Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Forky - A Simple Mind Mapping Tool

I've tried dozens, possibly more than one hundred, mind mapping and flowchart creation tools over the last thirteen+ years of writing this blog. In fact, my first published writing was as a co-author of a chapter about mind mapping in the book What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media. I tell you that to say I've seen a lot of mind mapping tools. Of those, the best ones are usually the simplest ones. Forky is a new mind mapping tool that fits into the category of simple but effective. 

Forky is a free mind mapping tool that focuses on just connecting text boxes. As you'll see in this video, all that you have to do to make a mind map with Forky is to double-click on the screen then start typing in the text box that appears when you double-click. To add a new connected idea just hit the tab key on your keyboard and a new text box appears for you to type in. If you want to create a new text box that isn't connected to a previous one, just double-click somewhere else on your screen. You can make connections between boxes after they're written by simply holding the shift key while clicking on one box then another. 

Forky doesn't include support for inserting images, video, or any other media. It's just for writing a series of connected ideas. You can invite other people to view your Forky mind maps via email. 




Applications for Education

Mind mapping tools like Forky can be helpful to students when they are planning a creative story that has a few storylines in it. Forky's option to invite a collaborator could be used by students to invite their teachers to review their mind maps and provide some feedback.

5 Ideas for Using Threadit in School

This is an excerpt of my full article that I published on my other site, Practical Ed Tech

Threadit is Google's new tool for recording webcam and screencast videos. The best way to think of it is as "Google Docs meets Flipgrid." Here's my preliminary list of five ways to use it in school. 

  • Group Video Presentations
  • Asynchronous Video Discussions
  • Segmented Tutorial Videos
  • Asynchronous Video Office Hours
  • "Feel Good" Group Messages
Details on all five of those ideas can be read here on Practical Ed Tech

My complete video overview of Threadit can be seen here on my YouTube channel or as embedded below. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

New Copyright Compliance Checks in YouTube

 

Last night I uploaded a new video to my YouTube channel. Everything was normal for the first few steps. I added my description, added a custom thumbnail, and added the video to a playlist just as I normally would. Then I clicked the button to state that I didn't include any controversial topics that advertisers should be aware of. What came next was a new screen called "checks." 

The new "checks" screen that appears just before you publish your video on YouTube is a preliminary check that YouTube performs to make sure that you haven't uploaded content that infringes on someone else's copyright. Presumably, these checks are performed by some magic algorithm crafted in the bowels of the Google machine. 

These new copyright checks could be helpful in making sure that you haven't accidentally infringed on someone's copyrighted material before it goes public. 

Take a look at this post to learn more about YouTube settings and tools that apply to an education setting. To learn more about Copyright, watch the recording of my webinar on the topic

Two Ways to Create Videos in Your Gmail Inbox

Last week Google introduced a new video recording tool called Threadit. A Chrome extension is one aspect of what Threadit offers. With the Threadit Chrome extension installed you can record a video without leaving your Gmail inbox. Threadit is now the second tool that I can recommend for recording screencast videos directly from your inbox. Loom's Chrome extension is the first tool that I recommended for making screencast videos directly from your inbox. Both tools are demonstrated in this new video


Learn more about all of Threadit's features in this post on Practical Ed Tech

Applications for Education

Both of these tools provide an easy way to reply to requests for tech help. Creating a quick screencast video to answer a student's or a colleague's question about how to do something on his or her computer can be a lot more efficient than trying to write step-by-step directions. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Record Annotated Video Presentations With PresentationTube's Chrome Extension

PresentationTube is a non-profit that has provided a free service to teachers for many years. That service is the ability to record video presentations based on PowerPoint files and PDFs. Recently, PresentationTube released a Chrome extension that lets you create video lessons in your web browser. 

PresentationTube's Chrome extension will let you record while talking over your PowerPoint slides or a PDF. You can record with your webcam turned on or you can choose to just record your voice talking over your slides or PDF. While you're recording you can draw on the screen, add text notes to the screen, and highlight text on the screen. 

When you have finished recording a presentation with PresentationTube's Chrome extension you can upload it directly to the PresentationTube website where you can then publish it publicly or keep it unlisted. Much like Google Docs, if you make your PresentationTube unlisted then only people who have the direct link to it can view it. 

Applications for Education

PresentationTube's Chrome extension could be a good one for anyone who is looking for a new, easier way to create video lessons based on their existing slides. Unfortunately, it only works with PowerPoint or PDFs at this time. Hopefully, in the future there will be support for Google Slides. In the meantime you can always download your Google Slides as PPT or PDF to use with PresentationTube.