Exploring Educational Technology and Instructional Design

How Did the Months Get Their Names?

What if all the Ice Melted?

Bill Nye just makes everything a bit more interesting! This ASAP Science video is a great hook for any discussions on climate change.

Copy Google Forms for Everyone

This video demonstrates a (really!) quick and easy way to allow others to make their own copy of one of your Google Forms. This could be incredibly helpful in an educational setting…imagine you created a new assessment using the Google Forms Quiz feature and you wanted to share it with other teachers in your Department. This will allow everyone to easily get their own copy. A great tip - thanks to Randy Fairfield!

Why Aquariums Can't Keep Great Whites

I've often wondered about this!

Google Classroom Annotations

One of the most requested new features of Google Classroom is the ability to annotate documents right within the Classroom app on iPads and Android devices. This new tool is simple to use, and opens open lots of options for using Classroom to replace traditional paper-based activities. Check out my latest video showing how to integrate annotations into your Google Classroom workflow.

Flipping with Google Forms

Google Forms has received some great updates lately, including the addition of graded quiz features, Google Classroom integration, and the ability to use images in questions and choices. For a while now, you have also been able to insert YouTube videos into Forms, making it the perfect tool for delivering Flipped Classroom video lessons to your students. Check out this quick video on using Google Forms to Create Flipped Classroom lessons.

iPevo Whiteboard for iPad

Teachers are always asking me what the best tool is for creating whiteboard videos to support their flipped classrooms. While tools like Educreations and ShowMe are powerful and offer a full set of features, they also have certain drawbacks, the largest of which is the inability to download and save your videos without a premium account. This in mind, I searched the App Store for a free alternative, and came across iPevo Whiteboard. iPevo is a company that sells a variety of document cameras and other peripherals, and they released this free app to use in conjunction with their hardware. But even if you don't use iPevo document cameras, the app is still a powerful free whiteboard app that is great for using your iPad as a document camera in class, or to record and download whiteboard videos. Check out the video overview of iPevo Whiteboard for iOS.

Google Slides Q&A

One of my favorite new updates released by Google in the past year is the Q&A feature built-in to Google Slides. With this easy to use tool, you can accept questions and comments from the audience live during a presentation. Check out this quick video I put together on how to use Slides Q&A, and don't forget to subscribe on YouTube!

Google Classroom Updates

Google continues its track record of frequent, meaningful, and significant updates to it’s Google Apps for Education suite. This particular update to Google Classroom comes just in time for the new school year to begin and includes some frequently requested features.

  • Teachers and administrators can invite guardians to sign up for email summaries to keep up with their students. Guardians can choose how often to get a summary—daily or weekly—and can unsubscribe at any time. Summaries include a student’s missing or upcoming work as well as new announcements and questions posted by teachers in the class stream.
  • Teachers can organize the class stream by adding topics to posts. Teachers and students can filter the stream by topic.
  • Teachers and students can preview materials attached to assignments or posts.
  • On mobile devices, teachers and students can now draw on, highlight, and write notes on documents and PDFs in the Classroom mobile app.

Check out all the details in this Google for Education blog post.

Clean Up YouTube

Have you ever shown a YouTube video in class, or shared one as part of a homework assignment?  If so, I'm sure you've experienced the frustration of the rampant ads, excessive options, and lists of related videos, some of which have titles or content that is not appropriate for an educational setting.  Well, there are a handful of ways to deal with this issue.  You could download the video using a tool like KeepVid, but then you would have to upload it to Google Drive and share it with a link, which can be time consuming, clunky, and result in slow loading times.

Here's a better solution: ViewPure. ViewPure is a website that will strip all of the distracting and potentially inappropriate content away from a YouTube video. Here's how it works...

  1. Go to YouTube, locate the video you want to share and copy the entire URL.
  2. Go to www.viewpure.com and paste the video URL in the box.
  3. Tap on "Purify" and ViewPure will do it's thing.
  4. You will then be brought to a clean white page with very little content except for your video.
  5. Copy the URL of this page and share it with your students for distraction viewing, or simply save the link to share during class.

The Kid Should See This

As an experienced secondary science teacher, I understand the importance of powerful visuals for both engaging students, and helping them to craft a deep and enduring understanding of complex concepts. Video has always been an indispensable tool used by educators to communicate ideas, and now, with resources like YouTube, where more than 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute, it is more accessible than ever. Sifting through that massive stockpile of footage for just the right clip to capture a concept can seem a nearly impossible task. Fortunately, more and more tools are being developed to help educators find just the right content for the right situation. One of my favorites is a site called "The Kid Should See This."

This site houses an ever growing collection (currently more than 2,400) of free, streaming videos that were “not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them.” Topics focus around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) disciplines, however there is certainly content that could be utilized in any class. Each video is hand-picked by curator Rion Nakaya and his two kids, and is accompanied by a brief description. Driven by "wonder, enthusiasm, and “wow!” moments," the videos on The Kid Should See This will help to engage your students, and get them excited about learning.