The Public Domain Project is another source for free public domain images and media files. Caution – this site also featured images that are available for purchase, so be sure to search using the search bar (not the category links at the top).
Interested in flipping your classroom? Here’s a nice post at with a video and an overview of tools you might find helpful.
Power Google Tip: Let’s say you share a Google document with your students or colleagues, but you want them to make a copy of it and then edit that one. You could certainly use Classroom for this, but here’s a great tip if you just want to do it through Google drive and not use Classroom. See the URL at the top of your document? Send that to your users, but change “edit” at the end to “copy.” You’ll still have to share it so your users can access it, but this way everyone will get a copy of your original in their own drive. See this post for more information.
Power Google Tip: Need to look something up or search for an image while working in Google docs on a computer (not iOS)? This is terrific – go to Tools > Research to open a Research pane. There you can search the dictionary, for an image, among quotes and more. You can even specify that you want to find images that are copyright free. Slick!
Movenote is a slick website where you can easily create movies. You can upload existing content like PDF files or jpgs, or you can record using the computer’s camera. You can link it with your Google account to access your Google drive docs, too. Movies can be shared, downloaded or embedded. There’s a free iOS app, too!
I still have nightmares about the time I was in charge of timing students during a Lag BaOmer relay race. I just couldn’t keep those kids straight! Clearly, I needed the Meeting Monopolizer app, which Daniel shared with me this week. You can read more about this 99 cent wonder here. It was originally designed to track which meeting-goer monopolizes your meetings, but apparently people have found more and more uses for it, including timing relays and tracking class participation.
Everyone knows that formative assessment can be the key to delivering a lesson that every student “gets.” Vicki Davis addresses different ways to integrate formative assessment using technology in this Edutopia article.
Coggle is a quick way to create a mind map that you can save into your Google drive and share with others. Just sign in using your Google account, click and go!
I love me some copyright-free stuff! The Public Domain Review is a collection of images, books, films, audio and more that have fallen out of copyright and into the public domain, which makes them available for anyone (students, I’m looking at you) to remix, mash and use wherever and however they want.
Twisted Wave is a browser-based audio editor. A free account gives you one hour of storage for mono files. You can record using your computer mic or edit an existing audio file. Files can be downloaded or sent to Google drive. This is a Flash-based site, so it does not work on iOS devices.
Shoutout to Daniel for finding RefMe. Similar to EasyBib, RefMe is an online citation site. Its super-clean interface makes it very nice to use!
Infographics are all the rage now, for good reason. And knowing how to translate written information into graphics is a great skill. Piktochart is a nice website for creating your own infographics, reports and presentations. Like many other sites, it offers both free and premium (meaning, they cost money) templates, but the free templates look really good.
Well, this is nice . . . MindMup gives you a free cloud-based space to create collaborative mind maps shared through Google! Very nice.
Have you fallen in love with Google Classroom and created fabulous original lessons using the platform? If your answer is yes, you could open your own Google Classroom store. Who knows? You could sell some stuff!
Flipquiz is another fun site to create a jeopardy-type game. Create a category, add your questions, and go. This would be terrific for students to use!
Plenty of you are discovering that Google is a great place to create graphic organizers, especially if you want to share them with your students. The AppsUserGroup has a bunch of awesome templates you can download for free.
OOOOOOH – this is beautiful. If you want to create a really slick timeline (or have your students create them . . . ), check out Timeline JS. You begin with a Google spreadsheet listing the event, dates, text and links to any online media like movies or photos, and Timeline JS will create a timeline for you.
This is the coolest thing . . . what would happen if you poured molten aluminum in an abandoned ant colony? I know that you’ve wondered that often. Well, now you don’t have to wonder any more, thanks to AntHill Art. The videos are very cool, and would be terrific to share with students who are interested in what an ant colony actually looks like. All those little tunnels!
A is for . . . Augmented Reality. What’s augmented reality and why use in education? Augmented reality is just adding a digital layer of information over the physical world. Using a device of some kind, like an iPad, a user views something that exists in the physical world (like a piece of paper, a building, or a magazine ad), but sees more. Imagine being able to view a building and see what it looked like 100 years ago? Or scanning a photo of a person and then seeing a movie where he or she is speaking? There are some terrific apps that take advantage of augmented reality – here are just a few:
- ColARMix. Download and color the coloring pages from the ColAR website and then view them using the ColAR Mix app on an iPad. You can even pick up the items!
