Thursday, July 23, 2020

Scribble Maps - Create Multimedia Maps - No Account Required

Earlier this week I presented a webinar about using Google Maps and Earth for more than just social studies lessons. A follow-up email that I received came from a teacher who wanted to know if there was a way for her students to create multimedia maps without needing to sign into a Google account. My answer was to try Scribble Maps. Scribble Maps can be used by students to create multimedia maps without having to sign-up or sign-into any kind of account.

Scribble Maps is a free tool for creating custom, multimedia maps online. Scribble Maps provides a variety of base layer maps on which you can draw freehand, add placemarks, add image overlays, and type across the map. Scribble Maps will work in the web browser on your laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or Android tablet. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Scribble Maps.


Applications for Education
Scribble Maps is a good mapping tool to use in social studies classes when you want students to identify natural and man-made landmarks. They can use the drawing tools to circle the landmarks then use the placemark tools to write about the landmarks. For example, you could give students a list of ten landmarks to identify then have them use the numbered placemark icons to identify and write about those landmarks. The drawing tools will help students make their placemarks standout.

Three Time-saving G Suite Features for Teachers

This afternoon I hosted a webinar in which I shared some time-saving tips for teachers using G Suite for Education. I shared them in the context of talking about providing feedback to students as quickly as possible in asynchronous online learning environments. Aside from that context, these I don't know any teacher who wouldn't like to tackle administrative tasks more quickly and get on with other things. So without wasting any more time, here are three time-saving tips for teachers using G Suite for Education.

Use a Comment Bank in Google Classroom
If you use Google Classroom to give Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets assignments to your students, create and use a comment bank to speed up the process of giving feedback to your students. Watch my video below to learn how to do this.



Use Google Keep to Add Comments to Students' Work
Google Classroom is great for giving feedback on final drafts of students' work. But if you don't use Google Classroom or you want to give students feedback on early drafts of their work, then the following method of using Google Keep to add comments to your students' Docs, Slides, and Sheets can be a time-saver.



Use Canned Responses in Your Email
Do you find yourself answering the same emailed questions over and over again? If so, you need to try using canned responses in your email. Canned responses allow you to draft messages that you can save and insert into responses over and over again. Watch my video to learn how to enable canned responses in Gmail (G Suite for Edu mail).



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

5 Alternatives to Traditional Book Report Projects

I've been revisiting some of my favorite books this summer. Doing that has reminded me of some ideas that I've shared in the past and also sparked some new ideas. One of those ideas is using multimedia creation tools to create alternatives to traditional book reports. Here's a handful of ideas for alternatives to traditional book report projects.

Create a Game
Have students design and publish their own online board games based on the plot and characters of a book. Flippity recently published a new template that students can modify to create their own online board games.



Create a Virtual Tour
Students can use Google Earth or Google's VR Tour Creator to create virtual tour based on locations featured in a book. Students using the web browser version of Google Earth can include videos in the placemarkers in their tours. Students who use Google Earth Pro can record audio narration for their entire tours. And with the VR Tour Creator students can include audio narration within each scene of their tours.




Create a Book Trailer Video
This now classic alternative to a book report asks students to make a short video to promote a book. Students can summarize key points in the book and try to entice viewers to read the book. Adobe Spark is a great tool for making book trailer videos.



Write Alternate Endings to Stories
Consider using the choose-your-own-adventure model and have students write some alternate endings to a story. They can do this in Google Slides. Here's a video about the process.



Create a Multimedia Timeline Based on a Story
This is a great option for students who have read historical fiction or non-fiction books. They can summarize key points of the book in a multimedia timeline made with Timeline JS. The example that I often give is a timeline that I built based on the book Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure.

Dave Grohl Comes to the Defense of Teachers

On the surface Dave Grohl, the drummer for Nirvana and front man of Foo Fighters, doesn't seem like the celebrity who would come to the defense of teachers amid controversy over school re-opening plans. But that's exactly what he did in a video that was released today on the Foo Fighters YouTube channel. I won't say anything more than just watch the video and share it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

How to Use Canva for Online Brainstorming Activities

Last week I wrote a post about the real-time collaboration option that Canva has started to roll out. This morning I got a question from a reader who was having a little trouble using that feature. The trouble is that the real-time collaboration option in Canva isn't available to use with all templates, yet. That said, it is available to use with this selection of brainstorming templates.

In the following video I demonstrate how to use Canva's real-time collaboration function for an online brainstorming session. In the video I also demonstrate how you can tell if the template support real-time collaboration or not.