Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shuffle and Sort Padlet Notes in Grid Format

Padlet has made a lot of improvements in the last ten days. In addition to flowcharts and focus mode which I featured earlier this week, Padlet has a new grid shuffling option. The grid layout has been available for a long time. The shortcoming of the grid format was that notes always appeared chronologically. Now you can sort the notes that are added to a grid. Watch the following short video to learn how to use the new sorting option in Padlet's grid layout. And to learn more about Padlet in general, check out my playlist of tutorials.

Screencast-o-Matic Now Offers Background Music

Screencast-o-matic has long been my favorite tool for creating screencasts on Windows and Mac computers. This morning I logged into my account and noticed that Screencast-o-matic now offers the option to include background music in your screencast videos. Click here to watch a screencast about this new feature.

Screencast-o-matic's background music option provides a choice of three songs to users of the free version of the service. Screencast-o-matic Pro users have access to the whole library of music and can import their own music. If you're interested in a getting a Screencast-o-matic Pro account I have five discount codes that I give away. Send me an email if you would like to get a Pro account discount (first come, first served). Sorry, all discount codes have been given away.

Join Me Tomorrow for Practical Ed Tech Live

Join me tomorrow afternoon for another episode of Practical Ed Tech Live. I will answer your ed tech questions live on my YouTube channel and on Facebook. You can submit questions in advance by sending me an email (if you're reading this in email, just hit reply) or through the Practical Ed Tech Facebook page. Of course, I'll also answer any questions that pop-up in the live feed. 

Join me tomorrow at 3:30pm EDT. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How the Popsicle Was Invented - A Tasty TED-Ed Lesson

How the Popsicle Was Invented is the title of a recently released TED-Ed video. The short video explains the origin of the tasty treat itself as well as the name "Popsicle." This TED-Ed lesson doesn't include any multiple choice or discussion questions. It's just a fun little lesson for students to think about as the weather warms and ice cream trucks start to appear in neighborhoods (side note, ice cream trucks is one of the few things I miss about living in a suburb).

Applications for Education
You could extend this lesson by doing a little kitchen science lesson with elementary school students. They could experiment with sugar content and flavoring. And they could compare the time it takes for a Popsicle to freeze to the time it takes for an equal amount of water without sugar or flavoring to freeze.

Try Box for Sharing Collections of Files With Password Protection

Last week I started teaching three online courses. I'll be teaching four in June and July. All of the courses feature live webinars accompanied by some handouts. Of course, not everyone can make it to all of the live webinars so I record them and upload them to private folders on

You might wonder why I use and not Google Drive. It's simple, Google Drive doesn't give me the access controls and usage statistics that I need for an online course. Box lets me password protect folders and make folders available only by email invitation. Those who I invite can use any email address that they like, they don't have to use Gmail as they would if I tried to share the files through a Gmail-based Google Classroom. Box also lets me see how many times a file has been accessed by those I've invited.

When I publish handouts like this one about making videos on Chromebooks, I use Box to host and display the PDF in my blog. I do that because the document viewer looks and functions much better than Google Drive does when it comes to large PDFs. In fact, A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In School is a such a large file that Google Drive won't display a preview of it, it just displays a download link.

Don't get me wrong, I still love Google Drive. But I can also recognize when it's not the right tool for the job.