- Aurasma: Aurasma is considered by many people to be the granddaddy of augmented reality apps. It’s actually pretty easy to use – just create your content (what you want people to see via the device), take a photo of the trigger (what you want people to scan), and layer the two. Then, when people view the trigger via the app, they’ll see the content you created!
- AR Flashcards: With AR Flashcards, you point your device at the printed flashcard, and a 3D image will appear. You can even tap on the image to hear its name and get more information.
- ARISGames. ARIS, in development at the University of Wisconsin, gives developers the ability to create digital scavenger hunts that can be played remotely or on location. See this post to find out more about Purim about three years ago when I developed a scavenger hunt that allowed students to converse with Esther and Mordecai. If you want more information about ARIS, please see me (or take my workshop at the upcoming ICE Conference).
How could you use augmented reality in class? What about recording raps to teach vocabulary words that appear when the word is scanned on a word wall? Or book trailers that play when you scan the cover of a book? How about recording yourself giving instructions to complete an exercise when an assignment is scanned?
Here’s a lovely article about gratitude and how expressing it can benefit your students. Better grades, even!
Doing research is easy, right? Um . . . not so much. This interactive diagram is a great way to have your students approach research. There are links to planning your project, where to search other than online, how to take notes and use information, and creative ways to share what you’ve learned.
If you want a free and easy way to create online flashcards, or an online Jeopardy game, you might want to give Flippity a try. You should also read this post at on how to create your own Jeopardy-style game.
Here’s an interesting read on how we should be changing our teaching practice to teach the “Google generation.”
ICE is coming! Yeah – you’re probably thinking, “Well, duh, I’ve been outside . . . I know.” No… ICE as in the Illinois Computing Educators. The annual ICE conference will be held in February in lovely St. Charles, Illinois (so it doesn’t involve a whole lot of travel, and no overnight stay). The ICE workshops take place just before the general conference and provide in-depth training in a variety of techie topics. ICE workshops are also a great way to use your professional development dollars. Check out the workshops here.
Kahoot.it is another one of those online multiple choice quiz sites where you can put questions in and your students play entering the game pin that you specify, and answering questions. I think it’s very engaging – you can type in Hebrew, there’s fun music, and it ranks players as you play the game. You can also put photos in to increase engagement, and a video option is in beta right now (that’s cool – play a video and stop in pre-determined locations to ask questions).
Where do good ideas come from? That’s a fascinating question, and one I think about often. Here’s an interesting video on the subject:
Google tip of the week: are you going batty with folders in your Google Drive? Here’s a neat tip that can help. Change the color of your folders by clicking on a folder and right-clicking on it (to right-click with a one-button mouse, hold down the control key and click). Lookie there – you can give a folder a star (which puts it in Starred in your drive), and/or you can change the folder’s color! Makes it easier to locate. Sadly, folder colors don’t show up (yet) on mobile devices.
I think I’ve written about Chirbit before, but it may be worth another visit. Chirbit is a nifty little website for working with audio. You can record or upload a message and then make it available to others (who can then comment on your Chirbit) via weblink or QR code. It will also “speak” text that you type into the website. What I found most useful, though, is that Chirbit will extract the audio from a YouTube video. Any Chirbit can be downloaded as an .mp3 file.
iPad app tip: Let’s say you’re doing an activity with your class and you want to get instant feedback to assess for understanding. Or maybe you’re doing a poll or survey. Let’s say you also don’t have iPads or laptops for your students, but you still want to have a feedback mechanism that assures privacy (no student wants to be the one to raise his or her hand and say “I don’t understand”) and gives you student-by-student results. What can you do? One option is to download the free Plickers app to your phone or iPad. Then print out the plickers cards for your students (get it? Paper + clickers = plickers). Create your assessment (it’s a lot like using Socrative or Nearpod), hand out the cards and scan with the app. It’s very cool, extremely low tech, and we got rave reviews from the fifth graders with whom we tested it last week. Visit Plickers for more info.
