Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Week in Review - It's Only August

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining on nice August morning. It's only the first week of August, but I have already spotted a couple of leaves changing color. That's always my visual reminder that my favorite season is just around the corner. I'm not sure if it is because my birthday is in the fall or if it is the just the crisp fall air, but I've always enjoyed autumn. The start of the new school year always fills me with hope too.

Now I can hear some of you saying, "it's only August, Richard!" And you're right, so go outside and enjoy the rest of your summer before school starts.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Three Google Classroom Updates That You Will Appreciate
2. A New Google Forms Feedback Feature You and Your Students Will Like
3. Use a Screen Reader With Google Classroom
4. 6 New Google Classroom Features to Note
5. Learn Anything (Almost) Through These Interactive Mind Maps
6. A Game for Learning About International Trade
7. Two New Google Forms Features for Teachers

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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.
SeeSaw is my favorite digital portfolio tool.  
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.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Flip Anim - Quickly Create Animated GIFs

Flip Anim provides possibly the easiest way draw and create an animated GIF. Within minutes of learning about Flip Anim on Larry Ferlazzo's blog I had created a couple of animated GIFs illustrating basic addition problems. One of those is included below.

To create an animation on Flip Anim simply go to the site and start drawing on the notepad in the center of your screen. You can draw as much or as little as you like on each page of your notepad. You're essentially drawing a piece of each animation on each page of your notepad much like the way that old cartoons were created. When you're done drawing on all of your pages you can preview the animation by pressing the play button. To save your work you do have to upload it to Flip Anim (registration is not required) then you can download it as an animated GIF.

Applications for Education
Flip Anim could be a good little tool to use for creating animated GIFs like the one in this post that simply displays the steps of a simple math problem indefinitely. Students might also like to use Flip Anim to illustrate short pieces of dialogue from a book or to just create a simple comic to display their creative writing.

Map of Play

KaBoom is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help build safe playgrounds in cities and towns all over the United States. One of the resources that they offer online is Map of Play. Map of Play helps visitors find playgrounds. To use the map just enter a location and you'll receive a list of playgrounds in that area. The places on the list are mapped using Google Maps. You can click on any of the placemarks to get directions to and more information about the playgrounds.

Applications for Education
If you're traveling with your children this summer and need to find a fun and free place to take them to play, Map of Play could be a handy resource for you.

Federal vs. Private Student Loans

For many students and their parents figuring out how to pay for college is a huge and stressful part of the college selection process. Planet Nutshell recently released two videos that can help students and their parents understand student loans. Those videos are embedded below. Learn more about student loans at Borrow Wisely.


Understanding Federal Student Loans in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.



Federal vs. Private Student Loans in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Google Earth for iPad Now Equal to Android Version

Back in April Google introduced a completely new version of Google Earth for Android and for use in your web browser. This week that new version finally arrived for iPhone and iPad users.

Like the Android version of Google Earth, the iOS version features a "voyager" mode for taking virtual tours of places around the world. The iOS version of Google Earth now includes "knowledge cards" that pop-up when you search or browse a location. Knowledge Cards include a small slideshow of images of location and some text about a location. And if you just want to lucky dip around the world, you can choose "I'm feeling lucky" and have Google Earth for iOS take you to a randomly selected location where you'll find Knowledge Cards to view.

Applications for Education
Google Earth for iOS still isn't up to the level of Google Earth for your desktop, but it is still a nice tool to use in social studies classrooms. Consider using the "I'm feeling lucky" option as a way to have students select places to research in more depth.