Soundtrap Launches New Free Plan With Unlimited Storage

Soundtrap, the popular music and podcast creation tool, has announced unlimited storage and new features for their free tier. These changes will undoubtedly appeal to educators, and anyone else who is looking to create audio on a budget. It’s an exciting move and one that will help open more doors for creators. Here’s what you need to know.

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Free Online Teleprompter for Green Screen & More

a vanishing perspective view of a boardwalk. text reads, teleprompt.me: free online teleprompter

While browsing through my Twitter feed the other night, a tweet from Eric Curts (@ericcurts) caught my eye. It was a link for an online teleprompter called teleprompter.me. The interesting thing about this particular teleprompter is that it is voice activated. Here’s how it works.

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Pixlr X: Free Online Photo Editor

Pixlr X: A fantastic online photo editor that's easy to use

Pixlr has a reputation for providing high quality, free online photo editors. I have been using them on and off for several years now, and I keep coming back to them despite having access to more powerful brand name equivalents from Adobe and others. Pixlr started their journey with a free online alternative to Photoshop. Their next release was Pixlr Express, a more simple editor that anyone could use for quick fix and easy filters and effects. Last month, they unveiled Pixlr X, and I think it might be my favorite one to date. Here’s why.

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10 Pro Tips: Safari for iPad & iPhone

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Once upon a time, I sat down to write a blog post about ten of the awesome features you can take advantage of in Safari for iPad & iPhone. 15,000 words later, it turned into a short ebook, but more on that later, because I feel like now is a good time to wind back the clock and finally finish the blog post that never got published. So, without further ado, here are 10 Pro Tips for Safari on iPad and iPhone.

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How to Convert an Old Google Site to the New Google Sites

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When Google Sites got its long awaited update, nobody was shedding a tear for the clunky and over complicated classic Google Sites. However, not everyone jumped on the new Google Sites as quickly as you might think. Many had school websites or other content that would have been too cumbersome or complicated to transfer with just copy and paste. These people were waiting on Google to released the transfer tool that they promised would convert the old Google Sites to the new Google Sites. That time has finally come. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Convert to New Google Sites

The following procedure is available to those with personal Google accounts right now. It comes to G Suite domain administrators for schools and enterprise on May 22, 2018, and to other G Suite users with an eligible site on June 19, 2018.

  1. Open your classic Google Site at sites.google.com
  2. Click the gear icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Click Manage Site
  4. At the bottom of the menu on the left hand-side, click Convert to New Sites.
  5. Choose the sharing permissions for the new site
  6. Click Start to begin the transfer

If everything looks good, and you have made any changes that you need to make, you  need to hit the Publish button to make your site live. When you do this, you will be asked if you want to keep the URL from your old site had, or to start fresh with a new URL.

If you choose to keep the URL you had before, (a useful option if your site is being linked to from multiple places), then the existing URL will automatically redirect users from the old site to the new site. It also means that any URL shorteners that you used, (bit.ly, tinyurl, etc.), will continue to work. If you choose a new URL, be sure to let people know about the new location for your Google Site.

Will Everything Transfer?

In theory, most content should transfer pretty well to the new Google Sites. However, your site won’t necessarily look the same as it did before, and that’s kind of the nature of the beast here. Pages and navigation will be the same, but you may need to tweak your layout, and the fonts and colors will have been modified so that they are in line with the theme options in the new Google Sites.

Widgets, iFrames and custom HTML will likely not transfer well to the new Google Sites, but File Cabinet pages, attachments, embedded Google documents, and YouTube videos should make the transition as expected, albeit with some minor changes. For instance, File Cabinet pages will be converted to an embedded Google Drive folder with all the files you previously uploaded.

A full comparison of what you will see when you convert your old Google Site to the new Google Site can be found on Google’s help page, What to Expect When You Convert a Site.

I Can’t Convert to the New Google Sites

If you’re reading this after June 19, 2018, and you still don’t see the option to convert to the new Google Sites, your site may not currently be eligible for transfer. Google doesn’t offer much guidance here other than to say you should continue to check back for when it may be eligible.

Alternatively, you could copy and paste content from the old Google Site to a new Google Site, providing you don’t have too much content to transfer.

Adobe Launches Spark for Education

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Adobe Spark has long been one of my favorite creative tools for educators to use in the classroom. It’s free, works on mobile or the web, and it has a suite of tools that can be used across multiple curricular areas. This week, Adobe unveiled Spark for Education, a service that is aimed specifically at schools and as you may imagine, it has a variety of useful advantages for teachers. Here’s what you need to know.

