Thursday, November 14, 2019

How to Use Wakelet to Gather Feedback from Students

Wakelet is a great tool for creating collections of bookmarks, pictures, documents, videos, and more. It is free, easy to use, and offers privacy settings that you can easily control. It also offers a couple of easy ways to have students collaborate on creating collections. Because of the collaboration option I have been suggesting to some people that Wakelet can be a good way to collect feedback from your students in the forms of videos and pictures. In the following video I demonstrate how you can use Wakelet to post a prompt for your students then have them respond to it with pictures or videos.

My Three Step Method for Producing a Podcast

One of my new projects for this school year is producing The Practical Ed Tech Podcast every week. I'm now up to nineteen published episode (not twenty-one as I thought earlier this week). I've had a handful of people ask me about the process and the tools that I'm using to record and publish the podcast. It's actually a really simple process that only involves three tools that anyone can learn rather quickly. Those tools are Screencast-o-matic, Garage Band, and Those tools and my process for using them are demonstrated in the following video.

Step 1: Record a video in Screencast-o-matic. 

  • I use the desktop version of Screencast-o-matic which costs $18/year. But you could use the free online version if you stay under 15 minutes per recording. 
  • I record a video because I like to post it on my YouTube channel for those who prefer the YouTube option over using a podcast player app. 
Step 2: Import video into Garage Band. 
  • I import the video into Garage Band where I then extract the audio to create an MP3.
Step 3: Upload audio to
  • I use Anchor to host my podcast because they make it super easy to have the podcast distributed to all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 
Applications for Education
Is this the fanciest podcast on the web? No. Is it a quick and simple way to produce a podcast? Yes. If you're looking for a way to start a podcast yourself or with your students, my method could be a good way to start to see if you like doing it. Then after you make that decision you could expand your editing and production skills. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

How to Create Image Overlays in Google Earth

Google Earth is one of my favorite tools to use in history and geography lessons. Google Earth enables students to see and explore places in ways that printed maps and images never could. One of the features of Google Earth that I love to use in history lessons is the image overlay function.

In the following video I demonstrate how to create image overlays in Google Earth.

Applications for Education
Image overlays in Google Earth let students make comparisons of historical maps with current maps. Image overlays can also be used to overlay different map types on top of the default Google Earth imagery.

The Library of Congress has a great collection of nearly 40,000 historical maps that students can download and reuse for free. That's where I got the image for this blog post as well as the image overlaid in the video above.

Google Earth can be used for a lot more than just social studies lessons. In fact, I have a Practical Ed Tech on-demand webinar about that topic.

Update About the Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference

Last month I announced the free Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference that I'm hosting in December. The presenters have been chosen and in the next few days the final schedule of presentations will be announced. There are going to be presentations that are appropriate for teachers of students of all ages. Some of the topics to be covered include coding, drones, 3D printing, video reflections, and assistive technology.

The Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference is a free, online event that will happen on December 10th, 11th, and 12th. You can register for the conference right here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Submit Questions for The Practical Ed Tech Podcast

Later this week I'll publish the nineteenth episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. That's beaten the law averages when it comes to podfading. Except for the episodes that have guests, every episode follows the same pattern. That pattern is an opening with news and notes from the week in ed tech, followed by some thoughts from classroom, and the episodes conclude with me answering a handful of questions from readers and listeners like you. If you have a question that you would like me to answer on the podcast (I usually answer them in direct email too), please put it in the short form that is embedded below.