Friday, August 30, 2019

Wonderopolis Now Includes Immersive Reader

Wonderopolis is a great site for finding interesting articles to spark your students' imaginations. I've been a fan of the site since I first discovered it more than six years ago. At its core Wonderopolis offers more than 2400 interesting articles for elementary school and middle school students. Each article covers a different topic that your students might wonder about. For example, today's article is Who Invented Friend Chicken?

Every Wonderopolis article is accompanied by a short video and some corresponding images. All of the articles are also accompanied by a short reading comprehension quiz that can be printed or taken online. A vocabulary matching exercise also accompanies the articles on Wonderopolis.

This week Wonderopolis announced that Immersive Reader has been integrated into the site. Immersive Reader is Microsoft's free program that reads pages aloud to students. Immersive Reader does more than just read aloud. It also lets students customize the display of the text and highlights each word as it is read aloud.

Gmail Will Now Automatically Notify Senders When You're Out of Office

This weekend is a Labor Day weekend here in the U.S. For many of us it is the symbolic end of the summer. And for many of us it's the last time that we'll unplug from work for a few months. Speaking of unplugging from work, yesterday Google announced a new Gmail feature that will notify senders that you're out of office before they even send you a message.

Now when have an out-of-office entry on your Google Calendar, Gmail will display an out-of-office warning to people who are drafting messages to you. For example, if I have an out-of-office entry for 3pm-5pm today and you draft a message during that time, Gmail will display a warning that I'm out-of-office before you even send that message.

This new Gmail feature could be a great addition to the traditional out-of-office auto responder that you use. By displaying that you're out of office, senders might reconsider sending you a message or will schedule it to be sent at a time when they know you're more likely to read it and reply to it.

The new out-of-office warning feature will be available to all Gmail and G Suite users within the next few weeks. The feature will be on by default.

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.