Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the air is cold, the snow feels crisp, and the sun is shining. In other words, it's a perfect winter day to go outside and play.

I hope that everyone had good first week of 2017. Some of you even started 2017 with a professional development session on Wednesday afternoon. Next week I'm offering two more online professional development opportunities. On Monday night Teaching History With Technology begins. On Wednesday afternoon we'll have Fun With Formative Assessments.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Practical Ed Tech Handbook - Best of 2016
2. Quick Rubric Offers an Easy Way to Create Rubrics Online
3. A Cute Video About Email Etiquette for Students - Best of 2016 
4. 10 Ideas for Using Comics In Your Classroom - Best of 2016
5. Two Ways to Create Book Trailers on Chromebooks - Video Demonstration
6. Discovery Education Announces New Virtual Events for Students
7. Two Ways to Visually Show Classroom Noise - Best of 2016

Need a speaker 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.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school 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 hosts workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Two Tools That Help Students Analyze Writing

On Twitter Clint asked me for a recommendation for a tool that his students can use to analyze writing. Two tools immediately came to mind. Those tools are Hemingway App and Analyze My Writing.

To use Hemingway, found at Hemingwayapp.com, just paste some text into the Hemingway editor and it will provide you with a bunch of information about that text. Hemingway highlights the parts of your writing that use passive voice, adverbs, and overly complex sentences. All of those factors are accounted for in generating a general readability score for your passage. The short video embedded below shows how easy it is to use Hemingwayapp.com to analyze your writing.



Paste your text into Analyze My Writing and it will generate a ton of information about your writing. Analyze My Writing will give you a break-down of the readability of your writing on five indices. The analysis will include listings of the most common words and most common word pairs in your writing. A listing of how frequently you use punctuation and punctuation types is included in the analysis provided by Analyze My Writing. Finally, a word cloud is included at the end of the analysis of your writing.

Text to Speech in Chrome

Earlier today Charles on Twitter asked me for a recommendation for a Chrome extension that offer text to speech capabilities. The first thing that came to my mind was Announcify. With Announcify installed in your browser any time you're viewing a webpage you can simply click on the Announcify icon in your browser and have the text of the page read to you. A bonus aspect of using Announcify is that in order to make a webpage easier to read it enlarges the text of the webpage and removes all sidebar content. In the video embedded below I provide a short demonstration of Announcify in action.


Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video, Announcify could be a great little tool for students that need audio support when they are reading online content. The enlargement of text and removal of sidebar content could also help students focus on what they are trying to read on a webpage.

Use Google Keep to Help You Reach Your Goals

How are you doing on your New Year's resolutions? How about your students? If one of your resolutions is a daily habit like reading more often or exercising regularly, Google Keep can help you reach your goal.

Within Google Keep there is an option to set daily reminders for yourself. I have three of them in my personal account. At 7am, 9am, and 11am every day those reminders pop-up on my desktop and on my phone. They're also present in my Google Calendar. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create reminders on Google Keep.

Teaching History With Technology Begins on Monday Night

Last summer twenty-five middle school and high school teachers joined me to learn about tools and tactics for teaching history with technology. So far another 15 are registered for the next offering of the course which begins on Monday night. Registration is still open. The three week 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. Subsequent meetings are on January 16th and 23rd 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