Thursday, December 14, 2017

The National Archives and the Yeti

The U.S. National Archives has a great feature called Today's Document. Today's Document features one historical document (almost always a primary source) per day. Sometimes the documents are serious while other times the documents are not so serious.

Sunday's featured document was a perfect example of a not-so-serious document. On Sunday Today's Document was Regulations Governing Mountain Climbing Expeditions in Nepal - Relating to Yeti. The document came from the Agency for International Development at the American Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Applications for Education
There is usually a good lesson plan connected to the documents featured in Today's Document. That wasn't the case with the Yeti document. But you could certainly create one using the document analysis tools of DocsTeach. One prompt that I would give to my students concerning this document is, "why would a government agency need to draft a formal policy about searching for the Yeti?"

Kiddom Introduces an Android App

Kiddom is one of the learning management systems that I occasionally recommend to folks who are looking for an alternative to Google Classroom. One of the helpful features that Kiddom offers is an integrated search for assignment materials. For example, fourth grade teachers can search for mathematics assignments that are aligned to standards of their choosing. When a material is found teachers can then assign it to their students as a homework assignment, as a quiz, or as a long-term assignment.

This week Kiddom introduced a free Android app. The app provides teachers with the same tools for creating assignments and giving feedback that are found in the browser-based version of Kiddom.

Applications for Education
Kiddom can be a good choice for teachers who are not currently using a learning management system and want to start using an LMS to organize and distribute assignments. It can also be a good choice for schools who are not married to the Google or Microsoft ecosystems.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Tip for Unorganized Google Drive Users Like Me

There are some people who use folders with a strict system and order. This blog post is not for them. Then there are those of us who know we should use folders, use them when remember to use them, and then forget what went in the folders during our moments of "getting organized." If that describes your folder use in Google Drive, you're like me and you need to use this Google Drive search tip. Watch my video embedded below and gain a little sanity for your next search through your Google Drive folders.


Learn more than just handy tips in my on-demand course G Suite for Teachers starting in January. 

Three Good Ways to Create Instructional Animations

Earlier this week I shared five ways to create animated movies on Chromebooks. Creating animated movies can be a lot of fun for you and your students. But sometimes you just need a short animation to get your point across or to remind students about an important point. That's when the following three tools are handy.

Flip Anim provides possibly the easiest way draw and create an animated GIF. In the following short video I demonstrate how to create animated GIFs by using Flip Anim.



Loopy is a free tool for creating your own animated simulations or illustrations of a concept. This free animation tool is designed to showing relationships between two or more parts of a system. It's perfect for showing cause and effect or for showing a workflow system. To create an animation on Loopy you simply have to click on the blank canvas to place a circle that represents the start of a system. Then click on the canvas again to add another element to your system animation. To connect the two (or more) pieces you use a drawing tool to connect them. Once you've drawn the connections you can add cause and effect commands by selecting them from the Loopy editor.

Parapara Animation is a free animation creation tool developed and hosted by Mozilla. The tool is easy to use and it does not require registration in order to use it. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create an animation with ParaPara Animation.



Storyboard - Create Cartoons from Your Videos

Storyboard is a new Android app produced by Google. The app will let you select a video that you have recorded on your phone and then have a cartoon storyboard of the video automatically created for you. I tried Storyboard yesterday and found it easy to use. That ease of use is partly due to the lack of customization options found in the app. All you can do in the app is select a video and then swipe through layouts until you find one that you like. You can't customize the layouts. Customizing the cartoon effects is also not an option.

Applications for Education
I think there is some use for the Storyboard app in school settings. The app could be useful for generating cover images for digital portfolios that include videos recorded by students.

The app might also be useful for extracting pictures from a video. Students could then caption those images to practice writing stories or writing directions for a process.