Thursday, October 1, 2020

A Similarity Checker in Word - How Did I Miss This?

I've written about Google Classroom's originality reports in the past. I've also posted tutorials on looking for matching documents via Google Drive. This week, thanks to Mike Tholfsen, I learned that my Microsoft-using friends have a similar feature available to them via the online version of Microsoft Word. 

The similarity checker in Microsoft Word uses Bing to determine if there is a match or strong similarity between what a student puts in his or her document and a publicly available webpage. You can see a full overview of how the similarity checker works by watching this video produced by Mike Tholfsen. 


It is important to note that the similarity checker in the online version of Microsoft Word is only available to paying Office 365 subscribers and not to users of free Office 365 accounts. I decided to write this blog post anyway because I know that many of you reading this are working in schools that do have paid Office 365 accounts. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Two Free PD Webinars Tomorrow

Every Thursday at 4pm ET I join Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning for a free webinar called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. We're doing it again tomorrow. It's always a fun conversation and I hope that you'll join us. You can register for it right here. And if you register, you'll get an email after the fact that contains all of the links and resources that we mention during the webinar. 

Later in the day Rushton hosts another webinar series called Activities Across Grade Levels. Those are co-hosted by Susan Stewart. This week they'll be talking about sharing messages through graphic design and short videos. That webinar will happen at 6:30pm ET. You can register for that one here. 

Last week's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff is available to view here or as embedded below. 

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.


Thank you for your support!
I couldn't keep this blog going without the support of so many of you who have taken one of my Practical Ed Tech courses or webinars. Those registrations make a bigger impact in keeping this blog going than anything else. 

There are a few advertisers who also help keep this blog going. Thank you to Pixton EDU, Cloud Stop Motion, and University of Maryland Baltimore County. 

Other Places to Follow Me
In addition to this blog you can also keep up with me through the following channels:

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.