Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hone Geography Skills With These Fun Games

Yesterday, I received an email from Kahoot that featured six games they are promoting along with National Geographic. The games are intended to help students brush-up on their knowledge of U.S. and world geography. You can find those games here in the public gallery in Kahoot. I played a couple of the games and found that they will be adequate as a start for a geography review activity. In short, I wasn't "wowed" by the games, but they did get me thinking about other geography games that I've reviewed over the years.

GameOn World is a multiplayer geography game developed by a high school teacher and his student in Portland, Maine. The game is similar in structure to that of Kahoot. In GameOn World the teacher selects a game category (cities, places, and timeline are three of the nine categories) and starts the game. The students join the game by going to GameOn.World and entering a game pin. In the location and timeline games, students answer the questions by moving a placemark on a map or selecting a date on a timeline. In some of the other games students answer by choosing a number on a sliding scale.



Spacehopper is a game based on Google Maps Street View imagery. Spacehopper shows you a Street View image and you have to guess where in the world the image was captured. You can click the clue button to have the country identified before making a guess. After three incorrect guesses the correct answer will be revealed to you. You can play Spacehopper on a global level or you can specify that you only want to see images from a particular continent.

Smarty Pins is a Google Maps game develop by Google. Smarty Pins presents players with a trivia question that they have to answer by placing a pin on a map. Players earn "miles" for correctly placing a pin on the map. Players can lose miles for answering incorrectly and or taking too long to answer. Games are available in five categories; arts & culture, science & geography, sports & games, entertainment, and history & current events.

Capital Toss is a free geography game from ABCya. The game has a state capitals mode and a country capitals mode. In both modes of the game works the same way. The name of a state or country appears at the bottom of the screen and three rows of capital names scroll across the top. When the correct capital name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. After ten correct answers players can choose a new ball. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

Where is...? is another good game geography game. This game uses a popular format for geography games; the name of a city is presented to the players and they have to click the map to guess where the city is located. Players are given immediate feedback on their accuracy in the form of a measurement, in kilometers, of the distance between their guesses and the correct answers.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why You Should Use Videos In Your Blog

Using videos in blog posts helps to keep visitors on your blog longer. For teachers and school administrators, adding a videos to your blog is a good way to show students and parents who you are and what you sound like. And, of course, videos are helpful when you're explaining something that needs visuals in order to make sense.



I share many more strategies for improving your blog in Winning Blog Strategies.

A Couple of Short Lessons About Changing Seasons

Today is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the five foot tall snowbanks around my house make that hard to believe. Why do we have seasons? What causes the changes in weather patterns throughout the seasons? The answers to those questions and more are found in the following SciShow Kids video and Crash Course Kids video.




Try one of these seven tools for creating flipped lessons out of these videos. 

How to Add Music to Google Slides

Last week a reader emailed me to ask if there is a way to add music to Google Slides. The answer is yes, but it's not as straight-forward as you would hope it would be. To add music to Google Slides you first need to find a YouTube video that contains music that is Creative Commons licensed. The best option, is to use a video that you own and that has music you have the rights to use. Once you've found a video then you can insert it into your Google Slides. Shrink the video to the smallest possible size so that it's hard for viewers to see. Finally, use the video options menu in Google Slides to have the music video automatically start playing when you advance the slide.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to add music to Google Slides.


This topic and many like it will be covered in depth at the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp on July 20th and 21st. Early registration discounts are still available.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where today was a great day for a walk in the woods. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you also have time for fun and relaxation.



Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Ways to Show YouTube Videos Without Related Content
2. Google Team Drives Now Available
3. 7 Great Tools for Creating Flipped Lessons from Existing Videos
4. How to Use Zero Noise Classroom
5. Formatically Helps Students Properly Format Essays
6. Create Screencast Videos on Chromebooks - Three Good Options
7. Thunkable - Design and Publish Your Own Apps

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.