Friday, November 1, 2019

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is Back!

For the fifth year in a row StoryCorps is hosting The Great Thanksgiving Listen. This annual event is an effort to get families to talk and record their stories around the Thanksgiving table. The project was originally developed to get high school students to record the stories of their parents, grandparents, and other older family members. It has expanded over the years to be open to anyone who wants to participate. You can contribute your stories to a national collection or keep them private for just your family to enjoy.

StoryCorps provides materials to help students and teachers get involved in The Great Thanksgiving Listen. The resources for teachers include lesson plans, handouts, and even letters and a permission slip that you can send home to help explain the project to parents. To record interviews students can use the StoryCorps mobile apps (iOS version, Android version) or any other recording tool that you feel is appropriate for your students.

Applications for Education
I love Thanksgiving and I love oral histories. If I was still teaching social studies (I teach computer science now) I would have my students participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen as a way to have them gather local history stories in the context of personal stories. Before The Great Thanksgiving Listen came along I did this kind of project with a social studies class by having them record their parents' and grandparents' stories about going to our local county fair.

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast Episode #17 - Ninjas, Gladiators, and Copyright

It's Friday afternoon and I've just finished recording the seventeenth episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. In this episode I address some questions around a Tweet I made last Saturday, discuss my infuriating experience of defending my copyright rights, and share my thoughts about talking with students about topics that can be a bit polarizing. As usual, the podcast begins with some news and notes from the world of ed tech. The episode ends with my answers to a handful of questions from readers, listeners, and viewers like you.

You can listen to episode 17 of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your podcast network. The show notes are available in this Google Doc.

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

Last Call for Creativity Conference Proposals

In about six weeks from now I'll be hosting the Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference. It is a free online event. The list of conference presentations will be finalized in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to give a presentation, the proposal form is open until midnight (Eastern Time) tonight.

If you have an idea that you would like to present, please complete this short presentation proposal form. If you've never presented in a webinar format before, I'll give you some training in advance.

Register to Attend
  • It's Free! Register here and you’ll be registered for all live sessions (it will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live broadcasts).
    • December 10th at 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm ET.
    • December 11th at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm ET.
    • December 12th at 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm ET.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Five Minute Explanation of How Google Search Works

Last week Google published a new video that explains how Google Search works. The video presents an explanation of the factors that contribute to why some pages rank higher in the results page than others. The video also explains the factors that can contribute to a change in the ranking of a webpage.

Applications for Education
Understanding the basics of how webpages are ranked by Google can be helpful to students in evaluating the relevance of a page to their own research of a topic.

Of course, this video is just scratches the surface of what students need to know when it comes to understanding search. To learn more about search check out the list of search strategies I included in the free Practical Ed Tech Handbook or watch my on-demand webinar Search Strategies Students Need to Know.

An Easier Way to Add Images to Blogger Posts

Over the last couple of weeks I've received a few emails from people who were having trouble with images not loading on Blogger blog posts. I've also had a couple of little issue with image uploads. The trouble appears to be that the default image uploader in Blogger doesn't fully load. The work-around for the problem is to simply drag and drop an image from your desktop into your blog post. In the following video I demonstrate how that works.

The downside to this method is that it doesn't give you an option to re-use an image that is already stored in your Blogger blog (other than uploading it again). The upside to this method is that it is a little faster.