Monday, February 27, 2017

Virtual Reality in Education

This afternoon I joined Greg Kulowiec for a Google Hangout on Air discussion about virtual reality in education. We had a dozen or so people join us in the live chat during the Hangout. If you weren't able to watch the live session, you can now view it as embedded below. The resources that we shared during the Hangout are available at

In the video above Greg and I talk about watch virtual reality is, how we've used it so far, what some of the research about VR in education tells us, and how to get started using virtual reality in your classroom.

Nixon's Visit to China - Documents and Video

Last week the National Archives Today's Document feed featured two artifacts from President Nixon's landmark visit to China in 1972. The first document was actually a photography of Air Force One arriving in China. The second document was the menu from one of the dinners in Peking. Looking at these documents reminded me of some other resources that I've used when teaching students about evolution of relations between the United States and China.

The Nixon Presidential Library's website has a section about Nixon's visit to China. In this section you can listen to recordings of Nixon discussing the rationale for the trip and his post-trip reflections. You can also listen to Mrs. Nixon discuss the arrival of two Pandas at the National Zoo.

The PBS American Experience website has a map of Nixon's visit to China. The map highlights the places that Nixon visited during his seven day visit in February 1972. The map and the rest of the website are designed as companions to the PBS American Experience film "Nixon's China Game."

And you can learn even more about President Nixon in the three hour American Experience documentary about him. That video can be watched here or as embedded below. 

RefME is Becoming Cite This For Me - Changes to Free Plan Coming

RefME is a great service for organizing your research and creating bibliographies out of your collections of online and offline resources. I've been a supporter of the service since I first tried it a few years ago. It appears that I'm not the only one who likes RefME because it was recently acquired by Chegg. Chegg is rolling RefME into their existing bibliography generator called Cite This For Me.

RefME will become Cite This For Me next week. Starting on March 7th you will have to go to As that URL indicates, there is a premium version of Cite This For Me. If you don't purchase the premium version, on June 1st you will access to your existing RefME projects. The free version of Cite This For Me only allows you to store your projects for seven days before they are deleted.

A couple of alternatives to RefME and Cite This For Me are refDot and Easybib (I like the Google Docs Add-on they offer).

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Week in Review - Back from Vacation

Good morning from Maine where I am back to work after my annual ice-fishing vacation on Moosehead Lake in Rockwood, Maine. While it wasn't the best fishing we've ever had, we still had a great time unplugging and relaxing. This year I was even captured some great footage of bald eagles circling over our heads.

If you were on vacation this week too, I hope that you had an equally good break. And for everyone else, I hope you have a great weekend.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. The Things I Wish Every Teacher Knew About Technology...
2. Get a Free Presidential Timeline Poster for Your Classroom
3. Nudge - Interactive Algebra Lessons on iPads and Android Tablets
4. Pattern Matcher Helps Students Prepare for ACT and SAT
5. 10 Ideas for Using Comics In Your Classroom
6. Simple, Effective Search Challenge Lessons
7. Padlet Now Has Desktop and Mobile Notifications

Join me this summer for the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp or the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. Early registration and group discounts are available.

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.
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 explanatory videos.

All About American Bison

There is a chilling scene in Dances With Wolves in which Kevin Costner's character and the Lakota Indians come over a hill to see hundreds of bison carcasses left to rot on the plains. I have, on occasion, shown that scene to students. It's a good illustration of what Americans did to the bison herds that once roamed the west. It is remarkable how bison populations have rebounded from near extinction. This topic is covered briefly in a recent SciShow Kids video titled Meet the American Bison.

Meet the American Bison does a fine job of showing younger students basic facts about bison. If you look carefully, you'll also notice that it does a great job of modeling how to cite the sources of images used in a video.

Older students who want to learn about bison should turn to the resources available on the Yellowstone National Park website. Those resources include the following video about the challenges of bison conservation.