Friday, June 28, 2019

How to Use Book Creator's New Autodraw Feature

At the beginning of this week Book Creator announced the launch of a new set of drawing tools that students can use in the creation of multimedia ebooks. Among those tools is a new feature Book Creator is calling autodraw. Autodraw allows people like me who don't have much drawing ability to attempt to draw something and have Book Creator try to interpret what that drawing is. As you draw Book Creator will display a menu of completed drawings based on what you're attempting to draw. The example that I use in the video below is an attempt at drawing a frying pan that is then completed nicely by Book Creator.

Virtual Reality Smells

Virtual reality tours like those available through Google Expeditions (check out an exciting update) provide students with the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of far away places that they may never visit. But there is one thing missing from virtual reality tours. That thing is smell. No one has figured out how to transmit smell through virtual reality products like Google Expeditions. I thought of this while reading Kevin Hodgson's blog post about a field trip to the Springfield Armory.

In his blog post Kevin described how a historical interpreter had his students use their sense of smell as part of the learning experience on their field trip. That's an experience that students could not have had sitting in their classrooms looking into a VR headset.

Creating Virtual Tours
Google's VR Tour Creator has made it possible for anyone to create a virtual reality tour of almost any place on the planet. You can capture 360 imagery with your phone (use Google's Street View app to capture 360 images) and import those into VR Tour Creator. You can record audio to narrate a tour and import it into VR Tour Creator. But there isn't a way to import smell. So if you have students creating virtual tours of places that they have actually visited, ask them to describe in their audio narration what it smelled like when they visited. For example, a virtual tour of my grandparents' old neighborhood would include a description of the smell of cheap cigar smoke and damp moss.

How to Use Google Expeditions
If you haven't tried Google Expeditions, take a look at the following tutorial that I created. The tutorial includes the teacher and student perspectives of Google Expeditions.



Create and Use Your Own Google Expeditions Tours
Thanks to Google VR Tour Creator you can create your virtual reality tours to use in Google Expeditions. Watch my tutorials below to learn how to get started.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

How to Change Your Blogger Favicon

Blogger is a popular choice for creating classroom blogs and personal blogs because it can be accessed through your Google account and because it is easy to use to start a blog. In a matter of a few minutes you can have a new blog up and running through Blogger. Blogger offers lots of simple design customization options. One of those options that until yesterday I overlooked for more than a decade is the option to change the favicon.

The favicon is the little icon that appears next to a blog's title in your browser tab. Changing it is a nice and simple way to customize the appearance of your blog and make it stand out when visitor has a dozen other tabs open on his or her computer. In the following video I demonstrate how to change the favicon on a Blogger blog.

How to Create Talking Pictures With ChatterPix Kids

ChatterPix Kids is one of my favorite digital storytelling apps for elementary school students to use. For many years the app was only available in an iPad version. Earlier this year an Android version was released by the developers, Duck Duck Moose.

ChatterPix Kids is a free app that students can use to create talking pictures. To use the app students simply open it on their iPads or Android devices and then take a picture. Once they've taken a picture students draw a mouth on their pictures. With the mouth in place students then record themselves talking for up to thirty seconds. The recording is then added to the picture and saved as a video on the students' iPads or Android devices. Watch my tutorial videos below to learn how to use ChatterPix Kids on Android devices and on iPads.



Applications for Education
My all-time favorite example of students using ChatterPix Kids is found in this Next Vista for Learning video titled A Healthy Meal. To create the video students recording a series of ChatterPix Kids talking pictures and then the talking pictures were combined in a sequence in iMovie.

Earlier this year I worked with a Kindergarten class in which the students used ChatterPix Kids to create talking pictures of characters from their favorite books including Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Why Should You Read Hamlet - A New TED-Ed Lesson

Last year TED-Ed started publishing a series of video lessons titled Why Should You Read...? Each lesson is about a classic work of literature that many of us have read and have made our students read. When making our students read those classics we've all been asked, "why do we have to read this?" This TED-Ed series attempts to address that question by explaining the historical significance of classic works.

The latest lesson added to TED-Ed's Why Should You Read...? series is Why Should You Read Hamlet? With this lesson the list of Why Should You Read...? lessons is up to eleven titles. All of the videos from those lessons are embedded below.

Why Should You Read Hamlet?


Why Should You Read Crime and Punishment?


Why Should You Read Fahrenheit 451?


Why Should You Read Flannery O'Connor?


Why Should You Read MacBeth?


Why Should You Read A Midsummer's Night Dream?


Why Should You Read Kurt Vonnegut?



Why Should You Read "Waiting for Godot?"



Why Should You Read "Don Quixote?"



Everything You Need to Know to Read "The Canterbury Tales."



Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe?