Monday, September 7, 2020

Create an Online Philosophical Chairs Activity With Jamboard

Last week I got an interesting question from a reader named Chuck. I'm not sure that my answer or the question has broad appeal, but I found it interesting so I made a video about it. Chuck's question was as follows:

I have been struggling to find a tool that I can use to do Philosophical Chairs in a virtual classroom. The discussion/debate part is no problem, what I need is a tool where students can move an avatar or a picture of themselves to a certain area of the screen to indicate their position on a topic. All students need to see the same screen but the only item they can move is their avatar/picture and nobody else's. If you know Philosophical Chairs then you will immediately see what I am talking about. Do you have any ideas for a tool or a platform that could do this?

I didn't know of a tool that was made specifically for hosting online philosophical chairs activities, but I did think that using Google's Jamboard is one possible solution.

It's important to note that Jamboard won't prevent a student from moving a classmate's avatar so this is a solution that will only work if you can get your kids to respect the rules of the activity. If that's a problem for your students then you might want to try using Padlet as suggested by Rushton Hurley in our latest episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff.

An Easy Way to Make a Stop Motion Video

Disclosure: Cloud Stop Motion is currently an advertiser on

Cloud Stop Motion is a free tool for creating stop motion videos in your web browser. I wrote about Cloud Stop Motion back in February when it was relatively new. Since then some helpful updates have been made it. The most significant of those updates is the option to upload pictures to use in your video instead of just relying on capturing images with your computer's webcam. In the following video I demonstrate how you can create a stop motion video with Cloud Stop Motion.

Applications for Education
Cloud Stop Motion offers free accounts for schools. The free school accounts provide 2GB of storage for every student. The school accounts also provide tools for administrators to manage student accounts.

Cloud Stop Motion could be a great tool for students to use to create short videos to animate stories they've written by using toys or clay models. Making a stop motion video is also a good way for students to demonstrate the steps of a long process in a short window of time.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it is a lovely morning filled with cool air just before sunrise. Sunrise is getting noticeably later these days as summer winds down. Red and orange leaves are starting to appear on the ground around my house.

Earlier this week my youngest daughter brought me the red/ orange leaf in the picture in this blog post. She's quite the little explorer. We're going to do a little exploring in the woods around our house today. I hope that you have something equally fun planned for this weekend.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Increase the Chances of Your Students Actually Watching Your Instructional Videos
2. Getting Started With Flipgrid - Teacher & Student Views
3. How to Use Remind to Send Messages to Multiple Classes at the Same Time
4. Google Updates and Simplifies Finding Creative Commons Licensed Images
5. Three Ways for Students to Join Google Classroom
6. How to Use Google Drive to Comment on Videos
7. An Overview of the New Google Images Search Options

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides and the daily email digest, there are other ways to keep up with what I'm publishing. 
  • 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 28,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 400 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The Facebook page has more than 460,000 followers. 
  • 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.

Movies on Map - Discover the World Through a Map & Video Combination

I love maps and I love a good video so I had to explore Movies on Map when I saw it featured on Maps Mania. Movies on Map is a site that features videos about interesting places all over the world.

You can search for a video according to location on Movies on Map or can simply browse the map and click on the video icons to watch a video. Your searching and browsing can be refined by location as well as by video type. The video types are hand/ ground level tours, action videos, drone/ aerial tours, dive/ underwater videos, and 360 videos.

Movies on Map is a relatively new site so there isn't a ton of good content on it, yet. It is open for registered users to add videos of their own so hopefully more content is added soon.

Applications for Education
I watched about a dozen clips on Movies on Map and didn't find anything objectionable in the videos. That said, I'm not sure how much filtering is done before videos appear on the map. For that reason I'd recommend using Movies on Map as a teacher to find videos to share with your students rather than sending students to the site to explore it on their own.

On a related note, you could have your students make their own version of Movies on Map by creating custom maps with Google's My Maps tool. This video shows you how to add videos to maps in Google's My Maps.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Google Adds More Teacher Controls for Google Meet - Yay!

In terms of meeting controls Google Meet has lagged behind Zoom all year. Google is making efforts to close that gap. Last month they introduced some new controls and yesterday they introduced another control option for teachers.

The latest control option added to Google Meet lets teachers specify whether or not students can share their screens and whether or not students can use the chat function in a Google Meet. The default will still be that students can share their screens, but you'll now be able to disable that option at the start of your Google Meet events. When you choose to disable sharing for students they won't even seen the option to share their screens.

If you choose to use the new option to disable chat for students in Google Meet meetings they will still be able to see messages that you send. So you'll still be able to post links in the chat for your students to click. They won't be able to reply your chat messages.

Important Caveats!

  • The new Google Meet controls for teachers will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks.
  • These controls will only be available to G Suite for Education users using the web version of Google Meet and not in the mobile app version of Google Meet. 
  • Google warns that if you are using third-party Chrome extensions to modify Google Meet (the breakout room extension, for example) you might have disable those extensions in order to use the new meeting controls. 

Popular Posts