Thursday, August 29, 2019

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers (Some of Them)

Tomorrow I'm recording the next episode of my Practical Ed Tech Live series in which I answer batches of questions that readers like you send to me throughout the week.  This school year I'm opening each broadcast with a recap of some ed tech news that you might have missed in the previous week.

I'll be broadcasting this live on my YouTube channel. (subscribe to my channel to be notified when I go live). You can ask me questions during the broadcast or submit them in advance to ensure that I'll see your question. You can submit questions through the form that is embedded below.

International Podcast Day Stickers - How to Make a Podcast

International Podcast Day (I didn't know that was a thing until today, either) is September 30th. Synth is one of the sponsors of International Podcast Day. Synth is a free service for recording and publishing short podcasts. I've been writing and talking about it since its launch last fall because it is so simple for teachers and students to use it to create a podcast.

Synth is giving away sets of stickers to classrooms that participate in International Podcast Day. Simply fill out this short Google Form to get your stickers. Then on September 30th Tweet or otherwise share your podcast with the hashtag #internationalpodcastday

You can find more information about Synth's participation in International Podcast Day here.

Watch my video below to learn how to make a simple podcast with Synth.

How to Make Stop Motion Movies - And The Apps You Need

It's funny what you remember about students that you had ten or more years ago. Earlier this week I ran into an old student of mine while I was getting coffee at my favorite cafe. While I struggled to remember his name (it came to be eventually) I clearly remembered a stop motion video project that he did when he was in my U.S. History class. His stop motion movie was about the Battle of Bunker Hill. He used paper cutouts of soldiers then positioned them to move to tell the story.

If you've ever thought about making a stop motion movie with your students, Science Filmmaking Tips has a good video that covers everything you need to know and more. The video covers everything from types of stop motion to equipment needs to actually shooting the movie. How to Make Stop Motion Movies is well worth ten minutes of your time.

The mobile app that is mentioned in the video is Stop Motion Studio. You can get the app for iPad and for Android.

Chromebook users should try using Stop Motion Animator. Watch my video below to learn how to use Stop Motion Animator.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

It's That Time Again - Why Leaves Change Color in the Fall

There are some trees in my neighborhood whose leaves always start to change color earlier than the rest. I noticed them this morning as I drove down my road. And when I got home I noticed one in my backyard was starting to develop some red leaves too. That means it's time for my annual post about why leaves change color in the fall.

Reactions is a great YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society. I've featured a handful or more of their videos this year. One of the Reactions videos explains the chemistry involved in the process of leaves changing color. The video explains how chlorophyll and the glucose stored inside trees create the red, yellow, and brown of fall foliage.

For an explanation of why leaves change colors that elementary school students can understand, watch the following SciShow Kids video.

Two Handy New Features Added to Google Slides

Google Slides users are about to get two features that many people have wanted for a long time. Yesterday, Google announced that you'll now be able to black-out or white-out your slides when you pause in the middle of a presentation. To do this you'll simply hit either B or W on your keyboard while your presentation is in full screen mode. You'll be able to remove the black-out or white-out by simply hitting any other key or clicking on your slides.

The other new feature that is coming soon to Google Slides is the ability to have your presentation play on a loop. To do this you'll simply put your presentation into full screen mode then click on the gear icon to open settings and select "loop."

Applications for Education
The new keyboard shortcuts to black-out or white-out your slides when you pause a presentation could be useful for hiding the slides while you're answering a question from your students.

Being able to have your Google Slides presentation play on a continuous loop could be great for things like open house nights when you want to be able to let the slides scroll for a long time as people filter in and out of a room.

Both of these new Google Slides features will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks.

If you're new to using Google Slides or other aspects of G Suite for Education, consider signing up for my on-demand Getting Going With G Suite course that will be available on September 3rd.