Love New York? Love Jewish books? This map is awesome. It’s the Jewish Book Council’s literary map of New York City and it marks the landmarks, descriptions, and allusions found in the works of some of our heritage’s greatest writers. Fun!
Google Tip: OMG! This is terrific. Did you ever think it would be useful if you could create an email contact group on the fly while sending an email? C’mon . . . you know you want to do this! Here’s how:
Create the email, placing the recipients in the “To” section
Once all your recipients are listed, click on the word “To.” Click right on that puppy
This should bring up a dialogue box where you could include other recipients. If you look at the bottom of that box, though, you’ll see the magic box that says “Save as group . . .”
That will save your group to your contacts for future use. It may take a few minutes for it to appear – but this is a handy tip!
Most of us are old enough (cough, cough) to remember when there were no food allergies. When we could throw a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter into a bag so kids didn’t go hungry on field trips . . . Well, Stanford University is making some fascinating inroads into bringing those days back. Read more about Stanford’s medical trial in oral immunotherapy here.
The folks at TED-Ed have created a video and lesson for every element on the periodic table. You can view them by starting here. Not only are there videos, but there are also accompanying lesson plans with questions to deepen understanding, suggestions for further research, and, in some cases, guided discussion questions. This is obviously a great resource for teaching the periodic table, but also a good model for how to use video as a starting point for lessons.
I’m super excited about this article on digital learning. The author, Dr. Tim Clark, focuses on the various elements of a classroom (essential questions, assessment, classroom environment, etc.) and how technology can support them. I like this so much that I’m thinking about structuring a series of classes around this concept – let me know if you’d be interested.
Oh my! Wait’ll you see THIS! Here’s a beyond awesome Google tip: Did you notice that there’s a “Web clipboard” command under the Edit menu in many Google apps like Slides, Docs and Drawing? Do you have ANY idea what that means? Check it out: select the thing you want to copy to the web clipboard, and go to Edit > Web clipboard. Select “copy selection to web clipboard.” Unlike the invisible Mac clipboard that can only hold one item at a time, Google will save all the things you copy. Then you can paste whatever you’ve copied at a later date. But wait! There’s more. That elegant little web clipboard is available on any computer, any time you log in using your Google account. How sweet is that? I also tested this with Google Docs on the iPad . . . it worked as long as I used Chrome to edit the Google Doc (as opposed to using the Docs app). If you need a tutorial on this, here’s a good video:
So . . . you’ve got great stuff on your iPad, and you want to project it to your SMART Board, but you don’t have *that* dongle . . . or
You want your students to take turns displaying what they’ve created, but you don’t have a projector . . . or
You have a projector, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having kids come up to front to connect then disconnect . . . or
You want to “drive” your students’ iPads and make sure that they’re looking at what you want them looking at . . .
Reflector: if the devices you want to mirror are iPhones or iPads, consider installing Reflector on your SMART Board or projector connected laptop. Reflector turns your laptop into a wireless receiver, and using Airplay, you can just choose it and mirror whatever is on your iPhone or iPad. What’s really nice is that the audio is mirrored as well, which was a real nuisance with using a dongle to connect the iPad to a SMART Board.
Not using iPhones or iPads? Consider using Mirroring360 by Splashtop. Mirroring360 does the same thing, only you’re not restricted to iOS devices.
These are slick, easy-to-use solutions that are not very expensive. It’s made a huge difference in my non Apple TV classrooms, and the students love it when they can share what they’ve created on their tablets with the rest of the class.
What about when you want to mirror from your device to the students’ devices? Here are some options:
Splashtop Classroom: This is a cloud-based product that requires you to pay an annual usage fee. The cool thing is that your users download a free app, you install the free Streamer software on your computer, and you can mirror what’s on your laptop to your students’ devices. You can also give control to a student and he or she can interact with whatever is on your computer, or he or she can share what’s on theirs. Very nice!
Nearpod: Nearpod is by no means just for mirroring, but it can certainly be used for that.
Handouts: Handouts, the app that lets you distribute a handout to your students and get them back, can also be used to distribute documents to a number of devices.
How do you share?