Monday, July 18, 2016

Getting Started With Kaizena - Voice Commenting on Google Docs

Over the weekend a reader posted the following message on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page,

Hey Richard, would you be able to recommend a free site for audio feedack to students? I want to record my feedback on essays and have kids listen. Don't know where to start. Is it an audio file that can be emailed? They have to log on somewhere and listen? Thoughts? Thanks for any help.

My suggestion was to try Kaizena for adding voice comments to students documents. Kaizena can be used in your web browser or as an iPad app. Kaizena's YouTube channel has some helpful tutorials including the three embedded in the playlist below.

How to Track Changes to Google Sites

This afternoon during the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp Beth Still and I shared some ways to use Google Sites with students. One of the features that I showed was using page level permissions (this video shows you how to enable those) to have students manage individual pages within a site. That raised the question of how to keep track of updates that students make to their pages. There is a simple way to do that by subscribing to page changes. Watch my video below to learn how to track changes to Google Sites.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Digital Dialects - Games for Learning a New Language

Digital Dialects offers a nice selection of educational games and activities for learning more than 50 different languages. Most of the games are designed to learn and practice the basics of each of the languages listed on the Digital Dialects homepage.

Another good website for learning and practicing language basics is Literacy Center.net. Literacy Center offers games for learning and practicing French, Spanish, German, and English. The Literacy Center is a 501c non-profit with a contract from the US Department of Education.

Applications for EducationThe educational games and activities found on Digital Dialects and Literacy Center are great for students just beginning to learn a new language. The games provide instant feedback to students and parents so that they can monitor progress and choose a skill or set of vocabulary terms to practice. 

Quick Current Events Activities from KQED Education

KQED Public Media's website has a small section of its Ed Space pages dedicated to short current events-based Do Now activities that teachers can use in their classrooms. These weekly Do Now activities present a current events topic, some background information (both text and video), and a couple of discussion prompts. New Do Now activities are posted on Fridays although it is currently on hiatus until August.

Applications of Education
KQED's Do Now activities aren't terribly in-depth, but they could be good lesson starters. For more in-depth lesson ideas you should explore KQED's curriculum bank where you can search for lessons by subject and grade level.

Word Tamer Helps Students Write Stories

Word Tamer is a neat site for learning the process of developing characters, settings, and plots in creative writing. Word Tamer is set up as an interactive journey through a carnival of literary devices. As students move through the carnival they develop characters, develop a setting, and develop a plot for their stories. At each stop in the Word Tamer carnival students can print out the words they have written. Along the way there are videos to help students understand the roles of characters, settings, and plot development in crafting a good story.

Applications for Education
I learned about Word Tamer from Kristen Swanson who noted that the narration and graphics make the site UDL-friendly. I think that Word Tamer has potential to get reluctant writers started on their way to crafting creative stories.