Thursday, March 30, 2017

Share the Mess and Learn

Yesterday, on Anchor I shared the idea that there is value is sharing the messes and mistakes that we make. In that little podcast I mentioned that one of my most popular blog posts from seven years ago was one about how my Cold War lesson plan flopped and what I did to correct it. The original post can be found here. I've also copied part of it below the Anchor recording embedded below.


When I realized that my plan wasn't going as I hoped, I jumped on Twitter and asked,
"Doing an intro to Cold War w/ my class, can you help? Which event(s) of the Cold War were most significant/ memorable in your lifetime?"

My hope was that the responses would lead my students investigate some of the events mentioned in the responses, it did. But, I also got some unexpected responses of "read them the Butter Battle Book." I didn't have the book available, but I did have YouTube available. Sure enough I found a video of the Butter Battle Book on YouTube. So we stopped the KWL activity and watched the video. It turned out to be a great introduction to Cold War concepts.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Video Tips With Isla

Folks who follow my YouTube channel may have noticed that I've started using the live video option within YouTube's Android app. This morning I used YouTube live to record a little video tip with my daughter, Isla. The tip is to look at the camera instead of the screen when you're recording. In the video embedded below I show the difference it makes when you look at the camera instead of the screen.


Applications for Education
Recording and sharing short videos is one of the best ways to capture authentic feedback from students. Ask them to share something they learned in your classroom during the week or to share a tip for their friends (Next Vista for Learning has lots of examples of students helping students through video). A simple thing like remembering to look at the camera instead of the screen can improve the quality of those short videos.

I'll cover lots of video project tips in a webinar in April. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Draft - A Distraction-free Collaborative Writing Tool

Draft is a free, collaborative writing platform that provides a distraction-free environment. When you write in Draft you won't see anything but the text in front of you. Draft is stripped of options for messing about with font colors or inserting pictures.

Anyone who has an email address can participate in editing a document in Draft. Draft is a nice option for people who don't have access to Google Docs and or those who just want to focus on the text and not worry about playing around with font styling.

Practical Ed Tech Live!

The Practical Ed Tech Facebook page reached 3,000 likes yesterday. I promised to host a Facebook Live Q&A when the page reached 3,000 likes. I'm going to host that session on Thursday at 4pm Eastern Time. It will be an open Q&A session about all things related to educational technology. Join me! If you want to submit a question in advance, you can do so here.

Of course, if you want to work with me in person, come to one of the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps this July.

Teach Your Monster to Read Minigames Overview

Last month the folks behind the popular Teach Your Monster to Read virtual world for literacy development introduced a set of minigames. The minigames are short activities designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of the Teach Your Monster to Read minigames.