Saturday, January 19, 2019

37 People Signed Up for #EdTechFitness Challenges This Week

One of the new projects for 2019 that I am most excited about is my new Ed Tech Fitness site. As I shared at the end of 2018 I have a few goals for the site. First, to have a space where I would be accountable for exercising my body and mind as it should be. Second, to create a place that other educators could come to share their successes in improving their physical and mental health. Third, to share some technology tips related to time management and fitness. To those ends I created a weekly Ed Tech Fitness newsletter. This week 37 people joined!

The Ed Tech Fitness newsletter is sent on Monday morning. The newsletter contains a weekly challenge (this week's was to do a daily five minute stretching routine) and will contain summary links of anything new that is posted on Ed Tech Fitness. Sign-up here or read more about it here.

Remind, Timelines, and Landmarks - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're eagerly anticipating the arrival of the biggest snow storm of the year. The forecast for where I live calls for 20" of snow! As a skier, I can't wait for it! As the owner of a long driveway and long walkways, I'm not looking forward to shoveling.

This week was the second week for three online courses that I'm teaching through Practical Ed Tech. I've had emails from a few people who wanted to know if the courses will be offered again this winter. I will offer them again before the end of the school year. The dates for the course are still to be determined. In the meantime, I do have some course offerings available on-demand.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. A Huge Change Coming to Remind - No More Texts for Verizon Subscribers
2. The WWII Museum Announces D-Day Electronic Field Trip
3. A New Look is Coming to Google Slides, Sheets, Docs, and Sites
4. Picture Yourself in Front of Any Landmark With Remove.BG and Google Slides
5. Free Alternatives to Remind - Spoiler Alert! They're Limited
6. How to Use Canva to Create a Timeline
7. 5 Good Tools for Creating Timelines

Now Booking Summer Workshops!
I know that June can feel a long way away in the middle of January, but I'm already booking my summer workshop calendar. If you'd like to have me come to your school this spring (I have two May openings) or summer, please take a look at my speaking page and fill out the short form at the bottom of it.

And speaking of summer, the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp will return this year! I've secured a beautiful location for it that offers lots of activities for the whole family within walking distance. Registration information will be available soon on PracticalEdTech.com.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.

Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Colds, Flu, and Boogie Wipes - Timely Science Lessons

As anyone who has heard me speak this week can attest, I'm getting over a miserable cold. I'm not the only one as this cold has affected my kids and many others in our community. We're going through a lot of boogie wipes in our house. Thankfully, none of us have had the flu. But what's the difference between a cold and the flu? How can you avoid catching either one? Those questions and more are answered in the following videos.

Colds, the Flu, and You is a video from SciShow Kids that is appropriate for elementary school classrooms.




How is a cold or flu passed from person to person and what exactly is it doing to your body? NPR answers those questions in the following animated video.



Did you get your flu shot this year? This TED-Ed lesson explains why you should get one every year.

Despite Earlier Reports, Verizon Hasn't Reversed All Fees to Remind

Yesterday EdSurge ran a story about Verizon promising to reverse course on the fees it is going to charge Remind to deliver text messages. The Twitterverse rejoiced in their victory over the corporate giant! It seems that the rejoicing might have been a bit premature.

Last night Remind's CEO published a blog post stating that despite what Verizon has said publicly, there is not a signed deal in place to reverse course on the fees that Remind would be charged under Verizon's new classification of Remind's text messages. He went on to share that the statement made by Verizon may not apply to other user groups of Remind's free services. Some of those groups include preschools, colleges, churches, and various youth organizations.

Like I wrote on Monday these changes that Verizon is making will impact other services that operate like Remind. So even if you're not a Remind user, it is worth following the story because it has the potential to impact millions of teachers, students, and students' parents in the United States. I recommend following Remind's suggestions if you would like your voice to be heard on this matter.

Update: Ars Technica has a fairly balanced report on the negotiations between Verizon and Remind. Neither party looks great in the article.

5 Good Tools for Creating Timelines

The video I posted earlier this week that demonstrated how to use Canva to create timelines sparked a couple of reader emails about other options for making timelines. Specifically, one reader was looking for tools that would support video playback and one was looking for a tool that didn't require students to have email accounts. Here are free tools to address both of those needs.

Tools for Creating Timelines That Include Video
I couldn't create this post without mentioning Timeline JS. Timeline JS has been my go-to recommendation for years. With Timeline JS students can create timelines that include pictures, videos, maps, audio files, text, and hyperlinks. And because the creation work is done inside of Google Sheets, Timeline JS can be used as a collaborative timeline creation tool. Watch my video to see how it works.


If Timeline JS seems a bit too complicated for your students, Flippity.net offers another way to create a multimedia timeline through a Google Spreadsheet. Simply fill in the blanks in Flippity's template to create a multimedia timeline. In the following video I demonstrate how it works.


Google Slides and PowerPoint both offer templates for making timelines. Using those templates you can create a timeline that includes text, links, images, and video. One of my most-watched videos in the last year is this one about making timelines in Google Slides.



No Registration Required Timeline Creation Tool
If your students don't have email addresses or you simply don't want to have yet another account name and password for them to keep track of, consider using Read Write Think's free timeline creation tool. It doesn't support the inclusion of video, but it is easy to use and saves in a variety of formats. Watch this video to see how it works.


In Case You Missed It
At the beginning of this post I mentioned my video about using Canva to create timelines. Here's that video.