The Technology: Screencasting
Screencasting software allows you to create videos that your students can watch anywhere. It also makes student-created videos a possibility without having to use any equipment other than a computer. Screencasting software is available for all operating systems and much of it is free.
Here are some of the most popular options:
-Screencast-o-matic: One of the oldest screencasting websites, Screencast-o-matic is free for a basic account. If you would like to make longer videos or have access to some of the more advanced editing tools, the premium account costs $15/year. Note: You may need to download and install a screencast launcher in order to use the website.
–Quicktime: If you have a Macintosh computer, you probably already have Quicktime, it often is included upon purchase. To create a new screen recording, just locate the application on your computer and go to File > New Screen Recording. The application will ask if you want to record just part or all of your screen. Choose, and then hit the record button and go!
-Screencastify or SnagIt extensions: If you use the Google Chrome browser on a laptop or Chromebook, you can install Screencastify or SnagIt extensions. You will need to give the extensions permission to access your computer’s camera and microphone, and you may have to designate where you will want screen recordings saved.
In Your Classroom
The Technology: Hyperdocs
If you’ve made a commitment to use more technology in your classroom this year, Hyperdocs is a good way to begin. While encouraging and supporting technology use, it still puts educational goals front and center.
What is a Hyperdoc?
A Hyperdoc is a Google Doc that allows teachers to use the structure provided by a Google Doc to create lessons with engaging media, visual appeal, inquiry learning and opportunities for collaboration. Basically, it’s like an old-time worksheet, but with superior, 21st century tools. With one simple link, students can access a Hyperdoc that contains instructions, links, tasks, multi-media and many more innovative features that can help get kids engaged and thinking.
How can I learn more about Hyperdocs?
The Hyperdocs website has great information and resources, including sample Hyperdocs, templates, a how-to tutorial, and links to Pinterest board collections of Hyperdocs. You can also check out the Hyperdocs YouTube playlist for some great explanatory videos.
How do I make my own Hyperdoc?
The easiest way to make your first Hyperdoc is to use one of the sample lesson plans on their website, and customize it for your own content. This basic lesson-plan template, for instance, details each part of a lesson (exploration, application, and sharing, for example), and gives suggestions for each step.
Need a coloring book? Here are some awesome links to online resources you can download for free.
I’m a fan of the Talmud – how about you? This is HUGE news: Sefaria has announced the release of The William Davidson Talmud, a free digital edition of the Babylonian Talmud with parallel translations, interlinked to major commentaries, biblical citations, Midrash, Kabbalah, Halakhah, and an ever-growing library of Jewish texts. There’s a Sefaria app, too, which you can download here.
The Global Digital Citizen Foundation has another really nice guide on Nurturing Student Creativity Fluency. You can download the guide and watch the accompanying video here.
You can now insert videos from your Google Drive into Google Slides (you used to only be able to insert from YouTube). This is a great improvement! Here’s more info.
Quizizz is a website that you can use to create your own multiple choice, online quizzes. Its easy-to-use interface and growing database of pre-made quizzes makes it a favorite for teachers.
To use Quziziz to create your own quiz, click on “create” and begin entering your questions and multiple choice answers. Be sure to note whether each answer is correct or incorrect. Your questions can be in English or Hebrew. (Yes, Hebrew is supported!) If you’d prefer not to type in each question on the site itself, you can choose to import a .csv file instead.
Quiziz also allows you to choose a cover image for the quiz, determine if you want your quiz to be private or public, and select the duration for how long players have to answer each question.
Once you’ve created a quiz, you can play it live in your classroom, or share the link with students so they can play it at home. Students play at their own pace and can review their answers as they proceed.
It’s free to sign up to use Quizizz. Once you’ve created your account, you can also search among the quiz database and find other user’s public quizzes to play.
In Your Classroom
- There is no question that kids love online quiz sites! Quiziz is a great addition to the quiz format because unlike many other quiz-making tools, Quiziz allows students to determine their own pace. This makes Quizizz particularly suitable for reviewing material at home.
- Don’t forget about the quiz database. A search for “Israel” returned hundreds of results. Note that you don’t have to use an existing quiz in its entirety; you can modify it and just include the questions that meet your needs.
Here’s a nice slide show from Shelley Terrell on some new ideas you should try this year.
I’m a big fan of critical thinking – how about you? EdTech blogger Lee Crockett has a nice downloadable workbook of critical thinking games and activities, as well as a very cool poster. Get it here.
Want to use recording radio stories as a teaching tool? Check out the lesson plans from Radio Rookies.
The Technology: Klikaklu
Give your scavenger hunts a high-tech edge! Use the Klikaklu app to create and play photo-hunt games that utilize your iphone’s camera and GPS.
It’s a great way to get your students to interact with an environment, and have them explore ideas without being stuck at their desks. Your hunt can include clues that are photos, descriptions of objects, or even QR codes. Clues can be designed to unexpectedly appear when the hunter arrives at a specific location, and you can also include quizzes or polls as a part of your custom scavenger hunt as well.
There’s a great tutorial within the app that shows you how to create your first hunt, and there’s also a good discussion forum on the Klikaklu website with ideas and troubleshooting steps.
Download the app from the Apple App Store, and sign up for a free account to be able to create hunts. The free version will allow you to participate in unlimited hunts, and create up to three of your own hunts. To create more, you’ll need to upgrade at a cost of $9.99. In most cases, a school should be able to upgrade on just one device and have other users download the free app.
Note: Klikaklu is only available for iOS at this time.
In Your Classroom
TodaysMeet is a private, digital chatroom that teachers can use to encourage student participation. It allows students to share their ideas to the entire class by typing in their comments that are then projected onto a board where everyone can see them. This allows for a back and forth discussion in which even the quietest of students are able to easily contribute their thoughts.
To set up a chatroom, simply go to TodaysMeet and pick a name for your room. You don’t need to create an account, but it’s free to do so, and creating one will give you the ability to moderate content.
Once your room is set up, you can give your students the TodaysMeet URL and they’ll be able to type their comments or questions right into the message box. Comments are limited to 140 characters, so brevity is a must! You can keep a room open for up to a year, and close your room at any time.
In Your Classroom
Wow! This periodic table is gorgeous – and it has pictures of how you would actually use the element.
Google Classroom has introduced some features making it easier to use Classroom to differentiate for your students. Now you can assign different assignments to different children within the same class. Matt Miller has some ideas about how you can use this new feature.
Here’s a fun coding tutorial to introduce the timeline of MLK’s life. What a great project – using coding as a path to creating a product! Let me know if you want to explore this kind of activity further.