Sunday, October 30, 2016

Literature Map Helps You Find Authors You'll Like

Finding books that kids will like can be a difficult task. Literature Map is a tool that might make that process easier. Literature Map provides a web of authors you might like based on authors that you already enjoy reading. To use Literature Map just type an author's name into the search box and webbed list of authors will be displayed. The authors' names closest to the author whose name you searched are the authors whose work you're most likely to enjoy.

Applications for Education
Literature Map could be useful for students who have read all their favorite author's books and are looking for other good books to read.

5 Tools Students Can Use to Create Music Online

Online music creation tools can be used by students to make music to use in projects like podcasts and videos. Students can also use online music creation tools to experiment with rhythms and sounds to learn how music is made. The following free tools can be used for either of those purposes.

Soundtrap is a fantastic tool for creating music online. The cool thing about Soundtrap is that students can use virtual instruments to create music or they can record themselves playing music on an instrument and then use that recording in conjunction with the virtual instruments in the Soundtrap environment. What makes Soundtrap stand-out from the crowd is its collaboration options. Click the "collaborate" tab in the Soundtrap editor to invite others to create music with you. Soundtrap will work in the Chrome web browser on a laptop, iPad, Chromebook, and Android tablet. In my workshops I often describe Soundtrap as Google Docs for music.

BandLab is a free service that enables you to create music in your web browser or through free Android and iOS apps. In BandLab's you can create soundtracks using any of the virtual instruments that are provided. You can also speak or sing to record a track. Within the BandLab editor you can mix your tracks together to create a song. If you have existing audio files on your computer, you can upload those to incorporate into your BandLab creations.

Soundation is a service that allows anyone to create and remix sound tracks online. If you have used Apple's Garage Band, Soundation will look familiar to you. Soundation provides tracks on which you can place music clips and sound effects to mix together. To create your original work you can select from Soundation's gallery of 400 free sounds, upload your own sounds, or record new sounds using the instruments and keyboard built into Soundation. When you've created a product you like, you can download it or share it in Soundation's gallery.

Beat Lab is a free service through which you can experiment with thousands of sound and rhythm combinations. Using Beat Lab is easy. Beat Lab provides a grid on which you select the sounds you want to have played. You can specify how often you want each sound played and how quickly you want the sounds played. There are twelve default sounds provided in the Beat Lab grid. You can add more sounds by selecting "add more sounds" and choosing from the huge catalog of sounds. If the sound you want isn't available in the Beat Lab catalog you can upload your own sounds.

Monkey Machine is a web-based program that allows students to experiment with drum set sounds and rhythms. Using Monkey Machine students can customize the selection of drums and cymbals in their virtual drum set. Monkey Machine also allows students to customize the tempo in their drum tracks and the frequency with which each drum or cymbal is played. All tracks created using Monkey Machine can be downloaded as MIDI files.

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

Need a keynote for your conference? 
Click here to learn about my keynotes and workshops.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Pixton provides a great way to create comics. 
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
SeeSaw is the best platform for creating digital portfolios with K-8 students. 
Math Playground offers hundreds of math games and tutorial videos. 
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.
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.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

#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."