Tuesday, November 22, 2022

How to Add Descriptions to Google Drive Folders

A few days ago I received an email from a reader who was looking for suggestions about how to keep track of what is contained with the folders of a Google Drive account. My suggestion was to try adding descriptions to the folder. 

When you right-click on a folder in your Google Drive account a new menu appears. All the way at the bottom of that menu there is a little description field in which you can write up to 25,000 characters. Watch this short video for a demonstration of how to add a description to your Google Drive folders. 



Applications for Education
Adding a description to your Google Drive folders can be helpful to you. It can be even more helpful to the people with whom you have shared a Google Drive folder. For example, you may want to write a description of the contents of a folder full of review materials that you share with your students or a folder full of lesson materials that you share with your colleagues.

More Than 70,000 Pieces of ClipArt and Pictures for Students

The Florida Center for Instructional Technology hosts two fantastic resources for teachers and students in search of clipart and pictures for classroom projects. One of those is ClipArt ETC and the other is Clippix ETC

ClipArt ETC is an online catalog of more than 70,000 pieces of clipart that students and teachers can download and use in classroom projects. The catalog is arranged in thematic collections and sub-collections. Simply pick a collection then a sub-collection to find the clipart that you want to use. The clipart is available in three file sizes to meet most needs. 

Clippix ETC is an online catalog of thousands of pictures teachers and students can download and use for free in their classroom projects. Like ClipArt ETC, Clippix ETC is arranged in thematic collections and sub-collections. Images are available in three resolutions to meet most needs. 

Watch this short video for an overview of ClipArt ETC and Clippix ETC. 



Applications for Education
It's important to note that these collections were built specifically for classroom use. That means that you shouldn't encounter any images that aren't appropriate for school. It also means that the licensing for the clipart and images is specific to classroom use. Use outside of the context of a classroom setting does require purchasing a license to re-use the images and clipart.

Monday, November 21, 2022

How to Read Music - And 17 Other Lessons About Music

Music Snippet is a Google Docs add-on that I've written about in the past. It's handy tool for writing music in Google Docs. A reader recently asked me about it which prompted me to search my archives for other music-related resources. One that I came across was a TED-Ed lesson that explains the fundamentals of reading music. Watching the video won't turn students into composers over night, but it provides a good start.

TED-Ed offers a lot of interesting and useful video lessons for students. Many of the videos are organized into playlists. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a playlist of all of the TED-Ed lessons about music. To remedy that problem, I made a playlist of my own featuring eighteen TED-Ed lessons about music.

Maps and Videos About Where Thanksgiving Foods Come From

Where Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From? is an interactive storymap that I've shared in the past and still find interesting. The map displays where eight popular Thanksgiving foods are grown and harvested in the United States. The storymap includes a map for each ingredient. Each map shows the locations of commercial producers. Fun facts are included in the storymap too. For example, did you know that Illinois has at least twice as many acres of pumpkins as any state?

Where Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From? shows where food comes from today, but it doesn't show the historical origins of traditional Thanksgiving foods. That's an interesting topic of its own. It's Okay to Be Smart and TED-Ed offer video lessons that address the origins of traditional Thanksgiving foods. 

Through It's Okay to Be Smart's The Surprising Origins of Thanksgiving Foods students can learn how the most common, traditional Thanksgiving foods originated and evolved to what they are today. This lesson includes an explanation of how archaeologists and scientists determined that turkeys were one of the first animals to be domesticated in North America. We also learn why the turkeys we find in the grocery store today are so much bigger than those of just a few generations ago. 

Corn is often seen as a symbol of Thanksgiving. Today, corn and many products made with it are a staple of the diets of many of us. How did corn become a staple of our diets? What has enabled it to become one of the most cultivated crops in the world? And what are the consequences of cultivating so much corn? Those questions and many others are addressed in the TED-Ed lesson titled How Corn Conquered the World.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Two Good Ways to Create Simple and Focused Websites

Parts of this post originally appeared late last year in an issue  of my Practical Ed Tech weekly newsletter

I am often asked for recommendations for simple website builders that teachers and students can use to create small websites. The purpose isn’t to share everything they’ve done and have you grade it. Tools like Seesaw and Spaces are good for that. The purpose of these kinds of sites is to share photography, their resumes, videos they’ve made, or awards and references they’ve received.

Google Sites is fine for making simple sites, but the aesthetics still have a long way to go. Services like WordPress and Wix are great, but they have way more menus and options than what's needed for a quick and simple site. Fortunately, there are some good tools students can use to quickly create simple, good-looking websites to showcase their work and share a bit about themselves. Here are a couple that are worth trying.

Carrd.co is an easy-to-use tool to quickly create good-looking, simple websites. I used to to create a little photography showcase site in less than ten minutes. It looks much better than anything I could have created with Google Sites or WordPress. Watch this short demo to see how you can create a portfolio site with Carrd.co.



Adobe Express (formerly known as Adobe Spark) has a webpage creator that offers a fantastic way to create simple websites in which your students can include images, text, and videos. Consider having your students arrange their pages chronologically so that the top of the page shows their work at the beginning of the year and then as viewers scroll down they see your students' latest work. Click here for a video tutorial on how to use Adobe Express to create a simple website.