Sunday, May 22, 2016

4 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed Last Week

Last week Google released a new product and updated some existing products that are of interest to teachers and students.

Last Monday at the Google I/O conference Google introduced a new product called Spaces. Spaces is a service that lets you create small communities to share links, notes, and pictures. Take a look at my video about Spaces to see how it works.

On Wednesday of last week Google added a new charts feature to Google Slides. You can now import charts made in Google Sheets and display them in your slides. You can also use and modify one of the new charts templates in Google Slides. My video here demonstrates how to use the new charts feature in Google Slides.

Also on Wednesday of last week Google announced some updates to the Google Classroom API. The updated API could lead to more apps integrating with Google Classroom, not the least of which being improved gradebook options through Google Classroom. Learn more about these updates in the explanation that I shared on Thursday.

Finally, Google announced that Android apps can now be developed and published for use on Chromebooks. Beginning in June end-users will be able to add Android apps to the Acer R11, Asus, Flip, and Pixel Chromebooks. Support for running Android apps on other Chromebooks will be added later in the year. The list of supported devices can be seen here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Week in Review - The Lilacs Have Arrived

Good morning from the temporary Byrne Instructional Media, LLC office in Connecticut. I'm working in Connecticut this morning because I'm down here to see the hooding ceremony for my friend of 20+ years who has just completed her Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

Meanwhile back in Maine the lilacs in my meager garden have started to bloom. Hopefully, we don't get any more snow to cover them as we did briefly on Monday morning.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Create an Interactive Video Summary of the School Year
2. Great Tools for Creating Screencasts - A PDF Handout
3. More Than 100 Sets of Primary Source Documents for Students
4. How to Create a Biking or Walking Route Map in Google Maps
5. How to Create a Google Spaces Community
6. Geopedia - A Map & Wikipedia Mashup
7. How to Create an Interactive Series of Videos

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.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories. 

FreshGrade Helps You Quickly Create Video Slideshows of Your Students' Best Work

While I was preparing my handout on digital portfolios I noticed a cool feature in FreshGrade that is perfect for the end of the school year. In your FreshGrade account you can quickly create video slideshows highlighting your students' best work. To do this simply sign into your FreshGrade account then under the reporting tab select create learning slideshow. Then to create the learning slideshow choose a student's name, choose up to ten images, and then the video slideshow is created for you much like the way that an Animoto video slideshow is created.

Applications for Education
FreshGrade's learning slideshows can be shared directly with your students' parents. This could be a great way to send home a positive note to parents at the end of the school year.

Disclosure: FreshGrade is currently running an advertising campaign on FreeTech4Teachers.com

10 Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios - A PDF Handout

For the majority of readers of this blog the end of the school year is already here or will be here within a month. This is the time of year that I get a lot of requests for suggestions on digital portfolio tools. If you find yourself looking for a digital portfolio tool and or have colleagues asking for suggestions, take a look at the ten options featured in my PDF handout embedded below or grab the Google Docs copy.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Interview With Colleague 2 Colleague

In August I am keynoting the Colleague 2 Colleague conference in Missouri. As a promotion for the conference, yesterday I was interviewed by the conference chair, Brent Zweifel. The video of the interview is embedded below.