Monday, January 16, 2017

MoocNote Offers a Chrome Extension for Taking Notes on Videos

MoocNote is a good tool for adding time-stamped notes to the videos that you watch. You can also use it to create time-stamped questions for others to answer while watching a shared video. MoocNote works with videos from YouTube as well as videos that you import from Google Drive or Dropbox.

The latest update to MoocNote introduced a Chrome extension for taking notes and answering questions while watching a video on YouTube. With the extension installed you don't need to open the MoocNote site in a separate tab or window.

Applications for Education
MoocNote includes an option for creating groups or classes. You can create public or private groups with which you share your video lessons. You can arrange all of your videos into courses then share those courses with the group. If your course is a work in progress, you can add to it as needed and everyone in your group will see the additional content as you add it.

Next Vista's Video Contests Show Great Examples of Student Productions

This is a guest post from Ruston Hurley, the founder of Next Vista for Learning.

Imagine that your students are thinking of ways to explain challenging concepts to their peers or younger students. Can they put "Think of it this way…" into short videos that would help others for years to come?

Getting an idea for making such pieces is a lot easier if your students have watched a variety of videos made with exactly that aim in mind. But where do you find such videos?

Next Vista for Learning's 90-second video contests are designed to highlight clear and creative approaches to learning something one might encounter in school. Here are three finalists from recent contests:

Symbolism in Shakespeare: Ophelia's Flowers

Pi Day

Mummification

Once students understand that a video could be built many ways - stop motion, narrated art, footage from phones, etc. - they can become more creative about what they put together for your class.

Next Vista's fall contest finished in December, and if you would like to help choose the winners (and see a nice variety of short videos, too), send an email to info@nextvista.org (with "contest judging" in the subject line), and they'll get info to you on how to take part.

Share the videos with your students, and they can get a sense of what others do to explain challenging concepts in a concise video.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tips for Accessing Sites Blocked by Your School

I originally published this a few years ago. I'm bringing it back up because I was recently asked about this issue again.

For those hoping that this post might teach you how to bypass filters, I'm sorry there is nothing in this post about bypassing filters. That's not a strategy that I endorse. 

I can't tell you how many times I've presented a website or tool at a workshop and a teacher has said, "that's great, but my school blocks everything." Having useful sites blocked is frustrating for everyone. I've been there. In the fall of 2009 I returned to school after the summer break to find that all of the sites (VoiceThread, Wikispaces, Blogger, Animoto, and others) that I had planned to use were blocked by the new filter that had been in place. Fortunately, my principal was willing to listen to me and some of my colleagues and he overruled the network administrator. If you find yourself in a similar situation, try these things before throwing up your hands in frustration.

Tactics for getting access to the websites that you want to use.
1. Attitude: don't sit back and complain quietly, don't sit back and complain loudly. Rather you should go to the top with research and a plan. Straight Talk from the DOE is a good place to start that research.

2. Relationships: if I didn't have a good working relationship with my principal I wouldn't be able to walk into his and have him seriously consider what I ask for.

3. Persistence: changing a school's or a district's policy isn't going to happen overnight.

4. Recruit supporters: if it's just you leading the fight you might be looked at as "that crazy teacher," if there is two of you you might be looked at as "those crazy teachers," but if you can get a third supporter then you've started a grassroots movement. This is an idea that I borrowed from this Ted Talk by Derek Sivers and from Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant.

Update: Shortly after this post went live Doug Johnson emailed me with a link to something he wrote on the same topic a couple of years ago. Doug outlines ten steps in his post. But what I like best about his post is the chart that he uses to show the correlation between "knowledge of educational uses" and "permissiveness of internet use." Take a look at Doug's chart here.

FormLimiter - The Solution to Slow Responders

A couple of days ago I received an email from a reader who was looking for advice about Google Forms. The problem he was having wasn't so much with Google Forms as it was with his colleagues not completing Forms in a timely manner. He wanted to know if there was a way to control when the Form would or wouldn't accept responses. There is a way to do that and it is through the FormLimiter Add-on for Google Forms.

FormLimiter is a Google Forms Add-on that lets you specify a time a which a Form will stop accepting responses. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use FormLimiter.


If you're new to using Google Forms, take a look at my on-demand Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners training.

EDpuzzle - Readers' Favorite App

At the end of December I asked you to submit your nominations for favorite educational apps. The nomination form was divided into three sections. Those sections were iOS, Android, and Web/Chrome apps. In all three sections EDpuzzle was nominated more than any other app.

If you are not familiar with EDPuzzle is a neat tool that allows you to add your voice and text questions to educational videos. On EDpuzzle you can search for educational videos and or upload your own videos to use as the basis of your lesson. EDpuzzle has an online classroom component that you can use to assign videos to students and track their progress through your video lessons. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use the main features of EDPuzzle.



EDpuzzle offers a Google Classroom integration. The video below demonstrates how to use that option.


You can see the complete spreadsheet of nominated apps here.