Bring New Life to Classroom Projects with Movenote on the Web, iPad & More!

I always told my students that there was a difference between creating a presentation, and giving a presentation. The creation part was easier for them. They had time to research, build, and revise their work, but when it came to presenting their findings while standing up in front of a room full of people, nerves often got the better of them. Thankfully, there are free, multi-platform tools like Movenote that can make that easier, but it’s not just for students. It is also a great way for teachers personalize their screencasts for a flipped classroom, or other online learning opportunities.

movenote

Movenote lets you record a video of yourself talking about a presentation via your webcam, and it syncs it to the slides you are talking about. Here’s how it works. Laptop or desktop users start by creating a free account at movenote.com. Next, you need to give Movenote permission to access your webcam so that it can record the video to accompany your presentation. However, you also have the option to upload a pre-recorded video if you prefer.

Your presentation can now be added to Movenote from your computer, or  your Google Drive account. Recommended file formats are PDF, PNG, or JPEGs. PowerPoint files also work, but are sometimes more reliably converted when first saved as a PDF. If you have a Google account, you can bring a Google Presentation over too. Click the Re-order button on any of the uploaded files to rearrange the order of your slides.

movenote record screen

The final step in the creation process is recording your video, so clicking the red Record button will quickly get you under way. You can now introduce your presentation on your webcam and move through each slide with the navigation buttons at the top of the screen. (If you uploaded a pre-recorded video, all you need to do is advance your slides in time to the video you uploaded). There are no annotation tools per se, but if you click and drag with your mouse, a virtual laser pointer can be used to highlight areas you deem most important, and you can pause the video at any time to collect your thoughts.

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How to Add Questions for Students to YouTube Videos

With the popularity of flipped classrooms showing no sign of waning, a new crop of web tools for teachers are emerging to help support instruction. In this post, I take a look at four ways that teachers can add questions to a YouTube video for their students to answer when watching a video at home or on their own.

1. Educanon.com

For a more polished approach, check out Educanon.com. It works with YouTube, Vimeo or TeacherTube videos. You can add students to your online class, and even assign them video lessons of your choice. You can also watch student progress, question by question in real time, as they work through the video. Teachers can have up to eight classes, and can arrange videos in the order that they want students to watch them

To get started, simply copy and paste the link to the video into the Educanon video builder. Then, add a question at the appropriate time in the video. Unlike the YouTube question editor, Educanon stores all student responses so you can go back and check for student understanding at a later date. Educanon is also in beta, but is currently free to use.

educanon

2. EDpuzzle.com

The last site I am going to share is called EDpuzzle. It is a little more versatile in the sources it allows for your video with YouTube, Khan Academy, TED, National Geographic and more as supported sites. Once you have chosen your video you can trim the beginning or ends to get the content you really need. You can also record an audio track for the video to describe it in your own words or to relate it to what you have been doing in the classroom. If you don’t need a full audio narration, you can leave voice comments at specific points in the video.

Like Educanon, you can create a class, add students and get a record of results as they come in from students who are watching your EDpuzzle videos. You can also assign a video as homework for students that are in your class. Edpuzzle.com is also a free service for educators, so feel free to check it out too.

EDpuzzle

3. Google Forms

As a couple of people have reminded me on Twitter and in the comments below, the recent introduction of video to a Google Form means that you can now integrate a YouTube video alongside questions that you may have on a Google Form. All the student answers will be recorded on a Google Spreadsheet, and could potentially be graded for you with the Flubaroo script. This would work a little differently to the options above, because you cannot insert questions at a specific point in the video without splitting the clip and having several smaller clips. However, it could still be a nice option for teachers who are flipping their classroom and looking to add questions to a YouTube video. To add a video, create your form and go to Insert > Video, or click Add Item and choose video. Then paste the link to the YouTube video you want to use.

Google Form Videos

So, the next time you want to add a little more interactivity to videos that you assign to your students to watch, check out one of the options above to help you add questions to YouTube videos.

