Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Google Classroom Features Focus on Individual Instruction

Earlier today Google added some new features to Google Classroom. The most notable of the new features is the option to give assignments to individual students or subsets of students within a class. To do this you will deselect the default sharing option of "all students" and then select the students that you want to receive the assignment. Detailed directions are available here.

Another new option in Google Classroom lets you receive notifications when students submit assignments past their due dates. And you can now receive notifications when students re-submit assignments. You can find notification set-up directions here.

The third Google Classroom update of note is for administrators. The admin console now lets administrators see Google Classroom usage in aggregate. The admin reports include how many classes and posts are being created. More information about admin console reports is available here.

Applications for Education
Besides the obvious application of using the distributing differentiated assignments, the new option to give assignments to individuals through Google Classroom could helpful in getting assignments to students who are out of school for an extended period of time.

Thanks to Mark Damon for the notice about the latest Google Classroom updates. 

Colds, the Flu, and You - Lessons on Staying Healthy

I am just getting over a cold that had me sniffling, sneezing, and coughing for about ten days. Fortunately, it was just a cold and not the flu. What's the difference between the two? How can you avoid catching either? Those questions and more are answered in the following videos.

Colds, the Flu, and You is a recent release from SciShow Kids.

How is a cold or flu passed from person to person and what exactly is it doing to your body? NPR answers those questions in the following animated video.

What is ‘flu? - Explania
If you want to use any of these videos in flipped lessons, take a look at the tools featured in my playlist of tutorials on creating flipped lessons.

TinyTap Talk or Type - Voice Response Activities

TinyTap is a service that lets you create educational games for your students to play on their iPads, Android tablets, and in their web browsers. For the most part the style of games that are created on TinyTap are identification activities in which students either choose an answer or type an answer to a question. Recently, TinyTap added the option for students to speak responses to game questions.

TinyTap's Talk or Type feature lets you create activities that your students can interact with by speaking. Learn more about this new feature by watching the video below. (The Talk or Type feature is currently available only on the iPad version of TinyTap).

Applications for Education
Talk or Type could be used to create activities in which students practice spelling or pronunciation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Learn English With Next Vista for Learning - Or Help Others Learn

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley, the founder of the non-profit Next Vista for Learning.

Are you trying to learn another language? It can be hard to find good videos that are available for free to help, particularly if you're trying to learn English, as businesses know there is a huge opportunity with the market of many millions of people wanting to learn the language. Large numbers of those learning English, however, don't have money to pay for access to video libraries.

On the thought that creating hundreds of short videos would be helpful to students around the world, is building a free collection centered on sets of vocabulary items. Here's the word "predict" from the Discussion Terms set:

For something easier, consider this video from the Days of the Week set:

Note that each video is part of a pair, with one subtitled for those needing the extra help of watching what is said.

Using the link below, you can share Next Vista's English Language Project with those teaching English as a Second Language at your school. If you and/or your students are interested in getting involved in creating sets of videos to help with this effort, use the contact link on the page to let them know.

Learn more at:

Why We Feel Attached to Our Stuff - A TED-Ed Lesson

A few years ago I realized that somewhere along the line I started to collect coffee mugs. I never set out to collect coffee mugs, it just kind of happened. Now I have a few favorite mugs that I won't part with even as I start packing my house (I sold it last month) and have to whittle down my collection. Why do I feel connected to these coffee mugs when plenty of others would hold my morning brew just as well? The answer to that question can be found in the TED-Ed lesson Why Are We So Attached To Our Things?

In this lesson students can learn how Piaget discovered that our feelings of attachment to objects happens at an early age. Students will also learn about the role that culture plays in forming attachments to objects. The video is embedded below and the complete lesson can be found here.

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