Friday, May 4, 2018

Sourcera for Google Slides - Historical Images to Use In Your Slides

Sourcera is an Add-on for Google Slides that lets you search for historical images and insert them directly into your slides. Sourcera pulls images from eleven sources including Flickr's Commons, the British Library, and the Digital Public Library of America.

To find an image through Sourcera you need to highlight a word on a slide and then select "search" from the Sourcera menu. When you find an image that you like just click "insert" to add it to your slide. The image source information will be automatically added to the slide too.

Sourcera isn't a perfect tool, but it is adequate for finding historical images that are either in the public domain or licensed for re-use. There are a couple of quirks in Sourcera. First, it only lets you search through one source at a time. Second, you have to type a word on your slide then highlight it in order to conduct your search. It would be easier to use if Sourcera let you type a search directly into its search box.

Applications for Education
Sourcera is a little quirky to use, but it could be a good resource for high school students who are creating presentations for history courses.

Learn more about Google Slides in my online course, G Suite for Teachers

Three Free Webinars About Assistive Technology

At the beginning of this year I made a decision to spend more time and effort getting to know all of the free tools that Microsoft provides to teachers and students. I am glad that I made that choice because I have been impressed by many of the programs that Microsoft offers in the area of assistive technology. Some of those include Immersive Reader (a part of the Learning Tools suite), dictation options in Office products, and presentation translator. All of those tools will be featured in three free webinars that Microsoft is hosting on May 9th, 14th, and 15th.

On May 9th Mike Tholfsen will be giving a presentation about Microsoft's Learning Tools which includes Immersive Reader. Register here.

On May 14th Jiaxin Zheng will give a presentation about Windows 10 access settings including Narrator, Magnifier, Color Filters, Eye Control, Read Aloud and Dictation. Register here.

On May 15th join Malavika Rewari for a presentation that will include how to add automatic live captions using the Microsoft Garage Presentation Translator add-in, embeding audio/video with closed captions in PowerPoint and Sway, and adding alternative text descriptions to visual objects in Office 365. Register here.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Docs Teach Adds New Primary Sources About WWI

Docs Teach is a fantastic resource for US History teachers that I have shared many times over the years. I like it so much that I include it in my Teaching History With Technology course.  Docs Teach provides teachers with access tools for creating online lessons based on collections of primary source documents.

Docs Teach recently announced the addition of some new collections of primary source documents. Headlining those additions is a collection of letters written by men serving in the Lone Star Division, the 36th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during World War I.

Applications for Education
Docs Teach is free for teachers to use to create and distribute digital lessons based on primary source documents. Docs Teach provides twelve templates that you can follow to create your own online activities. Most of the the activity templates are intended to help students analyze and compare sources.

While not exactly how-to videos, Docs Teach does have six recorded webinars available for viewing on the National Archives YouTube channel.

Glue vs. tape - A TED-Ed Science Lesson

The back windshield in my truck is currently being held in place by some clear packaging tape. There's a big crack in it and my local glass shop can't fix it until Tuesday. Tape was my "fix" because super glue would not only make a mess, but that mess could end up dripping onto the paint where it would never come off. I'm telling you all this as a means to introduce a new TED-Ed lesson titled Which Is Stronger: Tape or Glue?

In Which Is Stronger: Tape or Glue? viewers learn how glue stays in liquid form while in a bottle or tube, what creates the bond that glue makes between two surfaces, what makes some glues stronger than others, and when tape is a better choice than using glue (see story about my windshield).


Applications for Education
As soon as I saw the title of this TED-Ed lesson I thought that it could be the basis for some classroom experiments. Before showing the video I would ask students to write hypotheses on whether tape or glue would be the better choice for bonding various objects. Then they could test their hypotheses using non-toxic glues and tapes. Another approach would be to simply ask students why water weakens the bond of objects that are taped together.

The Science of Spring!

Here in Maine it finally has felt like spring for the entire week. We've had hot and sunny days as well as warm and rainy days. In other words, lawns are starting to look green. This is a great time to share a new SciShow Kids video that covers a handful of topics related to the science of spring.

The Science of Spring explains to students why birds sing more in the spring, why it rains a lot in the spring, what makes plants grow, and why bugs begin to hatch in the spring.


The video is a bit too long for my liking, but it is broken up into four clear sections so you could use just a section of the fifteen minute video in your classroom.

On a related note, I recently held a webinar all about blending technology into outdoor lessons. If you missed it, you can get the recording right here