Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mindful Movements With ClassDojo

Since its launch last year ClassDojo's Big Ideas series has steadily grown in size. This month ClassDojo added to the series with a new collection of videos and activities organized around the idea of mindfulness. The Mindfulness series is a set of videos and activities that were designed in partnership with Yale University's Center for Emotional Intelligence. The series is focused on helping students understand and manage their emotions.

ClassDojo's Mindfulness series begins with an introduction to the "Beast." The Beast is used to symbolize the powerful emotions that students sometimes feel in stressful moments. The second part of the series helps students identify what their "Beast" is. The third and fourth of the series introduce students to some simple breathing and stretching movements that can help them calm and refocus themselves.

The first video in the ClassDojo Mindfulness series is embedded below.

Applications for Education
The mindful movements and mindful breathing portions of this series could be just what you and your students need as end-of-the-year stress starts to appear. A few minutes with these activities might have a nice calming effect on your classroom, even if only for a little while.

Ten Fun Things You Can Add To Your Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp Experience

Today is the first true taste of summer that we are having here in Maine. The sun is shining, the air temperature is 85F, and everywhere you look there are pale legs wearing shorts for the first time this year. All this has me thinking about all of the fun things that you can do around Portland, Maine before and after the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps. Discounted registration is available for just 12 more days.

1. Take a sunset cruise around Casco Bay. Casco Bay Lines offers day and evening cruises to see the islands and forts dotting Casco Bay. The cruises depart just a few blocks from the host hotel.

2. Try your hand at lobstering. Summer lobstering is nothing like Deadliest Catch. Lucky Catch Cruises will let you experience the process of catching a lobster in Maine. You'll see a nice part of Casco Bay too. 

3. Eat a lobster. A summer trip to coastal Maine is not complete without enjoying lobster. From hole-in-the-wall lobster roll stands to 5 star restaurants, there is no shortage of great places to enjoy the quintessential Maine meal. 

4. Bike or walk the Eastern Trail. The trail starts at Bug Light lighthouse and runs south to Kennebunk. You can start or stop almost anywhere in between the two ends of the trail. 

5. After you enjoy the Eastern Trail, take a tour of one of many microbreweries in Portland. Portland, Maine has the highest number of breweries per capita of any city in the United States. I'm fond of Allagash and Bissell Brothers. 

6. Maine Children's Museum offers great learning opportunities for toddlers, tweens, and teens. 

7. The Portland Museum of Art is across the street from the host hotel. Admission is free on Friday evenings so head over after the Chromebook Camp or BYOD Camp ends. 

8. Go see Portland Headlight lighthouse and have a picnic in Fort Williams Park. On a summer day, it's hard to beat laying out a picnic blanket at the park. Or walk the grounds at dusk and enjoy the cool ocean breeze as you smell the sea roses. 

9. If you're the shopping type, take a quick ride up to Freeport to see the LL Bean flagship store. Don't forget to get your picture taken by the giant boot or the moose locking horns. 

10. Just chill on the beach. There are plenty of public beaches in the area. 

Discounted registration is still available for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps happening this July. Unlike a lot of conference settings, Portland, Maine offers the perfect combination of plenty to do without being so busy that you don't want to do anything. I hope you'll join us. 

How To Use Emojis In Google Keep

Earlier this week I shared that I had stumbled into adding emoticons/ emojis to my lists in Google Keep. A couple of people have asked how I did this. The answer is that you have to use the app on your Android phone or iPhone. I haven't found an easy way to do it in the desktop version of Google Keep. In the video embedded below I give a quick demonstration of how to use emoticons in Google Keep lists.

Applications for Education
Using emojis in your shared lists in Google Keep could be a nice way to add some character and fun to your task lists and reminders. Whether you're sharing lists and reminders with students or with colleagues, everyone likes a little fun element mixed into an otherwise boring list.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Write - A Minimalist Writing Platform

Write is a free writing platform with the simplest design of all of the minimalist writing platforms that have popped-up in the last couple of years. On Write you simply choose the length of time that you want to spend writing then start writing. Write Surge will show a countdown timer in the right hand corner of the screen. Other than that, you don't see anything else on the screen. Write until time expires then save your work in your browser or download a Write file that you can then upload and edit again later.

Write doesn't have any formatting tools at all. You can't change fonts, insert pictures, or even insert hyperlinks. The user interface is designed to focus you on your writing and that's it.

You don't need to have an email address or create an account to use Write. In fact, there is not even an option to create account.

Applications for Education
Write could be a good little tool for creative writing students who could benefit from "writing against the clock" to get themselves started when they claim that they "can't think of anything to write."

One of the things that you could do with Write is have students choose the one minute countdown and try to write a quick story starter. When the minute is up have them share their story starters with the class. The process of sharing the story starters can help all of the students in the class generate ideas for their next fiction stories.

How to Change Your Google Profile Image

Many of us have multiple Google Accounts. It's not uncommon at all to have one account for school in G Suite for Education and one account connected to your personal Gmail account. If you use the default "initial icon" for your Google Account profiles, it's easy to forget which account you're logged into at a given moment. The solution to this problem is to set a different profile image for each of your accounts. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to change the image avatar associated with your Google Account profile.