Friday, February 2, 2018

My Favorite Screencasting Tool Now Works on Chromebooks

Screencast-o-Matic has been my favorite screencasting tool for years. I use it on my Windows and Mac computers to create almost all of the videos that you see on my YouTube channel. The one knock against Screencast-o-Matic has always been that it wouldn't work on Chromebooks. That has changed. Last fall Screencast-o-Matic launched a beta product that worked on Chromebooks. And yesterday that product left beta and is available to anyone who wants to use it.

To use Screencast-o-Matic on a Chromebook just go to this page and click "launch recorder." You can record your screen or your screen and your webcam simultaneously. You can narrate your videos by using your Chromebook's built-in microphone or by using an external mic like a Blu Snowball.

There is a free version and a paid "pro" version of Screencast-o-Matic. The free version will let you record for up to 15 minutes, record as many videos as you like, save to your Google Drive or local drive, and use your webcam while recording a screencast. The pro version removes the time limit, removes the Screencast-o-Matic watermark, enables cursor highlighting (that yellow circle you see on my screencast videos), enables drawing tools, and enables access to the offline editor. The pro version costs $18 a year. If you use my referral link you can save 20%.

Design and Print Valentine's Day Cards on Storyboard That

If your elementary school was like mine, on Valentine's Day your teacher would have you fill out little sheets of Valentine's Day cards to distribute to classmates or to take home to your parents. Back then our cards all came from the same template and looked more or less the same (at least they did in my class). Today, students can design their own cards to print and sign.

Storyboard That offers templates for designing and printing Valentine's Day cards. To do this your students will first have to create a simple three-frame storyboard. Then they can print the story in a foldable card format. In my video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a Valentine's Day card on Storyboard That.


Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

What is Groundhog Day?

Today is Groundhog Day. Today is the day that, according to legend, a groundhog will predict how much longer winter will last in the northern hemisphere. Your students might be wondering where this tradition originated. The following two videos provide brief explanations of Groundhog Day's origins.

This video from Storm Shield explains a bit of meteorology that goes into whether or not the groundhog will see his or her shadow.


This video from CGP Grey deals mostly with the origin of the tradition. Like most CGP Grey videos there is a fair amount of snark included in the video so review it carefully before deciding if it's appropriate for your students.


At 7am Eastern Time today you can watch the livestream of Punxsutawney Phil "predicting" when spring will begin.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Try Quick Key's Gridded Response Format for Your Next Math Assessment

Quick Key is a free app that I have liked and written about since my friend Mike Morrell showed it to me almost five years ago. Every year since then Quick Key has improved by adding new features that teachers want. The latest feature added to Quick Key is a gridded response format.

Quick Key's gridded response format will let you create math questions that your students can answer on paper or online. If your students respond on paper, you can use the Quick Key mobile app to scan the paper and have your students' responses quickly graded. If your students answer online, their responses are automatically graded upon submission.

Quick Key's gridded response format was made for math assessments. The gridded response sheets can be used to answer math questions with digits, decimal points, negative signs, and division symbols. Check out the complete description and tutorial here.

Applications for Education
For those who are not familiar with Quick Key, the basic idea is that your students respond to questions on a bubble sheet and then you use your mobile phone to scan those sheets and have the scores uploaded to your online Quick Key account. Last year Quick Key introduced a complementary product called Quick Key 1:1 that allows you to give the same quiz online that you give on paper. With Quick Key 1:1 you can have students who prefer to work on paper complete their assessments that way and students who prefer to complete an assessment online can choose that option.

Disclosure: Quick Key is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Quizalize Launches New Insights Features

Quizalize is one of my favorite tools for creating and hosting quiz games. One of the aspects of Quizalize that I have liked since it launched is the option to run quiz games as at-home activities instead of just in-class activities (Kahoot launched a similar option last fall). The other aspect of Quizalize that I have always appreciated is the amount of information that teachers can receive about how their students are performing on individual quizzes and on standards across multiple quizzes.

This week Quizalize introduced a couple of new ways to get insights into how your students are performing on the quizzes that you give to them. First, you can now view insights while a game is being played. Second, you can show the questions on which students are having the most difficulty without showing your students' names. That feature could be great for showing your class how they did as a whole and which questions or topics you'll need to review with them.

If you have never tried Quizalize, watch my video to see how it works.