Monday, November 20, 2017

This Chrome Extension Helps You Find Books to Borrow

Library Extension is a free Chrome extension that will show you local library listings for the books that you viewing on Amazon, Google Books, Barnes & Noble, and other popular book retailer websites.

Library Extension currently shows listings from more than 4,000 public library databases in the United States, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Applications for Education
Library Extension could be a useful extension for students who are using Google Books as a part of their research processes. The extension will quickly let students know if a book that they have found in Google Books is available to borrow at a local library.

One drawback to the extension is that you can only view results from one local library at a time.

To learn more about using Google Books, check out Search Strategies Students Need to Know

Swift - Poll Your Audience Via SMS or Web

Swift is a new polling service that lets you collect responses through text messages or through a simple webpage. The free version of the service allows you to collect responses from up to 50 people per poll. That limit is adequate for most classroom settings.

To get started on Swift you need to create an account. Your students do not need to create an account in order to respond to your poll questions. When you create an account you will be assigned a phone number that your audience can use to respond to your poll. Alternatively, your students can go to the web address assigned to your poll to submit responses. Your poll questions must be written in multiple choice format.

Swift allows you to program an automated text message response to your poll respondents. So if you choose this option, you could include a link for students to follow to the next activity that you want them to do in your classroom that day. You can also choose to have students instantly view the results of the poll.

Applications for Education
Swift could be a good little service to use to gather anonymous feedback from your students. The option to use text messaging, web responses, or both makes Swift a versatile tool for schools. The option to send students to a new page after submitting a text response could help you keep your students on task. The option to instantly show poll results could be helpful in starting discussions in your classroom.

How to Teach With Video

According to YouTube the average teenager spends more than 45 minutes per day watching videos. That presents a great opportunity to teach them valuable lessons from your curriculum, if you know how to do it right. In How to Teach With Video Keith Hughes, Tom Richey, and I will teach you how to create engaging educational videos. Together we have more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers! Join us next Monday for the first night of this three night event.

In this three night event you'll learn skills and gain confidence to produce educational videos in multiple formats. You'll learn how to incorporate video into your assessment process. And you'll gain an understanding of copyright as it pertains to classroom settings.

Course highlights:
  • Video editing on Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks.
  • Green screen video production.
  • What you do and don't need to create great videos.
  • Publishing on YouTube and how to handle YouTube comments.
  • How to maximize live video use.
  • Video-based assessment.
  • Copyright in the classroom and on the Web.
  • Live Q&A with Tom, Keith, and Richard

Every webinar will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live sessions.

The cost of this course is $97. Your registration includes three live webinars, copies of the recording of each webinar, handouts, and a PD certificate.

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.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

5 FAQs About Whisper for Google Classroom

Whisper is a free Chrome extension that was featured in last week's most popular post of the week. During the week I received a bunch of emails about the extension. Here's a short run-down of the questions most frequently asked about Whisper.

1. What is Whisper?
It is a free Chrome extension that lets you send pop-up notifications to the students listed in your Google Classroom rosters.

2. How is this different than sending emails?
When Whisper is correctly installed and enabled, your students will not need to check their inboxes to see the notes that you send to them. This makes it great for sending quick notes like, "keep up the great work today" or "please get back on task."

3. Nothing is happening/ why don't my students see my notes?
The number one cause of this is having pop-ups disabled. Make sure that pop-up notifications are enabled both in the Chrome browser and on your Mac or Windows computer itself.

4. Can my students see the notes that I send to their classmates?
No. The only way that they see the notes that you send to their classmates is if you use the "entire class" notification option.

5. My IT department is blocking Whisper. 
Okay, so this isn't a question so much as it is a complaint about your school's filtering policies. If you want to see if your school is blocking access to Whisper, go here. That page will also give your IT department information about how to open access to Whisper.

Want to learn more about workflow in Google Classroom? Join my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where the first snowflakes of the 2017-18 winter have started to fly. Whether they love the snow or they hate the snow, everyone around here has a comment about it. I'm in the "love snow" camp and I'm excited that the local ski resort opened this week. The snow reminds me that we're entering the middle of the school year. Should you need a little mid-year professional development, take a look at some of the webinars that I'm offering right after Thanksgiving.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. Whisper for Google Classroom
2. Using Icons to Help Organize Google Drive Folders
3. Collection of Google Drive Templates
4. Seven Tips for New Google Classroom Users
5. Using the About Tab in Google Classroom
6. Voice Recording Tools
7. Math Games and Resources

Are you looking for a workshop facilitator or keynote speaker?
If so, click here to learn about my services. 

Online PD opportunities:
Next week I'll have 5 webinars available in one package for just $25. Click here to learn more.

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.