Monday, August 1, 2016

Reminder! TechSmith Is Ending Popular Free Products - Try These Alternatives

Back in May TechSmith announced that they are ending support for some popular tools that they had offered for free for years. This afternoon I received an email from TechSmith reminding me that on August 31st they will be ending support for ScreenChomp, Snagit for Chrome, and Knowmia. Here are some alternatives to Snagit for Chrome, ScreenChomp, and Knowmia.

Alternatives to Snagit for Chrome:
Nimbus Screenshot is a free extension that allows you to capture screen images and create screencast videos. Screencasts recorded with Nimbus Screenshot can be saved to your local drive or to an online Nimbus account. I chose to save to my local drive then upload to my YouTube channel. You could also save to your local drive then share to Google Drive or another online storage service.

Evernote's Chrome extension now includes a screenshot tool. Images are saved directly to your Evernote account where you can then annotate them with drawings and text.

CaptureCast is a great tool for creating screencasts on a Chromebook. CaptureCast is rather easy to install. Your recording length is unlimited. You can record your webcam while recording your screen which you cannot do with the Nimbus tool or Snagit. Set-up of CaptureCast is easy too. For folks who don't want to use YouTube to share recordings, CaptureCast lets you share directly to a Vimeo account.

Alternatives to Knowmia and ScreenChomp:
30hands is a freemium iPad app that makes it very easy to create a narrated slideshow and or whiteboard video. To create a basic narrated slideshow on 30hands all you need to do is import images from your iPad’s camera roll then press the record button below each image to record your narration. If you don’t have any pictures on your iPad you can take pictures using the 30hands app. 30hands also allows you to draw images instead of importing pictures. You can combine imported pictures with drawn images in your presentations. And you can draw on top of imported images. When your project is complete you can save it on your iPad or share it with the 30hands community.

Educreations is a free iPad app that turns your iPad into a whiteboard. You can use the app to illustrate concepts and narrate what you’re doing on the screen. You can draw images from scratch on the Educreations iPad app or you can upload images and draw on them. Your completed lesson can be shared directly to others or made public on the Educreations website.

ShowMe was the first whiteboard app that I ever tried and it is still good. ShowMe is an app for creating and sharing whiteboard-style lessons on your iPad. To support teachers, the Show Me website is building a gallery of lessons developed and shared by teachers. Each day there is a “Show Me of the Day” that is added to the gallery of lessons.

The Month in Review - July's Most Popular Posts

July has come and gone. In my part of the world the beginning of August signifies the beginning of fair season. And for schools in much of the world the beginning of August means that school will be starting soon. As you start to think about the technology that you might use in your classroom this year, take a look at the most popular posts of the month here on Free Technology for Teachers. Whether you're just starting to use technology in your classroom or you've been at it for years, this list has something for just about everyone.

Here are the most popular posts from July, 2016:
1. How to Enable Automatic Grading in Google Forms
2. A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs
3. Flubaroo Compared to the New Google Forms Auto-grading Feature
4. ScratchMath - Great Ideas for Using Scratch in Elementary Math
5. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
6. Character Scrapbook - A Template for Reflecting on Stories
7. Google Forms Can Now Automatically Grade Quizzes Without an Add-on
8. How to Create Custom Word Clouds
9. ABCD Wordie Analyzes Text and Creates Vocabulary Lists
10. How to Create Online Collaborative Whiteboards

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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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

How to Move from Zaption to EDpuzzle In Three Steps (Zaption is closing)

A couple of weeks ago when I shared the news that Zaption is closing I also shared some suggestions for alternatives to using Zaption. One of those suggestions was to try EDpuzzle. The folks at EDpuzzle saw that post and created a video for followers of this blog who would like to switch from Zaption to EDpuzzle. In the video embedded below you can learn how to quickly import your Zaption tours into EDpuzzle.

Evernote's Free Plan Is Almost Worthless - Here Are Two Good Alternatives

At the end of June Evernote announced some significant changes to their subscription plans including the free service that they had offered for years. Last night I received a reminder email from Evernote prodding me to buy up to one of their premium plans. I deleted the email because I switched away from Evernote and started using Google Keep for all of my bookmarking and note-taking needs.

Google Keep can be used on any device on which I sign into my Google Account. As you can see in the video embedded below, you can add labels to your Google Keep notes. Those labels can also be applied to bookmarks. All Google Keep notes and bookmarks can be shared with others.


Microsoft's OneNote is another alternative to Evernote that you might consider. It works on Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android devices. I don't use it simply because I have been a Google Apps user for so long. Jeff Bradbury offers a bunch of resources that can help you learn how to use OneNote. Microsoft has published an official tutorial on how to move your information from Evernote to OneNote.

To clarify, Evernote's free plan still exists but you're now limited to using it on just two devices. For folks who use multiple computers, tablets, and phones throughout the course of a normal school week, Evernote's free plan will be inadequate.

Owl Eyes Offers a Good Way to Guide Students Through Classic Literature

Owl Eyes is a relatively new tool that provides teachers with a good way to provide students with guidance while they are reading classic literature. Owl Eyes provides teachers with tools to insert annotations and questions into classic literature. Students can see the annotations and questions that their teachers add to the digital text. Teachers have the option to create online classrooms through which they can monitor their students' progress through a text and view their students' annotations and answers to questions. The texts available through Owl Eyes are mostly classic works that are in the public domain.

The short videos embedded below will help you get started with Owl Eyes. I highly recommend watching them in order to save yourself from some frustrating clicking without results.



Applications for Education
Owl Eyes could be a good tool for guiding students through some difficult classic literature. I would like to see its library expanded to include more texts that are accessible to younger students.

I couldn't find an option to upload my own texts on Owl Eyes. Until then, I will probably continue to use Google Docs to help students as they read difficult primary source documents. That process is outlined here.