Monday, April 20, 2020

World Wildlife Fund Livestreams, Apps, and Games for Students

For years the World Wildlife Fund has offered educational games and apps for students. Now they're also offering live educational broadcasts for students.

On the WWF's Wild Classroom page you will find a list of upcoming livestreams and he target audience for those livestreams. For example, tomorrow's livestream about bees is intended for students in second through sixth grade.

In addition to upcoming live broadcasts the WWF Wild Classroom page features daily lesson plans and activities. The activities were designed for use at school, but could easily be modified to be completed at home with the help of parents. Every lesson plan includes an activity outline, a video, and a related article. Archives of previous weeks'  lesson plans are available at the bottom of the WWF Wild Classroom page.

WWF Mobile Apps
One of my all-time favorite iPad apps was developed by the WWF. That app is the WWF Together App. It's not the most advanced app you'll find, but it is beautifully done. WWF Together now features the stories of threatened or endangered animals around the world. The stories include facts about the animals' ranges, threats to their habitats, and latest news about efforts to help preserve these animals and their habitats. Within each story there is an opportunity for students to take a selfie with an animal. This is done through the use of augmented reality that lets users place an origami rendering of an animal into any setting including a selfie. And for those who want a hands-on activity, WWF Together includes directions for making origami animals.

WWF Free Rivers is a free augmented reality app produced by the World Wildlife Foundation. The app uses augmented reality to present a story about rivers. WWF Free Rivers tells students stories about the implications of changes in weather patterns, damming rivers, and pollution on river ecosystems. Students interact with these stories by moving their iPads and or by pinching and zooming on elements in the stories. Unlike some other AR apps the animations within WWF Free Rivers can be experienced by students from a variety of angles. A great example of this is found early in the app when students can see what a dam does to a river. During that experience students can see the dam from above, from below, and from the sides.

Resources for Teaching & Learning About the American Revolution

Today is Patriots' Day here in Maine as well as Massachusetts and Connecticut. It's a day commemorate the start of the American Revolutionary War with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. As a good New Englander, this is the day that I like to highlight some of my favorite resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution.

Pictures of the Revolutionary War is a compilation of images about the Revolutionary War. The images in the collection chronicle the stirrings of rebellion in the pre-revolution years, the war from both American and British perspectives, and events following the Revolutionary War.

Minute Man National Historical Park offers detailed lesson plans that can be in conjunction with a visit to the park and lesson plans that can be used independent of a visit to the park. Take a look at the Legacy of Conflict lesson plan designed for 5th grade students (link opens a PDF) to get a sense of the type of detailed resources that the park offers.

Creating Google Earth tours of Revolutionary War battle sites is an activity that I did for many years with my U.S. History students. Students would create multimedia placemarkers for each battle in sequence. The placemarkers contained information about the outcome and significance of each battle. Here's a video on how to make a tour with with the browser-based version of Google Earth.

Video Lessons
Keith Hughes has a popular video in which he explains the American Revolution for middle school and high school students.

Crash Course has an extensive series on U.S. History. Included in that series is Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution.

Mr. Betts has a YouTube channel on which he posts cartoons and song parodies to teach U.S. History lessons. Here's one he did about the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Bonus for Red Sox Fans!
This is usually the day that the Boston Marathon is held and Red Sox play a morning game. Neither is happening this year. For my fellow Red Sox fans here's a famous clip from the 2007 Patriots' Day game.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Webinar Recording - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff

On Friday afternoon I joined Rushton Hurley for our weekly webinar Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. It was a fun webinar. I feel like it was our best one yet. If you missed it, the recording is now available to view here or as embedded below. The slides can be seen here and the transcript with links can be seen here.

Throughout the week Rushton hosts a bunch of other webinars. I encourage you to head to the Next Vista webinars page to see what else he has coming up this week.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Week in Review - Might as Well Eat Cake

Good morning from Maine where the sun is soon to be shining and the snow is gone. At this time last week we were still recovering from the effects of a big spring snowstorm. In the middle of last week's power outage my friend and colleague Dr. Wendy Robichaud and her husband sent us a cake. The cake came with a nice reminder that we can all use from time-to-time. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you can enjoy some cake or something equally fun too.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Quickly Create a Narrated Video from PowerPoint or Google Slides
2. How to Quickly Incorporate Google Meet Into Google Classroom
3. An Option for Making Sure Students Know They Have Google Classroom Assignments
4. How to Use Google Hangouts Meet in Google Classroom
5. How to Share Your Videos in Google Classroom - With and Without YouTube
6. Screencastify Submit Looks Promising - Easy Way for Students to Make Videos
7. Ten Fun and Challenging Geography Games for Students of All Ages

Online PD With Me!
I've been hosting professional development webinars for a decade.

  • My most popular webinars are available on-demand right here
  • If you prefer live webinars, I am planning to host some more later this month and in May so stay tuned for more information about those soon. 
  • I'm always available to schedule custom, online PD for your school.

Thank You for Your Support!
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  • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and it includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from
  • My YouTube Channel - More than 20,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 350 Google tools tutorials. 
  • The Practical Ed Tech Podcast is where I answer questions from readers, share news and notes, and occasionally talk to interesting people in education. 
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  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing. - A Convenient Way to Take Attendance for Large Classes is a new service that could be helpful whenever we return to having classes in-person instead of virtually. is a system that lets students check themselves in for your class.

With the system you simply project a QR code and your students scan it with their phones to check themselves in. Students who don't have a smartphone can check in by using a corresponding check-in code that is displayed next to the QR code. The QR code and check-in codes are dynamic which means they change from class to class so that students have to be there in class to get the correct code.

Applications for Education
I tested and found it to be a easy to use. I can see it being helpful to those who teach large classes.

There are some issues that will keep me from using it with my classes. First, I know all of my students by name and face so I can take attendance in less time than it would take to project the QR code and get students to scan it. Second, even if students use use the numeric check-in code they still have to verify their phone numbers. For those two reasons I don't see it being a tool that K-12 teachers will use, but it could be a solution for taking attendance in university classes and for conducting check-ins for large conferences.