Saturday, June 29, 2019

Expeditions, Search, and 202 Miles on a Bike - The Week in Review

Good afternoon from Maine where today I'm recuperating after riding my bike for 202 miles yesterday. The ride was part of a fundraiser for the Fast Freddie Foundation that gives bicycles and safety equipment to underprivileged kids all over the United States. Fast Freddie Rodriguez (pictured with me) is a retired professional cyclist whose record includes four national championships and winner of the Tour de France's green jersey. It was a pleasure to ride with him for the whole day yesterday, but I'm a bit tired today so I'm taking it easy. I hope that wherever you are this weekend that you have time for relaxation too.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Google Expeditions is Now Available on Chromebooks!
2. The Best Apps & Sites for Learning According to AASL
3. How to Use the Math Manipulatives in SeeSaw
4. A Great Guide to Capturing Oral Biographies
5. Virtual Reality Smells
6. The Joy of Search - Get a Sample Chapter and Learn a Great Search Strategy
7. Now You Can Share Kahoot Games in Microsoft Teams


Thank You for Your Support!

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.