Sunday, June 25, 2017

WordWanderer - Another Neat Word Cloud Tool

There certainly is not a shortage of word cloud creation tools on the web. The latest that I've tried is WordWanderer.

WordWanderer attempts to be different from other word cloud creation tools by letting you drag and drop words to rearrange the look of your word clouds. Additionally, WordWanderer includes a search tool that you can use to find a word. The context of your chosen word is shown below the word cloud itself.

Applications for Education
Rather than just rely on my ideas for using word clouds in your classroom, take a look at these ideas from other teachers who use word clouds in their classrooms.

Thanks to Dave Kapuler and Larry Ferlazzo for the WordWanderer link.

Blogs in the Age of Google Classroom

This week at ISTE 17 there will plenty of buzz about Google products and products that integrate with Google Classroom. Google, and some Google devotees, will have you believe that Google Classroom is the solution to almost every workflow and communication problem you have. Google Classroom does provide some good solutions to workflow and communication problems, but there are some things it doesn't do or do well that a blog can do.

The first limitation of relying solely on Google Classroom is that it can only be accessed by approved members of your classroom and parents that you have invited (provided your school lets you invite parents). If you want to have students share their thoughts on a topic with a global audience, Google Classroom isn't an option for that. By contrast, having a blog will let your students participate in activities like QuadBlogging in which they share with students around the world.

Google Classroom was designed as a tool to streamline your workflow within G Suite. It wasn't designed to be a full-fledged publishing platform on which students showcase their work with a wider audience. Classroom blogs or individual blogs to which students contribute are designed to support publishing their videos, podcasts, interactive images, and other media. Yes, you can let students add some of that media to Google Classroom, but it will clutter your Classroom's stream. And it still won't let parents and other visitors comment on the content added by students.

Push notifications are an option in the Google Classroom mobile apps. That's a fine option, if you can convince parents and students to install the app and accept notifications. By contrast you can use a service like Remind and have standard text messages sent to parents and students without them needing to install an additional app (they will need to consent to receiving text messages). Those messages can be added to your blog through the use of the Remind widget.

Ready to make your own blog? Try Edublogs, Blogger, or one of these other options.

eduClipper Was Acquired by Participate - What That Means for Teachers

The popular social bookmarking and digital portfolio tool eduClipper has been acquired by Participate. Fortunately, teachers and students who currently use eduClipper won't notice any changes. Participate's commitment to maintaining eduClipper's free service for teachers was reiterated to me many times in the conversation that I have with eduClipper's founder Adam Bellow and Participate's CEO David Young. In fact, here's a video of Adam reiterating that point this morning in a YouTube Live broadcast from ISTE 2017.

Read the official acquisition announcement from Participate and eduClipper.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Quickly Print a Storyboard Template from Google Slides

Earlier this week I watched a webinar that was hosted by Lee LeFever from Common Craft. You probably know Lee and his wife Sachi's work from videos like Google Docs in Plain English and Wikis in Plain English. In the webinar Lee explained the process that he and Sachi use to create their videos. One part of that process is creating storyboards in PowerPoint. Google Slides users can do the same thing. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to print a storyboard template from Google Slides. (Click here if you cannot see the embedded video).

PowerPoint users, watch the following video to see how to print a storyboard from your slides.

The Week in Review - The ISTE Prelude

Good afternoon from San Antonio, Texas where I have just checked-in at the ISTE 2017 conference. The conference doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, but there is already plenty of activity around the convention center. When I checked-in I was asked, "what are you looking for at the conference?" My answer was, "things that empower students to be creators and examples of students creating and sharing with the world." As it turns out, there is a strand of poster presentations directly related to that idea of students as publishers.

Of course, I'm here to report on the things that matter to those of you who cannot attend the conference. That's why I created this short survey to find out what you want me to report on. Please take one minute to submit a suggestion.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 12 Sites and Apps for Learning to Code
2. Convert Physical Sticky Notes Into Digital Notes
3. How to Print Google Forms
4. How Formatically Helps Students Format Essays in MLA Style
5. More Than 100,000 Interesting Historical Images to Download for Free
6. Collaborate With Students to Create Quiz Games
7. Create Mind Maps in Google Drawings

Individual and group registration is still open for the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp and the BYOD Camp. Register with a group and get a great discount!

Four online courses starting in July:
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.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
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.