Monday, May 1, 2017

Check123 - A Video Encyclopedia

Check123 is a website that aims to help teachers and students find educational videos. The "123" aspect of the name Check123 refers to the length of the videos on the site. All of the videos are either one, two, or three minutes long. You can refine your search results according to length of video, subject, and topic. Check123 lets you search by keyword or you can browse the subject categories.

Check123 claims to have "experts" review and rank the videos that appear in each category. It's not clear who those experts are or how they determine the scores they give to the videos.

Applications for Education
Check123 is the latest in a long line of companies that have tried to create video "encyclopedias." They all can be helpful in finding a video to use as part of a short lesson.

The problem that all sites like Check123 encounter is that they need a lot of page views in order to be viable. That can lead to including some videos that aren't always the best ones available.

If you do find a useful video on Check123, try one of these free tools for creating a flipped lesson based on that video.

How to Use Read Write Think's Cube Creator to Plan a Story

Read Write Think's Cube Creator provides students with good templates for writing biographies, mysteries, and short stories. When students complete the required information in one of the templates, they can create a 3D cube that they can flip as while they write their complete stories. In other words, the cube become a 3D writing guide for them. Watch my video embedded below to see how it works.

Like Dogs? Have Kids That Like Dogs? - Watch This Video

If you have followed this blog for long, you've probably picked up on my love for dogs. You might have also noticed that I'm passionate about shelter dogs. That's why I'm excited to this story from Lifehacker. How to Introduce Yourself to a Dog is a fantastic article outlining the best procedure for meeting a new dog. The article is based on the video embedded below.

Dogs in shelters tend to be nervous, jumpy, excitable, and sometimes aggressive in meeting new people. The same is true for all other dogs. Whether you're going to a shelter to find a new best friend or you just can't resist a cute dog out on a walk, How to Introduce Yourself to a Dog is a must read.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in April

Every month Google rolls out updates to the products that teachers know and love. Some of those updates are significant and others are just minor tweaks that make life a little easier. Here are some of the more significant product updates that occurred in April.

1. A completely new version of Google Earth was unveiled. The new version was designed to be used in the Chrome web browser, in turn making it available for Chromebook users. Click here to watch my tour of the new Google Earth. And join me in Teaching History With Technology to learn how to use Google Earth in your classroom. 

2. Google Classroom is now available to anyone who has a Gmail address. As long as you have a Gmail address you can create and or join Google Classroom courses. Click here for directions on how to make your own Google Classroom. Join me in Getting Going With G Suite to learn how all parts of G Suite can work together in your classroom. 

3. Speak to Go is a new WebVR experiment that allows you to direct virtual reality with your voice. You can use it in your Google Cardboard viewer or you can use it on your desktop in the Chrome browser. More information can be read here

4. Speaking of VR, Google is promoting a set of virtual reality tours related to Alexander Hamilton's life. 

5. More Street View imagery was added to Google Maps including these great images of California's redwood forests. 

6. Google+, the social network that everyone has, but no one remembers, has a new "Topics" feature that is supposed to help you discover more posts about things you are interested in. 

7. For administrators there is a new option for controlling who can or cannot use Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets in offline mode. 

The Month in Review - April's Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where it's nice to be home after a few days on the road. We enjoyed New Orleans, but this northerner is happy to be back in the cool, crisp weather of spring in Maine. Earlier this week I literally watched the ice go out.

As I do at the end of every month, I have assembled a list of the most popular posts of the previous 30 days. Take a look and see if there is anything that you missed that you can use in your practice.

Here are the most popular posts of April, 2017:
1. More Than 400 Science Animations
2. 10 Math Tutorial YouTube Channels Not Named Khan Academy
3. 7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in March
4. 33 Lessons on Critical Thinking
5. How to Create Appointment Slots in Google Calendar
6. The Periodic Table of Videos - An Update from the Archive
7. Two Free Speech-to-Text Tools
8. 7 Blogging Tools for Teachers Compared and Ranked - Updated for 2017
9. 5 Good Ways for Students to Create Digital Showcases of Their Work
10. Create Your Own Google Classroom - G Suite Not Required

Looking for a keynote or workshop? Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

I am hosting five online courses starting this week.

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Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
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WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
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PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
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My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.