Thursday, September 15, 2016

How to Create Simple Comics on Pixton

On Monday I shared some thoughts about using Pixton to engage students in creative writing. Over the last couple of days some folks have asked me for a little more guidance on how to get started with Pixton. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to create a simple comic story on Pixton. The video includes a tutorial on designing characters to use in your comics on Pixton.

Disclosure: Pixton is currently an advertiser on

The World of 7 Billion - A Student Video Contest

The World of 7 Billion is an annual video contest designed to get students to think about issues related to population growth. The contest asks middle school and high school students to produce sixty second videos about how population growth impacts one of the following three issues; climate change, ocean health, or rapid urbanization. Students' videos must also propose a sustainable solution to the issues that they choose to highlight in their videos. Submissions are due by February 23, 2017.

Applications for Education
Creating a video for the World of 7 Billion contest could be a good opportunity for students to incorporate and demonstrate their understanding of topics that they have studied in science and in geography. The 60 second limit on the videos will force students to be concise.

A set of free resources for teaching students about issues related to population growth is available from Population Education, the sponsors of this contest.

If your students have Chromebooks or Windows laptops, I recommend using WeVideo or Adobe Spark to create videos for this contest. In a Mac or iPad environment, I would use iMovie. Click here for my longer list of video creation resources.

How to Refine Google Searches According to Date

Google's search function has a lot of handy features that students often overlook while conducting research. One of those features is the option to refine search results according to a range of dates. As I explain in the video embedded below, refining a search according to date can be a good way to discover what was written in the past about a person, event, or place.

Search strategies like this one and many more will be covered in more detail in Teaching History With Technology starting in October.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Telling Stories and Solving Problems With Storyboards

Last night I hosted a free webinar about using storyboards to tell stories, illustrate problems and solutions, and to summarize favorite books. The webinar was hosted by Storyboard That. The recording of the webinar is embedded below.

Storyboard That also owns the popular Photos for Class and Quick Rubric websites. At the end of the webinar we took a quick look at those tools too.

The slides used in last night's webinar are embedded below.

NEW Apple Teacher Site Offers FREE Professional Development

This is a guest post from Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

Last week was a big one for Apple enthusiasts, but perhaps the best surprise was for educators with the release of the Apple Teacher program.  It’s free to sign up, and once you do, you’ll enter the Apple Teacher Learning Center where you have the opportunity to earn your badge as an official Apple Teacher.

The Learning Center has four different areas to explore.

1 - Learning Resources for Teachers

Here you will find the starter guides for both iPad and Mac.  Topics include Getting Started with the iPad/Mac, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, Garageband, as well as Productivity and Creativity.  I particularly appreciated the fact that the resources are geared towards both beginner and proficient users. Each guide not only has a wealth of information but the interactive nature of the guide gives you an opportunity to apply everything you learn.

2- Self-Paced Learning Modules & Badges 

This is an outstanding resource for both beginners and advanced users of the iPad and Mac.  Despite having taught in a 1:1 iPad environment and being Apple Distinguished Educator, I learned so many new tips, tricks, and ideas to take back to my classroom as well as to the teachers with whom I work. There are eight modules for both the iPad and Mac that you need to complete in order to get your certification. I most enjoyed the experience of interacting with the scenario-based quiz questions.

3 - Inspiration for Teachers

You’ve mastered the apps, and you’ve earned your Apple Teacher certification, so what’s next?  This area will provide you with lots of lesson ideas and inspiration that you can use to apply everything you’ve learned to transform the teaching and learning experience in your school.  Read stories about how other teachers are using the different apps with their students and explore video exemplars. You can also stay up to date with new tips about how to use the features on your iPad and Mac.

4 - Everyone Can Code

"Everyone Should have an opportunity to change the world." -Apple

This is the driving vision behind the new coding and app development curriculum recently launched by Apple, a story beautifully told in this video.  There are two parts to this new initiative - Swift Playgrounds and App Development.  From elementary to higher ed, there is something for everyone.

Like most things that come along, these tools are only as great as we make them. As the stories from the Inspiration for Teachers section show us, iPads and Macs present an opportunity to truly reimagine what is possible.

Sabba will be sharing her stories at the November 2-4 EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit in Boston, MA. Early Bird Registration is still open.