Sunday, July 10, 2016

How Playing Sports Benefits the Brain and Body

How Playing Sports Benefits Your Body and Your Brain is the title of a recently released TED-Ed lesson. The video in the lesson teaches viewers about the psychology benefits of teamwork and overcoming defeat. Students watching the video can also learn how playing sports can help a person avoid or overcome feelings of depression. The complete lesson can be found here.


My one complaint about this lesson is that it does put a heavy emphasis on team sports. I wish that it would have included more references to participating in individual sports that can be pursued without the need to find a team.

How to Create a KWL Chart in Padlet

One of my favorite ways to use Padlet is to have students collaboratively create multimedia KWL (Know, Want, Learn) charts. To provide students with guidance on where to place their notes, I use a custom background on Padlet. The background is a just a screenshot of a three column page that I make in Google Documents (any other document program will work just as well) that is uploaded to Padlet. Eighteen months ago I published a video about how to do this, but since Padlet changed their user interface last month I have made a new video on how to create KWL charts in Padlet. The new video is embedded below.

How to Create Multimedia Timelines

Late last week I wrote a blog post about The History Project which is a site for collaboratively creating multimedia timelines. The History Project includes an audio recording tool that you can use to talk about events in the timelines that you create. I received a couple of questions about that recording feature so I made a video that demonstrates how it works. Watch my video embedded below to learn how to create multimedia timelines on The History Project.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Week in Review - A Little Break

Good evening from Maine where I'm getting ready for the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp that starts on Monday morning. Earlier this week, for the first time in years, I went consecutive days without publishing a blog post. I did that because I needed a little brain break after weeks of being on the road including a week at ISTE 2016 where I was bombarded with product pitches. During that little break I went bass fishing with a friend I hadn't seen in almost a year and I took some time for a long bike ride. We all need an unscheduled break sometimes. Now I feel ready to get back to cranking out helpful information to share on FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. How to Enable Automatic Grading in Google Forms
2. How to Create Online Collaborative Whiteboards
3. CK-12 Concept Maps Show Kids Connections Between Math and Science
4. Google Forms Can Now Automatically Grade Quizzes Without an Add-on
5. How Fireworks Work
6. Flubaroo Compared to the New Google Forms Auto-grading Feature
7. The History Project - Like Storycorps With Timelines

Bring Me To Your School or Conference
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 
Take a look at the online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.

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.

Collect, Customize, and Share Resources from Smithsonian Learning Labs

Late last year I wrote a post about The Smithsonian Learning Lab which is a fantastic tool for organizing the thousands of digital resources available through the various Smithsonian museums. The Smithsonian Learning Lab allows teachers to create and search for documents, images, videos, interactive animations, and lesson plans. In June the Smithsonian put forth a revamped version of the Learning Lab. The latest version still allows you to create and search for resources. It also lets you create collections to share with others as well as create assignments to give to your students. The video playlist embedded below teaches you how to collect, customize, and share collections of resources in the Smithsonian Learning Lab.

Applications for Education
The Smithsonian Learning Lab's collections feature on its own is great, but the collections are better when you can share them with others. In the Smithsonian Learning Lab you can create a classroom. Students join your classroom by entering the password that you choose for your classroom. Once students have joined your classroom you can share resources with them. You can also distribute assignments to students through your Smithsonian Learning Lab classroom.