Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Dozens of Fun, Hands-on Science Lessons

Science Snacks from Exploratorium is a great collection of hands-on science lessons for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. I've been recommending it for years and recently revisited it to discover that more activities have been added. 

Science Snacks features activities that can be conducted with inexpensive and readily available materials. Each Science Snack comes with a materials list and step-by-step directions. Science Snacks are also accompanied by a written explanation of the science at work in the activity. Many Science Snacks, like Penny Battery, include video demonstrations and explanations.

You can search for Science Snacks alphabetically or you can search by subject. The subject search is the best way to search if you are looking for an activity to match a lesson plan or curriculum standard that you already have in mind.

Applications for Education

Many of the Science Snacks activities could be conducted by students at home with the help/ supervision of parents. Using the Science Snacks in that way could be a good alternative to typical homework assignments. Have students do one of the activities for homework and report their observations in Google Documents or as comments in Google Classroom.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tips on Using Voice Typing in Google Documents

A couple of weeks ago I published an article and video about accessibility settings and tools that are available in Google Documents. One of those tools is voice typing. What I forgot to mention in that piece, as a few people have pointed out, is that you have to speak very clearly when using voice typing in Google Docs. The other thing that I should have clarified in my video is you have to use the Chrome web browser to use the voice typing feature that is built into Google Docs. Finally, as is mentioned in my video below, you do have to give commands for starting new lines and adding punctuation. A list of commands is available here.

How to Use Branching Logic in Microsoft Forms

For teachers working in schools that use Office 365, Microsoft Forms is a great tool for creating online assessments. Branching logic is one of the features of Microsoft Forms that is sometimes overlooked. It's a great feature that can be used to direct students to a specific section of a form based on their answers to prior questions. For example, I can have my students answer different sets of questions within the same form based on how they answer an opening question of "who is your homeroom teacher?"

Watch my new video that is embedded below to learn how you can use branching logic in Microsoft Forms.

Watch this video for a primer on how to create a basic quiz in Microsoft Forms.

Monday, January 6, 2020

A Conversation With Tom Richey - History Teacher & YouTube Star

During winter break I caught up with my friend Tom Richey to record an episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. Tom is a high school history teacher (AP Euro) and the producer of fantastic YouTube videos covering lots of topics in AP Euro, World, and U.S. History. He has more than 150,00 subscribers to his YouTube channel. Tom also produces videos covering AP test taking strategies and hosts live online review sessions for students.

I always enjoy talking with Tom and I hope that you enjoy this episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. You can listen to the episode here or on your favorite podcast network by searching "Practical Ed Tech Podcast."

Listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

A Comparison of Multimedia Timeline Creation Tools - Updated

Making a timeline is a "classic" history class assignment. When I started my teaching career my students made timelines on big sheets of paper. Later I had them use some online programs that let them include some pictures and links. Eventually, we got to a place where true multimedia timeline creation tools were readily available. Today, there are plenty of ways to create multimedia timelines. In the following chart I highlight the features of my favorite tools for making multimedia timelines.  A copy of the chart can be acquired in Google Docs format here.

I'll be covering some of these tools in greater depth during my upcoming course, Teaching History With Technology