Saturday, May 2, 2020

Three Tools for Collecting Stories from Students and Parents

Earlier this week I hosted a webinar about using online tools to build communities. One of the topics within that webinar was collecting and publishing stories from students and their parents. To that end, there were three tools that I recommended. Those were Flipgrid, GoSynth, and Wakelet.

Flipgrid was originally designed for classroom use for students to share video messages with their teachers and classmates. About a year ago Flipgrid introduced the option to invited parents to participate in conversations in Flipgrid. Inviting parents to participate in a conversation in Flipgrid can be a good way to collect short local history stories. Another good use of this feature is to host a virtual career day in which parents share information about their careers. This video shows you how to use the guest option in Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is great but some people don't like to put their faces in a video. In that case GoSynth is a good option to use to invite people to participate in online conversations. GoSynth is a simple podcasting tool that lets you record for about five minutes and publish your audio recording. People who listen to your recording can respond with their own recordings that get threaded below your original.

Wakelet makes it possible collect all kinds of files in one collaborative collection. Files can be video, audio, text, images, or links to other sources. If your students have made a multimedia book with something like Book Creator, it can be displayed on Wakelet. Wakelet also includes Flipgrid's video recording tool.

The Week in Review - Green Screens, Parks, and Virtual Meetings

Good morning from Maine where the wind is howling but the sun is shining. Despite the wind it's relatively warm and should be nice for playing outside once my kids wake up. I'm also planning to ride my bike outside today. How about you? Do you have anything you're looking forward to doing this weekend? I hope so. After a long week of virtual classes, it's nice to step away from the computer for a day or two. Which is exactly what I'll be doing as soon as I finish this blog post.

Registration for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp went on sale on Thursday. It offers ten hours of live, interactive webinars on a wide array of topics applicable to every classroom. Register in May and you'll save $50 off the regular price. Register with a group of five or more and you'll save another $50!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Things You Should Never Do In a Virtual Staff Meeting
2. Google Classroom Assignments from Teacher and Student Perspectives - Nine Lessons
3. An Overview of How Students View and Return Assignments in Google Classroom
4. By Request - How to Create a Timed Quiz in Google Classroom
5. National Parks Games and Challenges - Try Virtual National Parks Bingo
6. How to Create a Green Screen Video Without a Green Screen
7. 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Videos

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The Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp

Every summer teachers from all over the world join me here in Vacationland for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. This year I've had to suspend the in-person workshops in favor of a virtual format. The good news is that this year I'll be able to accommodate more people than ever before.

What is it?
The Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp is all about helping you gain knowledge and develop new tech skills. You'll develop these skills through ten interactive webinars, a discussion forum, and a virtual social hour.

Some of the topics that we'll cover include developing video and podcasting projects, making simple apps, teaching search strategies, and tying everything together with digital portfolios. The complete list of topics is available here. I'll show you how all of these topics and tools fit into a simple framework that you can use whenever you're developing new lessons.

When is it?
The Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp will be held three times this summer. The first session is June 15th-19th. The second session is July 6th-10th. And the third session is July 20th-24th.

Every session includes ten live webinars, a discussion forum, and a virtual social hour. Don't worry if you can't make it to every live webinar because they will be recorded for you to watch when it is convenient for you.

You can register right here for the session of your choice. Register in May and you'll save $50. Discounts are available for groups of five or more registering from the same school district.

Friday, May 1, 2020

How to Restore Files in Google Drive

Twice this afternoon I had people ask me about restoring files that were deleted from either Google Classroom or from Google Drive. If you've accidentally deleted a file or folder in your Google Drive, there is a good chance that you can get it back. If you've accidentally deleted an assignment from Google Classroom, you're kind of out of luck.

To restore a file or folder in Google Drive go into the trash folder in your Google Drive then right-click on the file or folder name and click "restore." Your file or folder should then reappear in your Google Drive homepage. The video below shows you how this work.

If you have accidentally deleted an assignment from Google Classroom, it's gone along with any record of students turning in anything related to that assignment. However, all is not lost because depending upon the assignment type, your students should still have a copy of their original work in their Google Drives.

Ofee - Host Online Experiences to Teach and Share

Ofee is a new service that lets anyone who has a lesson to teach, share it with the world in a live online setting. Ofee was developed by three high school students. This morning I had a Zoom meeting with one of those students (and his mom) and got a tour of how Ofee works. It's simple and impressive.

You can use Ofee to host an online experience or to participate in an experience. To host an experience just register on the site then sign in and click "add experience." From there Ofee will walk you through six easy steps to create your online experience. The most important step is creating an online meeting using Zoom (you can use Zoom's free plan), then making that information available to people who register for your Ofee experience. Once you've created your experience it has to be approved before you can go live.

As the host of an Ofee experience you can offer multiple days and times for your event. You can also specify how many people can register. You could schedule one-on-one sessions or let dozens of people attend.

People looking to participate in an Ofee experience can go to the site and browse for an experience. There are experiences on a wide range of topics including fitness, camping, closet organization, job interview skills, and more. In fact, I'm hosting an experience next week on time-saving tips for G Suite users. There are ten slots available for the free experience I'm hosting.

Through Ofee people can offer paid and free experiences. The one I'm hosting is free. People who are looking to earn a little money through online tutoring might find Ofee to be a great way to make their services available for reasonable fee.

I'm looking forward to trying Ofee with a live group next week. I'll report back here after the experience with more information about this promising new service developed by students.