Friday, September 27, 2019

Get Your Copy of the Free Practical Ed Tech Handbook

Last Sunday I published the updated 2019-20 version of my popular Practical Ed Tech Handbook. I started publishing one every school year in the fall of 2015. Each fall since then I've published an updated version. All together they've been downloaded more than 100,000 times. If you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can download it right here from Or if you want to view it before downloading it, take look at it as embedded below.

This year's Practical Ed Tech Handbook has nine sections:

  1. Communication with students and parents.
  2. Backchannels & informal assessment
  3. Learning to Program
  4. Augmented and Virtual Reality
  5. Digital portfolios
  6. Audio recording and publishing
  7. Video creation and flipped lessons
  8. Digital citizenship
  9. Web search strategies

Common Craft Explains Incognito or Private Browser Windows

Common Craft has been producing unique explanatory videos for more than a decade. I've been using them in my classroom and workshops for nearly as long. Common Craft videos provide clear and concise explanations of nuanced topics ranging from the Electoral College to copyright to digital citizenship. Their latest video explains incognito or "private" mode in your web browser.

Private or Incognito Browsing Explained by Common Craft teaches viewers what the incognito or private browser function does, what it doesn't do, and the legitimate reasons for using it.

Applications for Education
This video does a good job of dispelling the mistaken belief that some students have that using incognito or private browser windows hide all of their online activities. The video also does a good job providing examples of legitimate uses for incognito windows. In fact, I often tell teachers to use incognito windows when they want to see the student view of an assignment or website without signing out of their teacher accounts.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

How to Create Whiteboard Videos in Wakelet Collections

A couple of months ago Flipgrid introduced a new feature that enables you to create whiteboard-style instructional videos to share with your students. That feature is called Flipgrid Shorts. Wakelet has integrated the Flipgrid camera into their service so that now you can create whiteboard-style instructional videos directly within your Wakelet collections. Watch my video below to see how that process works.

If you're not familiar with Wakelet, it's a free service that lets you create and share visual collections of notes, bookmarks, pictures, videos, and documents. In the video that is embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to get started with Wakelet.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

15 Digital Citizenship Resources for K-12

Within the latest edition of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook I included a section about digital citizenship. In that section I highlighted fifteen resources for teaching digital citizenship lessons to students of all ages. A few of the highlights from that section are the new digital citizenship curriculum develop by Common Sense, a collection of animated videos from Planet Nutshell, and a game designed to help students understand how social media can be manipulated. All of those resources and a dozen more are detailed in the PDF that is embedded below.

The frame that is around the PDF includes an option to download the PDF. Otherwise use this link to access PDF as it is hosted on Box.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Loop - A Nice System for Gathering Feedback from Students

There is no shortage of online tools for gathering feedback from students. I featured a selection of them in the latest version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. Loop is the latest one to come across my desk. 

Loop lets you create an online classroom to post questions for your students to respond to with emojis, with words, or by selecting an answer choice. You can let your students respond anonymously or require them to identify themselves. Those features alone don't make Loop different from lots of similar services. What Loop offers that is somewhat unique is the option to respond directly to individual students even when they were responding to a group survey. The purpose of that feature is to make it easy to ask follow-up questions or to give encouragement to students based on their responses to a question posed to the whole group.

Loop can be used in the web browser on your laptop or you can use their free Android or iPhone apps.

Applications for Education
Loop fits in a gap between tools like Kahoot and Google Classroom. For that reason it could be a good tool for engaging students in discussions about assignments, course topics, or the general feeling of the class.