Friday, April 3, 2020

A Random Name and Image Picker

Wheel of Names is a free random name picker website that I learned about from Tony Vincent in one of his Tweets earlier this week. There are plenty of random name pickers available on the web. Wheel of Names is a little different than most because it not only lets you enter names, it lets you upload images to be chosen at random. Wheel of Names also lets you create a free account that you can use to save a series of wheels. That option could be helpful if you have multiple classes and don't want to enter names whenever you need to pick a name at random.

In the following video I provide an overview of how you can use Wheel of Names. Highlights of the video include:
  • Uploading images for random selection. 
  • Customizing the playback of the random selector wheel. 
  • Saving and accessing multiple random selector wheels. 

Applications for Education
Besides using Wheel of Names to pick names, you could use it to pick images or words at random. In that sense you could use it as a tool to give random writing prompts to students.

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 40 - For Real This Time

In this episode share some new and neat things from the world of ed tech, share a new way to support my work (if you want to), and answered some questions from readers, viewers, and listeners like you. The complete show notes can be found here.

Shout-out to Tony Vincent and Mr. Charlwood for a couple of the cool tools.

You can listen to episode 40 of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your favorite podcast network.

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

How to Use PDFs in Google Classroom

On Thursday afternoon a reader asked me about using PDFs in Google Classroom. She was having a little trouble with students not being able to access the PDFs she was trying to share. I made the following video to help guide her and anyone else in the same situation through the process of sharing PDFs in Google Classroom.

In this video:
  • How to attach PDFs directly to announcements in Google Classroom. 
  • How to upload PDFs to Google Drive. 
  • How to distribute PDFs as assignments in Google Classroom. 

There are a few reasons why someone might want to use PDFs instead of Google Docs in Google Classroom. First, if you are new to Google Classroom and don't have time to recreate some of your resources attaching PDFs is quick and easy. Second, you may not want students editing the contents of the document. A PDF doesn't mean a student can't edit it at all, it's just a lot more difficult for them to do that. Third, the item you're sharing was designed as a PDF and will lose some important formatting if it's converted into Google Docs or Word format.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

How to Create Simple Videos on a Chromebook - No Apps or Extensions Needed

One of my colleagues asked me if I could provide directions on how to create a video on our school-issued Chromebooks. I was happy to oblige and created one specifically for our school. I then created a second one that can be used by anyone who has a Chromebook and is looking for a quick and easy to create a video without having to install any Chrome extensions or Chrome apps.

In the following video I demonstrate how to create a simple video on a Chromebook. The key points of the video are:
  • How to access the camera on your Chromebook. 
  • Where to find your video file. 
  • How to share your video file with students. 

Many people asked if I could provide screenshots of the process. I put together a set in the slides that are embedded below.

A Few Short Lessons and Reminders About Email

Earlier this week I Tweeted a plea to try to remember to use basic niceties when sending emails seeking help from me or anyone else who is providing remote tech support right now. This morning I got a request from a friend on Instagram to re-post some of the videos and tips about email etiquette and email management that I've shared in the past. That's what you'll find listed below.

Before jumping into the videos below I want to acknowledge that we're all in a stressful situation right now. Many are being pushed out of their comfort zones right now. One way to help relieve a little stress for everyone is to just remember to do basic things like address people by name and say please and thank you. It will make the IT support person who has had a long day feel little more appreciated. As I saw someone Tweet yesterday, "IT support is done by people, not machines."

Emailing Your Teacher, With Captain Communicator is the cutest video about email etiquette that I've seen. The short video features two students demonstrating how to write an email to a teacher. It's well worth 90 seconds of your time.

The following video was made by a teacher for the purpose of sharing email etiquette tips with students. It's a bit more serious that the Captain Communicator video.

Watch Clear Email Communication by Common Craft to learn how to get a recipient's attention and how to get a response from that recipient.

Time-saving Email Tips
In the following video I highlighted five features of Gmail that teachers should know how to use. A few of these can be big time-savers for you.

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