Friday, March 12, 2021

ICYMI - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff

Every other Thursday Rushton Hurley and I host a free webinar called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff. If you missed the last episode, you can watch the recording right here. Some of the questions that we tackled in the last episode covered shuffling Google Forms, publishing books, photo editing, learning management systems, and appointment scheduling services. 


We'll be hosting another live installment of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff next Thursday at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT. Join us!

A Sweet Science Project

My daughters, like almost all children, love candy! So my daughters and I are going to attempt to make our own rock candy this weekend. They love doing little projects like this and I'm hoping that they'll like this one as well. The inspiration for doing this came from watching a recent SciShow Kids episode titled Make Your Own Rock Candy! 



The video above provides directions, but we'll be following written directions from Science Bob. I used the OneNote web clipper to save the directions as an easy-to-read PDF that I printed (I don't want my laptop anywhere near where we're working in the kitchen). 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Kahoot Now Displays Questions and Answers on the Same Screen - Finally!

For years teachers and students have wanted to be able to see Kahoot questions and answer choices on the same screen. This week Kahoot finally made that possible!

Now when you launch a live Kahoot game for in-person or online play you can choose to enable an option to show questions and answer choices on the same screen. This means that students no longer have to look up at a screen in your room or a screen in Zoom then down at their phones or laptops to answer a question. They'll see the question and the answer choices on the same screen. 

All that you need to do in order to enable questions and answer choices on the same screen is to start a Kahoot game as you normally would and then navigate to the game settings to choose "show questions and answers on players' devices."


Applications for Education
Putting the questions and answer choices on the same screen should make it easier for all students to participate in a Kahoot quiz game. No longer will seating in the classroom be an issue whether or not a student sees a question. This should also make it easier for students who are playing Kahoot in Zoom or Google Meet to play along without having to toggle between screens to play the game.

Wordtune - A Quick Way to Get Wording Suggestions

Wordtune is a Chrome extension that provides suggestions on ways to rewrite sentences in your Google Documents, in your email (Gmail and Outlook), and in some social media accounts. 

Once you have Wordtune installed in Chrome you can simply highlight any sentence that you have written and click the Wordtune extension to have a list of alternate wordings suggested to you. The suggested alternatives appear as a list directly below your original sentence. You can replace your original sentence with a suggested alternative by simply clicking on the suggestion that you like. 

Wordtune is available in a free version and in a paid version. The free version does exactly what is outlined above and nothing else. The paid version offers additional features including a "word finder" which is basically a thesaurus and a "formality controller" which makes suggestions related to the tone of your writing. 

Applications for Education
Wordtune could be a good Chrome extension for students to use to help them avoid using the same phrases and or sentence structures too often in a document. 

So far I've tested Wordtune in Google Documents where it worked well. I also attempted to use it in the online version of Microsoft Word. Unfortunately, it didn't work in the online version of Word. 

On a related note, here's what I look for when testing a new Chrome extension

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.