Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Why Do We Use Filler Words? - And a Tool to Help You Eliminate Them in Presentations

TED-Ed recently published a new video that addresses the question of why we say "like" and other filler words in our conversations. The video is full of interesting pieces of information about why we use filler words and how they can serve a purpose in conversations. For example, saying "like" is often serving the same purpose as an "um" in conversation. Another neat thing I learned from the video is that a filled pause can help toddlers identify uncommon or new words. The video is titled Why Do We, Like, Hesitate When We, Um, Speak? and you can see it with its associated lesson on this TED-Ed page
 


Watching this TED-Ed lesson reminded me of a good tool for practicing presentations so that you don't use too many filler words. That tool is Microsoft's Presenter Coach which is available in the online version of PowerPoint. Presenter Coach will give you feedback on the pacing of your presentations, your use of filler words, and your use of sensitive phrases. In this video I demonstrate how to use Presenter Coach in PowerPoint. 

Kahoot Acquired Whiteboard.fi - What Could That Mean for You?

Last spring I got quite excited about a new online whiteboard tool called Whiteboard.fi. A lot of other people did, too. This blog post that I wrote about Whiteboard.fi had more than 100,000 hits! The success of Whiteboard.fi didn't go unnoticed by other educational technology companies as evidenced by the announcement that Kahoot has acquired Whiteboard.fi.

The announcement that Kahoot published was short on details on about what the acquisition of Whiteboard.fi means for both services going forward. Initially, it appears that Whiteboard.fi will continue to operate as normal. My guess is that Kahoot plans to integrate some or all of the functions into of Whiteboard.fi into the Kahoot game platform. 

If Kahoot were to integrate Whiteboard.fi into its game platform we could see options for teachers to use a whiteboard function to draw or write math problems and or diagrams. We could see options for students to reply to questions with free-hand drawings and writing on individual whiteboards. I'm curious to see what the engineers at Kahoot and Whiteboard.fi develop together for teachers and students. 

Here's a short video overview of how Whiteboard.fi works today. 

How to Install and Manage Chrome Extensions

In this week's Practical Ed Tech Newsletter I outlined the things that I look for when I am considering installing a new browser extension or add-on. At the end of the newsletter I included directions for installing and removing extensions in Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Those directions were provided as a series of screencast videos. The one about installing and removing Chrome add-ons is available to view here and as embedded below.  


On a related note, here's the difference between signing into your Chrome profile and your Google account. 

How to Install Microsoft Edge Add-ons

In this week's Practical Ed Tech Newsletter I outlined the things that I look for when I am considering installing a new browser extension or add-on. At the end of the newsletter I included directions for installing and removing extensions in Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Those directions were provided as a series of screencast videos. The one about installing and removing Microsoft Edge add-ons is available to view here and as embedded below.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

How to Make Sure Students Aren't Unsupervised in Google Meet Video Calls

Google Workspace for Education users finally have a way to make sure that students aren't hanging out in a Google Meet without a teacher. 

Yesterday afternoon Google announced that teachers can now end Google Meet calls for all participants at once. Now when hosts leave a Google Meet call they will see an option to let others stay in the meeting or end the meeting for everyone. Students will be automatically disconnected when a teacher (host) chooses to end the meeting for everyone. 

If you use meeting nicknames in conjunction with the new option to end the meeting for all participants, you can ensure that students aren't hanging out in a Google Meet call without your supervision. 



As is usual with new features in Google Workspaces, this new Google Meet option is available to some users right now and will be available to all Google Workspaces for Education users in the next couple of weeks. It's important to note that this feature is only available to Google Workspaces for Education users and not to those using other versions of Google Workspaces (formerly known as G Suite for Education).