Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Draw Chat - Free Video Conferencing With a Whiteboard

Draw Chat is a free service that allows anyone to create a video chat over a whiteboard, PDF, image, or map. To use Draw Chat you just have to visit the site and click "Start New Whiteboard." Once your whiteboard launches you will have the option to enable access to your webcam and microphone. You can have people join your whiteboard video conference by sending them the link assigned to your whiteboard.

Draw Chat allows you to draw or type on a shared whiteboard. Additionally, you can upload a PDF or an image to annotate on the whiteboard. A fourth option for drawing on Draw Chat is to import the URL for a Google Map and draw on that map.

Applications for Education
Draw Chat could be a good service for students to use for remote tutoring. It could also be useful to students to have remote meetings to plan a presentation or edit a project outline.

One of the odd things about Draw Chat is that you're randomly assigned a username in the video and text chat rather than getting to choose something obvious like "Richard." Those randomly assigned usernames could be a source of confusion unless you use the video conferencing aspect of Draw Chat.

ZapSplat - Thousands of Free Sound Effects

ZapSplat is a website that offers more than 20,000 sound effects and songs that you can download and re-use for free. The licensing that ZapSplat uses is quite clear. As long as you cite ZapSplat, you can use the sound effects and music in your videos, podcasts, and other multimedia projects.

ZapSplat does require you to create an account in order to download the MP3 and WAV files that it hosts. Once you have created an account you can download as many files as you like. ZapSplat does offer a "Gold" account. The benefit of a Gold account is that you don't have to cite ZapSplat and access to an expanded library of sounds.

Applications for Education
ZapSplat could be a good resource to bookmark for the next time your students need a sound effect to use in a video or podcast. On ZapSplat they'll find typical sounds like a doorbell ringing and a dog barking. ZapSplat also provides some unique sound effects and recordings like a pilot speaking to passengers and alien creatures eating.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ABCya! Offers 24 Tutorials for Fun Hands-on Projects

ABCya! is best known for its huge collection of educational games like these typing games. This evening I went directly to ABCya's homepage where I noticed that they now offer a collection of how-to videos.

ABCya's video page includes twenty-four instructional videos that teach you how to complete fun craft projects like making slime, creating origami unicorns, and making finger puppets. The videos are only available on the ABCya! website and not available to embed into other sites or blogs.

Applications for Education
I'd consider using the finger puppets how-to video to help students make puppets to use in puppet show about a topic in social studies lesson. For example, years ago I had some students make a puppet show about the concept of puppet governments.

ABCya's craft how-to videos could be useful to teachers of after-school programs who are looking for some hands-on projects to do with elementary school students.

ICYMI - 5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom

Last week over on I hosted a webinar titled 5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom. Nearly 100 teachers joined that live webinar. If you missed it, the recording of the webinar and all of the associated handouts are now available on-demand. Register to access the recording today and your access to the recording never expires so that you can go back and review it whenever you like as often as you like.

Teaching History With Technology
For the rest of this week my popular Teaching History With Technology course is on sale for $20 off. I recently redesigned the format of the course to make it possible for you to complete the course as quickly or slowly as you like. Each lesson includes tutorial videos, handouts, and suggested classroom activities. A professional development certificate is available to those who complete the course. Click here to get started.

A Hands-on Science Lesson for the Spring

When I was in Kindergarten we grew marigolds in Styrofoam cups and took them home in spring (probably for Mother's Day, but my mother will have to confirm that detail). I was reminded of that little project when I watched a new SciShow Kids video. Earlier today SciShow Kids published a video titled Grow Your Own Potatoes. The video explains what potatoes are and how they grow. And, as the title implies, the video provides directions for growing potatoes in a classroom or at home.

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