Thursday, July 13, 2017

More Than 40 Examples of Classroom & School Blogs

Earlier this week at the Upstate Technology Conference in South Carolina I gave a couple of presentations about using blogs and social media in school. One of the best ways to learn about using blogs in school is to see how others are doing it. That's why a few years ago I put together a survey and asked for teachers to share examples from their own blogs. The slides below feature more than 40 examples of classroom blogs.


Try Book Creator In Chrome to Create Multimedia Books

Book Creator is a one of the most popular iPad apps in schools. It's a fantastic app for creating multimedia stories. Now that platform is available in a web version too.

The Book Creator web version is currently in beta and open for teachers to use. Book Creator's web version supports creating multimedia books containing videos, images, drawings, and text. To create a book on Book Creator's web app just sign and choose a layout for your book. There are comic book layouts as well as traditional book layouts. After you have selected a layout for your book's pages you can add pictures and videos by either uploading them or by using your webcam. You can add text and drawings by using the drawing and typing tools built into Book Creator. Your completed book can be saved as a ePub or published online with a private Book Creator link.

Learn more about Book Creator's web app in the video below.



Applications for Education
Students can use Book Creator to create multimedia fiction stories, to publish non-fiction stories, or to create digital portfolios of their best work.

Anchor Offers the Easiest Way to Publish Podcasts

Anchor is a free audio publishing service that I started using last winter. I was drawn to Anchor by its ease of use. Recording on Anchor is simple of matter of just holding down the record button on your phone then releasing it when you're done talking.

When I started using Anchor it only let you record and publish in two minute increments. That changed in March when Anchor added the option for uploading audio to your Anchor channel. In March Anchor also added the option to have your spoken words automatically transcribed and displayed in a video suitable for sharing on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

This month Anchor moved into direct competition with other full-fledged podcasting platforms by automating the process of submission and distribution to Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Watch the short video below to see how easy it can be to publish a podcast through Anchor.


Applications for Education
In December and March I wrote that Anchor could be a good option for teachers who want to publish their own short episodes on the Anchor network. However, at that time I didn't recommend it for students because Anchor itself didn't have comment moderation. Now with the option to publish straight to Apple Podcasts or Google Play effectively bypassing the comments of Anchor I think it could be a good option for students to publish podcasts.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Workbench Offers Good Hands-on STEM Activities

Workbench is a service that offers a huge catalog of hands-on learning activities for students. Last month at the ISTE conference I got to see one of the activities in action. That was a project in which students create and program their own controllers for a Sphero ball. You can see the results of the project in this short Instagram video.

The project that is shown in my video is just one of dozens of hands-on STEM projects for students. Some require electronics and others can be completed with nothing more than soda bottles, paper, or Legos. For example, one of the currently featured projects is this composting activity.

All Workbench projects include a list of required materials and the sequence of steps to guide your students through to completion of the project. Of course, you could also let students figure out the steps they need to take and let them learn a bit more by trial and error.

Try YouTube Live To Reach More Students

Back in May I shared how Tom Richey was using YouTube Live to host AP World History review sessions for students. That's one way to use YouTube Live to help your students. Another way to use YouTube Live is to broadcast and record lessons from your classroom.

As I explained and demonstrated yesterday at the Upstate Technology Conference in South Carolina, you can rather easily broadcast yourself teaching a lesson. Get a cheap tripod for your phone and point it in the direction of where you're standing to give a short lesson. Turn on the YouTube Live broadcast from the YouTube app for iPhone or Android and it starts broadcasting and recording. The recording can then be embedded into your blog or shared in your Google Classroom.


Applications for Education
Broadcasting your lesson can help you reach students who are absent from your class. They can either watch live and ask questions via the Q&A feature of YouTube Live or they can watch the recording later.