Thursday, November 9, 2017

Using the About Tab in Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a popular tool that help teachers share resources with students. One of the biggest complaints is that items tend to get lost rather easily in the stream. One solution for this problem is to use the About tab. This page is static which means that anything you post to this page will not disappear. The purpose of this page is to act as a landing page where you can share resource for easy access all year. You can add links to items such as digital textbooks, classroom website or blog, classroom rules and procedures, and other documents that students will need access to throughout the entire year. You might also wish to include a link to your lesson plans, a collaborative folder, or your YouTube playlist for that particular class. 

Collection of Google Drive Templates

Google Drawings and Google Slides are two of the most underutilized of all of the tools in GSuite for Education. They can be quite powerful once you grasp how to use them. I'm not sure anyone has mastered Google Drawings quite like Darren Maltais, a Technology Integration Facilitator from Canada.

Darren has created an extensive collection of activities that take full advantage of the power of Google Drawings and Google Slides. Activities are organized by grade level. There are activities for Language Arts, math, social studies, and science. Even if you don't find exactly what you are looking for, this collection will certainly help you get some ideas for how Drawings and Slides can be used to their fullest potential.

Comparison of Screencasting Tools

Screencasting is a fast and easy way to capture what is happening on your screen along with your voice or video of you speaking. Teachers can use screencasts to create self-paced lessons for students, tutorials, and supplements to sub plans. Students can use screencasting to tell stories or demonstrate their understanding of a topic or concept. There really are no limitations on screencasting can be used in schools. 

The are quite a few screencasting apps available and sometimes it is difficult to figure out which one to use. My advice is to try out a couple of different ones to see which one you are most comfortable with. All of these are free and some allow you to access additional features for no additional cost by referring friends and colleagues. All of them work nearly the same way.

This chart compares Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic, Nimbus, Soapbox, and Loom

Click here to see a larger version of the chart.

Want more information about screencasting? Check out this post that discusses some additional apps.

The StoryCorps Recording App Gets Updated Privacy Controls

StoryCorps offers a free app for recording interviews. I've used the app for a couple of years. In fact, I like it enough to include it in my Teaching History With Technology class. The one complaint that people have had about it is that your recorded interviews are automatically made public in the StoryCorps archives. That has recently changed.

In an email that I received this morning, StoryCorps announced that you can now use their free Android app or free iPhone app without having to publish your story publicly. You can now choose to make your recordings public or private.

Applications for Education
The best part of the StoryCorps recording app is that students can see questions while recording an interview at the same time. This can improve the flow of an interview to make it feel more like a conversation and less like a Q&A session. Speaking of interviews, StoryCorps is once again hosting The Great Thanksgiving Listen. The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an initiative to encourage people to record interviews with family members.

To Geography and Beyond With Google Maps & Earth

I loved Google Earth since the first time I used it. And I have enjoyed teaching it to many teachers over the last decade. That's why I'm excited to offer To Geography and Beyond With Google Maps & Earth. This course will meet on three Thursday afternoons starting on November 30th.

In addition to social studies Google Maps and Google Earth can be used in physical education, mathematics, science, and language arts lessons. Google Maps and Google Earth can be used to tell stories, to analyze data, and to discover new information. Of course, you can also use it find your way to that new coffee shop in town. You'll learn all of those things and more in this course beginning on November 30th. Register here. 

In addition to three live webinars, the course includes handouts containing detailed tutorials, a discussion forum, and professional development certificate for completion. Register here! The cost of this Practical Ed Tech course is $97.

Course highlights:
1. How to create multimedia maps.

2. How to build virtual tours.

3. How to collaboratively create multimedia maps.

4. How to map data and use maps to analyze data.

5. How mapping strengthens recall.

The cost of this course is $97.

Can't make it to the live webinars? Don't worry because the recording of each session will be emailed to you the next day and you can still participate in all of the Q&A in the discussion forum.

A note about fees for webinars:
Whenever I advertise a Practical Ed Tech webinar I am asked why they aren't free. There are two reasons. One, hosting professional development events is one of the ways that I am able to keep the lights on at Free Technology for Teachers. Two, while all of the tools featured in my webinars are free to use, my time for teaching about them is not free.

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