Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Week in Review - Soaking Up Summer

Good morning from Maine where despite seeing a few maple leaves already turning from green to red, we're still soaking up summer. Last weekend Isla and I hiked a local mountain and enjoyed the views from the top. This weekend, we're doing the same. I hope as she gets older she enjoys the outdoors as much as I do.


Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Ten Things You Can Do With Google Forms
2. My Go-to Google Tools for Social Studies Classrooms
3. Flip Anim - Quickly Create Animated GIFs
4. Three Google Classroom Updates That You Will Appreciate
5. Alternatives to YouTube's Video Editor - It's Going Away
6. Free Solar Eclipse Glasses in Your Community
7. Ten Things Students Can Do With Google Keep

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My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

417 History and Civics Lessons In One Place

On Friday I featured Tom Richey's YouTube channel which is full of great content for Advanced Placement U.S. and European History students. Today, I want to point out or remind you about the excellent videos that Keith Hughes produces.

Keith has at least 417 video lessons about a wide range of topics in U.S. and world history. Some of the lessons that I've enjoyed over the years include his series on every presidential election in U.S. history and his lessons on The Federalist Papers. All of Keith's history lesson videos are listed alphabetically in this document. Don't forget to use "CTRL + F" to search through the document.

In addition to his history lesson videos, Keith offers some tremendous videos for teachers new to the profession. The latest video in that series is Don't Assume: 5 Assumptions to Avoid as a Teacher.

Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners - A Practical Ed Tech Webinar

Throughout the year I host many professional development webinars at PracticalEdTech.com. The next one in my Tech Tuesday series is Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners. In this webinar on August 15th you will everything you need to know to get started using Google Forms and Google Sheets to streamline your workflow in grading quizzes, emailing parents and students, and keeping track of classroom materials. You will also learn how to build self-guided video review activities for your students. Finally, we'll tackle any questions that you have about Google Forms and Google Sheets.

This webinar will be held live at 4pm Eastern Time on August 15th. Register here. A recording will be available to those who register, but cannot attend the live session. The cost for this webinar is $20. Your registration includes access to the live webinar, live Q&A, unlimited access to the recording of the webinar, and a PD certificate.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • Two ways to create self-grading quizzes.
  • How to create self-paced guided video review activities.
  • How to develop Jeopardy-style games and flashcards in Google Sheets. 
  • A great method sending personalized emails to parents and students from one spreadsheet.
  • How to easily keep track of classroom materials through the use of Forms and Sheets.

Register Today!

This live webinar will held on August 15th at 4pm Eastern Time.

The cost for this webinar is $20. Your registration includes access to the live webinar, live Q&A, unlimited access to the recording of the webinar, and a PD certificate.

Friday, August 11, 2017

10 Things You Can Do With Google Sheets

As I mentioned yesterday in my run-down of ten ways to use Google Forms, Google Forms and Google Sheets is the part of G Suite for Education that I get most excited about teaching to others. My excitement comes from seeing how many applications for Google Forms and Google Sheets teachers develop once they understand the basics of how Forms and Sheets work. Here are ten ways that you can use Google Sheets once you understand the basics of how to use Sheets.

1. Send personalized emails to everyone in a group. Rather than sending a generic, "hi everyone" greeting you can address each person by name.

2. Create and display progress trackers. This is ideal for things like reading logs or fundraisers.

3. Create flashcards. You can make them or have your students make flashcards from the information in a Google Sheet.

4. Schedule room use. Keep track of who is using a meeting room and when.

5. Develop and publish multimedia timelines. Include pictures, videos, and maps in your timeline.

6. Keep track of iPad/ Chromebook carts in your school. The same logic can be applied to keeping track of anything commonly borrowed in your school.

7. Create maps of data sets. If your spreadsheet contains location data, you can map it from a Google Sheet.

8. Create rubrics and email grades from a spreadsheet. Email scores and feedback from the same place that you recorded scores and feedback.

9. Develop and manage a gradebook. If your school doesn't have a system-wide gradebook system in place, you can create your own in Google Sheets.

10. Create Jeopardy-style games. This staple of review games can be developed and played from a Google Sheet.

This Is Augmented Reality, This Is Virtual Reality

The difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is one of the things that I get asked to clarify on a fairly regular basis. This post has an example of each.

Earlier this year I featured a fun app from PBS Kids called Plum's Creaturizer. It's a free augmented reality app that lets students create fun cartoon creatures then place them into outdoor settings through the use of augmented reality. The purpose of the app is to have students learn and show how the characteristics of an animal help it thrive in its environment. A video demonstration of the app can be seen here.


Plum's Creaturizer and other augmented reality apps like it, are dependent upon location services in order to provide your on-screen experience. Virtual Reality apps, however, are not dependent upon location services to provide you with an immersive on-screen experience. Google Expeditions is an example of a virtual reality app. In my video embedded below I provide a short overview of how to use the "explorer mode" in Google Expeditions to view Mount Everest in virtual reality.


You can create your own basic virtual reality experiences by using the Cardboard Camera app from Google.