Saturday, October 29, 2016

Canva Can Help You Increase Your School's Social Media Reach

One of the things that I always talk about in my workshop on Blog & Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is using high resolution graphics to draw attention to your blog posts and social media posts. Canva is a free tool that can help you create high quality, high resolution graphics to make your posts stand-out in a crowded stream of social media posts. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Canva to create graphics for social media posts.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where I spent most of the rainy day reading to my daughter and playing with my dogs. It was a great way to spend a day. Looking at my Facebook feed today I saw lots of parents preparing their kids for Halloween activities. We went to a little town celebration of Halloween yesterday afternoon. Whatever you did on this Saturday, I hope you had an enjoyable day.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Great Google Drive Add-ons for Teachers - An Updated Handout
2. How JoeZoo Express Can Save You Tons of Time Grading in Google Documents
3. 7 Halloween Lesson Activities for Elementary School Students
4. Three Good Tools for Collaboratively Creating Multimedia Books
5. My Three Favorite Video Creation iPad Apps for Elementary School
6. How to Add Sticky Notes To Webpages
7. OpenEd Helps You Find Resources to Share In Your LMS

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#TeacherDebate - A Live Lesson About the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Next week on Tuesday night Keith Hughes, Tom Richey, and Nicholas Ferroni will be conducting a mock Presidential debate on Google Hangouts. Keith will represent Clinton's positions. Tom will represent the positions of Trump. And Nicholas will be the moderator. The event will be streamed and recorded on Keith's Hip Hughes History channel. Learn more about this event by watching Keith's preview video below.


You might be wondering why they aren't having someone play the role of Gary Johnson. Keith answered that question a bunch of times on his YouTube channel. Here's the answer he's been giving:

"We were challenged to do it and we put together quite quickly. It's also much harder to handle five people in a Google Hangout in order to have any type of rational discussion. I know it's not the best answer but it's the only one I have."

Friday, October 28, 2016

How JoeZoo Express Can Save You Tons of Time Grading in Google Documents

JoeZoo Express is a Google Documents Add-on that I have been raving about since I first tried it earlier this year. The JoeZoo Express Add-on can save you a ton of time when you are grading or editing your students' writing in Google Documents. The way that JoeZoo Express does that is by providing you with the ability to store canned comments to insert directly in your students' work. Not only that, JoeZoo Express includes an option for linking to tutorials that can help your students improve their writing. Watch my short video embedded below to see how JoeZoo Express make your grading process much more efficient.

Three Good Tools for Collaboratively Creating Multimedia Books

Collaborating to create multimedia books can be a good way to get students excited about writing stories. Students can collaborate with each other and or with you. Through the process of sharing ideas and revisions students' work improves. Writing a multimedia ebook can also be a nice way for students to illustrate and or further explain portions of fiction and non-fiction stories that they compose. The following three platforms make it possible for students to create and publish multimedia ebooks in their web browsers.

For elementary school students:
WriteReader is a neat multimedia writing platform for elementary school teachers and students. The appeal of WriteReader is found in the collaboration between students and teachers. Students can create multimedia books that teachers log into to correct. As is seen the video below, each page of a book has a space for students to write in and a space for teachers to write in. Teachers use the space on the page to correct spelling errors and or make editing suggestions. WriteReader books can include text, pictures, and voice recordings. Completed WriteReader books can be shared online and can be downloaded as PDFs to print.

Tools for middle school/ high school students:
Widbook is a platform designed to help people collaboratively create multimedia books. The service is part multimedia book authoring tool and part social network. Mashable called it "the YouTube of books." On Widbook you can create a digital book that contains text, images, and videos. Widbook is collaborative because you can invite others to make contributions to your books. To use Widbook you have to create a profile on the service. The books that you create become a part of your profile. If you allow it, other Widbook users can add content and or comments to your books. Likewise, you can search for others' books and  make contributions to their books. Due to the public gallery of books I would only use Widbook with students of high school age or older.

I've often described Lucidpress as a mix of the best of Apple's Pages with the best of Google Docs. Through Lucidpress you and your students can collaboratively create documents that incorporate videos and images. Through Lucidpress you and your students can collaboratively create documents that incorporate videos and images. The process of creating a document on Lucidpress can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. To get started you might stick with the basics of moving text and pictures around on the document by just dragging and dropping. There are options for layering images with differing amounts of transparency, image cropping tools, and font customization options in each Lucidpress template. As mentioned above, you can also add videos into your projects (obviously they only play when viewed online).