Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Vizor 360 is Now Free for All - Create Interactive 360 Imagery

Vizor offers great tools for creating interactive 360 imagery. I've previously covered their Patches program for creating animated VR because that was the free service that they offered. Now their core product Vizor 360 is available for free too.

Vizor 360 lets you upload a series of pictures and then stitch them together. After you have stitched your pictures together to create a 360 image you can then add interactive elements to it. Those interactive elements can be links to websites, audio, and additional text and image overlays. A completed project can be viewed and interacted with in a web browser and or a VR headset.

Applications for Education
Vizor 360 could be a great tool for students to use to create interactive imagery of places that they have visited as part of a class or school field trip. Adding interactive elements to the imagery enables students to link to Google Docs they've created about the imagery and or to include audio of themselves talking about the imagery.

You Can Now Publish Entire Book Creator Libraries

Book Creator, one of my favorite tools for creating multimedia ebooks, has announced a new publishing option that many teachers have requested. Book Creator now lets teachers publish entire libraries of their students' books. This library publishing option is in addition to the option to publish individual books.

Publishing an entire library of student-created Book Creator books could be a good way to showcase an entire class' work in one place. If you're building a portfolio of your class' work on a class website or blog, putting the Book Creator library into that website will make it easier for visitors to see contributions from all students in one place. Libraries, like individual books, can be password protected.

Detailed directions for Book Creator library publishing can be found here. In short, you'll find the library publishing option in your teacher dashboard in the new library settings cog.

Here's a short overview of how to create an ebook on Book Creator.

Here's How Parents Can Receive Text Notifications in the SeeSaw App

In all of last week's kerfuffle about Remind and Verizon it got lost that there are other ways for students and their parents to receive mobile updates from you. SeeSaw is one of the services that offers a way for parents to receive text notifications. SeeSaw's parent app includes the option for parents to enable SMS text notifications. The following video demonstrates how to do that.


And if you're new to using SeeSaw, check out this video on how to send announcements to parents.

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Master List of Resources About Microsoft's Inclusive Classroom Tools

Microsoft offers many excellent tools that improve the accessibility of documents, web pages, PowerPoint presentations, and other online media. Many of those tools are included in what Microsoft calls Learning Tools. A couple of weeks ago Microsoft announced ten updates to their Learning Tools. Microsoft offers free professional development training packs that you can use to teach others about Learning Tools. Last Friday those training packs in a new master list of links for inclusive classroom experiences.

Helpful Links for Microsoft’s Inclusive Classroom Experiences contains more than four dozen resources for learning about Microsoft's Learning Tools and other accessibility features. The list includes a few full-length professional development webinars, the aforementioned training packs, case studies, and deployment guides for IT administrators.

How to Use PhotoScissors to Remove the Background from Any Image

In yesterday's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week I shared directions for using Remove.bg to take the background out of selfies and then use those modified pictures to virtually place yourself in a new setting. At the end of that newsletter update I mentioned PhotoScissors as an alternative to Remove.bg.

PhotoScissors lets you remove the background from any picture, not just selfies. This afternoon I used PhotoScissors to remove the background from a picture of my dog. I then used a picture of the White House's lawn in a Google Slide and layered the cutout of my dog on top of it. Watch this short video from my YouTube channel for an overview of how to use PhotoScissors.