Saturday, June 4, 2016

Open Source Software Explained by @CommonCraft

Open source software powers many of things that we see and do on the Internet and on our computers every day. In fact, if you're reading this on an Android device right now, you can thank the people who have contributed to the open source code making that happen. What is open source software? How is it supported? Why would someone open source a project? Those questions and more are answered in the latest video from Common Craft that I have embedded below.

A Great Journal for History Teachers

The Library of Congress has quite a number of great resources for teachers and students. The Student Discovery Sets are favorite amongst my favorite resources that I've featured in the past. That collection of resources was recently updated by the LOC. The recent additions to the Student Discovery Sets include iBooks about the New Deal, scientific discovery, and weather forecasting through years.

Another great resource from the Library of Congress that history teachers should bookmark is The Teaching With Primary Sources Journal. The free online journal features activities for using primary source documents in primary and secondary classrooms. In addition to the teaching activities in the journal each issue includes a feature article about that issue's theme. The theme of the current issue is "historical and geographic thinking." After the feature article teachers will find links to related articles and related resources from the LOC and from around the Internet. The Teaching With Primary Sources Journal is published on a quarterly basis. The archives of the journal are available to browse and read online.

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Good Place to Find OneNote Tutorials

Yesterday morning I woke up to an email from a reader who told me that it was "ridonkulous" that I don't write about OneNote. (Side note, I need to get back in the habit of not checking email first thing in the morning so that I'm not starting my day with a nasty tone).

The reason that I don't write about OneNote is that I don't use it with any degree of regularity. It's a fine product and many people like it, but I've been a Google Apps guy for a long time and people kind of know me for that so I tend to write about Google Apps more than I do other cloud-based productivity services. All that said, I am happy to refer people to my friend Jeff Bradbury's website where he has many OneNote tutorials because he is regular user of that service. One of Jeff's videos about OneNote templates is embedded below.

When a Spreadsheet is Better Than a Form

Earlier this week a participant in one of my online courses asked a good question about using Google Forms as an assessment tool. Here's the paraphrased question:

I have created a great rubric for some year end projects. Rather than going straight to the spreadsheet, I complete the form as students present. However, i cannot for the life of me figure out the easiest way for me to take the responses and return them to students. It seems that when I open Flubaroo- things get super confusing.

This is one of the times when a Google Form might not be necessary. In fact, my suggestion was to skip the Form and just enter grades and comments into a Google Spreadsheet that has the Online Rubric Add-on enabled. Online Rubric helps you create a rubric within a Google Spreadsheet. The template will let you include email addresses so that you can quickly send to your students their grades and your comments. The video embedded below demonstrates how to use the Online Rubric Add-on for Google Sheets.

Classroom Heroes Looks Like a New Tool for Recording Classroom Activities

Classroom Heroes is a new service that seems similar in concept to ClassDojo. Classroom Heroes lets you make a record of your students' behaviors in your classroom. The service also gives you a place to record homework assignments. You can share those records with your students and their parents through SMS and email. Like ClassDojo, Classroom Heroes offers avatars that can be used to represent your students in your classroom.

Classroom Heroes isn't open to the public yet, but it is accepting registrations for early users. If you're interested in being an early adopter, you can register on the site.