Monday, July 25, 2016

A Crowd-sourced List of Google Cardboard Apps & Videos

During the ISTE conference this year I met Jack Bosley who is an educational technology teacher in Kentucky. He introduced himself after the panel discussion, hosted by Samsung, about virtual reality in education. Jack shared with me a Google Form that he created to crowd-source a list of apps and videos to use in Google Cardboard viewers in classrooms. So far the form has gathered thirty entries. And you can contribute to the list here. If you make a submission through the form, you will have access to the list.

Jack has also put together a great introductory presentation about Google Cardboard. That presentation can be seen here.

People looking to learn more about virtual reality in education may be interested in the studies that I highlighted in this post that I published at the end of June.

ScratchMath - Great Ideas for Using Scratch in Elementary Math

Last month I received an email from Jeffery Gordon in which he shared with me an online binary calculator that he created for his students. When I asked him for more information about the calculator and what he was teaching in general, he shared another cool resource with me. That resource is ScratchMath.

ScratchMath, written by Jeffery Gordon, is a free ebook filled with examples of using Scratch in elementary school math classes. The examples are Scratch models through which students can learn concepts dealing with place values, multiplication, and division. Each example includes the steps that need to be completed in Scratch to create models like a multiplication array, a divisibility checker, and factoring game.

For folks who are not familiar with Scratch, it is a free programming tool designed for students between the ages of eight and sixteen although it has been successfully used by younger and older students. Scratch uses a visual interface that helps students see how the parts of a program fit together to create a final product. Students create programs by dragging and dropping commands into a sequence. Programs that students create can vary from simple animations to complex multiplayer games. Visit the Scratch Educators page to learn more about how to use it in your classroom.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Running Android Apps on Your Chromebook

Chromebooks and the Chrome OS are constantly improving and offering more features to more students and teachers. An example of this is found when you consider that earlier this summer Google started supporting the use of some Android apps on some Chromebooks. Initially, the list of supported Chromebooks was small. That list has steadily grown over the last few weeks. You can see the list on the Chromium Projects website. Likewise, the list of Android apps that can be used on a Chromebook as steadily expanded. That list can be seen on this Chrome Web Store page (note, the page only displays the apps if you are viewing it on a Chromebook).

Jim Mendenhall has created a great webpage for comparing the features of various Chromebooks to help you find the best one for you and your students. Jim also recently published a video about how to use Android apps on Chromebooks. That video is embedded below.

Google Apps Terminology - A Short Explanation of Common Terms

Earlier this week I received an email from someone who was looking for clarification on the differences between Google Apps for Education, Google Drive, and Google Docs. That request for clarification isn't uncommon. Here's how I typically try to explain the differences between Google Apps for Education, Google Drive,  and Google Docs.

Google Apps for Education:
Google Apps for Education (commonly referred to as GAFE) is a free service that Google provides to schools. Within Google Apps for Education students, teachers, administrators, and support staff can use Google Classroom, Google Drive, Google Sites, Google Calendar, Gmail, and many other Google products. Google Classroom is only available to GAFE users. It provides a mechanism for teachers to distribute to and collect assignments from students. GAFE operates through a school/ school district's registered domain which means that user account names are typically structured as "username@yourawesomeschool.org" instead of "username@gmail.com." A domain administrator can set permissions on each account within a GAFE domain.

Google Drive:
Google Drive is a cloud storage solution offered by Google. It is available to anyone who has a Google Account of any type. Within Google Drive you can store any kind of file. Through Google Drive you have access to Google Documents, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Google Drawings, and Google Forms. Think of Google Drive as a garage in which you can store things and in that garage you also have tools (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Drawings) for creating new things.

Google Documents:
Google Documents is a free tool for creating and editing documents. It is designed to be an alternative to Word and other word processing programs. Google Docs can be used online or offline (provided that you use the Chrome web browser). You can share and collaborate on the creation and editing of documents with other Google Documents users.

Check out my playlist of tutorials on Google Apps, Google Drive, Google Documents, and other Google services.

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

Bring Me To Your School or Conference
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

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.