Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kahoot Adds a Team Mode - Best of 2016

As I usually do during this week, I'm taking some time off to relax, ski, and work on some long-term projects for the next year. This week I will be re-publishing the most popular posts of 2016.

This week Kahoot, the wildly popular quiz game platform, released a new team mode. The new team mode is designed to be used with students who are sharing computers, tablets, or phones. In team mode students arrange themselves in teams around a shared computer or tablet. When you start a Kahoot game you'll now choose "team mode." With team mode selected your students will be prompted to enter a team name and a list of the team members.

After the teams have entered their names you will be ready to start the game. One of the nice features of team mode is that students have time to discuss their answer choices before they are allowed to submit a response. From there the game is played and scored as any other Kahoot game is.

Applications for Education
Kahoot's new team mode could be a great option for teachers who have wanted to try Kahoot but didn't have enough devices for all of his or her students to play along. Even if you do have enough devices for every student the team mode could still be a good way to promote collaboration and a little less competition in your review activities.

Take a look at Socrative's Space Race mode if you are looking for a review game that students can play in teams with individual devices.

Learn more about Kahoot, Socrative, and other fun formative assessment tools in Fun Formative Assessments on January 11th.

Quizalize - Best of 2016

As I usually do during this week, I'm taking some time off to relax, ski, and work on some long-term projects for the next year. This week I will be re-publishing the most popular posts of 2016.

There is certainly not a shortage of interactive quiz platforms available to teachers today. Platforms like Socrative and Kahoot have turned boring review activities into fun games that students want to play all the time. The trouble with those platforms is that to get the most out of them all of your students need to play at the same time. That's where Quizalize is trying to be distinguish itself in a crowded market.

Quizalize is a quiz game platform that will remind you of Socrative or Kahoot. Like Kahoot, students play your quiz games on their laptops or tablets by going to the Quizalize website then entering their names and a class code. Students are awarded points for correctly answering questions quickly. Students are given feedback instantly on every quiz question that they answer. A total score is presented to students at the end of every quiz. What's different about Quizalize is that you can have students play a quiz game as a classroom activity or you an assign to them to play at home. Either way that they play students receive immediate feedback and can track their own progress on a game when they play it multiple times.

In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to create, distribute, and track quiz games in Quizalize.



In Fun Formative Assessments on January 11th we'll take a more detailed look at tools like Quizalize and how you can use them in your classroom. 

More Than 40 Alternatives to YouTube - Best of 2016

As I usually do during this week, I'm taking some time off to relax, ski, and work on some long-term projects for the next year. This week I will be re-publishing the most popular posts of 2016. 

3 Tips for Using YouTube Videos in Your Classroom was one of the most popular posts of the week on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Those tips are all well and good if you can access YouTube in your classroom. If you cannot access YouTube in your classroom then you will want to consult my list of more than 40 alternatives to YouTube. Over the years I've updated the list as new sites emerged and old ones shut down. The list includes a search engine for videos that are not on YouTube.

If you do have access to YouTube in your school, consider using tools like ViewPure and Watchkin to display videos without showing the "related" videos comments from YouTube.

YouTube has some great hidden features for teachers. So if you do have access to YouTube in your school, take a look at YouTube, It's Not Just Cats & Khan Academy

Three Tools Students Can Use to Add Annotations to Videos - Best of 2016

As I usually do during this week, I'm taking some time off to relax, ski, and work on some long-term projects for the next year. This week I will be re-publishing the most popular posts of 2016. 

When we talk about flipped lessons it often involves a lot of heavy lifting on a teacher's part. From finding a video to adding questions to the video, it is a time-consuming process and in the end we're still not always sure if the students actually watched the video or they just guessed at the answers to the questions. One way to flip the standard flipped classroom model is to have students find and annotate videos that then submit to you. The following three tools can be used by students for that purpose.

Using VideoANT anyone can add annotations to any publicly accessible YouTube video. To do this copy the URL of a video and paste it into the VideoANT annotation tool. Then as the video plays click the "add annotation" button when you want to add an annotation. To have others annotate the video with you, send them the VideoANT link. You are the only person that has to have a VideoANT account. Your collaborators do not need to have a VideoANT account to participate in the annotation process with you. Nathan Hall wrote a complete run-down of all of the features of VideoANT. He also posted a how-to video. I recommend reading his post and watching his video here.

Vialogues is a free service that allows you to build online discussions around videos hosted online and videos that you have saved on your computer. Registered users can upload videos to Vialogues or use YouTube videos as the centerpieces of their conversations. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of how Vialogues works.



MoocNote is a free tool for adding timestamped comments, questions, and links to videos. To do this on MoocNote you simply paste a link to a YouTube video into the MoocNote editor. Once the video is imported you can start to add your comments, questions, and links. The link features is particularly useful for providing students with additional resources for learning about the topics covered in your shared videos. MoocNote allows you to organize playlists (MoocNote calls them courses) of videos according to topics that you identify. MoocNote could be a good tool for high school teachers who want to organize playlists of videos for their students and add some clarifying information to those videos. You could also have students use MoocNote to annotate videos to demonstrate an understanding of the topic at hand.

Check out Quick & Powerful Video Projects to learn how to use video creation tools in your classroom. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Blogging Platforms for Teachers Compared and Ranked - Best of 2016

As I usually do during this week, I'm taking some time off to relax, ski, and work on some long-term projects for the next year. This week I will be re-publishing the most popular posts of 2016. By the way, if you want to learn more about using blogs in school, join Blogs & Social Media for Teachers & School Leaders starting in January.

Last week I published an updated version of one my popular ed tech tools comparison charts. That chart was about creating multimedia quizzes. This afternoon I updated my chart of seven blogging tools for teachers. The chart is available as a Google Doc or as a PDF embedded below. Unlike some of my other charts, at the bottom of this one I included my ranking of the tools. That ranking is also written below the chart embedded into this post.


1. WordPress.org - If you have the technical accumen or the time to learn it (it’s not that hard), self-hosting a blog that runs on WordPress software will give you the ultimate in control and flexibility. You will be able to create and manage student accounts, have a nearly infinite variety of customizations, and you’ll be able to move your blog from server to server whenever you want to. That said, you will have to pay for hosting (or convince your school to give you server space) and you will be responsible for maintaining security updates and backing-up your blog regularly.

2. Blogger - It’s free and easy to set-up. It can be integrated into your Google Apps for Education account which means that you and your students can use the same usernames and passwords that they use in all other Google tools. You can make your blog private (up to 100 members invited by email). The drawback to it is that a lot of school filters flag it as “social media” and block it on those grounds.

3. Weebly for Education - It’s free to have up to 40 students in your account. You can manage your students’ accounts. You can have students contribute to a group blog and or let them manage their own individual blogs.

4. Edublogs or Kidblog - Both services allow you to manage your students’ accounts. Both require you to pay for a subscription in order to get the features that you really want. Those features include embedding videos and other media from third party sites. Both services are powered by WordPress. I give a slight edge to Edublog because they have proven, outstanding customer support. Edublogs also offers mobile apps while Kidblog does not.

5. SeeSaw.me - SeeSaw was originally launched as a digital portfolio tool. The addition of a blogging component was made in January 2016. The blogging component of SeeSaw allows you to import and display your students’ digital artifacts publicly or privately. There is not much you can do with SeeSaw in terms of customization of layout and color scheme. SeeSaw is free for teachers and students to use, but charges parents for access to see their students’ digital portfolios.

6. WordPress.com - It’s easy to use and is free, but with some serious limitations at the free level. The free version displays advertising on your blog which you cannot control. The free version also doesn’t allow embedding content from many third-party sites.