Kahoot! and the Gamification of Online Assessment

Online student response systems are increasingly popular right now. Socrative, InfuseLearning, and Nearpod are maybe the biggest players in this arena, but more are appearing all the time. So, how do developers make sure their app stands out from all the others? Simple, they do something that noone else is doing, and they do it well. Enter Kahoot!

kahoot

Kahoot! is a free, multi-platform, game-based classroom response system. It works on Macs, PCs, iPads, Android tablets, smartphones and just about anything else capable of running an HTML5 browser. So, it is great for 1:1 or BYOD classrooms.

Once signed up, the teacher creates a series of multiple choice questions with which to quiz their students, and projects it onto a screen via an LCD projector for the whole class to see. Quiz questions may include an image or even a video for the students to use as a reference to help them submit their answer. A time limit of up to two minutes can be assigned to each question, but can be as short as five seconds for quick fire answers.

kahoot edit quiz

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How Educators Can Earn More Space With Dropbox for Free!

Dropbox is a great service for syncing and backing up all your important files. You can access your files on the web, on mobile devices, and on any computer that you install the Dropbox client. It is, in my opinion, the best cloud backup and sync solution available because it works flawlessly. The only trouble is, you only get 2GB of space with the free account. These days, that fills up fast. However, there are ways to earn more space in Dropbox for free. Currently I have about 69GB of space, and none of it is costing me anything right now! Here’s why.

dropbox free space

1. Refer a Friend

If you already have a Dropbox account, you can earn more space by sharing a referral link with others. This is my referral link https://db.tt/fYqVNWw. If you sign up for Dropbox by clicking my referral link, we both earn an extra 500MB of space. You can earn up to 16GB of free space that way, but the person who follows your link has to create and account and install Dropbox on their computer before you are both credited with the extra space. As a disclaimer, I should state that I have already hit my 16GB referral bonus limit, but Dropbox tell me that you can still earn 500MB for yourself if you use my link.

2. Take the Tour

Once you join Dropbox, log in at Dropbox.com and take the Getting Started tour. This short, five step tour will walk you through some of the main features of your Dropbox account, but, more importantly, it will earn you 250MB of free space 🙂

3. Connect with Dropbox

Got a Facebook or Twitter account? You can get 125MB of free space for linking it to either service or 250MB if you link both. Follow Dropbox on Twitter for an additional 125MB, and get yet another 125MB for giving them some feedback on what you think of their service. So, when all is said and done, 500MB of space can be earned for connecting with Dropbox.

Continue reading “How Educators Can Earn More Space With Dropbox for Free!”

Swipe to Unlock Learning with @Swipe_to

swipe on any device

Do you Swipe? If you own a tablet or a smartphone, you are probably thinking that you do it several times a day. However, what I’m really talking about is a new online startup called Swipe. It’s an innovative, multi-platform presentation tool that works in any browser and on any screen size. Here’s how it works.

Do you remember the first time you saw Nearpod, and your jaw dropped as everybody’s screen simultaneously advanced to the next slide when the presenter told you it would? Well, Swipe works in very much the same way, but there is no app, just a solid HTML5 platform that works seamlessly.

You start by creating an account, and uploading your content to your first presentation deck. Swipe supports PDFs, Keynote files, JPEGS, PNGs, RAW files and more. (See a full list of compatible file types here). Next, name your deck, and rearrange the slides as you see fit by dragging and dropping. Want to add a video? Vimeo and YouTube videos can be interspersed among your slides simply by adding the URL to the video you want to show.

Swipe Dashboard

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Convert Files Quickly and Easily with CloudConvert

CloudConvert for converting files

Everybody needs to convert a file from one format to another at some point in time, and there are countless online websites that will do that for you. However, most specialize in just a few formats. Zamzar used to be one of my favorites, but, thanks to a tweet by Steve Katz on Twitter, CloudConvert.org is my new belle. Here’s why.

To begin with, the service is free, at least for now, but it also lets you link up your Dropbox and/or Google Drive accounts to convert files that you store in the cloud, wherever you are. It can convert up to 139 different file formats, and can save your files locally, or to your cloud account.

You can convert the same file multiple times to multiple formats, and choose to download a QR code so that you can scan it and save to a mobile device. Only need the first 30 seconds of a video? No problem. Click the wrench for advanced options that let you set the length of time to convert. There are advanced eBook reader options that let you specify which device you want your ebook file to be most compatible with, and there is even a handy Chrome app.

