Friday, August 24, 2018

Find Relevant YouTube Videos With These Search Tools

Last week I shared some tools for displaying YouTube videos in your classroom without showing all of the distracting comments and sidebar materials found on YouTube. Those tools are all predicated on already knowing which videos you want to show in your classroom. If you need some help finding videos that are timely and relevant, try using this search refinement tool. And if you want to find videos to view in VR headsets, try using this search refinement option.

For New Google Slides Users: Import Your PPT Slides

If you're making the switch from a Windows desktop/laptop environment to a Chromebook environment this year, don't abandon your old PPT and Word files. You can import those files into your G Suite account and have them automatically converted into Google Slides or Google Docs format. In the following video I demonstrate how to import PPT slides into Google Slides.

A Couple of Reminders About Email Etiquette

Two things prompted this post. First, this week I have received a dozen or more emails from teachers who didn't bother to write anything like, "Hi Richard" or any other greeting. Instead they just jumped right into a request. I like to help people, but I like to help polite people more. Second, as school starts it is a good time to remind our students about the proper way to send an email.

Emailing Your Teacher, With Captain Communicator is one of my favorite videos about email etiquette. The short video features two students demonstrating how to write an email to a teacher. It's cute and well worth 90 seconds of your time.

The following video was made by a teacher for the purpose of sharing email etiquette tips with students. It's a bit more serious that the Captain Communicator video.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Answers to 5 Questions Frequently Asked by New Chromebook Users

Thanks to a reader named Barbara I was reminded of a short video that I made a couple of years ago for new Chromebook users. I went back and watched it this evening and it is still applicable to anyone who is using a Chromebook for the first time this fall. In 5 Tips for New Chromebook Users I answer five questions that I an frequently asked by new Chromebook users.

Answered in the video:
1. How do I change the background picture on my Chromebook?
2. Where do files go when I save them on my Chromebook?
3. How do I access files without an internet connection?
4. Where do I find the app for X on my Chromebook?
5. How do I add new apps to my Chromebook?

Three Tools to Help Students Understand Classroom Noise

I like the sound of a classroom full of kids talking and working together on projects. But there are times when students need to be aware of the volume of their voices during those times that they're working together. And there times when you do need your students to be quiet for activities like silent reading or journal writing. You could play the role of judge and jury when it comes to classroom noise or you can get some help in the form of a simple noise meter that you display on a screen in your room. Here are three simple noise meters that you can use on your laptop and display on a screen in your classroom.

Bouncy Balls is a free online noise meter that I have been using for a couple of years. It shows the volume of the noise in a room by displaying a set of colorful bouncing balls on your screen. The louder your students are, the higher and more frequently the balls on the screen bounce. To use Bouncy Balls simply go to the website, click "begin bouncing," and then click the microphone icon to allow the site to access your computer's microphone.

Calmness Counter is similar to Bouncy Balls. The difference is that Calmness Counter displays a dial meter to display the decibel level in your classroom. You can adjust the microphone input sensitivity directly on the Calmness Counter screen.

Zero Noise Classroom is a countdown timer and a noise meter into one convenient Chrome app. When you launch Zero Noise Classroom you can set the countdown timer and adjust the goal for the volume of noise in your classroom. You will also set a goal for a percentage of the time that can exceed the maximum volume. When the countdown timer expires a chime sounds and the percentage of time above the volume limit is displayed.

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