Thursday, March 25, 2021

Free Webinar on April Fools' Day

Every other week Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I host a free webinar called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. The next one is next Thursday which happens to be April Fools' Day. 

As the title implies, during each webinar we answer questions from anyone who attends as well as questions that have been sent to us in advance. You can email me or Rushton with your questions. In each episode we also share a couple of interesting apps, websites, or videos that we've found during the last couple of weeks.

Watch one of the recent episodes to get a sense of the webinars are all about. Register for next week's webinar right here

And on a related note, PBS Learning Media offers this short video explanation of April Fool's Day

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.