Wednesday, February 3, 2021

How to Use Pictures in Flippity Templates

Flippity is a free service for making games, flashcards, and timelines with Google Sheets. I've been using and recommending it for years. In fact, my posts about using it to make board games and memory games were two of the most popular posts in all of 2020. That's probably why I get a lot of questions about using Flippity. Yesterday, I answer questions from two readers who were looking for help using images in Flippity templates. To help them, I made this short video

The important thing to know about using images in Flippity templates is that the images must be publicly available at URLs ending in PNG or JPG. It's because of that requirement that using images stored in a Google Drive folder or a private Flickr album won't work (a public Flickr image can work, however). In this short video I give the examples of using Pixabay and Wikipedia as the sources of images to use Flippity game templates. 

How to Share Videos in Google Classroom Without Using YouTube

Earlier this week a friend asked me for some help sharing videos in Google Classroom. He wanted to share videos without having to upload them to YouTube. There are four options for doing that in Google Classroom. I've outlined all four in this short video

As a reminder, if you're sharing videos that you found on YouTube, the process is just a simple copy and paste of the link to the video. And if you're sharing videos that you uploaded to YouTube, the process is a simple copy and paste of the link to your uploaded video. But if you want to share a video that you made and you don't want to upload it to YouTube then watch this video to learn how to do that. 

There are four options for sharing videos in Google Classroom without using YouTube. They all work in essentially the same manner but each option does have some small differences from the others. All four options are demonstrated in this video. The options are:

  • Attach video file to an announcement in Google Classroom.
  • Attach video file to a material in the Classwork section of your Google Classroom. 
  • Attach video file to a question in the Classwork section of your Google Classroom.
  • Attach video file to an assignment in the Classwork section of your Google Classroom.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Coverr - Free B-roll Video Clips

Coverr is a relatively new website that is offering free B-roll video clips that you can download and reuse in your own projects. Most of the videos are silent and are short clips of less than a minute. Downloading them takes just one click. Registration is not required in order to download from Coverr and, according to Coverr's terms of service, attribution is not required although it is appreciated. 

You can search for videos on Coverr by entering simple keywords like "dog" and "cat." The other option for discovering videos on Coverr is to simply browse through the thematic collections of stock video clips. 

Coverr's user interface does have one element that might cause some confusion for students. Coverr appears to generate revenue through Shutter Stock's affiliate program. That's why there is a row of Shutter Stock video clips on the top of every page and another a little lower on each page. It would be fairly easy for someone to overlook the Shutter Stock label and end up clicking on one of the videos that isn't available for free. 

Applications for Education
Pixabay has been my go-to resource for free B-roll video clips for years. Coverr probably isn't going to supplant Pixabay as a my go-to, but it does represent an alternative source for free video clips that teachers and students can use without worrying about copyright infringement. 

GeoQuiz - How Many Countries Can You Identify?

GeoQuiz is a new geography game website that was featured on Product Hunt a couple of days ago. GeoQuiz is a simple game that just asks you to try to name as many countries as you can in fifteen minutes. As soon as you enter a country's name the globe on the screen spins to center on that country. If you misspell a country the globe doesn't spin and your entry doesn't count. 

You can play GeoQuiz on your own or you can compete against other players in online rooms. Either way, you don't need to register or enter any personal information in order to play GeoQuiz. To play against others you can join an existing room or create your own and invite people to join it. To have others join your room all you have to do is pick a name for your room and tell people to join it in the "online mode" on the GeoQuiz homepage. 

Applications for Education
Does the Internet need another geography quiz game like GeoQuiz? Probably not. Is it nice to have another option that doesn't require registration in order to play? Yes, it is. Games like these provide a fun way for students to test their won knowledge of world geography. It's the kind of thing that I like to add to section of my website or LMS called "educational things to do with extra time."

Monday, February 1, 2021

Spaces - Digital Portfolios With Asynchronous Breakout Rooms

Disclosure: Spaces is a new advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Spaces is a new digital portfolio tool that offers some unique features that teachers and students will like. Not the least of these features is a group portfolio function that is best described as providing asynchronous breakout rooms. This post will highlight the features of Spaces and what makes it different in a crowded market of digital portfolio tools.

