Sunday, October 22, 2017

Project Ideas for Primary Students

A primary teacher recently contacted Free Technology For Teachers to get ideas for how to incorporate technology into an activity where her students are learning the different characteristics of mammals. She wants them to be able to create a sort of virtual animal park.

I have several ideas for how this can work. While these options will discuss animals, they can be modified for any subject and grade level. All three of these options make student learning visible and provide students with the opportunity to show what they know.

Option 1: Have students use Adobe Spark Video to create a narrated description of the animals they have selected. Adobe Spark Video is incredibly easy for students to narrate.

Option 2: Students could use a combination of Google Slides and an extension called Talk and Comment. A single slide presentation could be used to house all of the slides and students could record a narration to go along with their slide or slides. The narrations could be added as comments or they could be added on top of the image of the animal.

Option 3: Each student could have their own Google Drawing and upload one or more images to it. They could record their narration using the Talk and Comment extension, then link the recording to the images of their animals.

Three Options for Adding Voice Comments in Google Docs

Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on student learning. In order for feedback to have a positive impact it should be provided in a timely manner, focus on process, and provide ideas for taking action. You can achieve all of these things using typed comments in Google, but why not make even more of an impact by leaving voice comments? This can be a powerful way to motivate and engage students.

  • Kaizena- Easy way to provide high quality voice feedback for students.
  • Read&Write for Google Chrome- Leave voice comments for students inside of Google Docs. Make sure you register for a free teacher account to have this functionality.
  • Talk and Comment- This extension makes it possible to create voice recordings and use them anywhere you can share a URL. To use this extension in Google Docs, simply place the link to your recorded feedback in a comment box and save it. 

Applications for Education 
These tools can be used by students to provide feedback to their peers or to reflect on their own learning. This would be a great way to have students explain items they have included in a digital portfolio. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Week in Review - A New Addition

Good evening from Maine where we have had a busy few days welcoming our new daughter. Mother, baby, big sister, and dad are all doing well. Thanks to everyone who shared congratulatory messages on Instagram and Twitter over the last couple of days.

The blog has kept chugging along over the last couple of weeks thanks in large part to my good friend Beth Still who has been handling most of the day-to-day for the last ten days. Thanks Beth!

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Virtual and Interactive Resources for Science Teachers
2. Five Gmail Extensions to Increase Productivity
3. Molecularium: Molecule Building Game
4. CheckMark Extension for Providing Feedback on Google Docs
5. 5-Day Teacher Challenge
6. How to Avoid a Common Google Calendar Mistake
7. QR Code Generators and Readers for Chromebooks

Coming up at the end of the month I am hosting a webinar about formative assessment. And in November I will have a handful of online professional development courses available. You can find all of my upcoming courses and recordings of past webinars here.

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.
Metaverse enables anyone to create amazing things.
Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
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.

Top Posts on Google Maps, MyMaps and Earth from Free Technology for Teachers

Google MapsGoogle Earth, and Google My Maps are three of my favorite tools to use in the classroom. They allow us to see the world from a completely different perspective and explore places that we might never see in real life. Here are some of the top posts about how to use these awesome tools that have appeared on this blog over the last couple of years.

Free PD for Teachers

All teachers love learning and there is nothing better than when we can learn for free! This is a collection of resources that will help quench you thirst for learning. Whether you prefer to read online, watch webinars, or listen to podcasts you are sure to find something on here that will fit your needs.

  • Classroom2.0 Live- This hour long show takes place each Saturday at 12pm EST. Every week a different educator shares their ideas or how they use different tools in their classrooms. The archives for all of the previous episodes are available and there are hundreds of them!
  • ISTE- While there is a fee to join ISTE, many of their resources are available free on their website. One of the most useful and important resources available on the site are their technology standards.
  • Collection of Podcasts- Edutopia compiled this list of podcasts for educators a couple of years ago. Another podcast that is popular with educators that was not included on the list is The Cult of Pedagogy.
  • ASCD Webinars- ASCD is another professional organization that shares lots of resources free of charge.
  • Edcamp- Edcamps happen all over the world and they are completely free! This is also a great way to meet amazing educators face to face.
  • Google Training Center- This free training center has all of the resources you need to learn about all things Google and get your Level I and Level 2 Google certification.