Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Lee's Map of Gettysburg - And Tools for Making It Interactive

Today's featured document featured by the National Archives is a copy of General Robert E. Lee's map of the Battle of Gettysburg. If you download a copy of the map (which you can do as it is in the public domain) and then zoom-in on it, you will be able to see the notations about troop positions.

As someone who is generally fascinated by maps and history, I immediately started thinking about how this map could be used in a U.S. history lesson. My first thought was to have students enhance the map by making a copy and then uploading it to Thinglink. Once in Thinglink students can add interactive pins to it to explain the significance of places on the map. Those interactive pins could include text, images, and videos. Watch this video to learn how to use Thinglink with a map.

Another way to make this map interactive is to download a copy then upload it to Formative. In Formative you can then add pins to the map. Each of those pins can include questions for your students to answer. A demonstration of how to use Formative for that type of activity is available in this video.

Finally, as a Mainer, I can't think about the Battle of Gettysburg without thinking about this scene from the movie Gettysburg.

Flippity's Quiz Show Template Has Expanded

Flippity is one of five favorite Google Sheets add-ons for teachers because it provides easy-to-follow templates for creating lots of useful things like progress trackers, spelling games, multimedia flashcards, and Jeopardy-style review games. Flippity's Jeopardy-style game template, called Quiz Show, was recently expanded. The new version lets you have up to eight players or teams at a time. You can see a sample quiz show in action here.

Watch my video that is embedded below to learn more about using Flippity's Google Sheets add-on.

How to Quickly Copy Questions Between Google Forms

This week Google added a new "import questions" function to Google Forms. This is a native feature that lets you view your previously created Forms and then select questions to import into a new Form. This feature removes the need to use an add-on like Form Recycler or to do any copying and pasting. Watch my new video that is embedded below to learn how to quickly copy questions between Google Forms by using the new import feature.

Three Ways to Create a Virtual Tour of the Tour de France

Every July the Tour de France winds through the countryside before arriving in Paris. Every year the course takes a different route. One of the things that I always enjoy about watching the race is seeing all of the historic places the riders pass. NBC Sports is usually pretty good about sharing some history of those places during their telecast of the race. But there is only so much history they can share in television soundbites. That's why for the last few years I've encouraged students to create their own virtual tours of the Tour de France.

Creating a virtual tour of the route of this year's Tour de France could be a great way to get students to dig into history and share their findings in a multimedia format. Here are three ways that students can create virtual tours.

Create a Virtual Reality Tour
Google's VR Tour Creator has become my favorite mapping tool for students to use. With the VR Tour Creator students can create a VR tour of the starting points of the segments of the Tour de France. Watch my videos embedded below to learn how to get started using Google's VR Tour Creator.

Create a Google Earth Tour
Google Earth Pro (AKA the desktop version of Google Earth) has some built-in features for creating virtual tours. Students can create narrated fly-over tours of the Tour de France route in Google Earth Pro. Watch my video below for a short overview of how to make a tour in Google Earth Pro.

Use My Maps to Make a Custom Map of the Tour de France
Students can use Google's My Maps tool to create a map with placemarks for the start and end points of each segment of the race. In addition to the town and city names have them include a handful of interesting facts about each placemark. Students can also include pictures and videos in those placemarks. If you have never tried using Google's My Maps, watch my video below to learn how to get started.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Quillionz - Get Quiz Questions Automatically Generated From Documents

Quillionz is a new supporter of

Quillionz is a new service that makes it super easy to have a set of reading comprehension questions and quiz questions generated from a passage of text. There is a free version and pro (paid) version of Quillionz. This post is about the capabilities of the free version.

To get started using Quillionz you will need to create a free account on the site. You can do that by connecting your Google account, connecting your Facebook account, or by signing up with any email address that you have. Once you have registered you can begin using the service.

In your Quillionz dashboard click "new content" and you'll see a screen on which you can type or paste a passage of text. Your passage must be at least 300 words and no more than 3,000 words. Once you're text is in place Quillionz give it a title and select a "domain" for it. "Domain" is the term that Quillionz uses for what most of us would call a subject or topic. After you have done that, Quillionz will generate a set of keywords or tags that you can select as focus terms for your questions.

Based the text you supplied, the keywords you've chosen, and the domain/ subject you've chosen Quillionz will generate a set of fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice questions for you. You can approve, delete, or edit any of the suggested questions. When you're happy with the list of questions you can save them as a text document, print them, or export them to Quillionz's companion service Quilli Quiz. Quilli Quiz is a flashcard service.

All of the features outlined above are available in the free version of Quillionz. The pro (paid) version includes options for uploading a PDF and extracting the text from it. The pro version also includes options for downloading your question sheets as PDFs and Word documents.

Applications for Education
When I first saw Quillionz I thought it could be a great service to use to quickly generate questions from some of the current events articles that get distributed to students in social studies classes. Of course, it could be used with almost any document that you have rights to use in your classroom.

I tried Quillionz with a few different documents. The only time that it seemed to struggle to generate good questions was I included the text from a primary source document that I found on the Avalon Project's website. Quillionz's algorithm seems to struggle with 18th Century English. In other words, it doesn't like lengthy, complex sentences.

Disclosure: Quillionz is currently running a banner advertising campaign on

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