Types of Spaces Including “Asynchronous Breakout Rooms”
Spaces offers three ways for you and your students to share materials and interact with each other. These three ways are referred to as “Class Spaces,” “Individual Spaces,” and “Group Spaces.”
Class Spaces are spaces where you can post materials and announcements for your entire class to see. You could use this space to publish documents by attaching PDFs, Word documents, pictures, or PowerPoint slides. You could also use Spaces’ Google Drive integration to publish something from your Google account. In Class Spaces you can also write messages for your class to see as well as record messages by using the audio and video recorders that are built into Spaces. Announcements in Class Spaces available to all students.

Individual Spaces are students’ individual portfolio spaces. These are the Spaces where your students can share examples of their work, ask help questions that they only want you to see, and receive feedback from you about their submitted work. Parents can be invited to join their child’s individual space.

I foresee using Individual Spaces not only as a place for students to post completed projects but also to post their work in progress so that I can give them feedback on it. This semester some of my students are working on an Android app design project. Obviously, I’ll want them to share their completed projects but I also want them to share their projects in progress throughout the semester. When they post their projects in progress I can give them verbal and written feedback to guide them toward their larger project goals.
Group Spaces are spaces that can be described as “asynchronous breakout rooms.” You can assign students to specific group Spaces to share with each other and with you. Group Spaces could be used for simply sharing finished group projects. The better use of group Spaces is as a place where students can share their work in progress and get feedback from each other as well as from their teacher. For example, some of my computer science students are working on semester-long projects. I can put them into small groups in group Spaces where they will share bits of their design work and bits of their programming work. They’ll then get feedback from their classmates as well as from me.

Getting Started with Spaces
I’ve always felt that the best way to discover the potential of a service for your classroom is to jump in and give it a try. You can quickly start using Spaces for free by signing up at Spacesedu.com with your email address or with a Google account. If you use your Google account, you can import your Google Classroom rosters.

Once you’ve created your teacher account you can then start creating your classes and spaces. To get students into your class click on the “people'' tab in your Spaces classroom then click “invite students.” You have three options for inviting students to your class. You can give them a direct link to your class, you can give them a class code to enter on Spacesedu.com, or you can use the Google Classroom option to add students.

After creating your class it’s time to create Spaces within your class. As mentioned above, there are three Space types. The default space is a “Class Space” in which you can publish materials for all of your students to see. Likewise, your students can post materials here for all of the class to see. In the Class Space you and your students can respond to each other with written comments, video comments, and audio comments.

To create Individual Spaces you’ll simply click the “+” in the Spaces tab in your teacher dashboard. Then you can select “individual” and choose the students for whom you’d like to create Spaces.

Creating Group Spaces is done in a similar manner to creating an Individual Space. The difference is that when you create a Group Space you can manually assign students to groups or you can have it done randomly.

Finally, it should be noted that you can have multiple Group Spaces within your Spaces classroom. In other words, your students don’t have to work with just one group.

How to Create a Spaces Portfolio - Part I


How to Create a Spaces Portfolio - Part II


Accessibility
An increased awareness of the need to make resources accessible to all students in a classroom is one of the few positive things to come out of the last year of online and hybrid instruction brought on by COVID-19 school closures. To that end, Spaces provides a way to make sure that the announcements and feedback that you post for students can be accessed by them in a variety of ways.

When you post an announcement in your class Space you can write it, but you can also record audio and video messages to accompany that written message. For example, let’s say that I need to post a clarification about an assignment. I can do that by writing a message and I can use Space’s built-in audio and video recording tools to post the same message.

Just like when posting an announcement in your class Space, when you post feedback for students you can do so in the forms of written comments, audio comments, and video comments.

And it’s not just teachers that can make audio and video recordings in Spaces. Your students can also record audio and video comments by using the recording tools built into Spaces.

Accessibility can also refer to accessing course materials from multiple devices. Spaces, as is to be expected of a quality portfolio service, offers a free iOS app and free Android app for teachers and students. Using the mobile apps provides a quick and easy way for students to add images of their physical work to their portfolios and to record video messages to add to their portfolios.

Bottom Line
Spaces’ best feature is its Group Spaces. If you’re looking for a way that you can have students do asynchronous online group work that you can also monitor, give Spaces a try.