Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Mostly Complete Guide to Classroom Blogging

Over the last couple of weeks I've published some lengthy blog posts about classroom blogging activities and tools for classroom blogging. Those posts were excerpts from a longer piece that I've been working on. That longer piece is almost done. For lack of a more creative title, I'm calling it A Mostly Complete Guide to Classroom Blogging.

In A Mostly Complete Guide to Classroom Blogging you'll find a glossary of blogging terms, a comparison of blogging platforms, a list of K-12 blogging activities, and some suggestions for classroom blogging ground rules.

You can get a Google Docs copy of A Mostly Complete Guide to Classroom Blogging right here.

How to Use the New Creative Commons Chrome Extension

Earlier this week Creative Commons released a new Chrome extension that enables users to find Creative Commons licensed images without having to leave the browser tabs their currently viewing. With the CC Search Browser Extension installed users can find images from more than a dozen hosts of Creative Commons licensed works. The extension not only provides images for download, it also provides all of the attribution information needed for the images. And to help users keep track of their images, the CC Search Browser Extension provides a bookmarking capability. Watch my video that is embedded below to see how the new CC Search Browser Extension works.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for sharing the CC Search Browser Extension in his Ed Tech Digest post. 

Applications for Education 
The CC Search Browser Extension could be a great little tool for students to use to quickly find some pictures that they can use in slideshows and video projects. It should be noted that a lot of the results through the extension come from Flickr so if Flickr is blocked in your school the search results could be limited.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Algorithms Explained by Common Craft

This week in my ninth grade computer science principles class we started talking about big data and algorithms. One of the resources that I used in introducing this topic was Common Craft's explanation of algorithms. The two and a half minute video explains what an algorithm is and the roles that algorithms can play in our lives, particularly in our online lives.

After they watched the video I had my students list some other ways they could think of that algorithms are or could be used in their lives. The most common example in my classroom was in the videos that are suggested to them on YouTube. 

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

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.