Sunday, March 12, 2017

Create Screencast Videos on Chromebooks - Three Good Options

One of the best ways to show your students or colleagues how to use a new web tool is to give them a short video to watch. The benefit of creating and sharing a screencast is that your students or colleagues can watch your tutorial as many times as they need to. If you're a Chromebook user, there are three good options available to you. I've used all three of the following screencast tools on my Chromebooks over the years.

Nimbus Screenshot:
Nimbus Screenshot is my favorite tool on this list because of its ease of installation and it is the only tool on this list that provided a customizable countdown timer. I like the countdown timer because it gives me a few seconds to prepare to start talking over my screencast. The other tools just started recording the second that I hit the record button. Nimbus Screenshot was also the easiest to install and configure on my Chromebook.

Screencasts recorded with Nimbus Screenshot can be saved to your local drive or to an online Nimbus account. I chose to save to my local drive then upload to my YouTube channel. You could also save to your local drive then share to Google Drive or another online storage service.

Take a look at the video I created with Nimbus Screenshot.


CaptureCast:
CaptureCast is the tool that I featured in a post last week. I put it on the same level as Snagit. CaptureCast was rather easy to install. Your recording length is unlimited. You can record your webcam while recording your screen which you cannot do with the Nimbus tool or Snagit. Set-up of CaptureCast is easy too. For folks who don't want to use YouTube to share recordings, CaptureCast lets you share directly to a Vimeo account. See my CaptureCast sample in this post.


Screencastify:
Screencastify might have the most name recognition in this list, but I like it the least of the four tools in this list. In fact, it's definitely the last one that I'd recommend to new Chromebook users. The set-up process asks a lot questions that could confuse new users. The free version limits recordings to ten minutes and puts a watermark on the recording. I was also not impressed with quality of the video recording. See my Screencastify sample to see the watermark and recording quality.


At the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp we'll look at lots of tips and tricks for teaching with Chromebooks. Early registration discounts are available now.


Spring Forward! - Lessons on Daylight Saving Time

Most of us in North America moved our clocks forward by one hour last night or this morning. In doing so we will feel like or may actually have lost an hour of sleep. This is what happens every year when you live in a place that uses Daylight Saving Time. Your students may come to class on Monday morning complaining about their lost hour of sleep and be wondering about the reasons for Daylight Saving Time. The following videos offer concise explanations of Daylight Saving Time.




Storyboard That Introduces Birthday Card Templates

Storyboard That turned five years old last week. To mark the occasion they published new birthday card templates. The birthday card templates work just like the other greeting card templates that you can find within Storyboard That. To create a card students first need to create a three frame story which they can then convert into a card using one of the many birthday card templates.

Watch my video embedded below to learn how to create greeting cards on Storyboard That.


Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

This week's week in review comes to you from the new Byrne Instructional Media, LLC office in Yarmouth, Maine. For a number of reasons, I have moved out of a home office and into a workspace at Think Tank Coworking in Yarmouth, Maine. I was initially hesitant to make the move because I thought I was too old (grumpy) and not hipster enough (black coffee and raggedy Carhartts) for a coworking space. It turns out that there are lots of late 30's and older people who also just need quiet places to work without fighting the coffee shop crowds.The lesson here, don't knock it until you try it.

That's all the news from here. I hope that you have a great weekend. If your weekend includes catching up on some ed tech tips, take a look at this week's most popular posts.

Here are this week's most popular posts of the week:
1. 22 Videos That Can Help Students Improve Their Writing
2. Zero Noise Classroom - A Timer and Noise Meter in One
3. 12 Ways to Create Videos On Chromebooks
4. Create Comic Strips in Google Slides
5. Storymap JS - Tell Stories With Maps
6. How to Create Strong Passwords
7. Three Good Tools for Creating Screenshots on Chromebooks

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.

10 Apps & Sites for Promoting Healthy Eating and Fitness

In all of my Best of the Web presentations I try to present resources for a wide variety of classroom settings and subject areas. Health and physical education resources are always included because of my personal interest in the field as well as its importance in giving students lifelong skills. Here are ten of my favorite resources for teaching and promoting health and fitness in schools.

GoNoodle is a free service that is designed to promote physical fitness in a fun environment. GoNoodle features tons of free videos that lead students in short, 2-5 minutes, exercises. These are fun exercises like dancing that can be done in your classroom or at home with parents. GoNoodle provides an online environment in which students track the minutes that they spend exercising. Students choose avatars to represent themselves in the GoNoodle environment. New avatars are available once a student completes enough activity time to reach a new level. Learn more about GoNoodle in the videos below.



One of the simple improvements that I made to my diet two years ago was removing sugar from my morning coffee (I never used cream). The CDC's Rethink Your Drink helped me understand how many extra calories I was taking in through sugar. Rethink Your Drink provides a chart of sugar content and calories found in popular beverages. The PDF also contains a chart of suggested alternatives to drinking sugary beverages. In addition to the charts Rethink Your Drink provides suggestions on ways to cut sugar calories safely while not sacrificing nutrients.

How Sugar Affects the Brain is a TED-Ed lesson through which students learn why sugary foods and beverages can become addictive and how the human body processes sugar. The video is embedded below.


Untamed Science offers a similar video lesson in which we learn why so many of us crave sugar and sweet things. The video is embedded below.



Sugar Stacks is a good website for understanding how much sugar is in the food and beverages that we consume. Sugar Stacks lists popular food and beverage items in ten categories. Every item is pictured with a stack of sugar cubes. Each sugar cube represents four grams of sugar. This is a great way to see just how much sugar you really consume in your favorite snack or beverage.

Sworkit Kids a free iOS and Android app designed to get kids moving with short, fun exercises. The app features workouts of five to thirty minutes in length (you pick the length). Each workout has a mix of fun exercises like diagonal hopping, crab walking, and hopping on one foot. You can choose exercises or let the app create a sequence of exercises for you.

Space Chef is a free iPad app from the Lawrence Hall of Science. The purpose of the app is to introduce students to healthy foods and recipes that they may not have ever tried or even heard about. Space Chef features a fast-paced game in which students have to quickly grab the ingredients for a recipe. The ingredients scroll past them in three streams or flight paths. Students are shown a recipe at the top of the screen and they must grab the appropriate ingredients as they stream across the screen.

Monster Heart Medic is another free iOS and Android app from the Lawrence Hall of Science. The app is designed to help students in elementary and middle school understand how the cardiovascular system is affected by diet and exercise. The app features a character named Ragnar that students must diagnose then help develop a plan to live a healthier life. Sabba Quidwai wrote an extensive review of the app here.  

Arthur Family Health is a free resource from PBS Kids. Arthur Family Health is designed to help parents, teachers, and students learn about common health challenges children face. Through videos, games (online and offline), and data sheets visitors to Arthur Family Health can learn about asthma, allergies, nutrition, fitness, and resilience (dealing with tragedies).

Walking, running, and biking are three simple ways to get regular exercise. I live in a rural area that doesn't have many sidewalks or even wide shoulders on the road so it can be hard to find safe places for those activities. If you live in a similar area, you might also hear the same complaint from students and parents. To help them find safe routes you could create walking, running, and biking routes in Google Maps. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to do that.