Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Dotstorming Now Supports Video and PDF Uploads

Dotstorming is a collaborative brainstorming tool that I've used and written about for half of a decade or more. One of its key features is the option to have participants in a brainstorming session vote for their favorite ideas submitted during the session. (An idea that Brainstormer which I reviewed yesterday has now implemented). 

Back in January Dotstorming launched an updated user interface while retaining all of the core functions of the service. This week Dotstorming added some new functionality. 

You can now upload videos and PDFs to Dotstorming brainstorming boards. Previously you could link to those items but now you can actually upload them to the notes on your boards. This means that participants in your brainstorming sessions can view the videos and PDFs without having to open a new browser tab or window. 

Applications for Education
The value of Dotstorming in an online or in-person classroom is that it allows you to gather ideas or answers to a problem from your students and then have your students vote for the favorite idea or answer. Those vote totals can then be the basis for discussions with the whole class or in small groups.

Dotstorming still provides teachers with tools to disable chat and or voting. It's possible to disable chat while still having the voting function turned on. 

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that frequently steal my work include CloudComputin, WayBetterSite, and TeachersFly.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Ten Big Topics at the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp

This summer I'm hosting the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp three times. There will be a June session, a July session, and an August session. In all three sessions we'll cover ten key topics over the course of ten live webinars (recordings will also be available). 

These are the topics for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp:
  • Teaching Search Strategies & Digital Citizenship
  • Video Projects for Every Classroom
  • Classroom Podcasting 101
  • Building Digital Portfolios
  • Fun Formative Assessment Methods
  • Using AR & VR in Your Classroom
  • Making Virtual Tours
  • Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps
  • Simple and Fun Makerspaces Projects
  • Blending Technology Into Outdoor Lessons
Register online by May 31st to save $50 on registration for the session of your choice. 

Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a group discount?
Yes, there is a group discount available. You can save $50/person if you have five or more people registering from your school district. Email me for a discount code to apply to online group registrations or to initiate a PO registration.

Can I register with a purchase order or check?
Yes, you can certainly register with a purchase order. Send me an email or have your business office send me an email to initiate that process. Because of the additional paperwork and delay in receiving funds, the early registration discount doesn't apply to purchase order registrations.

Can I get CEUs/ contact hours?
You will receive a certificate from me indicating that you participated in ten hours of professional development time. Whether or not your school, state, or province will accept it for license/ certificate renewal is a determination that you will have to make. The rules about CEUs vary widely from state-to-state and I can't possibly keep track of them all.

What platform are you using for the webinars?
All of the webinars will be conducted through the GoToWebinar platform. I've tried many other webinar services, but I keep coming back to GoToWebinar because of it's reliability. I've used it for almost a decade for hundreds of webinars. You can access GoToWebinar on any computer or tablet.

Will the sessions be recorded?
Yes, all of the live webinars will be recorded. If you have to miss a session, you'll be able to watch the recording. That said, I find that people get the most out of webinars when they can attend live broadcasts and ask questions in real-time. Therefore, I encourage you to pick the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp session that works best with your schedule.

Brainstormer - A Collaborative Brainstorming and Voting Tool

Brainstormer is a new online brainstorming tool that is easy to use and helps solve the "what do we do now?" problem that often arises at the end of group brainstorming sessions. Brainstormer solves that problem by letting members of the brainstorming session vote for their favorite ideas. 

Brainstormer is quick and easy to use. Registration is not required in order to host or participate in a Brainstormer session. To get started simply head to the site and click "setup brainstorm." The next screen will prompt you to write a question or problem to brainstorm about. After writing your prompt you'll enter your name and on the next screen you'll get a link to share with the people you want join your session. Participants will join by just clicking the link you share with them.

In a Brainstormer session you can set a time limit of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes. You can reset the timer if you need more time and you can end the session early if the group has run out of ideas. Whenever your Brainstormer session ends a voting screen appears and all group members can vote for their favorite ideas. 

Participants in Brainstormer sessions can write and submit as many ideas as they like. All submitted ideas appear as sticky notes on the screen. Participants' screen names do not appear on voting page. 

Applications for Education
I've reviewed a lot of online brainstorming tools over the years. With the exception of one (Dotstorming) they all leave the question of "which idea should we act on first?" up to discussion. Those discussions can take as long or longer than the brainstorming session itself. Having a voting component at the end of Brainstormer sessions can give students clarity as to which ideas they should act on first. Not having screen names on the voting page could help to prevent the voting being influenced by the perceived popularity or perceived intellect of a student.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and TodayHeadline.

Fling the Teacher! - A Fun Review Game

Fling the Teacher is a game that I mentioned briefly in this week's Practical Ed Tech newsletter. If you're not subscribed, here's a recap of what Fling the Teacher is.

Fling the Teacher lets students fling or slingshot their teachers across the screen for up to sixty seconds after they correctly answer fifteen consecutive multiple choice questions. Try it for yourself with this demo game.

You can create your own Fling the Teacher game by simply going to Classtools.net and then choosing the Fling the Teacher template. You'll then have the option to click "create your own" (bottom, left corner of the screen) where you can write your own questions and answer choices. Classtools will automatically shuffle answer choices when the questions are presented to students.

Your complete Fling the Teacher game will be assigned a unique URL for you to give to your students. Classtools will also generate a QR code and an embed code for you to use. Fling the Teacher games can be played on computers, tablets, and phones.

Here's a video demonstration of how to create your own Fling the Teacher game. 

Applications for Education
Fling the Teacher could provide students with a fun reward for successfully completing a review quiz. Of course, you could also have your students make their own review games with the Fling the Teacher template.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web.

Three Good Ways to Make Online Word Games

As we get toward the end of the school year many of us will be looking for some fun activities for our students to do to review key terms and concepts of the last year or semester. I shared a handful of ideas for doing that in this week's Practical Ed Tech newsletter. Another idea is to create some simple online word games for your students to play. This might sound difficult, but it's not. Thanks to Flippity and EduCandy everyone can create their own online word games. 

Flippity's Snowman word game is a game in which students have to correctly guess the letters of a word in order to prevent their snowmen from melting. The template lets you make your own variation on the game with words and hints of your choosing. Your game can be shared with students via its assigned URL. Students don't need accounts in order to play the games that you create. Here's an overview of how to create your own online word games by using Flippity's Snowman template

Educandy is a neat service for creating simple vocabulary games and multiple choice trivia games. A convenient aspect of the service is that once you've created a list of vocabulary words it will automatically be applied to multiple game formats for you. In other words, write one word list and you'll get a few games that your students can play. Your students can play the games without needing to create an account on the Educandy site. In the following video I provide an overview of how you can create games on Educandy and how your students can access your games.

Flippity's Spelling Words is a free Google Sheets template that you can use to create individualized spelling games for your students. To do this you simply have to make a list of words that you want each of your students to practice. You'll then put those lists under your students' names in a Google Sheets template that is provided by Flippity. The following tutorial video walks you through the process of creating individualized spelling games in with Flippity's Spelling Words template. 

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Popular Posts