Thursday, October 3, 2019

WriteReader Adds New Page Styles for Students to Create eBooks

WriteReader is one of go-to tools for elementary school and middle school students to use to create multimedia ebooks. I've been using it since its launch a few years ago and it has only gotten better since then. Along the way it has added read-aloud features, introduced more options for comic and speech bubbles, and added an integrated library of Sesame Street artwork that students can use. Of course, it's always had the outstanding option for teachers to give students feedback directly in their ebooks.

The latest update to WriteReader introduced new page templates. Now WriteReader has templates for students to add pages that have images and text and text only along with the original template for students and teachers to write on the same page. Watch my video that is embedded below for an overview of WriteReader's new page templates.



ICYMI - Six On-Demand PD Opportunities

In August and September I hosted five live Practical Ed Tech webinars and launched one self-paced course. A lot of people expressed interest in the webinars but said that the timing didn't work. That's understandable as the beginning of this school year has been extremely busy for me too. That's why I've made all of the webinars from August and September available on demand.

Five Practical Ed Tech Webinars Available On Demand

  • Search Strategies Students Need to Know
  • Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep
  • Intro to Green Screens and Animation
  • Intro to Using AR & VR in Your Classroom
  • 5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom
All of the webinars are delivered to you as a downloadable file along with corresponding handouts. Descriptions for all of the webinars are available here.

Getting Going With G Suite

  • This is the on-demand version of my popular Getting Going With G Suite workshop. It is based on a decade of experience helping thousands of teachers get the most out of using G Suite for Education and other Google tools in their classrooms. Learn more and access the course here

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

How to Randomize Question and Answer Sequences in Google Forms

On Tuesday afternoon I published Google Forms Features You Should Know How to Use. That post and corresponding video has prompted a slew of emails from people either asking or suggesting that I make a video about how to have Google Forms questions and answers appear in random order within a quiz. So as a man of the people I have made that video.

My new video, embedded below, demonstrates how to questions appear in a different order each time a Google Forms quiz is opened. The video also shows you how to have the answer choices for each question appear in a different order each time the quiz is opened. It's important to note that you shouldn't randomize the question sequence if you are using the "go to section based on answer" function as it will break the logic used in designing the form. If all of your questions are on form that has only one section then you can use both the random question and random answer choice options.

A Halloween-themed Physical Education Program

In last week's episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast I mentioned a great blog for physical education teachers. That blog is called Keeping Kids in Motion and it is written by Justin Cahill. One of the free resources available on his blog is Fitness is Spooktacular.

Fitness is Spooktacular is a kids fitness challenge for the month of October (adults can do it too). There is a downloadable calendar of little workouts that you can do with your students throughout the month of October. Each workout is represented by either a jack-o-lantern, a skull, or a bat.

When students complete the Fitness is Spooktacular challenge they can receive a certificate. Certificates are available for teachers to download and print for free from the Keeping Kids in Motion blog.

Applications for Education
Keeping Kids in Motion is a blog that's great for elementary school physical education teachers as well as anyone who is looking for ideas on how to encourage kids to stay physically fit. The blog is full of ideas that can be implemented across a school and not just in the gym.

The Library of Congress Poses a Search Challenge for Anyone to Try

In the 2019-20 Practical Ed Tech Handbook I included a section about creating image-based search challenges for students. The idea behind giving students image-based search challenges is to provide them with some prompts that force them to use all available clues and tools in order to arrive at the correct answers. That concept is taken to the extreme in a new "contest" presented by the Library of Congress. I put contest in quotes because there are not any prizes other than the joy of being right.

Who Am I? Mystery Photo Contest is a blog post that appeared on Monday on the Library of Congress's blog. The blog post contains nine pictures of people that the LOC needs help identifying. The only clues provided are that the images are publicity stills from the library's moving image section and that performing a reverse image search did not yield and matches.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a difficult search challenge activity to use with your students, the LOC's Who Am I? Mystery Photo Contest could be just what you need. Students will have to string together as many clues as possible in order to get to arrive at an answer.