Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining, the grass is finally green, and pollen is coating any car left outside overnight. I hope that it is equally nice wherever you are this weekend.

As the weather turns decidedly toward summer many of us are thinking about professional development opportunities. I'm going to a couple of events for my own professional development. And I'm also hosting a couple of events. Tickets are still available for the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp and the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. Both events are happening in July.

Here are the week's most popular posts:
1. 7 Blogging Tools for Teachers Compared and Ranked
2. 5 Google Calendar Tips for New Users
3. 21 Real World Math Lessons for High School Students
4. DocsTeach Adds New Analysis Activities for Students
5. How to Disable Google Drive Email Notifications
6. Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality
7. How to Create Gmail Filters

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

I am currently offering five online courses:

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Two Ways to Add Audio to Google Slides

In yesterday's Practical Ed Tech Live session I answered a question that I seem to be getting asked a lot lately. That question is, "do you know how to add audio to Google Slides." You can add audio to Google Slides if you use YouTube or Google Drive to host videos that contain audio tracks. In the videos below I explain and demonstrate how you can add audio to your Google Slides presentations.



And if you just want to make an audio slideshow that plays on its own, you can use the YouTube Audio Slideshow creator. My video below shows you how to use it.

Practical Ed Tech Live - Episode 6 Recording

Yesterday afternoon I hosted the sixth episode of Practical Ed Tech Live on YouTube and Facebook. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions and to everyone who attended the live session. If you missed it, the recording of the broadcast is embedded below. The text of most of the questions that I answered are copied below the video.


1. A colleague asked about curriculum mapping software,suggesting “Atlas” but that is pricey. Do you know of, or could you recommend anything free or inexpensive…even an app would be good.

2. I read about DropItToMe closing down. Do you have any alternatives that you can recommend?

3. I guess I don’t understand the big deal about Google Classroom. Can you explain why I would want to use that instead of just posting things on my Google Site like I have for years?

4. This summer I am changing school districts. I have a ton of stuff in my current Google Apps account that I want to be able to move to my new district. Other than just sharing with myself, can you think of a better way to move things?

5. Can you do a post comparing digital portfolio tools? I’m trying to find the best one. I’d like to pick something that I can use for a few years.

6. Do you know if there is a way to add audio to Google Slides?

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.