Saturday, May 25, 2019

Three Good Resources to Help Students Become Discerning News Consumers

Earlier this week TED-Ed published a new lesson titled Can You Spot the Problem With These Headlines? The short video lesson walks students through dissecting a couple of hypothetical news headlines. By watching the video students can begin to understand how headlines are written to entice readers and how misleading headlines are created.


Here are a couple of other resources that I've previously featured for helping students learn to discern the information that they find online and in other media.

Factitious
Factitious is a game for testing your skill at identifying fake and misleading news stories. The game was developed by the American University Game Lab and the American University's School of Communication. To play Factitious simply go to the site and select quick start. You'll then see an article appear on the screen. Read through the article, click the source listed at the bottom, and then select either the green check mark or red X to indicate whether or not you think the article is a real news story. After you make your selection you'll get instant feedback and an explanation of how you can tell if the article was a real or fake news story.

Checkology
Checkology is a service that is designed to help students develop those skills. Checkology's free version offers four interactive modules for students to complete. Each of the modules is comprised of between twenty and forty-seven instructional video clips and interactive comprehension checks. The four modules are titled Info Zones, Democracy's Watchdog, Practicing Quality Journalism, and Misinformation. As you might expect, the contents of the modules gets progressively more difficult as each section is completed.

Friday, May 24, 2019

An Overview of Fishbowl - A Professional Discussion App for Teachers

Last week I published a post about Fishbowl that generated some good questions from readers about how the app works. Fishbowl is more than an app, it's a professional discussion network. Teachers can join Fishbowl to engage in discussions on issues important to educator community.

Fishbowl will let you participate in discussions anonymously, on the condition that you have first verified your identity. If that seems to be a contradiction, watch my video overview below to see how the app and the discussions work.


Disclosure: Fishbowl is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

How Make Copies of Google Docs Marked as "View Only"

On a fairly regular basis I'm asked some variation of the following question, "is it possible to duplicate a Google Doc if it wasn't shared with me?" Yes, you can make a copy of Google Documents that weren't directly shared with you. If you have the link to a Google Document that has been made public, you can probably make a copy of it.

Before jumping into how to make a copy of Google Document that is marked as "view only" let's take a look at how to find publicly shared Google Documents. You can do that by refining your Google Search to display only results from docs.google.com. Make that refinement in the advanced panel in Google Search. Watch the following video to see that process.



When you have found a Google Document that you want to copy, use the process demonstrated in the following video to make a copy of the document.


Learn more about Google Docs in my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Five DIY Virtual Reality Projects for Students

Google’s VR Tour Creator offers an excellent way to create virtual tours that can be viewed in your web browser and or in the Google Expeditions app.

Google’s Street View imagery is the backbone of the VR Tour Creator. To start creating a tour you have to identify a location using the built-in connection to Google Maps. Once you’ve identified a location you then add a scene to your tour. At a minimum each scene will include a Street View image and the text description that you add to it. You can add images within the Street View image of the scene. Those images are called “points of interest.” Each point of interest can have its own description.

Google’s VR Tour Creator lets you add audio to each scene and point of interest. The audio has to be recorded outside of the Tour Creator and then uploaded to the scenes or points of interest. Any MP3 file will work in your tour. Vocaroo.com and TwistedWave.com are a couple of simple tools for creating an audio recording.

Completed tours can be shared publicly or privately. Your tours can be viewed in your Google Expeditions account provided that you created the tour with the same Google account that you use for Google Expeditions. With your tour in Google Expeditions you can guide students just like you can with any other tour that is available in the Google Expeditions app.

5 VR Creation Projects for Students
  • Virtual reality tours based upon students’ favorite books. (On a similar note, VR to illustrate stories that students have written.)
  • VR tours about places students study in geography / history lessons.
  • VR tours to illustrate examples of math and science used in the design and construction of landmarks. 
  • VR tours to illustrate examples of types of landforms, rocks, waterways, and bodies of water.
  • VR tours to illustrate examples of an animal’s natural habitat and range.
VR Tour Creator Tutorials

Tour Creator basics.

Adding points of interest to tours.



How to Share Your Tours With Students


How to Use Your Tours in Google Expeditions

How to View the Moon and Mars in Google Earth

This morning I answered an email from a reader who wanted to know how to view the solar system in Google Earth. While you can't view the entire solar system in Google Earth, you can view Mars, the moon, and some constellations in Google Earth Pro. Google Earth Pro is the free desktop version of Google Earth. Watch my short video below to learn how to explore Mars and the moon in Google Earth.



It is possible to create narrated tours of Mars and the moon in Google Earth Pro. That process is demonstrated in this video that I published a couple of years ago.