Thursday, June 20, 2019

Interactive Maps of Migrations and Changes of Seasons

Over the years I've featured Project Noah and the USA Phenology Network's maps as platforms through which students can track the changes of seasons in North America. Recently, through the Maps Mania blog I learned about another good site that students can use to track the changes in seasons. That site is called Journey North.

Journey North is a crowd-sourced created by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. On Journey North you will find interactive maps that represent the first appearances of migratory birds across North America in the spring and in the fall. You'll also find maps of other signs of the changes of seasons. Those include maps of changes in daylight, the first appearances of changes of leaves on trees, and the first appearances of hibernating animals.

Applications for Education
Journey North provides interactive maps of the current year as well as maps going back to 1997. Those could be used by students to explore changes in migratory patterns over time. Students could also use the 22 years of maps to explore changes in the timing of other signs of spring and fall in North America.

Journey North has a page of teaching resources. Within that page you'll find this 28 page PDF (link opens the PDF) that contains many suggestions for helping students develop skills to ask good inquiry questions, record observations, and make conclusions based on facts.

More Immersive Reader News - Thinglink Integrates Immersive Reader

Earlier I shared the news that Microsoft is adding their popular accessibility too, Immersive Reader, to Microsoft Forms. Shortly after I received that news from Mike Tholfsen I got an email from Thinglink informing me that they're also adding Immersive Reader to their excellent image and video annotation tools.

Thinglink is a service that I have used for many years to add interactive markers to pictures and videos. Those markers can be used to annotate images and videos with text, video links, links to web pages, and other images. I have a handful of tutorials on how to use Thinglink here on my YouTube channel.


Thinglink + Immersive Reader
Thinglink's integration of Immersive Reader will provide students with the ability to hear the contents of Thinglink image and video annotations read aloud. It will also enable students to access annotations in multiple languages regardless of the language in which the image and video annotations were written. Thinglink has a great run-down of six ways that students and teachers can use Immersive Reader in Thinglink. Thinglink's overview includes demonstration videos.

Immersive Reader is Being Added to Microsoft Forms

Immersive Reader is a fantastic accessibility function available in many of Microsoft's most-used products including Word and OneNote. Thanks to a Mike Tholfsen Tweet, this morning I learned that Immersive Reader will be available in Microsoft Forms later this summer. Immersive Reader in Microsoft Forms will enable students to have passages, questions, and answer choices read aloud to them. And, like Immersive Reader in Word, it will highlight words as they're read aloud.



If you haven't seen Immersive Reader in action before, watch my videos that are embedded below to see how it works in Word and OneNote.



About Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Forms is now a strong rival to Google Forms. With Microsoft Forms you can create quizzes and surveys. Some of the things that you can do with Microsoft Forms include making self-grading quizzes and surveys whose responses are easily filtered in Excel. Watch my videos below to learn more about using Microsoft Forms.


Adobe Spark Now Has a Collaboration Option

Adobe Spark has been one of my favorite video creation tools since its launch in 2016. It can also be used to make simple web pages and graphics. Adobe Spark is a versatile tool that I've used to help students make video book trailers, to create video biographies, and to showcase the highlights of their digital portfolios. But until now there was one thing missing from Adobe Spark. That thing was a collaboration option. Today, Adobe addressed that need by adding a collaboration option to Adobe Spark.

The new collaboration option in Adobe Spark will let you invite people to edit and comment on your projects. To invite collaborators you'll simply enter their email addresses and they can then jump into your project. Projects that you have been invited to join will appear under a new "shared with you" tab in your Adobe Spark dashboard.

There are a couple of important items to note about the collaboration option in Adobe Spark. First, only one collaborator can work on a project at a time. That is done to avoid conflicting edits. Second, the collaboration option only works when you are using Adobe Spark in the web browser on your desktop or laptop computer. Support for collaboration in the mobile version of Adobe Spark is coming later this year.

If you haven't tried using Adobe Spark to make a video, watch my short tutorial to learn how to get started.


Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, Adobe Spark can be a great tool for students to use to create videos about books they've read, people they've studied, or highlights of a school event. The new collaboration option will empower students to work together to make videos about shared experiences like a field trip or to showcase the fruits of a group research effort.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Timelines as Portfolios

Last month I featured some of my favorite tools for students to make digital portfolios and tools for students to use to create multimedia collages to celebrate the school year. One of the things that I forgot to mention last month was the idea of using multimedia timelines as a means to sharing growth throughout the school year.

The idea of creating a timeline to use as a digital portfolio is to have students show examples of growth throughout the school year. Students can add examples of their work from each month of the year. Here are the three tools that I would use in elementary school, middle school, and high school classrooms.

Elementary School - RWT Timeline Creator
Read Write Think's Timeline Creator is a good tool for students to use if you just want them to create timelines of things they learned during the school year. I would have them add an entry or two for every month of the school year. The entry doesn't have to be terribly detailed as I'm just looking at this activity as a reflection and summary activity. RWT's Timeline Creator does not require students to have an email address or register for an account.

Middle School - Sutori
Sutori is a timeline creation tool that I like because as a teacher you can create an online classroom in which you monitor your students' work. With a Sutori account you can build timelines in a vertical scroll format. The timeline can have videos, images, audio, and text in each event or date marker. Here's an example of a Sutori timeline being used as a digital portfolio.

High School - Timeline JS
Timeline JS is a great tool if your school is using G Suite for Education. Timeline JS creates a timeline based on entries made in a Google Spreadsheets template provide by Timeline JS. Your entries can include videos, images, text, and audio recordings. Take a look at this tutorial to learn how to use Timeline JS.