Friday, December 16, 2016

Canva Adds New Awesome New Features!

Last week I shared a video tutorial about how to create greeting cards with Canva's excellent templates and design tools. That's an example of just one of the many things that students can design in Canva. This week Canva released more design and publishing features.

Canva now offers dynamic chart editing. In other words you can pick a template that includes a chart and edit any of the content displayed in that chart.

All Canva designs can now be embedded into blog posts and websites. This removes the need for you to download your design then upload it to your blog or website. If you make a change to your design after you embed it, the updated design will automatically be displayed in your blog post. And speaking of design updates, you can now invite others to collaborate with you on your designs.

Finally, and perhaps most exciting, Canva designs can now be published as webpages. To do this just click the share button on your design and select the option to publish as a webpage. This option could be great for folks who want to create webpages to serve as flyers for school events.

Teaching History With Technology - An Online PD Course

Last summer twenty-five middle school and high school teachers joined me to learn about tools and tactics for teaching history with technology. During the fall quite a few people expressed interest in participating in the next offering of the course. Registration is now open for the January section of Teaching History With Technology. The course begins on January 9th at 7pm Eastern Time.

Teaching History With Technology is a three week course in which you will learn how to develop engaging and challenging history activities. You will learn how to use tools like Google Earth and Maps, multimedia timelines, and video production tools. You will discover primary source databases, and learn how to help your students become better researchers. This course features three interactive online meetings along with a discussion forum in which you can further interact with me and your classmates. Certificates of completion are awarded for three hours of professional development.

Course FAQs

  • The course begins on January 9th at 7pm ET. 
  • The cost is $97.
  • All webinars are conducted live.
  • The sessions are recorded for those who cannot make it to the live sessions.  
  • Certificates for 3 hours of PD will be awarded to participants. 
Richard, why are you charging for the course? 
I explain the answer in this video

Spend the Summer in Washington D.C. as a C-SPAN Fellow

Summer might be six months away, but it's already time to start thinking about summer professional development opportunities. Social studies teachers should take note of C-SPAN's 2017 Summer Fellowship Program.

The C-SPAN Teacher Fellowship Program brings together teachers and media specialists to work together for four weeks in Washington, D.C. The fellows work together to develop new teaching materials. Teachers selected for the program will receive an award valued at $7,000 (including lodging and travel costs). You can learn more and find the application here. Applications are due by March 3, 2017.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Adobe Spark Now Lets You Insert Videos into Your Videos

Adobe Spark is one of my favorite new tools to 2016. In fact, I like it so much that I now feature it in my workshops and webinars about creating videos in the classroom. Today, Adobe Spark got even better by adding the ability for users to insert video clips into their video projects.

Prior to today's update Adobe Spark videos could only include pictures, text, music, and spoken words. Essentially, you were creating audio slideshows. Now you can upload video clips to use videos. Once you have uploaded and inserted a video clip you can then trim it to length to fit into your project. You can also record your own audio over the video clip. See all of the new features in this announcement published by Adobe.

Applications for Education
Here are a few ways that you can use Adobe Spark video in your classroom.
  • Create a short flipped-lesson with Adobe Spark. The recording tool makes it easy to precisely record your narration over the slides in your lesson. 
  • Have your students create video lessons. The slide aspect of Adobe Spark's video tool lends itself to students creating short Ken Burns-style documentary videos. Have them use Spark's search tool to find images to use in their videos or have them use a place Flickr's The Commons to find historical images. I've had students make this style of video to tell the stories of people moving west across the United States in the 19th Century. 
  • This is the time of year for year-in-review videos. Use Adobe Spark's video creation tool to make a video of highlights of the year. 

Brrr...Lessons on Winter Weather

The weather forecast for my town calls for a temperature of -5F and a wind chill of -33F tonight. I'll be bundling up when my dogs need to go out tonight. The cold forecast made me think about some resources for teaching lessons about winter weather.

The following video explains how wind chill is calculated. The video comes from Mind Your Decisions. Use the video with Vizia or EDpuzzle to create a flipped lesson about wind chill.

My favorite winter weather lesson resource from Scholastic is the Interactive Weather Maker. Using the Interactive Weather Maker students adjust temperatures and humidity levels to create rain and snow storms. Students simply move the temperature and humidity sliders until rain or snow begins to show up in the scene on their screens.

We had a nice snowstorm here on Sunday and Monday. That reminded me of this Bytesize Science video lesson about the chemistry of snowflakes. 

In the winter when we have fresh snow combined with a full moon I don't have to wear a headlamp to see my dogs in the yard at night. In the following Minute Physics video we learn why the full moon appears brighter in the winter.