Saturday, April 6, 2019

Poetry, Slides, and Interactive Videos - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the spring skiing is awesome! This is a great time of year to be outside in the sun and snow. In fact, that's what I'll be doing with my daughters a little bit later today. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you can get outside for some fun in the sun too.

This week I had the privilege to speak at New Jersey City University on Monday, host a Practical Ed Tech webinar on Tuesday, and run a workshop of Cumberland (Maine) County Adult Education. If you'd like to have me speak at your event or run a workshop at your school, please get in touch with me here.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Google Slides Now Has Native Support for Audio! Finally!
2. Six G Suite Updates You Might Have Missed in March
3. Math Keyboard and More Updates to Microsoft Forms
4. How to Make Interactive Videos
5. How to Use BoClips to Find and Share Great Educational Videos
6. How to Create QR Codes for Google Forms
7. Poetry Comics from Make Beliefs Comix

The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is happening on July 15th and 16th. I've secured a beautiful location for it that offers lots of activities for the whole family within walking distance. Only eight seat are left! Register here!

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.

Friday, April 5, 2019

How to Create Video-based Lessons

Earlier today I answering a question about uploading videos to EDpuzzle when I realized that I haven't made a complete tutorial video on how to use EDpuzzle since its design was updated. My previous videos about the service are all a few years old and while the functions are largely the same, the layout has changed. So this afternoon I made a video that walks you through the steps of creating a roster on EDpuzzle and creating video-based lessons on the service. My video also shows the student perspective of EDpuzzle.

What is EDpuzzle?
It's a free service for creating video-based lessons. You can use videos that are available on YouTube, videos that you upload to EDpuzzle, and videos that others have uploaded to EDpuzzle to create your lesson. Once you have selected a video you can add comments and quiz questions into the timeline of the video. Those comments and questions then appear to students when they watch the video that you share with them. The best part is that you can prevent students from fast-forwarding through the videos.

EDpuzzle Rosters
You can create rosters/ classes in EDpuzzle by importing a Google Classroom roster or by having students join your class via a code that you provide to them. Students in your class will see every video lesson that you assign to them in their accounts. They watch the lessons and answer questions on their computers, tablets, or phones. You see their answers as soon as they hit the submit button at the end of the lesson.

You Don't Need to Reinvent the Wheel
You can certainly upload your own videos to EDpuzzle. You can also import existing YouTube videos to make lessons. But before you do either of those things, search through all of the public lessons in EDpuzzle to see if there is one that is relevant to what you're teaching and modify it for your students.

Here's my complete tutorial on how to create a classroom and a video-based lesson through

What Makes Birds Different Colors? - A Nice Lesson for Spring

The birds are starting to return here in northern New England. It's always nice to hear the first birds of the spring chirping away early in the morning after a long winter of silence early in the morning. I always like seeing orioles return. Orioles bring a nice splash of color to what is otherwise a drab landscape in the time after the snow has melted and before the plants have started to blossom. What gives colorful birds like orioles their colors? And why are there so many variations in colors of birds? Those questions and more are answered in a new Reactions video titled Why Are Birds Different Colors?

Applications for Education
This is the type of video that is an ideal length for introducing a topic through a short, video-based lesson created on a service like EDpuzzle.

How to Share Google Slides via QR Code

Earlier this week I published a video and blog post about how to share Google Forms through QR codes. In response to that video a follower of my Facebook page asked for some help sharing Google Slides presentations via QR code. Students were having trouble viewing the slides she had shared via QR code so she reached out to me for help. She wanted students to be able to view the slides without having to open them in their own Google accounts. This problem was quickly fixed once I learned how she had shared the slides.

The problem my reader was experiencing was due to the fact that when she created the QR code she used the link that is available through "share" button in the upper, right corner of the Slides editor. Even though the option she choose was "anyone with the link" the Slides would only open if her students signed into their Google accounts. To resolve this problem I had her use the "Publish to the Web" link that is available under the "File" drop-down menu. Take a look at the new video I made to see how this process works.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Questions to Ask When Planning a Classroom Video Project

Making videos can be a great way to get students excited and invested in the process of researching a topic and presenting their findings for others to see. But before you dive headlong into a video project with your students take some time consider the following questions as you plan the project.

*Planning questions to ask yourself.
-What do you want students to demonstrate?
- What is your knowledge of the creation process?
- What is your students' level of knowledge of content?
- What are yours and your students' skills in writing, research, editing, assembling?
- How much time can you allot to this project?
- What are your skills? (Tip, do the project yourself from scratch)
- What are your students’ skills?
- What kind of equipment do you have at your disposal? How often can you access that equipment?

And once you have answer these questions don't forget to have students create a storyboard as part of their creative process.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image has an excellent overview of storyboarding for beginners. The ACMI overview of storyboarding includes suggested activities for learning how to create storyboards. Included in those activities is a storyboard template that beginners can download and duplicate. Watch this video from the ACMI for an explanation of what a storyboard is an how it is used in the video creation process.

If you don't want to use ACMI's storyboard template you can make your own in PowerPoint or in Google Slides. Watch my videos embedded below to learn how to use PowerPoint and Google Slides to make printable storyboards.

How to create a storyboard template in PowerPoint.

How to create a storyboard template in Google Slides.