Saturday, July 13, 2019

Green Screens, Posters, and Books - The Week in Review

Good afternoon from Maine where I'm enjoying watching a replay of today's Tour de France stage after a fun morning participating in a team triathlon. My team finished, "The Team With No Name," finished first and won a cowbell. I hope that you're also having a great weekend.

Next week I'm hosting the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Getting the opportunity to leads hands-on professional development is my favorite part of writing this blog. If you'd like to have me lead a professional development workshop at your school during the upcoming school year, please get in touch with me for more information.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. My 5 Favorite Google Docs Add-ons
2. A Free Service That Lets You Print Almost Any Poster
3. Mapping Books
4. 5 Helpful Gmail Features for Teachers
5. How to Create a Green Screen Video in iMovie
6. How to Refine a Search According to Top-level Domain
7. How to Create a Green Screen Video on an iPad


Practical Ed Tech Newsletter
Many people ask if they can get a weekly email instead of daily email. That's exactly what you get with the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. Once per week I send out my favorite tip of the week along with a summary of the week's most popular posts from this blog. You can join that newsletter here.

Thank You for Your Support!

A Super Shark Lesson for Kids for Shark Week

Every summer Discovery runs a week of programming all about sharks. They call it Shark Week and it usually has some interesting content even if it is a bit sensationalized. That said, my daughters won't be watching it with me and I don't recommend it for other young children. But if you are looking for a video about sharks for young students, SciShow Kids offers Super Sharks!

Super Sharks! is a video for kids that explains the unique elements of a shark's body including cartilage skeletons, why some sharks will have thousands of teeth during their lives, and what a shark's skin feels like. The video also teaches students about the largest sharks (whale shark) and smallest sharks (dwarf lantern shark) in the oceans.


On a related note, my youngest daughter's favorite book at the moment is Good Night Sharks. She wants it read to her every night.

The Science of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Like most toddlers, my daughters love grilled cheese sandwiches. I enjoy a good one too. My daughters prefer the ones mommy makes to the ones that I make. Again, I do too. She just seems to have a better grasp of the art and science of making a good grilled cheese. While the art of making a grilled cheese sandwich is debatable, there is actual science involved in creating the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Reactions, a YouTube channel that features lessons about the chemistry of everyday life, has a video that explains the science of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.


Applications for Education
The Science of the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich covers the chemistry of milk and the chemistry of the process of creating cheese. Then to complete the sandwich the video covers the PH of cheese and why that is important in selecting the perfect cheese for a grilled a cheese sandwich. Spoiler alert: mild cheddar is better for a grilled cheese sandwich than sharp cheddar.

The Science of the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich is just one of more than five dozen videos that Reactions has produced about the chemistry of food.

Friday, July 12, 2019

NowComment - A Good Tool for Hosting Online Discussions

NowComment is an interesting tool for creating online conversations centered around shared documents. While you could do something similar in Google Docs, NowComment was designed for hosting threaded discussions and works with a wide variety of document types including PDFs and Word files.

NowComment lets you upload a document then create a discussion about the document as a whole or about selected portions of the document. If your document includes images, you can create discussions about those images as well as the document and selected portions of the document. In other words, you could have three threaded discussions running at the same time about the same document. In this scenario you would have a discussion about the whole document, a discussion about a selected portion of the document, and a discussion about the image in the document. That might sound like it would be confusing, but it's not. At the top of the document that you upload into NowComment you can select the conversation(s) that you do or don't want to view.

Applications for Education
NowComment is the kind of tool that can be helpful in facilitating a discussion about a primary source document in a history class. Similarly, it could be a good option for facilitating online discussion and evaluation of research reports.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for adding NowComment to his list of tools for annotating websites

A Free Service That Lets You Print Almost Any Poster

Canva is a great service for designing all kinds of graphics for online and offline use. Canva includes a gallery of templates for making classroom posters. Once you have designed your poster you can use Canva's print-on-demand service to have it printed and mailed to you. Canva charges a nominal fee for their print-on-demand service. Alternatively, you can download your poster as PDF for free and then print it yourself.

If you have designed a poster in Canva or with a similar graphic design tool, save your design as a PDF. Then use Block Posters to print your poster for free on your own printer. Block Posters is a web-based tool to which you can upload a high quality graphic then divide it into letter-sized chunks for printing. Print out each section and put them together on a poster board to make your own poster.

Applications for Education
When you have designed a great infographic or poster online that you want to display in your classroom, Block Posters is a great tool for you to use to print it. Want to create a giant jigsaw puzzle? Block Posters could be useful for that. Or if you have students create their own infographics that they want to display, you can print them out with Block Posters.