Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Use WriteReader With Google Classroom

WriteReader is a good tool for elementary school students to use to create multimedia stories. I've featured WriteReader in about a dozen blog posts over the last few years. It has two distinguishing features that I always point out. First, it provides space for teachers to give feedback to students directly under every word that they write. Second, WriteReader has a huge library of images, including some from popular programs like Sesame Street, that can be used for writing prompts. 

Recently, I learned that WriteReader now offers a Google Classroom integration. WriteReader's Google Classroom integration will let you import your Google Classroom roster to create WriteReader accounts for your students. Once your roster is imported your students can sign into WriteReader with their Google accounts. You'll also be able to post WriteReader assignments in Google Classroom. 

Here's a short video overview of WriteReader's Google Classroom integration. 

Applications for Education
Elementary school teachers who are looking for new ways to get their students interested in writing stories should explore some of WriteReader's many templates and many blog posts about using templates to help students write stories. I've always been a fan of WriteReader's formatting that allows teachers to give students direct feedback below every word that they write in their stories.

WriteReader's Google Classroom integration should make it easier than ever to get students started on the writing process in WriteReader.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

How to Create a Bibliography in Word

As I wrote last week, I'm jealous of today's high school students who don't have to rely on consulting books like The Student Writer to properly format citations and bibliographies. I'm also jealous that they don't have the crazy formatting headaches that were associated with trying to insert a citation into a Word Perfect (not so perfect, it turned out) document after spending all night writing to hit a deadline like I did in college. Today's students have a bunch of free tools that make it easy to add citations and bibliographies to their research papers. One of those free tools is built right into Microsoft Word. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to insert citations and create a bibliography in Microsoft Word documents. 

Applications for Education
Whenever I write blog posts or publish videos about tools like these I get emails from readers who like to point out that bibliography tools make it "too easy" or that there is some discrepancy between the tool and the latest minor update to MLA or APA. My point in getting middle school and high school students to use these tools is to help them build the habit of citing their sources. When they reach the point that they have a college professor who is a stickler for bibliography formats or they're submitting research papers to journals then they can worry about the minutia of the bibliography standards of academic research papers. 

How to Download Google Meet Video Call Recordings

A few months ago Google introduced the option for teachers to record Google Meet video calls in some versions Google Workspaces. If you have that option and your school allows it, recording a Google Meet is a good way to save a lesson and publish it for students who missed the first time to go back and watch it. 

Before publishing the recording of a lesson conduct via Google Meet you might want to edit out the beginning of the meeting when you're doing "housekeeping" stuff before the lesson actually begins. To edit the recording you'll need to download the recording then upload it into your video editor of choice (I'd recommend WeVideo or iMovie). In this short video I demonstrate how to download the recording of a Google Meet video call. Remember, any Google Meet that is recorded will automatically be saved to a folder in your Google Drive. 

On a related note, here's an overview of ten Google Meet features teachers should know how to use.

Monday, March 8, 2021

5 Features of Google Advanced Search That Students Should Know How to Use

One of last week's most popular post was this one in which I explained how excluding words from search results helped my students get past a little roadblock in their quest to find plans for an Arduino car. Excluding words from search results is one of many features in Google's Advanced Search menu that students should know how to use. A couple of years ago I published this short video about other advanced search options that students should know how to use. 

In this video I demonstrate and explain why students should know how to use the following advanced search functions:
  • File type
  • Top level domain
  • Language
  • Region
  • Publication date

One of My Favorite Minute Physics Lessons

Flying is one of the things that I've missed a lot in the last year. I used to log more than 100,000 miles a year flying to speak at conferences and conduct in-person workshops at schools. (I hope to do that again whenever this pandemic ends). One of my favorite things to do at large airports like ATL, DTW, and LHR was to watch the really big planes like 747s, A350s, and A380s rumble down the runway before getting get airborne. I was reminded of this today when I stumbled upon a Minute Physics lesson that I shared a few years ago.

In Why Are Airplane Engines So Big? viewers can learn why jet engines have gotten larger over time, why they biggest engines don't always go on the biggest or fastest airplanes, and the basic principles of jet propulsion. The video briefly explains the mathematics involved in determining at which point an engine becomes too big or too small to be efficient. It is a fast-paced video so your students may need to watch it a couple of times to catch everything.

Back in 2015 privilege to fly on in A380 from Dallas to Sydney. The A380 is the largest commercial jet in the world. Two things stand out from that experience. First, as I saw the plane towering over the jetway in Dallas I couldn't help but be amazed at the engineering that makes it possible for something so large to fly across the Pacific in one shot.  Second, the flight itself was remarkably smooth. The explanation of how that jumbo plane can fly is found in a Minute Physics video that Airbus sponsored. How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.

These videos could be the basis of a video science lesson. In this post I provided an overview of how to create video lessons with videos like those from Minute Physics.