Saturday, October 12, 2019

Slides, Forms, and Mountains - The Week in Review

Good evening from Oregon where I had a great day traveling from Portland to Bend for the Oregon SHAPE conference. It was my first time presenting at a conference dedicated to health and physical education. It was great! And the views on the drive from Portland to Bend were extraordinary!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Handy Google Slides Features You Might Be Overlooking
2. Using Google Slides to Design a Mobile App
3. Microsoft Forms Will Soon Have a Read Aloud Option
4. Learn Javascript Fundamentals and More With Google's Grasshopper
5. Educandy - Quickly Create Educational Games from Word Lists
6. How to Make the Home Button Appear in Chrome
7. How to Find and Edit Thousands of Halloween Games for Your Classroom

Live & On-demand PD
Next week on Practical Ed Tech I'm hosting a live webinar titled Google & Maps - It's More Than Social Studies. I also have six other PD webinars available on-demand.

I'll come to your school or conference. 
I'm already booking my 2020 workshop and conference schedule. This will be my tenth year of speaking at schools and conferences. Click here to learn how to bring me to your school or conference.

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
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  • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from
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  • Facebook - The Facebook page has nearly 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last twelve years at
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing. 

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.