Thursday, August 23, 2018

New Artifact Collections Added to DocsTeach

DocsTeach is one of my go-to recommendations for anyone who teaches U.S. History at a middle school or high school level. The site offers a dozen tools that you can use to create interactive history lessons based on primary and secondary sources. To help you build those lessons DocsTeach provides thousands of primary and secondary source artifacts. You can search for those artifacts according to keyword, historical era, or artifact type.

In many cases your search for artifacts on DocsTeach will lead you to small collections of related documents, images, maps, videos, or audio files. Case in point, DocsTeach recently announced the release of five new collections of artifacts. Those collections are WWII Newsmaps, The Slave Trade, Foreign Affairs Political Cartoons, The 1918 Flu Pandemic, and WWII Foreign Posters

I'm always drawn to interesting uses of maps so this morning I spent some time exploring WWII Newsmaps collection. This collection contains 35 newsmaps published by the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1946. Each newsmap featured 5-10 numbered, short news articles that corresponded to numbers displayed on a map on the same page. The purpose of newsmaps was to provide a visual, geographic context for the stories about WWII.

Applications for Education
If you teach any U.S. History lessons, you owe it to yourself to spend some time getting to know the features of DocsTeach. I particularly like the document analysis and "Big Picture" activities that DocsTeach offers. The document analysis activities are excellent for helping students identify the key items in a primary source document in relation to the greater context of the time in which it was written. The Big Picture activities help students piece together multiple sources to understand the causes and effects of historical events.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

How to Add Emojis to Google Docs - And a Classroom Activity

Thanks to the influence of Tony Vincent I've started to see the utility of adding emojis to documents and graphics. Scroll through Tony's Twitter feed and you'll see lots of examples of classroom uses for emojis. Here's one recent Tweet in which Tony shared a little activity he developed for students to complete by guessing the school term based on the emojis displayed in a graphic.

You could build a similar type of activity in Google Documents through the use of the special characters menu. Watch my video to learn how you can easily insert emojis into your Google Docs.

How to Create a Bibliography With MyBib

Earlier this week I learned about a new bibliography creation tool called MyBib. MyBib is an open source project. Unlike some of the big names in the bibliography generator market, MyBib doesn't charge a fee for their advanced features like exporting your bibliography to Google Drive or using a citation style other than MLA or APA. MyBib can create citations and bibliographies in a wide range of styles including the popular MLA, APA, Chicago, IEEE, and Harvard styles. Watch my video to see how your students can use MyBib to create bibliographies.

5 Google Slides Editing Tips

Google Slides has come a long way since its early days as a bare-bones slideshow tool. Today, it is packed with features. Some of those features are obvious and others are hidden away in menus that are frequently ignored. In the following video I provide an overview of five Google Slides editing tips.

Watch the video to learn about:
  • Setting background colors and images.
  • Editing images in Google Slides.
  • Inserting emojis into Google Slides.
  • Quickly centering objects on a slide.
  • Animating elements within your Google Slides. 

Kahoot Adds New Features for Teachers

Kahoot has just announced a feature that teachers have requested for a long time. You can now upload a spreadsheet of questions to create a game in Kahoot. To do this you have to use Kahoot's spreadsheet template. I think that after you've used the template a time or two writing quiz questions and answers will be faster in a spreadsheet than in Kahoot's current game builder (which you can still use).

Spreadsheet importing is not the only new feature that Kahoot announced today. Kahoot's mobile app now includes access to a library of 2,000 free images that you can include in your Kahoot games. This library was previously only available when creating games in the Kahoot website.

The navigation within your Kahoot account was updated in this latest round of Kahoot improvements. Your account will now has a streamlined display of games you've created, games you have "favorited," and games that have been shared with you.

The following video provides an overview of Kahoot's new features. I recommend turning off your volume when you watch the video unless you really feel like listening to that annoying Kahoot music for two minutes.