Saturday, August 18, 2018

Create a Word Search on ABCya

ABCya is known for their many educational games available to play in your web browser or as stand-alone iOS and Android apps. ABCya also provides some tools for teachers to use to create printable activities. One of those templates is a word search generator. As you can see in my video below, making a word search on ABCya is a simple process. To make your word search simply name it, enter up to 15 words, and then let ABCya generate a printable word search document for you. Watch my video to see how it works.

How to Create a Comment Bank in Google Classroom

Google Classroom got a bunch of new features this summer. One of those is a new option to create a comment bank to use when commenting on your students' work. The comment bank option will let you create and save lists of comments that you can easily view and insert into documents while you are grading your students' work. Watch my video to learn how you can create and use a comment bank in Google Classroom.

Click here to learn about some other new features in Google Classroom.

Check It Out - CheckItOut for Google Forms is Back!

CheckItOut is a Google Forms Add-on that makes it easy to keep track of the things that you let kids borrow from your classroom. It's an Add-on that I recommended for a couple of years until this past spring when it, like a bunch of other Add-ons, stopped working. But some of those other Add-ons recently started working again so I decided to give CheckItOut another try. Much to my delight CheckItOut is working again! Watch my video to see how you can use CheckItOut to create a simple check-in/ check-out system through Google Forms.

From what I have been told by a developer who makes Add-ons, the reason so many Add-ons stopped working earlier this year is that Google changed some of the requirements for third-party developers to authenticate their apps and Add-ons. Not all developers were able to quickly meet those new requirements.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Participate - Create and Share Collections of Resources

Participate offers a variety of free professional development resources for teachers. Last month I featured one of their free online book clubs. Today, I'm featuring Participate's free collections service.

Participate Collections provides you with a place to create organized collections of resources. You can make your collections on your own or invite colleagues to build collections with you. The collections that you make on Participate can be kept private or you can share them for others to see. Click here to take a look at the public gallery of Participate Collections. Watch my video that is embedded below to see you can create and share resource collections on Participate.

Applications for Education
Participate Collections could be great for assembling sets of resources with colleagues in your school or department. As I tested the Collections feature I thought it would be a great tool for making collections of resources aligned to units of study. I can also see teachers using it to create collections of resources that are aligned to standards.

5 Ways to Display YouTube in Class Without "Related" Content

One of the questions that I'm frequently asked at the beginning of the school year goes something like this, "do you know how I can download videos from YouTube?" I do know how to do that, but I won't teach you how to do that because it is a violation of YouTube's terms of service. But I will show you how you can display YouTube videos in your classroom without showing the sidebar related video suggestions and comments. Here are five tools that you can use to display YouTube videos without showing the related video suggestions and comments.

ViewPure is one of my longest standing recommendations for viewing YouTube videos without distractions. At its basic level to use View Pure just copy the link of a video into the "purifier" on the View Pure website and then click purify. Your "purified" video will be displayed on a blank white background. You can password-protect links to videos that you share through ViewPure (click here for directions). In the last year ViewPure expanded to offer curated collections of educational videos.

Watchkin is a service that provides a few ways to watch YouTube videos without seeing the related video suggestions and comments. You can enter the direct URL of a video into Watchkin to have the sidebar content removed. You can search for videos through Watchkin and have family-friendly results displayed (if a video appears that is not family-friendly Watchkin has a mechanism for flagging it as inappropriate). Watchkin also offers a browser bookmarklet tool that you can click while on to have the related content disappear from the page.

Quietube is a convenient tool that you can add to your browser's bookmarks bar. With Quietube installed you can simply click it whenever you're viewing a video on YouTube and all of the related clutter will be hidden from view. Installing Quietube requires nothing more than dragging the Quietube button to your toolbar.

Tube is a free tool that provide a minimalist view of YouTube. When you go to the Tube website the only things you will see are "Tube," a disclaimer, a link to the developer's Twitter account, and a search box. Enter your search terms into the Tube search box and a list of results appears below it without showing any advertising or other sidebar content. When you click one of the videos in the search results it is displayed nearly full-screen on a plain white background. This tool is no longer available (January, 2022). makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the related videos and associated comments. To use simply copy the URL of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare also offers browser a bookmarklet tool that will eliminate the need to copy and paste links from YouTube into SafeShare.

Methods for those who use Google Classroom, Google Sites, or any blogging service:
If you use Google Classroom, you can simply post the link to a video in your Classroom and when students click on it, it should display within Classroom without showing any related content from YouTube.

You can embed YouTube videos into Google Sites, Blogger, and many other website and blog creation platforms. The embedded videos won't display any comments that might have been written on YouTube.

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