are designed as supplementary materials to the elementary school lesson plans offered in the teacher's resources section of

April's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

April came and went quickly. In fact, it went so quickly that I didn't even realize it was over until I looked at the date about an hour ago and realized we were into May. I'm a day late on my month-in-review post.

Here are the most popular posts of the last month:
1. 11 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed
2. New Polling Feature Added to Google Classroom
3. A Short Overview of 12 Tools for Creating Flipped Lessons
4. Kahoot Adds a Team Mode
5. 5 Ideas for Using Google Sites in Your Classroom
6. Mozilla Releases an Interactive Web Literacy Map
7. My Three Favorite Classroom Timer Tools
8. Three Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed
9. Telling Stories With Storyboards - Webinar Recording
10. Four Tools for Creating Screencasts on Chromebooks

Spring and Summer PD Opportunities With Me
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. 
FreshGrade is a great online digital portfolio tool. 
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.
FrontRow offers adaptive online ELA and Math practice activities.  
Teach n Go is a comprehensive platform for teaching online courses.
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.