Friday, October 11, 2019

Educandy - Quickly Create Educational Games from Word Lists

Educandy is a neat service that I recently learned about from Eric Curts. As I mentioned in this week's episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast, Educandy strikes me as a slightly more polished version of Flippity. On Educandy you can create a list of vocabulary words or a list of questions and have a set of games instantly created based on those lists. You can then share those games with your students through a dedicated link and game code.

To get started on Educandy you will have to create an account on the site. Once you've created your account sign in and select the option to create a list of vocabulary words, matching pairs of words, or a list of quiz questions. Once you've made your list Educandy will automatically generate a game or series of games that your students can play. If you make a list of vocabulary words or a list of paired words the game options will include memory, hangman, word search, and crosswords. If you write quiz questions, the game will be a simple quiz game.

Once your game is created on Educandy it will appear in your account under "my activities." From there you can select your game and find its code. Students can then use that code to play your game at without creating an account on the site. You'll also find an embed code that you can use to place your game on your own website.

Applications for Education
Educandy isn't providing anything revolutionary, but it does provide a convenient way to create some simple review games for your students to play on their own. If you're looking for a new way to make games for your students to play as review activities, Educandy might be for you.

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast Episode #13

Earlier today I recorded the thirteenth episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. This episode, like the previous one, begins with an overview of some news and notes from the week in ed tech followed by my answers to a handful of questions from readers and listeners. The news and notes in this episode include a bunch of updates from Microsoft's accessibility product team. And a couple of the questions from readers center on troubleshooting problems with Google Forms and Sheets. Listen to the episode right here.

The complete show notes can be found here.

You can listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

An Update from the Archive - Three Good Ways to Use All Those Pictures Students Take

I originally published this post four years ago. I remembered this post while reflecting on a conversation that I had with my freshmen during homeroom this week about their picture-taking and video-recording habits.

Take a look at almost any student's cell phone and you're bound to find hundreds or thousands of pictures and videos that they taken. As teachers we should put our students' picture-taking and video-taking habits to good use. Here are three ways to utilize students' picture-taking habits in your classroom.

Create a b-roll gallery.
Rather than making students scour the web in a quest for public domain or Creative Commons media, let them search in a classroom gallery of media. Create a shared Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box folder to which students can upload images and videos that will allow other students use in slideshows and other multimedia projects.

Create digital portfolios of physical work. 
Have students snap pictures of work they have done on paper or another physical medium and upload them to a folder that is shared with you. Of course, students can also link to digital projects. SeeSaw is a great platform for projects like this.

Tell a story.
Did your class recently go on a field trip? If so, your students probably have a slew of photos from it. Have them use those to summarize the highlights of what they learned during the field trip.

Are you trying to get students to tell stories about themselves? In that case, let them use photos to tell that story.

Adobe Spark and Pic-Collage are good tools for telling stories with pictures.

A Good Collection of PowerPoint Presentations for AP US History and World History

Tom Richey produces great instructional videos for students taking AP US History, World History, and Government courses. More than 100,000 YouTube subscribers will attest to that. He also publishes many of the PowerPoint presentations that appear in his videos. From his PowerPoint page you can download presentations on US History, European History, or World History.

Google Chrome users who have the Google Slides app installed can quickly open all of Tom's PowerPoints directly in their browsers then save the slides in their Google Drive accounts. People who don't use Chrome or Google Drive can simply download the original PowerPoint files from Tom's website.

Applications for Education
Slides without a voice aren't nearly as helpful as slides with a voice. That said, reviewing these PowerPoint files might help students recall a point that you've made in a lesson. Likewise, viewing the slides might help students recall something from a related reading assignment.

How to Use Google Drive to Share Videos

One of the questions that I'm frequently asked in regards to student video projects is "how can they share them without using YouTube?" It's a good question as there are many reasons why you might not want your students to upload their videos to YouTube for classroom projects. My recommended solution is to upload the video to Google Drive or OneDrive for sharing with you, their classmates, or their parents.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Google Drive to store and share video files.

Applications for Education
I'm often asked about how to collect videos from students to then upload to one class YouTube account. Collecting videos from your students through Google Drive or OneDrive is a good way to do that. Then you can choose which ones to make public and you'll have all of the videos in one place instead of trying to keep track of each student's individual YouTube channel.

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