Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Month in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where colorful leaves and the wind tell us that fall is in full force on the last day of September. On a personal note, it has been a stressful end to the month as my school went from a hybrid model of some students online to a 100% online model in the span of one phone call. And I was observed by administration on the first day of fully online school. Despite some hiccups, it went well. I'll write a detailed blog post about the experience later this week. 

As I do at the end of every month, I've compiled a list of the most popular posts of the last thirty days. Posts about Google Meet, Zoom, and other online teaching tools topped the list. Take a look and see if there's something interesting that you missed earlier this month.


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From Student Agency to 200+ Mile Bike Rides

A couple of months ago I was invited to be a guest on Matthew Downing's Diving Deep EDU podcast. We recorded it in the summer and the episode went live last week

A lot of times when I'm a guest on a podcast it feels like an interview instead of a conversation. This time it was a conversation. In fact, it was the most fun that I've had as a podcast guest since I was invited into Jeff Bailey and Dan Ryder's Geek Lair for the Wicked Decent Learning podcast back in 2009! 

I'm a rambler when I get into a conversation and Matthew let me ramble while also doing a good job of directing the conversation. We talked about everything from my background in education to current trends in education to the importance of fitness for educators. We probably could have gone on for another hour or more. Give it a listen and see if you like it as much as I enjoyed being on it. 

Diving Deep EDU is relatively new but has already had some great guests who I'm sure many of you will enjoy listening to. Some of those guests include Tony Vincent and Jennie Magiera. 

Internet Archive Scholar - An Academic Version of the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive warehouses all kinds of fantastic materials (and some not-so-fantastic) that can be useful to teachers and students. The trouble with it is the organization is a little clunky for research purposes. Even if you limit the scope of your search to webpages and text you can still spend a lot of time weeding out material that isn't academic in nature. That could be changing now that Internet Archive Scholar is on the horizon. 

Internet Archive Scholar is a new project from the Internet Archive. It is focused on providing access to academic articles and journals from the 18th Century through today. Internet Archive Scholar is very new. It's so new that it's labeled as being "in alpha" and when you visit it there is a message warning you that there may be several bugs and that it has not been "officially announced." None-the-less, I gave it a try and made a video about it. Here's my video overview of Internet Archive Scholar


Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video above, Internet Archive Scholar has the potential to be a good alternative and or complement to Google Scholar. Like Google Scholar, Internet Archive Scholar could provide high school and college students with some good resources to consult that they would not find through a Google or Bing search. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

How to Use Microsoft Forms for a Classroom Sign-in/ Sign-out Sheet

A couple of weeks ago I published a video about how to create a sign-in/ sign-out sheet to use in Google Classroom. A few people have since emailed me to ask if it's possible to do the same thing in a Microsoft environment. It is possible to do that with Microsoft Forms. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to create a sign-in/ sign-out sheet with Microsoft Forms. In the video I also explain variations on the form and how students complete the form. 

"Whoa!" - This Is Why We Should Review Search Strategies Every Year

 

During last week's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff I shared a little story from earlier that day in my classroom. The story provides a good reminder of why we should review search strategies every fall even if we think our students "have done it before." 

Here's the story, one of my comp sci students was looking for an image to use in a little project that he's working on. I told the class to use Pixabay or Unsplash to find the images they needed. Unfortunately for this student there really wasn't an image that met his needs available on either of those sites. So I told him he could look on Google Images if he refined the search according to usage rights. Seeing how that could be done was his first "whoa!" moment. The second "whoa!" came a few minutes later when I showed him that he could refine the search according to file type to find PNG files without having to manually look through the results. His third "whoa!" was let out when he realized that he could search by file type to find PowerPoint presentations. 

This particular student is new to my classroom, but is not new to the school district as he is a junior this year. So while I'm sure he was taught how to search by file type and usage rights in the past, he clearly benefitted from a refresher last week. The lesson here is to review search strategies with students even if you think they've heard it before. 

For more information on teaching search strategies to students of all ages, take a look at my online course Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know