Thursday, June 25, 2020

July PD Opportunities With Me

Last week I hosted the first Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. I realize that the middle of June isn't the ideal time for everyone to join online professional development. That's why I'm offering the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp two more times in July. The first July session runs July 6th-10th and the second session runs July 20th-24th. Only seven spots are left for the July 6th-10th session.

The Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp consists of ten live webinars spread across five days. There is a webinar at 10am ET and 1pm ET each day of the week. Recordings of the sessions will be available to those who register but cannot attend every live meeting. Topics covered in the webinars includes making virtual tours, creating instructional videos, fun formative assessment, classroom podcasting 101, and building your own apps (that one was a lot of fun last week). The complete list of topics can be seen here. FAQs are answered here.

Teaching History With Technology is the other live, online course that I'm hosting in July. This course will run July 13th-17th. Teaching History With Technology is a series of five live webinars. Each interactive webinar features practical ideas for using technology to create new, engaging lessons or to update some of your existing “go-to” history lessons. Detailed handouts are provided with every webinar. And if you miss a meeting or you just want to see something again, a recording of the webinars will be available to you too. Register here.

People sometimes ask why I advertise these courses here, the short answer is that registrations from these courses help to keep the lights on for Free Technology for Teachers. 

TechSmith Capture Replaces Jing

TechSmith's Jing was the first tool that I used to make screencast videos more than a decade ago. It was amazing to be able to quickly record a short video to explain things to colleagues and students. Since then other and better tools have come along including tools like Snagit made by TechSmith. Last spring Techsmith announced that they were winding down the Jing project because, in part, it used Flash as the file output. The end of Jing has now arrived and TechSmith is replacing it with a free product called TechSmith Capture.

You can download TechSmith Capture for free to use on Windows and Mac computers. Like its predecessor TechSmith Capture can be used to create screencast videos and capture screen images. An update over Jing is found in the fact that you can now record with your webcam while recording your screencast video. Finished videos are rendered as MP4 files that you can use in all of the typical places that you would share a video including YouTube.

I tried to install TechSmith Capture on my Windows computer this morning. Unfortunately, the installation kept timing out when I was prompted to sign into my TechSmith/ Screencast.com account. I was, however, successful in getting TechSmith Capture to run on my Mac.

Applications for Education
Like any screencast recording tool, TechSmith Capture can provide you with a convenient way to create short instructional videos for your students. Screencasting tools can also be helpful to students to explain in video format any problems they're having and need your assistance in solving.

TED-Ed Has Released Episode 9 of Think Like a Coder

Think Like a Coder is a TED-Ed series of videos that my freshmen loved this this past year. The latest installment in the series was released yesterday. Episode 9 is titled The Factory.

Episode 9 continues to follow the main characters Ethic and Hedge having to solve a puzzle using the logic that a coder would use.

It's best to watch the series in order, but you can jump into any of the videos you'll still get a little lesson out of it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Google Adds Spanish Grammar Suggestions to Google Docs - But Not for Schools

Grammar suggestions has been one of the best improvements to Google Docs in the last year. So far those suggestions have only been available in English. Yesterday, Google announced that Spanish grammar suggestions are going to be rolling out to Google Docs users over the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, this feature will not be available to G Suite for Education users of Google Docs.

When English grammar suggestions for Google Docs was first announced, G Suite for Education users were excluded. That changed after a few months. Hopefully, the pattern will be the same with Spanish grammar suggestions.

Tips & Tricks for Using Zoom and Google Meet - Free Webinar Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 5pm ET/ 2pm PT Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning is hosting the next installment of his Activities Across Grade Levels series. Tomorrow's free webinar is all tips for improving your use of Zoom and Google Meet with students. You can register for the webinar here. Recordings of all previous installments in the series can be seen here.

You can get a sense of what the Activities Across Grade Levels webinars are like by watching last week's episode. Last week's episode was about simple video editing. The recording of that episode is embedded below.