Friday, November 11, 2022

YouTube Studio Settings for Teachers

Many years ago I was at the annual ISTE conference when I heard a speaker say, "if you want the biggest authentic audience for your students' work, put it on YouTube." I think he had a good point because it is possible for your students' work be seen by millions of people if it's really good and it fits the algorithm-of-the-day at YouTube. The reality is that using YouTube is just a convenient way for you to share your videos with the your students and for them to share with you. 

There are a few YouTube settings you need to know how to use before you use YouTube to publish school-related videos. Those settings are explained and demonstrated in this updated video that I recently recorded. 

In the video you'll learn:

  • How to upload to YouTube.
  • Privacy settings for your uploads.
  • How to control comments.
  • How to blur faces and objects in your uploaded videos.

(Although I think I remember who made that statement at ISTE, I don't want to misattribute it).

Making and Leading Virtual Tours With Expeditions Pro

Many of us lamented the loss of Google Expeditions because it was a great tool for leading students on virtual reality tours of all kinds of interesting places around the world. Similarly, many of us were disappointed when Google shuttered Tour Creator because it was a great tool for students to use to create their own virtual tours. Fortunately, earlier this year a good alternative to Google Expeditions and Tour Creator emerged in the form of Expeditions Pro

Expeditions Pro can be used on your iOS or Android device to guide students on a virtual reality tour.To lead students on guided VR tours in Expeditions Pro, you have to download the tours to your phone or tablet. Your students don't need to download the tours in order to follow along with you. Expeditions Pro offers a growing gallery of virtual reality tours. It is also possible to create and use your own VR tours in Expeditions Pro (more about that in a moment). 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Expeditions on an Android phone and on an iPad. In the video I also show you the teacher and student perspectives of guiding and following virtual reality tours in Expeditions Pro.

As I mentioned above, Expeditions Pro can also be used to create your own virtual reality tours. Watch this video to learn how you can create your own virtual reality tours with Expeditions Pro

There are a few things to note from this video before you try creating your own virtual reality tours with Expeditions Pro. 

  • First, in the demo I used 360 degree imagery that I captured with my Android phone (Pixel 5) and saved in Google Photos. 
  • Second, I downloaded my 360 imagery from my Google Photos account then imported it into my tour. 
  • Third, I used to record the audio narration for the each view in my tour. I downloaded my audio from Vocaroo as an MP3 file then imported it into my tour on Expeditions Pro.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Now You Can Use Focusable Without Registering for an Account

I have been using Focusable since September to help me stop procrastinating and focus on the work that I need to get done when I'd rather be doing something else. Focusable isn't just for adults. In fact, it was created for classroom use. However, Focusable has always required that users register for an account in order to use the platform. That can be an obstacle to using it in some school settings. Focusable has remedied that problem by now offering an option to use the platform without registering for an account. 

Anyone can now use Focusable by simply going to When you use that link you'll be directed to Focusable's countdown timer page. You set the timer for the length of time you need. Once the timer has started you can access the breathing and visualization activities that Focusable offers. 

When you use Focusable without an account you don't have access to the video journaling feature. Nor do you have access to a record of how many Focusable sessions you've done. 

Watch my new video that is embedded below to learn how to use Focusable without registering for an account. 

Fun Facts About Turkeys - And a Digital Turkey Project

We frequently have wild turkeys come through our backyard. And almost as frequently one of my dogs will chase them until they fly off. I was recently telling a friend about this pattern and he said, "I didn't know that turkeys can fly." That's actually a pretty common response if you don't live where wild turkeys live. 

The fact that turkeys can fly is one of many fun facts about them. A couples are that they eat a lot of acorns and they will tear up your lawn looking for grubs and insects to eat. SciShow Kids offers a short video that is full of other fun facts about turkeys.

By watching Fun Facts About Turkeys students can learn a bit about the anatomy of turkeys including what the gizzard does, the calls that turkeys make, and their diets. 

In the fall of 2020 the switch to online and hybrid classes presented lots of challenges and required changing the way that we did some of our "old go-to" activities. For example, I received a few emails from readers looking for some ideas on how to do a digital version of the classic Thanksgiving Thankfulness Turkey project in which students add feathers to a drawing of turkey and each feather has something they're thankful for written on it. My suggestion for creating a digital version of the Thankful Turkey was to use a combination of Pixabay and Google Drawings. I made this short video to illustrate how that process would work. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

SpacesEDU Updates iPad App

Spaces is a digital portfolio tool that I've covered since the beginning of 2021 when it launched with a great feature called Asynchronous Breakout Rooms. Since then it has grown to include better reporting features and "best of" showcase features. The latest update comes in the form of an updated iPad app

The updated app is designed for students. The previous version was focused on teacher use. The updated Spaces EDU app includes single sign-in, summary statements, and a compatibility with landscape and portrait mode. 

Create a “Best of” Portfolio

One of the things that first drew me to Spaces was the ability to create individual, group, and whole class portfolios. But until now there wasn’t a way to quickly put the same submitted work into multiple portfolios. That has changed with the latest update to Spaces. Now you can quickly copy students’ work from a group or class portfolio into an individual portfolio. This makes it possible to do something like create a “best of” portfolio for students to share work that they have done in groups and done individually throughout the year.

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