Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Gallery AR - Augmented Reality Art on Your Walls

Gallery AR is a free iPad app and free iPhone app that anyone can use to view classic works of art in augmented reality. The app features art work that was digitized by The Art Institute of Chicago.

Gallery AR digitally displays works of art on your walls when you point your phone or iPad at it. Works appear to be chosen at random, but you can swap them out with another work by tapping the reset icon in the app. You zoom in on the art work by walking closer to the wall in front of you.

In my testing of Gallery AR I found it to be a bit sensitive to changes in lighting. In fact, the app didn't display anything until I turned on every light in my office and opened the shades to let in sunlight. In fairness to the developer, I have the same problem with the augmented reality function in the Google Arts & Culture app.

Applications for Education
Gallery AR could be a nice app for art teachers to recommend to students who are currently at home and looking for a new way to experience classic works of art. The app is free and doesn't require any registration to use and doesn't offer any confusing in-app purchases.

A Few Overlooked Ways to Customize Google Sites

In a recent article about using digital portfolios for assessment I mentioned using Google Sites and Blogger. Neither of those tools are known for being aesthetically outstanding. In fact, I'd say they're very plain at best. That said, there are some little tweaks that you can make to Google Sites to improve site navigation and to attempt to differentiate your site from the standard templates. Unfortunately, those options are kind of hidden and often overlooked.

In the following video I demonstrate a few little tweaks that you can make to your Google Site. In this video you will see:
  • How to change the placement of navigation links. 
  • How to apply a custom favicon. 
  • How to add a site logo.

On a related note, here's a video about changing the favicon on Blogger blogs.

How to Enable Google Sites Collaboration Through Google Classroom

After watching my video about Google Sites in my recent Practical Ed Tech newsletter a reader emailed to ask me for ideas for the best way to share Google Sites with her students so that they can all work on the same site. In this post I'll share a couple of ways to do that including how to enable collaboration through Google Classroom.

There are a couple ways to enable collaboration on Google Sites. The first is to click the "share with others" icon in the upper-right corner of the Google Sites editor and then enter your students' email addresses. The other method is to share your Google Site as an assignment in Google Classroom and allow students to edit the file. Both methods are demonstrated in the following video.

In this video:

  • How to share a Google Site via email.
  • How to share a Google Site through Google Classroom. 
  • A suggestion on how to manage shared Google Sites.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Five Elementary Lessons You Can Do With Pixton EDU

Disclosure: Pixton is currently an advertiser on this blog. 

For many years I’ve promoted the idea of using comics as a way to get students to develop fiction and nonfiction stories. In fact, I’ve hosted webinars in which I explained how I’ve used comics as the basis for getting students interested in telling history stories. For more than a decade Pixton has been one of the tools that I’ve used to help students develop fiction and nonfiction stories in comic form.

One of the things that drew me to Pixton many years ago was the wide variety of artwork that students can use to develop their stories. Even people like me who are not good at drawing can create great comics by using Pixton’s backgrounds, characters, and speech bubbles. Pixton EDU bundles many of those elements into thematic content packs. Those content packs can provide inspiration for stories while also giving students a variety of artwork with which to craft their stories. Let’s take a look at five elementary school lessons inspired by the content packs available in Pixton EDU.

Real World Mathematics
Pixton EDU offers a content pack called Math Shopping. In that pack are customizable backgrounds, characters, and prop items that can be used to tell stories of using mathematics concepts to make good choices while shopping. My thought was to have a little fun with this and have students illustrate examples of “bad math in the real world.” For example, I might tell the story of the time my local McDonald’s was advertising apple pies for .49/each or $1.00 for two.

Digital Citizenship
It is never too early for students to start learning and developing good digital citizenship habits. One way to help students recognize good and bad digital citizenship is to share some stories as examples. Pixton EDU offers a content pack about bullying that could be used in telling stories of good and bad digital citizenship habits.

Solar System
Use the Pixton EDU Solar System content pack to write a little solar system travel narrative. That narrative could be based on facts like the first moon landing or first Canadian to stay in the ISS. Students could also create a narrative that combines facts like distances between planets with fiction elements like putting themselves in a lunar building.

Learning to spell is full of tricky little rules to learn. It’s also full of handy rules of thumb like “I before E except after C.” Using the framework of a comic and the tools in Pixton EDU is a good way to have students illustrate those rules. Or use those same tools to create little stories in the style of “A is for Apple.”

Social Norms and Manners
There is a lot that kids learn in school that never appears in a grade. Many of those things could be classified as social norms or manners. You can use many of the content packs or just use the blank templates in Pixton EDU to illustrate some of those norms and manners. Better yet, have students use those packs to create a story to illustrate using good manners.

How to Get Started With Pixton EDU

You can register on Pixton EDU by using your G Suite account, your Microsoft account, or by using any email address and selecting a password. Once you’ve registered as a teacher you can create classrooms on Pixton EDU. Your classroom will be assigned its own unique URL that you can direct your students to in order to join your class. Students can join with G Suite accounts, Microsoft accounts, or by directly registering on Pixton EDU.

The advantage of having students join your Pixton EDU classroom is that you can see all of their work in one place. Additionally, you can send students feedback directly from your Pixton EDU classroom.

The best way to get familiar with using the Pixton EDU creation tools is to jump in and start customizing your avatar. Fortunately, Pixton EDU walks you through that process as soon as you register on the site. Likewise, your students will be guided through customizing their own avatars when they join your classroom.

After you’ve gotten the hang of customizing your avatar, you’ll be able to quickly customize characters as you make comics in Pixton EDU. Then you’ll be ready to start working with and customizing elements of any content packs. The Truth or Lie content pack is a free and fun one to use before moving into some of the project ideas that were suggested in the first half of this article.

How to Add Answer Feedback to Quizzes in Google Forms & How Students See It

Over the weekend I received an email from a reader who wanted to know what his students saw when feedback was added to quizzes created with Google Forms. That is exactly what I demonstrate in the following new video.

In the following video you will see:
  • How to create a quiz in Google Forms. 
  • How to add answer feedback to quizzes in Google Forms. 
  • How students can instantly view feedback. 
  • How to leave comments on a quiz students take in Google Forms. 

As I mentioned in the video, there isn't a way to force students to watch the videos that you leave as answer feedback. But you can insert a link to anything you like in the answer feedback. If you want to include answer feedback in video form and want to have a record of whether or not students watch the video, you could include a link to an EDpuzzle video lesson in the answer feedback. Here's an overview of how to use EDpuzzle.