Sunday, June 12, 2016

How to Use the New Version of Padlet

Last week Padlet introduced a revamped version of their online corkboard tool. The core functions of Padlet are still the same, but the user interface has changed a little bit. The primary changes are in the way that you customize your Padlet boards. In the video that is embedded below I provide an overview of the new version of Padlet.


Five ways to use Padlet with students:

Padlet as a simple blogging platform:
Padlet walls can be arranged in free-form, grid, or stream layouts. Creating a Padlet page in the stream format could be a good way to create a simple, collaborative blog for students. You could create the page, select "stream" format, and make the page accessible for students to write short posts on. Their posts could include images and videos. If you want to, you can password protect your Padlet pages and moderate messages before they appear on your Padlet page.

Padlet Mini as a bookmarking tool:
Padlet Mini is a Chrome extension that you can use to bookmark websites. When you click the Padlet Mini extension in your browser you will be presented with the option to save to one of your existing walls or create a new Padlet wall. Click here for a video on using Padlet Mini.

Padlet as a KWL chart:
Padlet can be used to create a KWL chart that students can contribute to anonymously (or not anonymously if you want them to sign-in). Create a wall, make it public, and ask students to share what they know and what they want to know about a topic. If you allow anonymous posting you might get contributions from shy students who might not otherwise speak-up in class. Of course, if you allow anonymous commenting you should have a conversation with your students about what an appropriate comment looks like. (You could also turn on moderation and approve all notes before they appear). Padlet works well when projected on an interactive whiteboard.

Padlet for group research and discussion:
A few years ago I showed my special education students a short (18 minutes) video about cultural changes that took place in the US during the 1920's. After the video we discussed what they saw. Then I had students search online for other examples of cultural change in the 1920's. When they found examples they put them onto a Wallwisher (Padlet's previous name) wall that I projected onto a wall in my classroom. The wall started with just text being added to the wall and quickly progressed to YouTube videos being added to the wall. Once every student had added a video to the wall we stopped, watched the videos, and discussed them.

Padlet as a showcase of your students’ work:
If your students are creating digital portfolios, creating slideshows, or producing videos you could use Padlet to display all of your students’ best work on one page. Create the wall, call it something like “my best work this year,” and have your students post links to their works.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Week in Review - On the Road

Sketch notes about my video workshop.
Good evening from Arizona where I'm relaxing after a great week of speaking at conferences in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona. Today, I had the honor of giving the closing keynote at the Native Innovation Education Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona. That conference was the second one this week that offered workshops on using technology to help teachers and students improve their physical fitness. It's great to see that trend.

I was on the road all week which is why I re-posted some of the most popular posts of the 2015-16 school year. New posts will resume on Sunday.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. An Illustrated Mathematics Glossary
2. 7 Blogging Platforms for Teachers Compared and Ranked
3. Good Tools for Learning to Type
4. 10 Good Video Sources for Social Studies Teachers and Students
5. 10 Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources
6. Great Google Drive Add-ons & Chrome Extensions for Teachers
7. 5 Things We Can Do to Help Students Learn & Work Independently

Summer PD Opportunities With Me
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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. 
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. 

Triventy - Collaboratively Create Online Games and Save the Results

Triventy is a free online quiz game platform that is similar in concept to platforms like Kahoot and Socrative. Triventy differentiates itself from the crowd by allowing you to accept question suggestions from students. You can see an overview of Triventy in this video that I published in January.

This week Triventy add a frequently requested feature. That feature is the ability to download a history of responses to quiz questions. At the end of every activity you can now download a spreadsheet of your students' responses to questions in your quiz game.

Applications for Education
One of the neat features of Triventy for students is that they can ask for a hint or to have an answer choice eliminated. Students can also see an explanation of the answer to each question.

Teachers can invite students to add questions to their games. Typically, as a homework assignment before running the game in class. This creates a comprehensive learning experience in which students are both ‘players’ and ‘tutors’ who share their knowledge with you and their classmates.

Teach Your Monster to Read - Now on Android and iPad

Teach Your Monster to Read is a great series of online games designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters and sounds. The website gets its name from the friendly monster avatars that students help learn to read through the course of the games.

The Teach Your Monster to Read games are designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters, sounds, and word. The games have eight levels (or islands as they're called in the game) each containing four activities. Students play the game as a friendly monster avatar. On each island students can earn prizes for their monsters and customize the look of their monsters.

This week the folks who have developed Teach Your Monster to Read announced that the games are coming to the Android and iOS platforms. You can download the Android app now and you can request access to the beta version of the iOS app now by requesting access.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ten Good Video Channels for Science Students - Best of 2015-16 School Year

All of this week I am on the road working with teachers in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona. Rather than scrambling to write blog posts at the end of each day, I'm taking this time to feature some of the most popular posts and new tools of the 2015-2016 school year.

On Sunday evening I shared a list of ten good sources of social studies videos. To keep the video source series going I've created a list of sources for educational science videos. Here are ten good sources of science videos for students and teachers.

On his website and YouTube channel Montana's 2011 Teacher of the Year Paul Anderson has uploaded more than 300 quality instructional videos like the ones about biology that are embedded below.



TED-Ed offers dozens of videos on a variety of topics in science. I created a playlist of TED-Ed videos about how the human body works. That playlist is embedded below.


Gooru is a service that aims to provide teachers and students with an extensive collection of videos, interactive displays, documents, diagrams, and quizzes for learning about topics in math and science. As a Gooru member you have access to hundreds of resources according to subject areas such as chemistry, biology, ecology, algebra, calculus, and more. Within each subject area you can look for resources according to media type such as video, interactive display, slides, text, and lesson plans. When you find resources that you want to use, drag them to the resources folder within your account. Gooru also offers you the option to add resources to your folders even if you did not find them within Gooru.

Learners TV has organized hundreds of academic videos. They've also organized more than one hundred science animations. The science animations on Learners TV are organized into three categories; biology, physics, and chemistry.

ScienceFix is the blog and YouTube channel of middle school science teacher Darren Fix. On both the blog and the YouTube channel you will find more than 100 videos demonstrating various science experiments, demonstrations, and middle school science lessons.

Bright Storm's YouTube channel offers video lessons for biology, chemistry, and physics. The videos are nothing more than an instructor lecturing with a whiteboard for a few minutes which could be adequate if a student just needs a refresher on a science topic.

NASA has a few different YouTube channels, but the one that has the most universal utility for teachers and students is NASA eClips. NASA eClips is organized according to grade level with playlists intended for elementary school, middle school, and high school.

Reactions: Everyday Science is a YouTube channel that was formerly known as Bytesize Science. I have featured a few Bytesize Science videos in the past. Reactions: Everyday Science produces short explanatory videos about the science in common elements of our lives. In the past I've featured Reactions videos about the science of snowflakes and the science of grilled cheese.

John and Hank Green's Crash Course channel on YouTube includes courses in chemistry, ecology, and biology. They're good videos, but they do go quickly so your students might have to rewind them a couple of times to catch everything.

The Spangler Effect is a YouTube channel from Steve Spangler Science. Unlike his popular Sick Science videos which are no more than short demonstrations of science experiments students and parents can do at home, The Spangler Effect videos offer longer (15 minutes or so) explanations of science experiments. The Spangler Effect videos explain the science of do-it-yourself experiments and how you can recreate those experiments at home or in your classroom.

A note about Khan Academy: I left Khan Academy off the list because it's the best known source of educational videos. Sal Khan doesn't need my help promoting his stuff.