Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Conversation With Dr. Keith Westman from Otus

Last month I thought to myself that I didn't have enough to do so I set about launching a podcast. I failed. It turns out that I don't really have enough time to do all of the editing that a good podcast requires and still meet all of the other obligations that I have in my life. But I did record a handful of conversations with folks over Google Hangouts. I'm going to publish those recordings over the next couple of weeks. The editing is rough to non-existent, but the conversations are good. The first one that I'm publishing is my conversation with Dr. Keith Westman.

Keith is the COO of Otus. Otus is an LMS provider that I frequently recommend to teachers and administrators who are looking for something with more features that Google Classroom but not so complicated that you'll need weeks of training to understand how it all works. And Otus is free for individual teachers to use which makes it a great choice for small schools.

Ten Search Strategies Students Should Know

If you have ever had a student tell you, "Google has nothing on this," you know that students need help formulating good web search strategies. A few months ago I hosted a webinar on the ten search strategies that I think every student should know how to employ. That webinar is available on-demand on Practical Ed Tech. The slides that I used in the webinar can be seen as embedded below.


Britannica Insights - A Chrome Extension for Encyclopedia Britannica

Britannica Insights is a Chrome Extension that will show you entries from Encyclopedia Britannica in the right-hand margin of your Google search results. The way it works is that when you conduct a Google search the extension will generate a list of related Britannica articles on the same page as the Google results. Basically, the Britannica Insights extension replaces the Wikipedia results that often appear in the right-hand margin of a Google search results page.

Despite studies indicating that Wikipedia is generally as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica there are still people who insist that Wikipedia is unreliable. The Britannica Insights Chrome extension was made for those folks. (Side note, it was also made to direct traffic to the Encyclopedia Britannica website for the purpose of garnering ad revenue). Otherwise, the built-in quick facts panel that pops-up in many Google search results pages is just fine.

Applications for Education
The potential use for Britannica Insights is that it does provide quick access to generally accepted facts about topics that are commonly researched by students. That could save them a little time when starting a research project.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Now You and Your Students Can Create Quizzes in Kahoot's Mobile App

Kahoot has released a major update to their free mobile apps. As of this morning you can now create a Kahoot game within the free app. The app also lets you distribute games to be played in your classroom or as "challenges" for students to play at home. More importantly, now students can create games in the Kahoot mobile apps!

Creating a game in the Kahoot mobile app is a fairly straight-forward process. In fact, the process is nearly identical to the process used in the browser-based version of Kahoot. Open the app, select "create," and title your game. You can add a cover image to your game's title page. Creating each question in your game is just a matter of writing the question then writing the answer choices. Just like in the browser-based version of Kahoot, in the mobile app you can include pictures or videos in your questions. Watch the following video for an overview of the game creation process in Kahoot's mobile app.


Applications for Education
I'm excited about this update to Kahoot's mobile app because it lets kids show what they know and what they think is important about a topic through the process of making and sharing their own games. Rather than just playing the games that you make, your students can make a game that features what they think is important about a topic. In doing that they are showing you how they interpret a topic. One of Kahoot's co-founders talks about that idea in the following video.

An Easy Speech-to-Text Option for Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint

Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint users have a new speech-to-text option. A new dictation option has been added to Office 365. The dictation tool will transcribe your spoken words into text on your screen.

This afternoon I tried the dictation option in both Word and PowerPoint on my desktop. It is easy to use and accurate as long as you speak clearly. Your text will appear wherever your cursor is placed so make sure to move your cursor if you want to place text in different boxes on a slide. Text appears in your default font style unless you change it before dictating. It's important to note that the new dictation tool doesn't yet work in the online versions of Word and OneNote. Microsoft says that dictation will be available in the online versions later this year.