Saturday, March 10, 2018

How Inventions Change History

This evening I was looking back at some resources that I have for teaching about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin. Included in that list was a YouTube video that demonstrated how the cotton gin worked. Next to that video I found a TED-Ed lesson titled How Inventions Change History (For Better or Worse). The lesson is centered around Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin and the impact that it had on slavery in the southern United States.


In addition to considering the impact of the cotton gin, students who view this TED-Ed lesson are asked to consider the impact of other inventions on the world.

Quizzes, Syrup, and Public Domain Videos - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where the winter keeps on going. This week we had lots of new snow fall. As a skier, I love the snow. But many of my friends were not so happy about the latest snowstorm. In other news from Lake Wobegon Paris Hill, this week I scheduled a new webinar for teachers interested in classroom video creation projects. The webinar is called 5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom. You can find all of the webinar registration details here.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. The Library of Congress Seeks a Teacher-in-Residence
2. 10 Free Apps for Elementary School Math Lessons
3. My Top 5 Choices for Making Multimedia Quizzes
4. New Shared File Organization Coming to Google Drive
5. 8 Changes to Google Docs & Slides Menus
6. Making Maple Syrup - A Science and Math Lesson
7. Three Places to Find Public Domain Video Clips

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.

On-demand Professional Development
PracticalEdTech.com is where I offer on-demand professional development courses and webinars. The sale of those courses and webinars helps to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. Click here to see all of the on-demand offerings. 


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.
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.
QuickKey provides an efficient way to conduct online and in-person formative assessments.

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Cup Stacking Typing Game

ABCya produces lots of games designed to help elementary school students sharpen their skills in a lot of areas. Included in ABCya's catalog of games is a fun typing game called Cup Stacking. In this game students have to type the letters that they see on the cups that appear on their screens. When they type the correct letters the cups stack up into a pyramid. Once the pyramid is built students have to type the letters again to deconstruct the pyramid. The object of the game is to build up and take down the pyramids as quickly as possible.

The Cup Stacking game is fun, but it doesn't inherently reinforce the "home row" technique. However, ABCya's Alpha Munchies game does reinforce the "home row" concept. In Alpha Munchies students to type letters or words, depending upon their skill level, to guard their virtual lunches against "Alpha Critters" who are trying to steal their food.

Applications for Education
I played both games for a while and could see how students would get sucked into playing them for a long time. The longer they play, the better they should get at typing quickly and accurately. If you're going to have students use the games in your classroom, I recommend having them use headphones or turn off the sound as the music might drive you nuts after a while.

Photos for Class Now Offers More Free Images for Students

Photos for Class is one of my favorite sites for students to use to find free images to use their projects. The most outstanding feature of Photos for Class is that it automatically adds attribution information to the footer of the images that students download. For the last few years Photos for Class has relied on Flickr's library of Creative Commons and public domain images. Recently, Photos for Class started to include public domain images from Pixabay's safe search. In the following video I demonstrate how you can use Photos for Class to find and download free images.


Disclosure: Photos for Class is owned by the same company that owns Storyboard That and advertises on this blog. 

5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom

Update: This webinar is now available on-demand.

In this one hour webinar you will learn how to create and complete five video projects that can be done in almost any classroom. You’ll learn how your students can make five types of videos in your classroom. Examples from real students and teachers will be shared during the webinar.

In addition to the how-to element of the webinar we’ll cover planning, assessment, and privacy concerns.

The cost for this webinar is $20 which includes the webinar recording, handouts, and a PD certificate.


Click here to access the webinar on demand.

Who is this webinar for?
  • Anyone who has ever wanted to try making videos with their students.
  • Teachers who have tried making videos before, but didn’t get the results they wanted.
  • Anyone who is short on time and wants to get a handful of new project ideas and demonstrations.
Access the webinar recording here

Five things you can learn in this webinar:
1. How to plan a video project. A planning template is included as part of your registration.
2. How to create animated videos, documentary-style videos, and instructional videos.
3. Discover and use public domain and Creative Common licensed media.
4. How to safely share videos in K-12 environments.
5. Ideas for assessing students’ videos.