Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Twelve Tools for Creating End-of-Year Review Activities

The sun is shining and I had my first flip-flops sighting of the year this morning. That means the end of the school year can't be too far away. This is a time when many of us will be looking to make end-of-the-year review activities to do with our students and activities students can do on their own. At this time every year for the last five years I've published a slideshow of tools for creating online games, video quizzes, multimedia flashcards, and interactive classroom activities to review the year's lessons. The latest version of that slideshow is embedded below. The slideshow includes a handful of video tutorials that are also available on my YouTube channel.

Give Video Feedback in the Otus LMS

Otus is a learning management system that I've watched evolve from a relatively simple iPad app into a full-fledged LMS that can be used on any device. When I first wrote about Otus in 2014 I wrote, "the possibilities for teachers using Otus seem limitless." This morning, thanks to an Otus Facebook post, I learned about another way to use Otus.

You can add video feedback to your students through the Otus learning management system. It's easy to do from any computer that has a webcam. In the following video I demonstrate how to add video feedback to your students' portfolios in the Otus LMS.

Applications for Education
Video feedback can feel a lot more personal to a student than just reading some comments that you have written in a document. While it might not be as efficient as using canned comments, giving video feedback on big projects can make students feel better about the feedback they're getting. Video feedback in Otus could also be used to just give students some encouragement.

An Interactive Map of English Myths and Legends

Thanks to the Maps Mania blog I just learned about English Heritage's Map of Myth, Legend, & Folklore. The interactive map feature a couple of dozen historical sites that under the care of English Heritage. As the name of the map implies, each of the sites on the map is basis for a myth or legend.

Click on one of the landmarks on the Map of Myth, Legend, & Folklore to read the legend connected to that landmark. When you select a landmark you will also be able to view images and a video about that landmark. An explanation of the source of legend or myth is included in the text about each landmark.

I used the map to learn a bit about Tintagel Castle. The castle is the landmark connected to the story of Tristan and Isolde who may have lived at Tintagel. My short version of the story is that Tristan was the dragon-slaying nephew of the king and Isolde was a woman from Ireland who had healing powers. Obviously, it's a myth but the English Heritage map does explain where and how the myth originated.

Applications for Education
The Map of Myth, Legend, & Folklore is a good example of using multimedia mapping to showcase a series of stories. Students could create their own myth, legend, and folklore maps for other countries and regions by using a tool like StoryMapJS. My StoryMapJS tutorial is included below.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Three Ways to Create Digital Collages to Summarize the School Year

The sun is shining, the weather is warming, and kids are getting antsy. That combination means that the end of the school year is drawing near. Last week I shared five ways to quickly create audio slideshow videos for end-of-year events. I wrote that thinking about teachers making the videos to play at events at the end of the school year. Students could also use make the videos. Or you might have students make digital collages to showcase their personal highlights of the school year. These are my three favorite tools for creating digital collages.

Pic Collage & Pic Collage Edu
Pic Collage is a free app that I have had on my phone and iPad for many years. The app provides lots of free, customizable templates for making collages. To create a collage simply open the app, choose a template, and import pictures from your phone or tablet's camera roll. You can pinch and zoom to change the size of your pictures, you can add digital stickers, and you can draw or type on your collage.

There is an EDU version of the Pic Collage iPad app, but that version costs $1.99.

For the last five or six years Canva has been my go-to online tool for making graphics and collages. Canva offers tons of free templates for making collages that you can post online and or download as PDFs to print. Canva can even make people like me who have no graphic design skills look good.

Adobe Spark Web Page
Web Page is a part of the Adobe Spark suite of tools. With Adobe Spark Web Page your students could create a simple web page to showcase their personal highlights of the school year. Adobe Spark Web Pages are displayed in a simple linear view. The pages that students create can include pictures, text, and videos.

How to Add a Calendar to an Edublogs Page or Post

Having a calendar page on your classroom blog is a good way to help keep your students and their parents informed about upcoming events and due dates. Google Calendar is the tool that I prefer for making public event calendars because whenever I update the calendar it is automatically updated wherever it is displayed including in blog pages and posts. In the following video I demonstrate how to add a Google Calendar to an Edublogs page or post.

As I explained in the video, I prefer to add the calendar to a page rather than a post. The reason for that is that if you add it to a post, it will be treated just like any other post and will fall off the homepage after you add a few more posts to your blog. If you add the calendar to a page, that page will always be present on your homepage where parents and students can quickly locate it.

Learn more about Google Calendar in my online course, Getting Going With G Suite. The next course starts on June 3rd. Register early for a discount.