Monday, March 19, 2018

Take a Look at This Year's Explore.org Wildlife Cams

Explore.org offers a fantastic collection of live nature webcam feeds. In the gallery of live webcams you will find video feeds featuring owls in their nests, ospreys in their nests, and bald eagles in nests, and video feeds featuring puffins. Spring is almost here in the northern hemisphere and the bird videos feeds are the best they will be all year because birds will soon be hatching in those nests seen the webcams.


Applications for Education
Birds aren't the only animals featured in the Explore webcams, they just stand out right now because the rest of the year the nests will be empty. Your students can certainly explore all of the other webcams on Explore that feature polar bears, tigers, goats, and many other mammals. All of the webcam feeds have a little pop-up menus that contain more information about the animals featured in the feeds. All videos can be streamed via YouTube or the Explore website. I kind of like just having the owl webcam on as soothing background noise, students might like that too.

Tips for Creating Strong Passwords - And Don't Forget to Change Them

This afternoon I was in a little knick-knack shop when I came across a little notebook that had a cover page titled "online organizer." Inside the notebook there were pages for writing your passwords for the websites that you use. Looking at that notebook reminded me of some resources that I have saved regarding creating strong passwords.

Here's a set of three videos to get you started. The first video is a fun look at the ten most commonly used passwords, don't use these.



Common Craft offers the following video about creating secure passwords.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sharalike - Quickly Create Audio Slideshows

Sharalike is a free iOS, Android, and web app that makes it easy to create audio slideshow videos. To create an audio slideshow video with Sharalike simply open the app, select pictures to import, drag and drop them into any sequence you like, and then choose some music to accompany your images. Sharalike handles all of the work of adding transitions, pan and zoom effects, and lighting adjustments. You can choose from several slideshow themes. Each theme uses slightly different transitions and frames around your images. Sharalike does include a small selection of free instrumental music that you can use in your slideshow or you can import music from outside of the service.


Applications for Education
Summarizing the highlights of an event, summarizing the key points in a story, and summarizing the results of research project are all common purposes for creating audio slideshows.

Draw and Tell - Great App for Simple Digital Stories

This afternoon, for the first time ever, I let my toddler use my iPad. I hadn't planned on letting her play with it, but I had it open to play music and she grabbed it while I was changing her sister's diaper. She enjoyed pushing the button and seeing things change when she tapped the screen. Before I put the iPad away, I showed her and let her play with the Draw and Tell app.

Draw and Tell is a free iPad app that kids can use to create simple animated stories. At its most basic level Draw and Tell provides a blank canvas on which students can draw pictures and or write notes. The app provides a variety of canvas options including a blank screen, lined screens, graph paper, and colorful background borders. Kids can draw on the canvas by using virtual pencils, pens, crayons, and paints. There are also options to apply digital stickers and stencils to creations in Draw and Tell.

Draw and Tell is more than just a drawing tool. The app includes options for kids to record themselves talking about the things they are drawing. Those recordings are saved with their drawings as simple video files. All of the files are saved in the app. Students can combine their video files to make longer animations.

Create Your Own Typing Games

Two of the most popular posts of the month so far have included typing games. One of those posts featured ABCya's free typing games and the other one featured TypeTastic's collection of free typing games. But you don't have to rely on other people making typing games for your students. You can use the Flippity Add-on for Google Sheets to create your own customized typing games. Watch the following video to learn how you can create your own typing games.



Applications for Education
The benefit of making your own typing games is that you can specify the words that appear in the game. When building a custom typing game I would words that are already on the lists of vocabulary words that my students need to know.