Thursday, May 5, 2016

Stackup - Create & Track Reading Goals for You and Your Students

Stackup is a new service that aims to help you give students credit for time spent reading quality articles online. On Stackup you can create reading challenges for your students. A challenge could be something like "read international news for 60 minutes this week." After creating the challenge you invite students to join it. Students can join by entering a challenge code on Stackup or you can invite them by email.

To get credit for reading quality articles students have to use the Stackup Chrome extension. When it is enabled the extension tracks how much time students spend on a relevant webpage and how many relevant webpages they've read. In their Stackup dashboards students can see their progress toward completing a challenge and they can share their reading data with you.

Applications for Education
Stackup could be a good tool for high school students to use to prove that they have read content related to topic that they're studying in your classroom. I think the best use of Stackup would be in a social studies class in which students need to follow current events for classroom discussion.

Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp - Only 7 Tickets Left

Leading the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp has been the highlight of my summer for the last three years. This year I am leading two versions of the event. The Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp and the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. There are some people coming for the third year in row!

The Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp will be held on July 11-12 in Portland, Maine. Only seven tickets remain for this hands-on professional development opportunity.

The BYOD Camp 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. The two day workshop is based on my framework of Discovery, Discussion, and Demonstration. The first day is focused helping students use technology to discover and discuss. Day two is focused on demonstrating knowledge by creating new digital content including podcasts, videos, and other multimedia productions. Abbreviated outlines of both days are available on the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp page.

Only 7 tickets remain for the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. Group discounts are available, please email me for details.



The Chromebook Camp sold out on Tuesday. Please email me to be put on the waiting list. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Use the New Q&A and Laser Pointer Features of Google Slides @googledocs

This afternoon Google added two fantastic new features to Google Slides. First, Google Slides now has a Q&A feature that lets your audience submit questions to you. Second, Google Slides now has a built-in laser pointer that you can use to call attention to parts of your slides. I've already received some questions about how to use these new features so I made the following short video.


Applications for Education
The new Q&A feature in Google Slides promises to be a great way to collect questions and comments from students during a presentation by you or their classmates. The nice thing about the Q&A feature is that you can turn it off at any time. You can also let students vote for the questions and comments that they like the most.

Learn how to get the most out of Google Apps in my online course Getting Going With GAFE. The next class begins on Monday. You can earn three graduate credits through the class.

Buncee v. Google Slides - Which Offers Better Multimedia Options?

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a month or two has probably figured out that I love Google Apps including Google Slides. Sharing, collaborating, and publishing Google Slides is convenient and easy. But sometimes it feels like the ease of using Google Slides comes at the expense of not having as many multimedia options as other slide creation tools.

Buncee is a slide creation tool that makes it incredibly easy for young students to add a wide variety of multimedia elements to their presentations. To add multimedia content to their Buncee slides students simply click the "add" button then they can choose from videos (available from Vimeo and YouTube), animated characters, animated text, animated stickers, static stickers, audio from SoundCloud, images from Pixabay (filtered public domain images), and upload their own content from their desktops. Students also have the option to draw freehand directly on their slides.

Compared to Google Slides Buncee has more video and audio options. While you can draw on Google Slides that requires the use of Google Drawings whereas on Buncee slides students just choose the pencil icon and start drawing.

Applications for Education
If you have been looking for a Google Slides alternative for elementary school students, Buncee is a good option.

Right now Buncee has a bunch of Mother's Day templates that your elementary school students can use to create digital Mother's Day cards. Those cards can also be printed.

Disclosure: Buncee is a client of MindRocket Media Group. I am a partner in MindRocket Media Group. 

A Great Explanation of Primary Sources vs. Secondary Sources

On Monday evening I hosted the first meeting of the spring section of Teaching History With Technology. One of the topics that I covered was using technology to support students as the read and work with primary sources. Before a student can search for, read, or cite a primary source he or she needs to be able to identify the differences between the two.

The Minnesota Historical Society offers a fantastic video on the topic of primary v. secondary sources. By watching the short video students can learn what a makes a resource a primary or secondary source. The video provides a handful of examples of each along with a description of what makes the example a primary or secondary source. This is probably the best video that I have seen explain the differences between primary and secondary sources.


Teaching History With Technology will be offered again during the summer along with two other online professional development courses for teachers