Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Consider This Tech Tuesday Planned! - And the Next One and the Next One...

I'm clearly not good at self-promotion otherwise I wouldn't have released an ebook right before the winter break when most people aren't thinking about everything but professional learning opportunities. But I did it anyway. So if you missed it in the last couple weeks of December, my new ebook is titled 50 Tech Tuesday Tips and you can get it right here

To create 50 Tech Tuesday Tips I went through more than 400 editions of my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter and picked out the 50 most popular and useful ones. I then did some editing and put all of them into one new ebook. Watch this video to see some of the highlights of the ebook including:

  • What to do when a web app isn't working as you expect.
  • Building your own search engine.
  • How to create green screen videos.
  • Improving instructional videos. 
  • Streamlining email management.
  • Creating educational games. 
  • DIY app creation.
  • Podcasting tips for teachers and students. 

Get your copy of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips right here!

No, this ebook isn't free but the tools that feature within it is free to use. Creating something like this takes many, many hours but reading it can save you many, many hours. Purchases of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips make it possible for me to create other free resources like The Practical Ed Tech Handbook that I update and give away to thousands of teachers every year.

Monday, January 3, 2022

How to Create and Publish Your First Podcast

If you're looking for a new classroom project to try in 2022, give podcasting a try. Recording and publishing podcasts is an activity that can be done equally well in in-person, online, and hybrid classrooms. And thanks to tools like Anchor, it is easier than ever to record and publish your first podcast. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to record and publish your first podcast by using Anchor. Besides its ease of use, one of the reasons that I like Anchor is that it includes a built-in library of transitions and sound effects to use in your podcasts. (The video also includes the debut of the new flannel shirt that was given to me at Christmas).  

Applications for Education
If you're wondering what your students can talk about in their podcasts consider the following topics.
  • Current events
  • Q&A with "experts" on a topic like video games, sports, or hobbies. 
  • Book talks
  • Weather reports
  • School news
For a list of questions that students can use while interviewing someone for a podcast, take a look at the Great Questions list from Story Corps

How to Record and Embed Audio in Google Docs

Last Friday I published a video about all of the things that can be done in Google Workspace when you have the Mote Chrome extension installed. The latest of those things is the ability to record audio and embed it directly into your Google Documents. When you do this you're able to play the audio without having to exit the document. This is a huge improvement over simply including a link to a hosted audio file in your doucment then having to listen to it in a separate browser window. 

Watch this short video to learn how to use Mote to record and embed audio into Google Docs. By the way, Mote calls these "hypermotes."

Applications for Education
I can see this being a useful tool for students who are learning a new language to record themselves and then get some feedback from you. For example, you might write a short monologue in Spanish for studnets to read aloud and record. That recording could then be made and inserted into a Google Document that they share with you so that you can listen to their pronunciation. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Add Audio to Almost Anything in Google Workspace

One of my absolute favorite new tools in 2021 was a Chrome extension called Mote. With Mote installed you can add audio comments to Google Docs, Google Classroom, and Google Slides. You can also use Mote to add audio to Google Forms and insert audio into Google Slides with just one click. Mote also lets you record audio messages to share directly in Gmail and or via QR codes. All of those things are featured in this Mote compilation video that I put together earlier this week. 

Applications for Education
As I've been saying since the first day that I tried Mote, the thing that I like the best about it is ability to give students feedback in your own voice. There's a comfort in hearing feedback instead of just reading it that a lot of students benefit from. That's especially true when the feedback is being provided to students who might struggle to understand your feedback when they're just reading it instead of hearing it. 

All About American Buffalo

I read Steven Rinella's American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon last week. It's a fascinating book about the history of humans' relationship with American buffalo (bison) in North America. The telling of the history is intermixed with Rinella's own stories of finding a buffalo skull in Montana, visiting historic buffalo jumps, and hunting for buffalo in Alaska. 

Even as someone who has read a fair bit about buffalo in the past, I found some fun new facts in American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon. For example, George Washington once considered raising a herd of buffalo for their coats (shearing them like sheep would have been quite the challenge). 

Reading Rinella's book reminded me of some excellent videos about bison that I've shared in the past. Meet the American Bison does a fine job of showing younger students basic facts about bison. If you look carefully, you'll also notice that it does a great job of modeling how to cite the sources of images used in a video.

Older students who want to learn about bison should turn to the resources available on the Yellowstone National Park website. Those resources include the following video about the challenges of bison conservation.