Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Add Voice Recordings to Google Forms Questions, Answer Choices, and Feedback

Mote is a Chrome extension that became popular this year because it made it easy for teachers and students to add voice recordings to Google Slides, Google Classroom, and Google Forms. The latest update to Mote, released today, lets you add voice recordings not only to the questions in your Google Forms but also to the answer choices and feedback section in Google Forms. 

The previous version of Mote let you add voice recordings into the question line. The updated version lets you also add voice recordings into the answer choices (for multiple choice questions) and into the feedback section of the answer key that you create for quizzes in Google Forms. All of those things are demonstrated in this short video

Applications for Education
Adding voice recordings to Google Forms has a lot of potential classroom uses. Just having the option to listen to the question and answer choices improves the accessibility of your forms. You could also use the voice recording option to have students listen to question prompts in one language then identify the answer in another language. For example, you could record a prompt in Spanish then ask students to identify what you said by choosing an answer written or recorded in English. 

Webinar Recording - Two EdTech Guys Take Questions for the Last Time in 2021

Last Thursday evening Rushton Hurley and I hosted our last 2021 episode of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. We'll be back in January to answer more questions and share more cool stuff. In the meantime, you can watch last week's episode here and all previous episodes right here.

In last week's episode we answered questions about subtitling presentations, creating your own mobile apps, accessibility, dubbing videos, and the weather. Our cool shares included Classroomscreen and the Ving Project

Derek Lowe Has a Science Blog? - A Lesson in Using Context Clues

In The Joy of Search Daniel Russell reminds readers that sometimes you have to provide your own context for the information you find online. Additionally, he provides many reminders to question things that don't seem congruent with what you already know about a topic. I implemented both of these ideas this morning when I read that former Major League Baseball player Derek Lowe writes a blog on Science.org. How I came across that tidbit is the result of going down a rabbit hole on Wikipedia. 

This morning I was reading a thread about the 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame selections on the Sons of Sam Horn message board (yes, there are some of us who still use message boards). Someone mentioned a retired pitcher, David Cone, which somehow reminded me of Derek Lowe who pitched for the Red Sox from 1997 through 2004. That prompted me to do a quick Google search to see what Derek Lowe is doing these days. As is often the case with retired professional athletes, a Wikipedia page was a top result. 

As I got to the bottom of the Wikipedia page about Derek Lowe, the retired baseball player, I found an interesting sentence that didn't seem like it could be accurate. It reads, Derek Lowe currently has a blog hosted under the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

My initial reaction to reading that was, "that can't be true!" There were a few context clues that triggered that response from me. First, in my memory Derek Lowe, the baseball player, had a bit of a  reputation in the media as a meathead when he played in Boston. Second, the beginning of the Wikipedia entry about him states that he skipped college to play baseball. Third, nothing in the Wikipedia entry mentions anything about science or Derek Lowe going back to school after retirement. 

To fact-check the Wikipedia entry I turned to Google and searched "Derek Lowe blog." Sure enough, I found the Science.org blog written by Derek Lowe. But it's not the same Derek Lowe. The picture and the bio of Derek Lowe, the scientist, don't match those of the baseball player at all. Oh, and the blog is not peer-reviewed, but it is interesting. 

Applications for Education
Over the years I've had many students who love professional sports and will spout off any little "fun fact" about a favorite athlete no matter how ridiculous it seems to be. This example with the case of two Derek Lowes could be a good way to reach those students to help them understand how to use their own knowledge and context clues together to fact-check their "fun facts" about their favorite athletes.

Take my online course, Search Strategies Students Need to Know to learn more about search strategies, teaching search strategies, and formulating search strategy lessons. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Try Virtual Backgrounds and Immersive Views for Virtual Events

This afternoon I was asked to help organize a virtual holiday concert for my daughters' preschool. The event is going to happen in Zoom and there will be ten children (plus parents) performing together. I might be making things a little more difficult on myself, but I plan to try to put all of the kids into little cut-outs on a winter-themed virtual background in an immersive view. The immersive view option in Zoom lets you place meeting participants into specific places in the virtual background of your choosing. 

In this short video I demonstrate where to find and edit virtual backgrounds for Zoom and how to use them with the immersive view option in Zoom. 

Classroomscreen - Timers, Names, and Noise Meters

A couple of weeks ago my Practical Ed Tech weekly newsletter was all about timers and random selectors. A reader named Erin replied to the newsletter with a suggestion to try a tool called Classroomscreen. I'm so glad that she suggested it beccause Classroomscreen is fantastic! 

Classroomscreen is a service that lets you create a homescreen on which you can place reusable countdown timers, stopwatches, noise meters, random name selectors, and more helpful classroom management tools. The noise meter lets you set a sensitivity level and have an alarm sound when the room gets too noisy. The random name selector lets you enter a list of names and save it for unlimited reuse. The countdown timers are easy to adjust for time allotment and appearance. 

In addition to the timers, noise meters, and random name pickers, Classroomscreen also offers handy tools like a digital whiteboard, a calendar, a task list, and a QR code to share the whole screen with your students. 

In this short video I demonstrate the key features of the free Classroomscreen plan. 

Applications for Education
What's nice about Classroomscreen is that you can create and save homescreens so that you can create a set of tools once and reuse them as often as you need without having to start from scratch each time. I also like that I can write a task list or other note on the screen and display it right next to a countdown timer to help students stay on track to complete a classroom activity.

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