Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where despite some rain it's a nice weekend. Looking over the valley from my house I can start to see some leaves starting to fade and change colors. This is a sure sign that school will soon start here. In many other places, the new school year has already started. I hope those of you who started school this month are off to a great start. For those still on summer vacation, enjoy it!

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Good Tools for Creating Digital Portfolios - A PDF Handout
2. Storyboard That Offers Four School Year Starter Projects
3. Tour Buckingham Palace In Virtual Reality
4. Student Stories - Student-led Portfolios on ClassDojo
5. The Physics of Olympic Sports
6. Two Ways to Use Data Validation in Google Forms
7. Exploring Marine Science in Google Earth

I Will Come 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.
D2L offers a great LMS and they want your input to make it even better.
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.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

15 Videos About Making Videos

Earlier this week someone rightly pointed out to me that the Practical Ed Tech Tips playlist on my YouTube channel was getting a bit too long (it has more than 200 videos in it). To rectify that problem I've created some smaller playlists consisting of videos that I've published on various topics within my YouTube channel. One of those smaller playlists features fifteen tutorials related to creating and editing videos. The playlist is embedded below.

FreshGrade Offers Free Webinars About Digital Portfolios

FreshGrade is a digital portfolio platform that has quickly risen in popularity over the last eighteen months. The learning slideshow feature in FreshGrade is one of the many features that has helped it become popular amongst teachers and students.

FreshGrade is offering a series of free webinars to help teachers learn more about creating and using digital portfolios in the new school year. Obviously, the webinars will feature the tools in FreshGrade, but some of the concepts in the first two webinars could be applied to just about any digital portfolio tool. The first two webinars are already available to watch on demand. The rest of the webinars start next week. To watch the recorded webinars just visit this page, select a webinar, then complete the registration and the recording will be available to you almost instantly.

To learn about other digital portfolio tools, check out my free guide to digital portfolios

Displaying YouTube Without Distractions

In my previous post I shared the idea of using extended display mode to choose what is and isn't displayed on the projector in your classroom. If one of the things that you want to display is a YouTube video, you'll want to make sure that you don't accidentally display the "related" videos that appear on YouTube. You can avoid displaying related videos by using one of the following free tools. None of these tools will bypass your school's filter nor will they let you download videos.

Watchkin is a service that allows you to watch and project YouTube videos without seeing the related sidebar content typically seen on Watchkin can be used in a few ways. You can enter the direct URL of a video into Watchkin to have the sidebar content removed. You can search for videos through Watchkin and have family-friendly results displayed (if a video appears that is not family-friendly Watchkin has a mechanism for flagging it as inappropriate). Watchkin also offers a browser bookmarklet tool that you can click while on to have the related content disappear from the page.

View Pure is a simple little tool that strips way all of the distractions of related videos, comments, and promoted videos. To use View Pure just copy the link of a video into the "purifier," click purify, and your video will be displayed on a blank white background. You can also install the View Pure bookmarklet to accomplish the same goal.

Quietube is a handy little browser extension that removes all the clutter from YouTube allowing you to view only your selected video. Quietube removes all advertising, sidebar content, comments, and ratings. Installing Quietube requires nothing more than dragging the Quietube button to your toolbard. Then anytime that you're on YouTube click the Quietube button to remove all of the clutter and just watch your selected video. Quietube works for Viddler and Vimeo videos too. makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the related videos and associated comments. To use simply copy the url of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare also offers browser bookmarklet that eliminates the need to copy and paste links.

Embedding YouTube videos into Google Slides, a blog post, or wiki page will also allow you to show videos without displaying the sidebar content that is typically found on a YouTube page.

Control What's Projected With Chromecast or Extended Display

Whether it is to quickly search for a video, find a bookmark on Pinterest, or dig-up a file in your Google Drive there are times when you'll find your computer hooked to a projector, but you don't want everything projected in front of your classroom. That's when using the "extended display" mode is handy. Extended display allows you to project one thing while looking at another on your computer's screen.

Let's say you want to find a in your Google Drive, but you don't want to project your entire Google Drive dashboard to your students. With extended display activated you could search within your Google Drive for your file then when you find it you can move its display from your computer's screen to your projector screen. Similarly, if you have use Chromecast you can search in your web browser and or have multiple tabs open in your web browser then choose which specific tab to project.

How you extend your display varies slightly depending upon the operating system that you're using on your computer. Mac users can find directions here. Windows 7 users will want to follow these directions. Windows 8 users should follow these directions. Windows 10 users will find these directions helpful. Chromebook users can follow the directions here to connect and extend displays.

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