Saturday, June 15, 2019

Turn Blog Posts and Newsletters Into Videos With Lumen5

For the last few weeks I've been posting on Twitter and on Facebook videos based on blog posts that I have written. To do that I have been using a service called Lumen5. Lumen5 is a service that will produce a video for you based upon your written work.

To create a video with Lumen5 you can enter the URL of your published work or paste in the text of your blog post. Lumen5 will then select highlights from your writing to feature in a video. The video will always begin with the title of your blog post. From there it will use any subheadings or section headings that you have in your blog post to create sections of your video. If you don't have subheadings or section headings in your blog post, Lumen5 will attempt to pull the keywords or phrases from each paragraph.

Lumen5 generates a preview of a video for you based on the title, keywords, and key phrases in your blog post. The video will consist of images and video clips matched to the words in your blog post. If you don't like the words or images that Lumen5 chose for you, you can edit the words and swap the images and video clips with others from Lumen5's huge media library. Finally, once you are happy with the visuals of your video you can pick a free audio track to use in your video.

Completed Lumen5 projects can be shared directly to Facebook. You can also download your video to use on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and anywhere else that you like post short videos.

Applications for Education
If you have been writing blog posts or newsletters and you feel like none of your students or parents are reading them, try turning those posts or newsletters into a short video. You can't include every word of the post or newsletter, but you can include the highlights which be enough to entice students and parents to read the full text of your post or newsletter.

Friday, June 14, 2019

500 Creative Writing Prompts

Back in April I featured a neat creative writing tool called The Most Dangerous Writing App. Since then The Most Dangerous Writing App has changed to The Most Dangerous Writing Prompts. The service now includes 500 writing prompts to help you get started on your next great work of creative writing.

The concept of The Most Dangerous Writing Prompts is the same as it was when it was called The Most Dangerous Writing App. You have to write for a minimum amount of time or minimum words without stopping for more than a few seconds or all of your work is lost. If you do reach the minimum (you choose what the minimum is), you can download your writing as a Word doc to continue the writing and editing process.

Watch my new video below to learn how to use The Most Dangerous Writing Prompts.

How to Set a Vacation Responder

For the last week my Facebook feed has been filled with posts from friends who are celebrating the last day(s) of the school year. This is a good time to set a vacation responder in your email. If you use Gmail (either consumer or G Suite for Education), watch my video below to learn how you can set an automatic vacation responder.


Applications for Education
Even though you might be on summer vacation, there are parents and students who might email you and except a response just as quickly as during the school year. Setting a polite vacation responder message can remind those parents or students that you might not be available to respond as quickly as they would like.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

5 Time-savers for Teachers Using G Suite for Education

Whether it's to indulge our favorite hobbies, to get some chores done around the house (my lawn can stop growing any minute now), or to spend more time on the fun parts of teaching, we all need a little more time. I can't give you more time, but I can help you be more efficient in completing tasks associated with our jobs. If you use G Suite for Education, try the following five time-saving tips.

Use a Comment Bank in Google Classroom
If you use Google Classroom to give Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets assignments to your students, create and use a comment bank to speed up the process of giving feedback to your students. Watch my video below to learn how to do this.



Use Google Keep to Add Comments to Students' Work
Google Classroom is great for giving feedback on final drafts of students' work. But if you don't use Google Classroom or you want to give students feedback on early drafts of their work, then the following method of using Google Keep to add comments to your students' Docs, Slides, and Sheets can be a time-saver.



Use Canned Responses in Your Email
Do you find yourself answering the same emailed questions over and over again? If so, you need to try using canned responses in your email. Canned responses allow you to draft messages that you can save and insert into responses over and over again. Watch my video to learn how to enable canned responses in Gmail (G Suite for Edu mail).



Self-grading Quizzes
If you give multiple choice, true/false, or short-answer quizzes use automatic grading options that are available to you in Google Forms. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a self-grading quiz in Google Forms.



Set Default Point Values and Requirements in Google Forms
Almost everyone who has made created a Google Form has at one time or another forgotten to set a point value for a quiz question or forgot to require a response to a survey question. You can avoid doing that and having to go back and fix the error by creating default point values and a default question requirement for all of your Google Forms. Watch my video below to learn how to do that.

66 Lessons on the Chemistry of Food and Beverages

Reactions is a YouTube channel that I've mentioned in a handful of posts in the past. The channel is produced by PBS Digital Studios and the American Chemical Society. All of the videos on the channel include chemistry lessons based on ordinary, everyday parts of life like food and beverages. In fact, Reactions has a playlist of sixty-six videos that teach short lessons about the chemistry of food and beverages. Some highlights from that playlist include 3 Egg-cellently Weird Science ExperimentsWhy is Pizza so Good? and Why Does Stinky Cheese Stink?  And who hasn't looked in the refrigerator and wondered Can I Still Eat This? All for of those videos are embedded below.










Applications for Education
All four of the above videos as well as dozens of others in the Food Chemistry playlist could be great to use to help students see how science, specifically chemistry, is a part of everyday life.

If you want to use these videos as part of flipped lesson or a classroom discussion, consider using EDpuzzle or Classhook. I have video tutorials for both of those services embedded below.