Friday, March 31, 2017

Practical Ed Tech Live - Recording

Yesterday afternoon I hosted FB Live and YouTube Live sessions simultaneously. During those sessions I answered questions from readers and viewers. If you missed it, the recording is now embedded below. I'm planning to do another live Q&A session next Thursday at 4pm Eastern Time. Please send your questions to me.


The questions that I answered during the live session are copied below.

Question #1
I'm working on designing a major project for my French courses so they can work while I am in France and Spain with one of our travel groups.....
Here's what I am looking for: Along time ago, I used to use Roxer.com to create simple webpages...nothing fancy... choose a background color, choose a text font, upload a picture , embed an HTML widget and publish... It was easy. and then, Roxer disappeared... I began looking for other sites to create webpages, and I know there are the top 10 favorites out there...but here's my problem...most come with pre-made templates and are way too complicated to use out of the starting gate.

I just want a site (I'll even pay) where I can create something quickly, and easily online.

Question #2
Our french teachers would like to be able to give their students an assignment to their french class and share a copy to each student which can easily be done. Now here is the tricky part. They want the student to be able to record themselves speaking the paragraph and save it in that google doc and turn that into their teacher. Right now it always goes from voice to text. I have a bit of research and have not discovered an easy way of being able to do that?

Question #3
I teach 3rd grade. I was thinking about having my kids create videos to share new laser technology solutions they design. I have seen some that work like Common Craft videos. I'm sure there are others. The problem is my district blocks everything! Based on usage policies, so many are for 13 years and older. We can't even us Jigsaw Planet!

Can you suggest any technologies other that PowerPoint or Google Slides, (also not highly thought of by super.)

Question #4
I am trying to find a good resource for 3rd and 4th grade students to create book trailer videos. I know there is Animoto, but since teachers can only have 50 student accounts it is restricting if I want to do this for several years.

I was looking at Adobe Spark, but students need to be 13 years old. We have Chromeboxes and Chromebooks for student use

Question #5
What do you suggest as the best way to share resources such as documents and webpages for teachers? Google Docs? Padlet?

Question #6
My students have made a blog in order to use it as an Eportfolio. So, every student has got a blog. I would like to know if an app exists that makes it easier fot me to follow them. What do you think is the MOST practical tool to do it? I would like to have all of the blogs in the same window. My second question is about an app to make videos. Do you know of an app in which you can insert animated gifs?

Question #7
Can you recommend an LMS for K-8?

Question #8
What is the best green screen app for use on Chromebooks.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Google Calendar Now Optimized for iPads- Finally

My life seems to be run by Google Calendar and Google Keep these days. I use it to schedule and keep track of appointments, to keep track of how many hours the babysitter worked in a week, and to remind of the things I need to do everyday to reach my goals.

The one complaint that I and many others had about Google Calendar is that it never looked or acted right on an iPad. That complaint was eliminated yesterday when Google finally introduced a Google Calendar app optimized for iPad use.

Applications for Education
This new Google Calendar app for iPads isn't going to change the way you teach. What it does do is make using your Google Calendar a little more convenient for those who use iPads in their classrooms, but always had to run to a laptop to schedule meetings with students or colleagues.

Keeping Track With Google Calendar & Keep is the title of an upcoming webinar in the Practical Ed Tech Tuesday webinar series

Lighthouses and Designs for Democracy

Earlier this week the featured document from the U.S. National Archives was a drawing of the Matinicus Rock Lighthouse on the coast of Maine. The drawing is one of many in the Designs for Democracy series published by the National Archives.

Designs for Democracy is an online exhibit created by the National Archives and Records Administration. The exhibit features drawings, sketches, and pictures that demonstrate the creativity and ingenuity of Americans through history. The exhibit is divided into three sections tracing the development of the United States from its early beginnings through the 20th Century. Each of the three sections contains images in the categories of symbolism, improvements, science and technology, and artistic expression.

Applications for Education
Designs for Democracy is a good place to find images that can be used as the basis for classroom conversations about changes in technology and how they have influenced American life. For example, you could use the drawings of the Matinicus Rock Lighthouse to start a conversation about changes in navigation and travel.

Speaking of lighthouses, I was in Portland yesterday so I recorded a short video of two lighthouses that are found not far from the site of this year's Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps.

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.