Thursday, February 28, 2019

How to Create Your First Website With Google Sites

There are lots of excellent tools for creating your first classroom website. I'm often asked which one is the best one to use. My usual advice is to try Google Sites if your school uses G Suite for Education. I make that recommendation because when you sign into Google Sites with your G Suite account you'll be able to add items from any part of your Google account to your Google Site. That means with just one click you can add documents, slides, pictures, calendars, and more to your Google Sites website. In the following video I demonstrate how to create the first pages of your first Google Sites website.

You can find more Google Sites tutorials right here on my YouTube channel.

3 Ways to Use Google Sites in School

1. Create a wiki. Invite students to collaborate on a Google Site. Put each student in charge of one page that he/she is responsible for updating. I used to do this with my U.S. History students when we studied the Roaring 20's. Each student had a page that he/she had to update with information about a cultural or political topic.

2. As a digital file cabinet: If you have documents like permission slips or lunch order forms that you want your students' parents to be able to easily download, consider adding a page to your site where those documents are displayed.

3. As a digital portfolio: Google Sites can be used by students to create digital portfolios featuring their best works and accomplishments. I would encourage high school students to develop a digital portfolio that they can share with university admissions officers. Teachers should also consider developing a digital portfolio of their best lesson plans, credentials, and references to include when they apply for teaching positions.

Recording of Yesterday's Live Q&A

Yesterday afternoon I hosted the first Practical Ed Tech Live Q&A of 2019. I did about 25 of them in 2017 but didn't do any in 2018. So I figured it was time to bring it back. In the broadcast answered a handful of questions from readers. If you missed it, the recording is now available to view on my YouTube channel and on Facebook.

The list of questions that I answered can be seen in this Google Doc.

I'll host another live Q&A next Wednesday at 4pm ET. Subscribe to my YouTube channel or Facebook page to be notified when the broadcast begins.

Metaverse Studio - Create Your Own Augmented Reality Learning Experiences

Metaverse Studio is a tool for creating your own augmented reality learning experiences. I have been using Metaverse since its launch almost two years ago. Over those two years it has evolved to make it easy for any teacher or student to create augmented reality learning experiences. With Metaverse you can create interactive, augmented reality games and challenges for students to complete on their phones or tablets.

Programming your own AR experience is done through Metaverse Studio. Metaverse Studio is a block programming (sometimes called visual programming) interface. This means that you don't write code. Instead of writing code you create your augmented reality experience by selecting commands and selecting pieces of media from a menu. Put the commands together in the proper sequence and your augmented reality experience can be used on any iOS or Android device. At first glance the Metaverse Studio might look a little intimidating, but after a couple of tries it becomes rather intuitive. It also helps that Metaverse has recently launched a new set of clear video tutorials. The first of those can be seen here.

Moving Your Metaverse Experiences to Phones and Tablets
Once you have created an AR experience in Metaverse Studio you will need to get it onto your students' phones or tablets. When you have finished creating your AR experience in Metaverse Studio hit the "publish" button in the upper, right corner of the editor. The publish button will provide you with a QR code that students can scan to open the experience. The publish button will also give you a link that you can have students open on their phones or tablets. When your students make augmented reality experience in Metaverse they can publish them in the same manner that you can.

Make Collections of Augmented Reality Experiences
Metaverse has a brand new feature designed specifically for teachers and students. That feature is called "collections." The purpose of collections is to provide a place for you as a teacher to have all of your students submit their Metaverse projects. You could arrange your collections according assignment or by class. For example, if you gave your class the assignment to build an AR game about geometry, you would then create a collection called "geometry game" and all students would submit their games to that collection. Collections is a paid feature of Metaverse Studio, but you can try it for free by entering the code "ARforEDU" after clicking on "collections" in your Metaverse Studio account.

What Can You and Your Students Do With Metaverse Studio?
Metaverse Studio can be used to create augmented reality experiences that work as "breakout games,"  as digital scavenger hunts, and as guided tours.

Here's an example of a guided tour made with Metaverse.

And check out this example of using Metaverse Studio to create a breakout game for an 8th grade ELA class.

Disclosure: Metaverse is an advertiser on this blog.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Teaching Math With Storyboards

When I've hosted webinars about using storyboards the vast majority of attendees expressed interest in using storyboards for in language arts or social studies lessons. That makes sense because storyboards are a natural fit in language arts and social studies classes. Storyboards can be used for math and science lessons too. In fact, Storyboard That offers some lesson plans for teaching elementary school mathematics with storyboards.

In Storyboard That's teacher guides you will find lesson ideas for teaching addition and subtraction of fractions and introducing geometry concepts amongst a handful of other ideas. Anyone can access these guides on Storyboard That's elementary school lesson plans page. If you have a Storyboard That account you can make copies of the storyboards featured in the lesson plans. The storyboards that you copy from the lesson plan into your account can be modified to meet your students' needs.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on this blog.

VoicePods Adds a Multiple Voice Option

VoicePods is a text-to-speech service that I started using last fall. It's a service that will create an MP3 file from any text that you enter or from a web address that you enter. You can listen to your recordings online or download them for offline use. When you listen the recordings online you can also read along while each word is highlighted in sync with the recording. This week VoicePods added a new feature that could be great for listening to dialogues.

VoicePods has a new multiple voice feature. This feature lets you select more than one voice to be used in the creation of a recording. For example, if you enter the transcript of a dialogue you can have a different voice for each character in the dialogue. Watch my tutorial to see how to use multiple voices in VoicePods.

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