Thursday, November 7, 2019

Plagiarism Explained by Common Craft - Updated

Plagiarism and issues around copyright are topics that I am passionate about. That's why I was happy to see my friends at Common Craft release an updated version of their video explanation of plagiarism. Plagiarism Explained by Common Craft does a good job explaining what plagiarism is and how to avoid unintentionally plagiarizing a work. To that end, the video includes an example of citing information that many students might not think they would need to cite.

On a related note, a couple of years ago my friend Dr. Beth Holland and I hosted a free webinar about copyright as it pertains to school settings. The recording of that webinar is embedded below.

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

Create Random Story Starters With This Flippity Template

This morning I answered an email from a reader named Brian who wrote,
"I’m looking for a way to upload photos of my students so I can randomly have the site select a photo. (The students are learning how to use adjectives to describe themselves and I would like to project a face onto the screen randomly) I can’t seem to find a site or a method that makes it easy to accomplish this feat... Any ideas?"
I think Brian's idea is a good one and one that can be accomplished with the random name picker template offered by Flippity.

Flippity's random name picker template lets you enter a list of names and a list of pictures into a Google Sheet to then randomly select names with corresponding pictures. The trick of adding pictures to the template is that the pictures must be hosted online so that you can link to them in your Google Sheet.

While Flippity's random name picker template was designed for randomly selecting a student from a list, you could substitute any words or phrases in place of names and insert pictures of anything that you like. You could insert a list of story starter words and pictures for your students to write about. Run the picker whenever you want students to see a new writing prompt.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

How to Randomly Shuffle Google Slides Presentations

Last week I wrote a short blog post about a neat Google Slides add-on called Slides Randomizer. The add-on will randomly shuffle a Google Slides presentation for you. It's easy to use and, as I explain the video below, it could be a good tool to use to have students practice putting a sequence of events or steps of process into the correct order. Watch my video below to see how Slides Randomizer works.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Three Tools for Recording The Great Thanksgiving Listen

Last week I shared the news that StoryCorps is once again hosting The Great Thanksgiving Listen. This is an annual event intended to encourage people to record family stories during the month of November. StoryCorps offers a free mobile app that you can use to record interviews with family members. That's not the only tool that students can use to record stories during The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Here are some other good options for recording interviews.
Anchor offers recording and editing tools that you can use in your web browser for free. One of the convenient aspects of Anchor's browser-based tool is that you can combine multiple clips into one final product. That means that you can take breaks during the recording and come back to finish later if you want to. You can also use that feature to combine multiple interviews into one final audio recording. Here's a tutorial to help you get started using

Audacity and GarageBand
If you're looking to use a tool that doesn't require constant internet access then you'll want to try Audacity (Windows) or GarageBand (Mac). Both of these tools offer everything you could ever need for a classroom audio production project. Tutorials to help you get started with both tools are embedded below.

Microphones for Audio Recording
You could use the internal microphone on your computer, tablet, or phone. You'll get a better sound quality if you record with an external microphone. There are two microphones that I use and recommend. The first is the Snowball ICE Microphone from Blue Designs. For a much cheaper option I use and recommend this three pack of lapel microphones for $7.

Webinar Tomorrow - Five Fun Formative Assessment Methods

One of the ways that I am able to keep Free Technology for Teachers afloat is through the in-person and online training services that I offer. On that note, tomorrow afternoon I'm hosting a new webinar titled Five Fun Formative Assessment Methods.

This webinar will go beyond the typical Kahoot and Gimkit type of games that are probably already prevalent in your school. In this webinar you will learn how to use free tech tools to create and conduct fun, engaging, and informative formative assessments. Whether you teach elementary school, middle school, or high school, you will come away from this webinar with fun formative assessment activities that you can do tomorrow.

Five Things You Can Learn In This Webinar:
1. What makes a formative assessment valuable to you while also fun for students.
2. How to create fun formative assessments for classrooms that aren’t 1:1.
3. Why you should leverage students’ picture-taking habits for formative assessment.
4. Development of engaging formative assessment activities that use a variety of question formats.
5. How to include students in the creation of formative assessments.

Register here.