Thursday, March 24, 2022

Kikori App - Social Emotional Learning Activities for All Ages

Kikori App is a new mobile app and website that offers a large library of social emotional learning activities for students of all ages. The mobile app (Android and iOS) and the web versions of Kikori work the same way. On Kikori you can search for social emotional learning activities according to age, energy level, skill development goal, group structure, and materials that are needed or not needed for the activity. 

All of the Kikori activities are written in an easy-to-follow structure. That structure includes how to prepare to use the activity with your students, a list of materials needed (if any), steps for playing the activity, and questions to ask before, during, and after the activity. You'll also find some suggested variations or modifications for each activity. 

You can also use Kikori to create your own social emotional learning activities. To do that simply click the "create" button in the Kikori App and follow the outline that is provided. You can make your activity public or keep it private. 

Applications for Education
Kikori could be a great resource for any teacher who is looking for some new ideas for bringing some social emotional learning activities into their classrooms. I appreciate that you can search for activities according to energy level and group structure. 

Three Ways to Share Videos Without Using YouTube

The days of heated arguments about whether or not YouTube should be accessible in school seem to be behind us. That doesn't mean that YouTube is always the best option for hosting and sharing videos in your school. In fact, just yesterday someone emailed me to ask for suggestions on how her students can share their book trailer videos without having to upload them to YouTube. 

There are three options that I generally recommend whenever I'm asked for alternatives to using YouTube to host and share students' video projects. 

  • Google Drive: this is probably the best option for teachers and students who have Google Workspace accounts. 

  • OneDrive: If you and your students have Microsoft accounts, OneDrive offers a convenient way to share video files. I particularly like that you can set an expiration date for access and a password for access. 

  • Flipgrid: An often overlooked feature of Flipgrid is to use it as a place for students to share videos that they have made outside of the Flipgrid app. You and your students can upload videos to share with each other. 
In this short video I demonstrate all of the above methods for sharing videos without using YouTube

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

New Whiteboard Features in Microsoft Teams and New Excel Formulas

If you regularly use Microsoft Teams or any component of Office 365 and you're not subscribed to Mike Tholfsen's YouTube channel, you need to subscribe to it. That's where I learn about all of the latest features available for Teams, Reading Progress, Immersive Reader, Word, OneNote, and many other Office 365 tools. Mike's latest videos demonstrate ten new Excel formulas and eight new whiteboard features in Microsoft Teams

I don't use Excel enough to get excited about new formulas and functions. That said, in reading the comments on Mike's video it appears that Excel power-users are excited about the new features. 

The video about new whiteboard features in Microsoft Teams is the one that I got excited about. In particular, I can see a lot utility in being able to aggregate reactions and saving pen settings for use between whiteboards. The new option to drag an image from my desktop to a whiteboard is also very convenient (I love anything that removes having to use file explorer to upload). 

How to Add Videos to Google Earth Projects

I'm currently developing a lesson plan that is loosely based on the reality television show, The Amazing Race. In my lesson students have to use a series of clues to find locations in Google Earth and then complete a task or challenge before adding a placemark to their Google Earth projects (tours). They have to record videos of themselves completing the challenge sand put the videos into the placemarks in their Google Earth projects. I created this short video to show students and teachers how to add videos to the placemarks in their Google Earth projects. 

In this video I demonstrate how to add videos to Google Earth projects (tours) in the web-based version of Google Earth. 

Applications for Education
While I created the video above specifically with my lesson plan in mind, the concept in the video can be used for any Google Earth project that your students are working on. 

Since YouTube has to be used to host the videos you want to include in Google Earth projects, I'm recommending using the "unlisted" option in YouTube for any videos that feature students. In this video I explain how to use the unlisted option in YouTube. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Stop Printing the Internet

Last weekend I got a new television (our old one died) just in time to watch some great NCAA basketball games. While watching one of the games on Saturday evening I saw a new Progressive Insurance commercial. The premise of the commercial is that Progressive can't prevent us from becoming our parents but can save us money on insurance. In the commercial there was a scene where we're told, "we don't need to print the Internet." The commercial made me chuckle and it inspired this blog post. 

How to Limit Paper and Ink Usage When You Print
There are some instances when we do need to print things. When those instances occur there are ways to reduce the amount of ink and paper you use. 

The easiest way to save paper is to simply make sure that you're only printing what you need. When the print dialogue box pops-up select a specific page or two to print rather than using the default "print all pages" found on most printers. 

Printliminator is a handy little bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Printliminator allows you to highlight a webpage and select only the elements which you wish to print. You can install Printliminator in seconds by just clicking and dragging it into your browser's toolbar.

How to Encourage Students and Colleagues to Limit Printing
If your school uses Google Workspace, you can encourage your students and colleagues to limit their printing by using a couple of Google Docs features. The first is to add a watermark to your Google Documents that reads something like, "Only Print if Essential" or "Don't Print." Another option is to disable the option for collaborators to print Google Documents