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123apps: Free Web Apps for a Multimedia Classroom

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In an increasingly digital world, students and educators find themselves dealing with multimedia files on a regular basis. This means creating them, editing them, and converting them are not uncommon tasks. Thankfully, there are free tools like the web apps from 123apps.com that can make things like this a whole lot easier. Here’s what you need to know.

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Try ReadWorks Digital for Comprehension Skills

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Are you looking for ways to test student comprehension skills online? If so, ReadWorks Digital could be just what you are looking for. This nonprofit company offers a completely free service for teachers that is aimed at making your students more successful readers. They have a library of lexiled, grade level texts that covers both fiction and nonfiction writing, and each selection is paired with a vocabulary work bank and formative assessment questions. Some texts even include text to speech audio. Here’s how it works.

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Spiral is 3 #Edtech Tools for the Price of None

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Recently, I came across an interesting website for teachers called Spiral. It has three collaborative tools that are completely free and aimed at 1:1 classrooms. The tools are web based, and work on laptops, Chromebooks, and mobile devices. Spiral integrates with Google Classroom and includes a full set of data tools to track student progress. Here’s a quick look at what each tool does, along with some ideas on how to get started using them.

1. Quickfire

As its name would suggest, the first tool is geared towards some fast data collection. The teacher creates a question for students, (ahead of time or on the fly), and students respond on their devices. The teacher can ask for text/typed responses, or they can choose the canvas option that lets students draw their answers on a whiteboard. Once all the answers are collected, the teacher can share any answer (anonymously) with the whole class in order to discuss it further as a group. Lesson data is saved to the teacher dashboard. Quickfire is perfect for lesson starters, topic reviews, checks for understanding and more.

2. Discuss

With Discuss, teachers can create an interactive slideshow that students can follow slide by slide on their own device. You can upload an existing PowerPoint or create your lesson from scratch with text, images and videos. Best of all, questions or tasks can be added to slides at different points in your lesson. It includes a back channel type option where students can reply and comment on peer ideas. Again, individual answers can be shared to the whole class by the teacher for further discussion, and all data is saved to the teacher dashboard area. Discuss is perfect for empowering quiet students, facilitating conversations around learning, brainstorming ideas on a given topic, or for synchronous online lessons.

3. Team Up

Lastly, Team Up is a group work tool that teachers can use to sort students into groups and have them work together in a collaborative space. Teachers can set a single task for the whole class or separate tasks for each group. While working in a Team Up space, students can collect ideas and build a presentation in much the same way that the teacher does in the Discuss app. Students can work on individual or shared devices to produce their final product. Team Up is perfect for facilitating collaboration and group projects.

See all the tools and register for your free teacher account at https://spiral.ac/

Help & Further Resources

Here are some resources to learn more about Spiral:

 

How to Use Microsoft Forms in Office 365 Education

How to Use the New Microsoft Forms

Have you seen the new Microsoft Forms? One of the most popular articles on my blog in the last 12 months was related to its predecessor – Excel Surveys. Not only did that post get a lot of views, but it also got a lot of comments from people with questions about the features of Excel Surveys, or more importantly for some, the features it did not have. You can still use Excel Surveys, but Microsoft are in the process of transitioning to something better – Microsoft Forms. This version includes automatic grading and built-in student feedback. Here’s what you need to know.

Getting Started

You can find the homepage for Microsoft Forms by going to forms.office.com, or you may see Forms listed in the Office 365 App Launcher. Both links go to the same place. Technically, Forms is still in Preview but you can sign in with your Office 365 Education account today and start creating surveys and quizzes. The new Microsoft Forms work on desktop and mobile browsers.

Once you are logged in, click the New button to create your first form. Replace Untitled Form with a title of your choice, and add a description underneath if you want to provide any directions or information for students or parents who are filling out your Form.

Building a Form

Tapping the Add Question button gives you access to the question types that are available to you in this new version of Microsoft Forms. The options include:

  1. Choice: for creating multiple choice questions! Tap or click the slider to allow people to select multiple answers. You can also tap or click the ellipses button to shuffle answers.
  2. Quiz: a multiple choice question that you allows you to select a correct answer for automatic grading. Tapping the comment icon on each answer choice lets you add student feedback for each selection. Multiple answers and shuffled answers are also available to you when working on Quiz questions.
  3. Text: to collect short (or long) text answers use the Text question type. Tap or click the ellipses button to include number restrictions like greater than, less than, equal to, and more.
  4. Rating: for adding a star or number rating. Could be useful as part of an exit ticket or for voting on class favorites. Ratings can be out of 5 or 10, and tapping the ellipses button will allow you to add a label at either end of this Likert scale.
  5. Date: a question type that only allows for an answer in date format.

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