Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Best Adobe Spark Alternative

In the last two weeks I've had a handful of people email me to ask for alternatives to Adobe Spark for creating videos. I'm taking that as a sign that Adobe didn't go a great job communicating that they simply rebranded Adobe Spark as Adobe Creative Cloud Express. It has all of the same tools that you used for creating videos in Adobe Spark. You can even use the same log-in credentials for it. 

If you haven't tried Adobe Creative Cloud Express to create a video, watch this tutorial video to see how easy it is to use it. 

Applications for Education
Some of the things that make Adobe Creative Cloud Express a good video creation tool for students are the built-in image search tools, the ease with which you can change color schemes, and the ability for students to remotely collaborate on the creation of a video.

How to Mirror an Android Phone to a PC or Mac

In this week's Practical Ed Tech Newsletter I included a video in which I simultaneously displayed my Android phone's screen and iPad's screen on my Windows desktop. A few folks have emailed me to ask how I did that. If you're curious about the process I used, here it is. 

The Problem
My usual method of mirroring my phone screen to my computer is to use Airserver. However, I can only mirror one device at a time through Airserver. To make a video in which the screens of two devices were shown simultaneously, I needed to either do some laborious editing or figure out a way to mirror two devices that the same time. 

The Solution
In order to show the screens of two devices at the same time, I had to install a second screen mirroring program that could run at the same time as Airserver without causing a conflict. The solution was to use Vysor. 

Vysor is a program that I've used in the past to use an Android phone as a document camera. With Vysor lets you mirror a phone to a PC or Mac via USB cable. That means that it can run at the same time as Airserver and it doesn't conflict with it. 

Making the Video
To make the video I then mirrored my iPad's screen to my PC via Airserver and mirrored my Android phone's screen to my PC via Vysor. Then I recorded both screens in the same frame by using Screencast-o-matic on my desktop. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

How to Create a Custom Map on an iPad

Yesterday morning I answered an email from a reader who wanted to know if it was possible to create Google Earth projects on an iPad. Unfortunately, the iPad version of Google Earth allows you to view existing projects, but doesn't allow you to create new projects. Fortunately, there are other ways to create custom maps on an iPad. One of those ways to is to use Google's My Maps tool in the Chrome web browser on an iPad. 

In this new video I demonstrate how you can create a custom map on an iPad by using Google's My Maps. 

Applications for Education
There are lots of possible uses for Google's My Maps in geography, history, and literature classes. In fact, I recently published ten fun things for students to map. You could also use My Maps in place of Google Earth to complete an Around the World With Google Earth activity.

A Handful of Resources for Teaching and Learning About Earth Day

This Friday is Earth Day. Here's a handful of resources to consider using if you find yourself looking for some resources to help your students understand the origins of Earth Day, its significance, or celebrating Earth Day.

CBC Kids News offers a good, concise overview of Earth Day. What I like about CBC Kids News is that the information is presented by students for students. 

Storyboard That offers four Earth Day lesson plans. All of the lesson plans have students creating comics or cartoon-style graphics to celebrate Earth Day and or to create Earth Day PSAs. 

SciShow Kids has an Earth Day compilation video through which students can learn about animal habitats, composting, recycling, and building bird feeders. 

Discovery Education has some new resources for Earth Day 2022. These include lessons about sustainable living, renewable vs. non-renewable resources, and engineering for Earth Day. 

C-SPAN Classroom offers some Earth Day themed Bell Ringer activities. These include The Creation of the EPA and The Role of the EPA

Monday, April 18, 2022

Ten Fun Things for Students to Map

Last week I published a video about how to record a Google Earth tour in your web browser. That’s just one of many tools that students can use to create multimedia maps. A few other options include using Scribble Maps, Padlet maps, and Google’s My Maps tool.

Creating a map with one of these tools can help students develop a better contextual understanding of where places are in the world. Rather than just hearing Friday Night Lights was loosely based on Odessa, Texas they can actually see where in the world Odessa, Texas is in relation to other places they may know or have heard of. Continuing from that example, here are ten fun things for students to map.
  • Settings of television shows.
  • Movie locations.
  • The locations of favorite sports teams and their rivals.
  • Settings of favorite books.
  • Birthplaces of celebrities.
  • Origins of dog breeds.
  • Locations of city names in songs.
  • Locations in geography jokes (check here and here for some fun, clean geography jokes).
  • All the places visited in one season of The Amazing Race.
  • List of dream vacation destinations.
For more ideas about using Google Earth in your classroom, take a look at my Around the World With Google Earth activity or enroll in A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies