Thursday, April 25, 2019

ReadWorks Offers a Split Screen to Help Students Complete Assignments

ReadWorks is a free service that provides high-quality articles and lesson plans for K-12 ELA teachers. Every article on ReadWorks is accompanied by a lexile score and a suggested grade level. Any article that you select will also be accompanied by a list of key vocabulary terms and suggested questions to give to your students.

ReadWorks offers you the option to create an online classroom by either importing your Google Classroom roster or by manually entering students' names. Either option will give you the ability to assign articles and questions to your students. Students then sign-in to read their assigned articles and answer questions. A relatively new-to-me option provides students with the ability to split their screens in ReadWorks in order to have the questions and articles appear side-by-side. Watch my new video to see how that works.

Newlearn.io - Search and Share Resources by Standard

Newlearn.io is a free social network for finding and sharing free teaching materials according to Common Core standard or keyword. Resoures that you find through Newlearn.io list the standards that can be addressed as well as some suggestions for using through resources in your classroom. You will find videos, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and Word Documents on Newlearn.io.

Newlearn.io uses a clean and simple user interface. When you first go to the site you will be greeted by a grid of recently shared resources. On that same page you can begin searching for resources by entering a keyword or by entering a Common Core standard. Search results are displayed in a grid format with large previews of each resource. You will have to create a free account on Newlearn.io in order to download or save any resources.

You can register for a free Newlearn.io account by using any verifiable email address. Once you have registered you will be able to bookmark and download resources. Depending upon the restrictions that a contributor to Newlearn.io sets for his or resources, you may have to send a friend request before you can access his or her resources. You can add your own resources to Newlearn.io by going to your account contents page and clicking on the add button to upload resources, write descriptions of your resources, and to link to external resources.


Applications for Education
Newlearn.io could become a great place to find new instructional materials according to Common Core standard. I kind of look at like if Teachers Pay Teachers without the selling and with an easy way to find resources according to standards.

Disclosure: Newlearn.io is currently running a banner advertisement on the homepage of FreeTech4teachers.com

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A New Way to Access Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets Offline

Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets have had an offline mode for many years. Enabling offline access for those tools takes just a minute (watch this video to learn how).Today, Google announced some forthcoming updates for the offline modes for Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

Over the next few weeks you will start to see a new way to enable offline access for your Docs, Slides, and Sheets. That new way is to right-click on a file name in your Google Drive and then select "available offline." The updated offline mode will let you edit and comment on Docs, Slides, and Sheets. You can also create new Docs, Slides, and Sheets while offline. The updated offline mode will also provide you with an "offline preview" of your Docs, Slides, and Sheets before you commit to making it available offline. If you work on your Docs, Slides, or Sheets while offline, the changes will be automatically synchronized when you reconnect to the Internet.

Applications for Education
Offline access for Docs, Slides, and Sheets is excellent for students who have been issued Chromebooks by their schools, but don't have a reliable Internet connection at home. It is important to note that administrators can make offline access the default setting for Chromebooks within their organizations.

Only Six Seats Left!

The snow is gone here in western Maine! It won't be long now until we're breaking out the shorts, tee shirts, and flip flops. As the summer gets closer the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is filling up. As of this morning there are only six seats remaining for this hands-on learning experience. If you have been thinking about registering, now is the time.

In the following video I answer a bunch of FAQs about the 2019 Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.



Check out this list of things to learn and do at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Four Free Tools for Creating Your Own Mobile Apps

Creating a mobile app can be a great way to get students interested in learning programming concepts and to get them to dive into researching a topic so that they can build the best apps they can. For example, if a student wanted to create an app that serves as a fun review game, he or she would need to have a solid knowledge of the topic in order to create a meaningful app. To that end, here are four free tools that students can use to develop their own mobile apps.

MIT App Inventor
The MIT App Inventor is a great tool for developing an Android app. The MIT App Inventor works in your web browser (Chrome is recommended). The only download that is required for App Inventor 2 is the optional emulator. The emulator allows people who don't have Android devices to test their apps on their desktops. If you have an Android device then the emulator is not required and you don't need to worry about installing it. MIT provides excellent support documentation and curriculum for classroom use for new users of App Inventor. Tutorials are available as videos and as written PDFs. A couple of the videos are embedded below.



Thunkable
If you want to create an iOS app, Thunkable provides a way to do that in a manner that is very similar to that of the MIT App Inventor. In fact, Thunkable is based on the MIT App Inventor framework of using jigsaw-like pieces that have commands labeled on them. Your job is to put the pieces together to make your apps work. Thunkable offers detailed written tutorials and video tutorials. A playlist of tutorials for beginning app designers is embedded below.



Metaverse - Create an Augmented Reality App
Metaverse Studio is a free service for creating your own augmented reality learning experiences. With Metaverse you can create interactive, augmented reality games and challenges for students to complete on their phones or tablets. Metaverse Studio is a block programming (sometimes called visual programming) interface similar in concept to what you will find in the MIT App Inventor and Thunkable. 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.

Glide - Make a Mobile App from a Spreadsheet
I've written a lot about Glide in the last couple of weeks because I think it's amazing and many readers have reached out to me to share how excited they are about it too. Glide enables anyone who can make a spreadsheet in Google Sheets to create his or her own mobile app. If that sounds simple, that's because it is just that simple. Here's my video about how to use it. And here's a list of ways you might use it in your school.