Saturday, July 6, 2019

Gmail, Name Pickers, and Forms - The Week in Review

Good evening from hot and humid Paris, Maine. The first week of July has been a busy one as I wrapped-up a couple of online courses and worked on some of the final elements for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp (there is still time to register). And, as it is now summer, I took my girls to play at the lake a few times too. I hope that those of you who are also in the northern hemisphere are having a great summer too.


These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Helpful Gmail Features for Teachers
2. Seven Google Product Updates Made in June for Teachers to Note
3. Quillionz - Get Quiz Questions Automatically Generated From Documents
4. My Ten Most Watched How-to Videos
5. Create Your Own Mobile-friendly Random Name Picker
6. Google Forms Now Has a Native Function to Import Questions from Other Forms
7. How to Quickly Copy Questions Between Google Forms

Practical Ed Tech Newsletter
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Mapping Books

Yesterday I published a post about creating multimedia timelines as an alternative form of a book report. Later in the day I was walked past the little book store next to my favorite coffee shop and saw a copy of Louise Dickinson Rich's book, We Took to the Woods. This is a classic in the catalog of Maine literature.

We Took to the Woods is the story of Rich and her husband moving to small cabin in along the Rapid River in western Maine in the 1930's. Throughout the book Rich explains the difficulty and, occasionally, the fun of creating a life in woods long before the days of going on Amazon and having anything you need show up at your door the next day. Some of my favorite parts of her story include traveling to and from their home.

Seeing We Took to the Woods in the window of the book store got me to thinking about how creating a multimedia map could be a good way for students to summarize books like it that have a heavy emphasis on location. StoryMap JS is a free tool that students can use to create a multimedia map combined with a timeline. Students could use this tool to explain the significance of locations while also highlighting the sequence of key events in the story. The following video provides a demonstration of how to use StoryMap JS.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Multimedia Timelines as Book Summaries

A couple of weeks ago I read a fun history book titled Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure. The book chronicles Truman's road trip from Missouri to New York and back in the summer after he left the White House. The book strikes a nice balance between being a serious history book with being suitable for the non-historian. You can enjoy the story without having any prior knowledge about Truman. It's a book that I recommend to anyone who has an interest in Presidential history, cars, and or the development of the highway system in the United States.

Reading Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure got me thinking about the various ways that we have students summarize the books that they read. Making book trailer videos is a popular option these days as is creating Google Lit Trips. An option that is perfect for history books and historical fiction books is to create a multimedia timeline. In the multimedia time students can include pictures, videos, and text for a series of key events in the story.

The two tools that I recommend more than any others for creating multimedia timelines are Timeline JS and Sutori. Sutori is probably the easier of the two to use, but Timeline JS has more formatting capabilities.

How to Use Quillionz - Quiz Questions Automatically Generated from Documents

Quillionz is a new service for quickly creating reading comprehension and quiz questions from passages of text that you provide. As I wrote earlier this week, 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. In the following video I provide an overview of how easy it is to use Quillionz to generate a set of reading comprehension questions from a passage of text.


Disclosure: Quillionz is currently has a banner advertisement on this blog. 

Create Your Own Mobile-friendly Random Name Picker

For many years now Flippity has offered a Google Sheets template that you can use to create your own random name picker. It's quick and easy to use. You can use it by going to Flippity's website and making a copy of the template or by using Flippity's Google Sheets add-on. Either way you simply have to write in the names that want to appear in the random picker and then hit the publish button on your sheet. This morning the Flippity developers announced that the random name picker is now mobile-friendly.

Flippity's random name picker can be used for more than just selecting names. You can also use it to create random groupings of students and to create seating charts. Watch my new video below to learn how to use Flippity's random name picker template.