Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Edublogs Publishes an Extensive Guide to Classroom Podcasting

Podcasting has had a resurgence over the last couple of years. Part of that resurgence is due to the increase in easy-to-use tools for creating podcasts as well as an increase in platforms through which you can listen to podcasts. Anchor.fm is one of those easy-to-use podcast creation tools. I featured it in a video in my tip of the week in late February. The folks at Edublogs were kind enough to share it with their followers and include it in their new comprehensive guide to classroom podcasting.

The Edublogger's Guide to Podcasting includes examples of student-created podcasts, examples of teacher-produced podcasts, directions for recording a podcast, and directions for publishing a podcast. And if you are worried about running out of topics for podcast episodes, you don't need worry because The Edublogger's Guide to Podcasting includes 50 ideas for student podcasts.

You can create a podcast with the microphone built into your phone, your laptop, or your tablet. But if you want to improve the sound quality I recommend getting a Blue Designs Snowball iCE microphone (affiliate link). I have two of them that I've lugged all over the world, dropped them from a TSA security checkpoint table, and lent them out to people in my workshops for years. They work as well today as they did the day they were new.

Realtime Board - Collaborative Whiteboard With Change Tracking and Voting

Realtime Board is an online whiteboard tool that I have been recommending for the last half-dozen years. At its basic level Realtime Board provides a blank canvas on which you can type, draw, and post pictures. You can connect elements on your boards through a simple linking tool. Over the last couple of months it has had a few significant updates.

Realtime Board now includes an activity tracking feature. This feature is similar to the "version history" that is found in Google Docs. Activity Tracking will let you see the changes that have been made to a shared Realtime Board whiteboard. Another important new feature is the option to vote for favorite suggestions added to a board. You can set the voting period to be as short as one minute or as long as 99 hours. Watch the following video for an overview of some of the other Realtime Board features that were recently updated.

Applications for Education
One of the reasons that I like Realtime Board is that it provides both a blank drawing canvas and a the option to use sticky notes. The drawing canvas is great for students who prefer to sketch ideas while the sticky note option is great for students who would prefer a bit more order and structure.

Realtime Board grants teachers and students access to all premium features for free. In order to get the premium features for free you do need to complete the form here.

Poetry Lesson Plans Incorporating Word Mover

April is National Poetry Month. This is a great time to remind you of Read Write Think's Word Mover app for iOS, Android, and web browser.

Word Mover from Read Write Think is a free app that helps students develop poems and short stories. When students open the Word Mover app they are shown a selection of words that they can drag onto a canvas to construct a poem or story. Word Mover provides students with eight canvas backgrounds on which they can construct their poems. If the word bank provided by Word Mover doesn’t offer enough words they can add their own words to the word bank.

Applications for Education
Read Write Think offers free, detailed lesson plans that incorporate the Word Mover app. There are lesson plans suitable for students in grades 3 through 12. In all cases the lesson plans incorporate students constructing some type of poem from the words displayed within the app.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Fast Advanced Google Search

Google's advanced search tools can help students find useful information that doesn't necessarily appear at the top of search results pages. Unfortunately, students often forget about the advanced search options or don't even know where to find them. There is a Chrome extension that aims to help alleviate those problems.

Fast Advanced Google Search is a Chrome extension that puts a shortcut to the advanced search tools right next to the URL field in Chrome. Click the extension once to open Google's advanced search options without leaving the search results page that you are currently viewing.

Applications for Education
Fast Advanced Google Search could be useful for quickly showing students the differences between search results with and without advanced search filters applied to a query.

Learn more about search in my on-demand webinar Ten Search Strategies Students Need To Know

By Request - 5 Task Management Tools for Students

This morning I received an email from a reader seeking suggestions for to-do list management tools her students can use to keep track of assignments and other things that they have to do during the week. Here are my suggestions for task-management tools for students.

If your school uses Microsoft products, I'd take a look at using OneNote for making to-do lists and keeping track of tasks. OneNote has task list templates that you can use on your desktop or use on your mobile phone. Like anything else in a OneNote notebook, you can share those task lists.

Google Keep
If your school uses G Suite for Education, Google Keep is good option for making and sharing to-do lists. Like OneNote, task lists created in Google Keep can be shared with others. You can have your Google Keep notes trigger reminders on your mobile phone and or desktop computer.

Dayboard for Chrome Dayboard is a free Google Chrome extension that opens your daily to-do list every time you open a new tab in Chrome. When you open a new tab for the first time Dayboard will appear and ask you to enter your to-do list for the day. After creating your to-do list for the rest of the day whenever you open a new tab you will see your list. You can place a checkmark next to items as you complete them. Dayboard does not require you to create an account, it works offline, and when I installed it it only asked for permission to view activity on the Dayboard website.

Any.DO is designed for creating to-do lists and sharing them with your friends and colleagues. On Any.DO you can type out a list of tasks or enter tasks by speaking into your phone. Once you've entered your task you can assign it to a day and time for completion. After assigning a completion deadline you can share that task with anyone in your contacts list even that person doesn't have the Any.DO app installed on his or her phone. Any.DO also gives you the option to attach notes to your tasks, set reminders for your tasks, and put notes into folders that you've created. For example, if I have notes of a personal nature like my grocery shopping list I can put that list into my "personal" folder instead of my "work" folder.

For something a bit more robust and complex than the tools listed above, take a look at Notion. Notion is an interesting service that combines elements of project management with elements of a wiki service. At its core Notion is designed for teams to work on projects together. You can create sections for each of your projects. Within each section you can create a list of tasks. Notion also lets you add sections that include links, videos, images, and documents that you have written outside of the service. Of course, you can write directly on a page in your Notion account too.