Thursday, July 20, 2017

DIY VR Viewer

The post immediately preceding this one featured the new "solo" mode for Google Expeditions. Expeditions is the mobile app that allows users to experience virtual reality tours when they place their phones into virtual reality viewers like the Google Cardboard viewers. If you can't buy VR viewers for your classroom or you just like DIY projects, it is possible to make your own VR viewer with just a few common materials. YouTube "celebrity" Roman UrsuHack offers the following video that provides an overview of making your own VR viewer.

The template that Roman UrsuHack follows in the video can be found here (link opens a PDF).

By the way, folks coming to the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp next week will get a chance to create their own VR viewers. There is still time to register to join us

Students Can Now Guide Themselves In Google Expeditions

On Wednesday Google released an update to Google Expeditions that allows students and others to guide themselves on Google Expeditions. Expeditions are Google's Virtual Reality experiences that can be viewed through the Expeditions app on phones placed in Google Cardboard Viewers. The new "solo" mode in Expeditions (currently only for Android) lets students view Google's virtual reality Expeditions without guidance from a teacher. In the "solo" Expeditions students can choose "Explorer" mode and they will see highlighted information included about the places they're viewing in virtual reality.

Applications for Education
The critic in me wonders why it took so long for "solo" mode to be added to Google Expeditions. It will be great to let students choose what they see and experience in a virtual reality expedition rather than being guided along by someone else. That said, I still view virtual reality is a supplement to other instructional resources. Just dropping students into a virtual reality experience without having them first understand the context of the experience is a mistake.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Capture More Than Just a Visible Screen With Nimbus Screenshot

Recently, a reader asked me to suggest a tool for creating a screen capture image that would include more than just what was visible in the initial screen. In other words, the reader was looking for a way to capture both the top and bottom portions of a webpage that required scrolling. My suggestion was to try Nimbus Screenshot. Nimbus Screenshot will let you use a "select and scroll" function to capture as much or as little of a webpage as you need.

Applications for Education
Creating screenshots, particularly annotated screenshots, is a good way to create a set of directions to share with students and or colleagues when you are introducing them to a new web app.

Nimbus Screenshot also offers recording of screencast videos. It's a great option for people who want to make screencasts on Chromebooks.

9 Features of ClassDojo's Digital Portfolio Platform - Coming Soon

About this time last year ClassDojo introduced a digital portfolio platform that they call Student Stories. Since its initial launch ClassDojo has steadily added new features to Student Stories. Today, ClassDojo announced nine features that will be available for the start of the new school year.

1. User names and passwords are no longer required to join. You can have students can log-in instantly by scanning a secure class QR code. (There is still a user name and password option).

2. Video recording length is now up to eight minutes. You can also upload videos that are up to eight minutes long.

3. Students will soon be able to add voice notes to their portfolios in Student Stories.

4. New image filters, frames, and digital stickers are being added to Student Stories.

5. Improved drawing tools for students to use to create drawings and diagrams.

6. Post from connected apps and or your device's camera.

7. Speaking of devices, ClassDojo's Student Stories now works on iOS, Android, and in your web browser.

8. Students can now type journal entries in Student Stories.

9. Annotate images by using drawing tools in ClassDojo's Student Stories.

The Five Most Popular Ed Tech Tutorial Videos of 2017 So Far

Every week I publish a couple of tutorial videos on my YouTube channel. As we're now more than half way through the year, I thought it would be good to take a look back the the most viewed ed tech tutorial videos that I have produced this year.

1. A Tour of the New Google Earth

2. How to Add Music to Google Slides

3. How to Use Toontastic 3D on Chromebooks

4. How to Use Flippity's Google Sheets Add-on

5. How to Use Google Drive Videos in Google Slides