Sunday, December 31, 2017

How to Use Flipgrid - A 2017 Favorite

For the last five days I have featured the most popular posts of 2017. On this last day of the year, I'm going to highlight my favorite posts of the year regardless of their popularity. This post features my guide to using Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is a fantastic service for collecting video responses to prompts that you pose to your students. It has been a hit whenever I have demonstrated it in a workshop or conference presentation during the last year. The basic idea behind Flipgrid is that it enables you to post a video prompt and then have your students respond through video by using the webcams in their laptops or through the cameras on their smartphones or tablets. All responses are collected and displayed in a grid format. Watch the following video that I created and learn how to start using Flipgrid today.



You can contribute to the grid featured in my video by clicking here.

Back in November Caroline Schaab was kind enough to author a guest post in which she shared four ways to use Flipgrid in fourth grade.

Zero Noise Classroom - A 2017 Favorite

For the last five days I have featured the most popular posts of 2017. On this last day of the year, I'm going to highlight my favorite posts of the year regardless of their popularity. This post features a convenient noise meter and timer.

Zero Noise Classroom provides a countdown timer and a noise meter into one convenient Chrome app. When you launch Zero Noise Classroom you can set the countdown timer and adjust the goal for the volume of noise in your classroom. You will also set a goal for a percentage of the time that can exceed the maximum volume. When the countdown timer expires a chime sounds and the percentage of time above the volume limit is displayed.

Applications for Education
The idea behind Zero Noise Classroom is to give your students a specific amount of time during which you want the noise in the classroom to be below a certain level. This could be for silent reading time in your classroom or just a silent minute for everyone to think before responding to a question. You could also use it to just time an activity and not worry about the noise level at all.

Toontastic 3D - A 2017 Favorite

For the last five days I have featured the most popular posts of 2017. On this last day of the year, I'm going to highlight my favorite posts of the year regardless of their popularity. This post features my initial review of Toontastic 3D followed by a tutorial video.

On Thursday Google released a new version of the popular animation creation app, Toontastic. The new version is called Toontastic 3D and it is available to download on the Android, iOS, and Chrome platforms. I installed on an Android phone and found it to be easy to use to create animated videos.

To make a video on Toontastic 3D students first select the type of story that they want to create. Their options are "short story" (a three part story), "classic" (a five part story), or "science report." Once they have selected a story type they will be prompted to craft each part of their stories in order. A short description of what each part of the story should do is included before students start each section.

Students can pick from a variety of story setting templates or they can create their own within Toontastic 3D. Once they have established a background setting students then select cartoon characters to use in their stories. Students can choose from a wide array of customizable cartoon characters or they can create their own from scratch. Once characters are placed into the story scenes students can begin recording themselves talking while moving the characters around in each scene. Students can swap characters between scenes, change the appearance of characters between scenes, and move characters from one scene to the next.

To use Toontastic 3D students do not need to have accounts or log into any service. Their completed videos can be saved directly onto the devices that they use to create their videos.

Applications for Education
Toontastic 3D could provide elementary school students with a great way to create videos for a variety of purposes including mini-biographies, retelling of historical events, or to bring the scenes of a favorite book to life in video form.

Try This Fun, Free AR App for Outdoor Lessons - A 2017 Favorite

For the last five days I have featured the most popular posts of 2017. On this last day of the year, I'm going to highlight my favorite posts of the year regardless of their popularity. This post features an augmented reality app for elementary school students.

Spring is here in the northern hemisphere and those of us in northern climates are ready to get back to playing outside without wearing seven layers of clothing. This is the time of the school year when my students always ask about having class outside. If you're an elementary school teacher who is ready to get your kids outside for a lesson, take a look at Plum's Creaturizer.

Plum's Creaturizer from PBS Kids is a free iOS and Android 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. In the following video I demonstrate how the app works (apologies for the background noise, I recorded this video outside to show how the AR feature works in real settings).

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Goals, Wishes, and Cold - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're experiencing a stretch of cold days that hasn't been seen since the 1970's. How cold is it? Earlier this week I referred to Tuesday's high temperature of 7f as a "warm day." I took advantage of that warm day by going out to hike up and ski down Saddleback Mountain near Rangelely, Maine. That's just one of the things that I did during my week off. If you had the week off, I hope that you were able to do something fun too.

All week I ran republications of some of the most popular posts of the year. Therefore, this week's round-up of the most popular posts is kind of a best of the best list. New blog posts will resume on Monday.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Track Progress Toward Goals With This Google Sheets Template - Best of 2017
2. The Things I Wish Every Teacher Knew About Technology - Best of 2017
3. My Five Most Frequently Recommended Google Forms Add-ons - Best of 2017
4. Three Alternatives to Google Classroom - Best of 2017
5. 21 Tools for Conducting Digital Formative Assessments - Best of 2017
6. 22 Videos That Can Help Students Improve Their Writing - Best of 2017
7. How to Add Spoken Audio to Google Slides - Best of 2017

Online Professional Development
Despite it being a vacation week more people registered for the 2018 Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group. And a bunch of people took advantage of the 30% discount available on my Teaching History With Technology course and my G Suite for Teachers course.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Click here to book me today.

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.
MySimpleShow offers a great way to create animated videos for free.
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Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
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PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
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