Friday, September 16, 2016

7 Good Tools for Creating Timelines

Timeline creation is a go-to project for many history teachers. When I made timelines as a student and in my first year or two of teaching, timelines were made on paper. Today, there are better ways to have students create timelines. In their web browsers and in stand-alone iPad and Android apps students can create multimedia timelines. In the chart embedded below I showcase the key features of seven multimedia timeline creation tools.



Join Teaching History With Technology to learn more about these tools including how to use my favorite timeline tools in the chart.

Try My Simpleshow for Creating Explanatory Videos

My Simpleshow is a free tool for creating Common Craft style explanatory videos. The best aspect of My Simpleshow is the emphasis that the developers have placed on storyline planing and development. As is demonstrated in my tutorial below, students have to write a script on My Simpleshow before they can begin to use the video editing tools.


Applications for Education
There is not a shortage of online tools and mobile apps for creating explanatory videos. My Simpleshow stands out from the crowd because of the emphasis that is placed on storyline development. Making students write a script before they begin video production allows them and you to make sure that they have articulated their points well before they get caught up in trying to make the video look good.

Disclosure: My Simpleshow is currently advertising on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Streamline Your Feedback Process in Google Docs

JoeZoo Express is a free Google Docs Add-on that could change the way that you grade students' work in Google Documents. JoeZoo enables you to give feedback on students' Google Documents by simply highlighting text then selecting feedback statements from a huge menu of options. For example, in my sample document I highlighted text then chose the category of "structure" within the structure category I then chose to tag the sentence with the comment "awkward." When a student sees the feedback he or she will also see an explanation of "awkward" and how he or she can fix it.

JoeZoo Express doesn't limit you to using just feedback phrases that they have listed. You can create your own feedback phrases and explanations.

Teachers who want to use rubrics to give feedback and grades can do so within JoeZoo Express. JoeZoo offers a free rubric builder tool. You can customize the rubric to meet your specific needs. The rubrics that you create can be saved and inserted into students' documents when you are grading their work.

Applications for Education
JoeZoo Express could save you a lot of time when you're giving feedback and grading students' work in Google Documents. The initial set-up of JoeZoo, including creating rubrics and custom feedback phrases, could take a while but should prove to be a time-saver in the end.

JoeZoo Express does integrate with Google Classroom. You can import your Google Classroom rosters into JoeZoo to streamline the process of returning work to your students.

Learn how to use Add-ons like this one and many others in Getting Going With GAFE starting in October.  

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 FreeTech4Teachers.com

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.