Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from North Carolina where I'm getting ready for the NCTIES 17 conference. I look forward to this conference every year. There are so many engaged educators learning and sharing with each other. In some ways it feels like a huge EdCamp with structure (some of us like structure). If you're going to be at NCTIES 17, please say hello. I am running two workshops on Wednesday and my first presentation is on Thursday afternoon in Ballroom B where I'll be sharing Best of the Web 2017.

As I do at the end of every month, I have assembled the list of the most popular posts of the month. This list is based on total views and shares.

Here are February's most popular posts on FreeTech4Teachers.com:
1. The Things I Wish Every Teacher Knew About Technology...
2. My Five Most Frequently Recommended Google Forms Add-ons
3. How to Insert Videos Into Google Slides Without Using YouTube
4. Practical Ed Tech Handbook - 2017 Edition
5. 21 Tools for Conducting Digital Formative Assessments
6. Get a Free Presidential Timeline Poster for Your Classroom
7. 7 Places to Find Free Music & Sound Effects for Multimedia Projects
8. Tools for Creating, Hosting, and Printing Infographics
9. 5 Great Google Sheets Add-ons for Teachers
10. Quickly Create Bingo Boards In Google Sheets

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.

Google Keep Is Now Part of G Suite's Core Services

Google Keep is my favorite tool for bookmarking, taking notes, and setting reminders. I use it on my laptop, Chromebook, my phone, and my iPad. For a couple of years it has been my go-to recommendation for anyone looking for a bookmarking tool, a reminder app, or a note-taking app. But the one drawback to it was that it wasn't a core part of G Suite for Education. That changed today.

Earlier today it was announced that Google Keep will become a core service in G Suite. This means that you'll be able to use Google Keep with your G Suite log-in. It also means that you will now be able to quickly more your Google Keep notes into your Google Documents. In Google Docs you will now see a "Keep notepad" option in the Docs toolbar. Open the toolbar and you will be able to drag notes from Keep into your document.

Learn more about how to use Google Keep in my playlist of tutorial videos about it.

It is important to note that the roll-out of the new Keep integration into Docs will take a few days for all users to see it. G Suite Admins may need to activate the Keep option in their admin panels.

Teach Your Monster to Read Minigames

Teach Your Monster to Read is a fun online environment in which students play games that are designed to help them improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters, sounds, and words. Students play the games as friendly monster avatars that they are helping learn to read. This week, Teach Your Monster to Read added a new section of minigames.

Teach Your Monster to Read Minigames are games that students can play in a short amount of time and can quit at any time. The idea behind this being that students can quickly jump into a game and get a bit of practice in intervals rather than having to play through a longer game. There are six minigames that let students practice sound identification for every letter of the alphabet. There are three minigames that have a basic spelling component to them.
Applications for Education
Teach Your Monster to Read Minigames could be a great resource to have bookmarked on the computers in your classroom. When you need some quick and fun practice activities for your students, these games could be just what you need.

Currently, Teach Your Monster to Read Minigames only work on computers and interactive whiteboards. A tablet version is coming later in the year.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Google's Guides to G Suite Accessibility Options

Google offers two G Suite accessibility guides. There is a guide for administrators and there is a guide for users.

The G Suite user guide to accessibility is designed for end users. The user guide is divided into sixteen sections. In the first section you will find recommendations for the best screen readers to use while using G Suite on Mac, Windows, and Chrome OS computers. The other sections of the guide are devoted to specific products within the G Suite including Google Classroom. Each section contains information on accessibility shortcuts, screen reader instructions for each app, and in some sections you will find how to videos like this one for using a screen reader with Google Docs.

The G Suite administrator guide to accessibility covers much of what you will find in the user guide, but also includes recommended settings to apply within your Google Apps admin console.

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 EdTechTeacher.org/VR

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.

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