Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Ed Tech Tools Social Studies Teachers Should Try This Year

On a regular basis I receive emails from teachers that go something like this, "we recently got new (insert hardware here) for our students and I was hoping you could tell me which tools I should try in my (academic area X) class." To answer that request for social studies teachers I put together the following short list of resources that can be used in most middle school and high school social studies classes.

Google Earth & My Maps
If you haven't taken a look at the new browser-based version of Google Earth, you should. While it isn't as robust as the desktop version, it does provide a good way for students to virtually explore landmarks and make collections of landmarks. Google's My Maps tool lets students create collections of multimedia placemarks that they can then import into Google Earth. Here's a short overview of the browser-based version of Google Earth.

As a social studies teacher, I feel comfortable in saying social studies teachers love videos. If that statement is true for you, you need to have EDPuzzle in your toolbox. EDPuzzle is a neat tool that allows you to add your voice and text questions to educational videos. On EDpuzzle you can search for educational videos and or upload your own videos to use as the basis of your lesson. EDpuzzle has an online classroom component that you can use to assign videos to students and track their progress through your video lessons. EDPuzzle has a Google Classroom integration option. This option lets you send lessons from your EDPuzzle account to your Google Classroom classes.

Metaverse Studio
Metaverse lets you create experiences that exist in augmented reality. What does that mean? It means that can create games, quests, and other activities that are completed by locating digital artifacts in a physical world. Or as I describe it in Teaching History With Technology, you can create your own version of Pokemon Go with historical landmarks and artifacts. For example, I used Metaverse to create an augmented reality game in which players have to locate and identify the hidden historical landmarks in our community.

Timeline JS
Timeline JS is an open source timeline creation tool. Timeline JS supports inclusion of images, maps, audio recordings, and videos in the events that you add to your timeline. To create a timeline through Timeline JS you first create a Google Spreadsheet with the template provided by Timeline JS. After creating the spreadsheet you publish it to the web and insert its URL into the Timeline JS generator. The last step is grabbing the link to your new timeline to share or copying the provided embed code to display the timeline on a website.

Google Cardboard Camera
Google's Cardboard Camera app is a simple Android and iPhone app for capturing your own virtual reality panoramas. The app will let you capture an immersive panorama that you can share others through email and social media. Cardboard Camera will capture sound so that you can explain what people are seeing in the VR imagery that you share with them. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use the Cardboard Camera to capture and share virtual reality panoramas.

You can learn more about these tools and others in Teaching History With Technology. You can start today and finish it at your own pace. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

7 Ways for Students to Use Google Drawings

Google Drawings is an often overlooked, yet useful tool that students can access within their G Suite for Education accounts. As I shared in one of yesterday's posts, Google Drawings can be used to create hyperlinked images much like you can do in Thinglink which now requires a subscription in most cases. There are other ways that your students can use Google Drawings. In the videos that are embedded below I demonstrate seven ways that your students can use Google Drawings.

Create a Mind Map

Create Hyperlinked Images/ Interactive Images

Image cropping, Image filtering, Image labeling & commenting, Creating custom word art, Creating & customizing charts and graphs.

Google Calendar Is Changing - It's Nothing to Worry About

As I wrote last week, Google Calendar is changing soon whether you like it or not. By the end of February all users will be migrated over to the new version of Google Calendar. If you're worried about the switch, don't be. As I demonstrate and explain in this video, there are not any significant differences between the two versions of Google Calendar.

The new version of Google Calendar is the one that I feature in my on-demand course, G Suite for Teachers

10,000 People Get Their Ed Tech Tips This Way

A few years back I decided to try to include more screencast videos in my blog posts. Initially, I hosted the videos on Vimeo and Wistia before realizing that I'd help more people by putting them on my YouTube channel. Those videos have been viewed more than 2,000,000 times and as of this morning the 10,000 people have subscribed to my YouTube channel.

If you haven't checked it out, my YouTube channel is where you will find short screencast videos explaining things like how to use Flipgrid, how to use various Google Forms Add-ons, and how to make a virtual conference room. Occasionally, I make live recordings in which I pass along tips on blogging or make recommendations in response to questions I've received.

In case you're curious, I have a video about the tools that I use to make most of my videos.

Use TimelineJS for Writing and Research

This is a guest post from Beth Holland, Doctoral Candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Education

Last week, I found myself a bit flummoxed with my dissertation and needed a different way to look at the literature supporting my argument. After fussing around for a while trying to draw something logical, it dawned on me that it might be helpful to create a timeline so that I could examine overlapping chronological events. After asking for a suggestion via Twitter, Ben Sondgeroth recommended TimelineJS.

Usually, I struggle with timelines because they can get really complex, and it's hard to get the spacing correct between years. However, as Richard explains in the tutorial below, TimelineJS works with a Google Sheet. This means that I can add information in any order, and my timeline will automatically display the events in the correct places.

However, the ability to create a multilayered timeline really helped me out. This way, I could group events by topic. For my dissertation, I wanted to look at the evolution of history, policy, technology, and economics research.

After completing this exercise, I started thinking about how TimelineJS might support writing and research. As illustrated, it could be a great pre-writing tool to organize a paper chronologically. However, imagine if students in a history, social studies, or even literature course maintained a timeline throughout the year for every unit or book. By spring, they could scroll through and look for connections that might not otherwise have been obvious.

Since the timeline gets populated from a Google Sheet, it could also be used as a different way to visualize an annotated bibliography. Imagine if students could make notes in the spreadsheet and then use the timeline to view and analyze their information. Personally, I wish that I had used it last summer when studying for my comprehensive exams. It would have been a fantastic way to synthesize information across courses. 

Sometimes, we all need a different way to organize our thinking before writing. TimelineJS might offer one more opportunity to do so.