Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where I'm enjoying some coffee on my deck to start the day. This week I hosted the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp in Portland, Maine. 35 of use had a nice couple of days of learning from each other. Some people attended for the second and third time. I'm already starting to think about how to make next year's Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps better. Hopefully, you can join us next year.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Custom Word Clouds
2. ABCD Wordie Analyzes Text and Creates Vocabulary Lists
3. Word Tamer Helps Students Write Stories
4. A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs
5. A Compare & Contrast Essay Map for Young Students
6. A Tour of the Geology of U.S. National Parks
7. How to Track Changes to Google Sites

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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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs

OpenEd is a service that offers a huge catalog of standards-aligned lesson plans and other resources for teachers. Today, I received an email from OpenEd informing me of their new Google Docs Add-on called Lesson Plan Tool for Docs.

With Lesson Plan Tool for Docs enabled you can search for standards-aligned lesson plan resources within your Google Documents. To perform a search simply open the add-on then select a standard from the drop-down menu that appears on the right-hand side of your document. You can preview any of the resources that appear in the search by simply clicking on them and opening them in a new tab. When you find a resource that you like, you can click again to add it into your document.

Applications for Education
Lesson Plan Tool for Docs could be a handy Add-on to use when you're developing units of study for your classroom. You could share the document onto which you're adding resources so that your colleagues can help you create a unit of study.

Why the Metric System Matters - And How It Confounds Americans

Why the Metric System Matters is the title of the latest TED-Ed lesson. The lesson explains how measurement systems evolved through history including the historical event that hastened the adoption of the metric system throughout most of the world. The lesson also explains why the United States doesn't use the metric system.

As is noted in the video above, many Americans are not comfortable with the metric system despite the fact that it's the universal standard in mathematics and science. The Buzzfeed video embedded below captures the trouble that Americans have with the metric system.

How to Place an Image-based Quiz in Your Blog

A couple of weeks ago I published a tutorial on how to create an image-based quiz on Formative. The image-based quizzes that you create in Formative can be embedded into your classroom blog where your students can then answer the questions in the quiz. In my video embedded below I demonstrate how to create the quiz, how to embed it into your blog, and I show you a student's perspective of the quiz as embedded into a blog.

Applications for Education
I am a proponent of using classroom blogs as online hubs for digital activities like image-based quizzes. Putting the Formative quiz in your classroom blog means that you don't have to try to direct all of your students to a link or a classroom code. Instead, you can just direct them to your classroom blog where they can find all of the activities and resources that they need for your class.

A Convenient Update to Google Drive File Organization

The "make a copy" function in Google Drive is one of the features that I frequently use when teaching multiple sections of a course. Selecting "make a copy" from the "File" menu in Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets allows me to quickly duplicate an item to use in multiple courses. Until this week I always had to go back into My Drive to then place my duplicated files into the folders for each course. This week Google made that process easier. Now when I copy Documents, Sheets, or Slides I can immediately choose the folder into which the copy should should be placed.

Applications for Education
This update to Google Drive isn't going to change the way you teach or the way the that your students use Google Documents. This update is helpful for those of us who teach multiple sections of the same course and often re-use documents from one section to the next. I've already used the new folder choice option three times this week as I prepare materials for a class I'm teaching in the fall.