Thursday, January 7, 2021

Every U.S. Election Through 2012 Explained

The events of the last 24 hours in Washington DC have stirred emotions in nearly all of us. This morning my students wanted to talk about it in my computer science class (they know that I used to teach social studies). One of my students had heard a reference to the election of 1876 in a news story so we talked about that for a little bit. If you have students asking questions about the same topic, Keith Hughes has a good video explanation of the election of 1876. In fact, he has good explanations of every Presidential election through 2012

For additional resources for teaching about the events of the last 24 hours in Washington DC I recommend taking a look at the following collections of resources:

Overviewer - Turn Your iPhone or iPad Into a Document Camera in Zoom

Thanks to a recent article on The Verge I just learned about a new, free iPhone and iPad app called Overviewer. Overviewer is a free app that lets you use your iPhone or iPad as a document camera during a Zoom meeting. The app essentially mirrors your iPhone or iPad camera into Zoom via Airplay or Lightning Bolt cable. 

Here's an overview of how Overviewer works. 




Unfortunately, there isn't a similar Android app available right now that I'm aware of. However, I have been successful in sharing my Android screen through a USB cable with a free desktop program called Vysor. 
 
Applications for Education
This could be a great app for anyone who has an iPhone or iPad and needs a document camera for online instruction. I haven't had a chance to try it yet this morning, but my plan is to use the Zoom annotation tools to highlight while using the Overviewer app in a remote lesson.

Virtually Explore America's Quietest Roads

America's Quietest Roads is an interactive map created by a road traffic analytics company called Geotab. The map features the quietest state or federal highway in all fifty states. They define quietest as having the least average number of vehicles traveling the road throughout the year 2015. 

It's important to point out to students that the data is representative of state and federal highways. I'm sure that you can find quieter roads in your state, I know I can, than what is represented on the map. None-the-less, America's Quietest Roads does provide a nice way to virtually explore scenic and quiet roads around the United States.

When you click on a road on the America's Quietest Roads map you'll see a pop-up window that includes a Google Street View image of the road and some basic information about the length of the road. You can click through the Street View imagery to explore more of the road or click on the Google Maps link to view the road in a larger context. 

Applications for Education
America's Quietest Roads could be a fun map for students to explore to see the scenery of various parts of the United States. I'd also consider having students think about and investigate what makes a road more or less traveled than another.

H/T to Maps Mania.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Google Docs Comments Now Include Autocorrect and Smart Compose

Smart Compose is a feature of Gmail and Google Docs that some people dislike, but I love it. I know that it saves me time when writing responses to emails. I also use it in Google Docs when I'm writing lesson outlines and find that it's helpful there, most of the time. That's why I was happy to see that Google is adding Smart Compose to the comments function in Google Docs. Using Smart Compose in the comments in Google Docs should prove to be a time-saver when giving students feedback on their work. 

Autocorrect is also going to be available soon in Google Docs comments. Instead of just indicating that word is misspelled with a red underline, Google Docs will now just correct the spelling. 

According to Google's announcement, Autocorrect and Smart Compose will be on by default for all users. Autocorrect and Smart Compose can be disabled by individual users. 

As is usually the case with updates to Google Docs, these new features are available now for some users and will be rolled-out to all users over the next few weeks. 

Video - How to Annotate Your Screen in Google Meet

Last week I wrote a blog post about drawing on or annotating your screen during a Google Meet call. The way to do that is to use a free Chrome extension called Annotate Meet. Annotate Meet lets you draw on top of any tab or window that you share during a Google Meet. What I didn't mention last week is that Annotate Meet will let you save your drawings as image files. So if you were using Annotate Meet to conduct a math lesson you could save all of your work as an image that you then share with your students in Google Classroom. 

In the following video I provide a short demonstration of how to use Annotate Meet. 


Applications for Education
As I wrote last week, Annotate Meet could be useful for providing remote tech support to students. I would use the annotation tool to draw on my screen to show students where they to click on their own screens. Annotate Meet could also be great for drawing on articles to highlight important parts of articles that you share with your students. I'd also consider using it when providing remote editing or feedback to students.