In my own testing, I found the results to be very promising. It wasn’t perfect, but everything converted pretty much the way I expected it to. For teachers, there is not yet any option to convert SMART Notebook or ActivInspire files, but most other formats that educators use are there, and you can even do nice things like strip the audio from an MP4 video file and convert it into an MP3 audio file.

The service is still in Beta, but if you find yourself doing a lot of file conversions, or dealing with formats that you would rather not work with, you should definitely try it out at CloudConvert.org.

Build Great Classroom Websites with Weebly for Education

weebly

If you are looking to create a classroom website with a free website builder, take a look at Weebly. It’s ad-free, full of customization options, and has a dedicated education arm at Weebly for Education. Its easy to use drop and drop interface is ideal for busy teachers, and you can even create student accounts that you moderate from a central dashboard.

I first used Weebly for Education several years ago when I was still teaching 4th grade. I had a classroom website with Weebly and several student websites, but it didn’t quite have everything that I wanted. I soon became immersed in Google Apps, so I switched a lot of my web building efforts towards Google Sites. However, at a recent workshop, led by Ramsey Musallam, I had the chance to take another look at Weebly, and I liked what I saw! It is a great option for teachers who want their own classroom website.

There are over 70 great looking themes to choose from, each of which can be customized to your liking. You can add photo galleries of student work, slideshows, YouTube videos, Google Maps, or anything else with an embed code via the custom HTML element. Your website is free of advertising, and you can choose between a Weebly URL (yoursite.weebly.com) or a custom domain (mrwylie.com) which you can buy from Weebly or someone like GoDaddy, and add it to your site for free.

weebly education

Best of all, the education arm of Weebly has some exclusive features just for teachers. For instance, you can add an assignment form to your site that allows students the ability to upload their assignments and submit them to you via your website. You also have the option to create student accounts so that your students can create their own Weebly websites. Teachers get 40 free student websites with the Weebly for Education account. These websites can be public or private, you can moderated comments submitted to student websites, and choose whether you want to enable or disable a Flickr search for images.

All of the above features are free, but if you decide to upgrade to the Pro account ($39.99 a year) you can get an additional 10 student sites, unlimited pages, a 250Mb file upload allowance, a custom audio and HTML5 video player, as well as the ability to embed documents you upload to the site. You can also password protect pages, remove Weebly branding and and get access to premium support. If you just need the extra student accounts, they can be bought in blocks of 10 for $10.

Weebly for Education also has a great referral program. If you click one of the sign up links in this post and publish your own site, Weebly will credit your account, (and mine), with $10 that you can use towards the pro account. So, if you try it, and you like it, share your experiences with others to earn more credit for an upgrade.

Of course, Weebly is just one of the many website builder options out there for teachers looking to create a classroom website. There are other free options like Wix, Google Sites, WordPress, Kidblog, Yola and more. My advice would be to find the one that works best for you. For a lot of teachers that I have been working with recently, that has been Weebly, so give it a go if you haven’t played with it for a while. The latest improvements are there for all to see, and it remains as easy as ever to quickly build a free, high quality website you can be proud of.

Why Wunderlist is Wonderful for Teachers, Students, and Me!

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Wunderlist 2

I’m big into to-do lists. As such, I have tried a whole plethora of apps to try and organize the chaos that is my life most days, but only one has truly met my specific criteria. I need something that works on every platform, something that syncs seamlessly, and something that is quick and easy to use. It has to be easy on the eye, offer sub-tasks, and give me the option of setting reminders and repeating events. Oh, and it had to be free. Enter Wunderlist.

I’m a fan of Getting Things Done, so I have a lot of lists. These lists keep me productive and stop me going insane over the little things that I fret and worry about on a daily basis. However, once it is on my list, I can relax because I know I will get to it. Yesterday, Wunderlist released a new browser extension that will increase my productivity even more, and it could be a great tool for the classroom.

Add to Wunderlist is a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox and Safari that lets you add a whole lot more to your Wunderlists quickly and easily, just like you can with Evernote, Diigo and sites like that. Need to bookmark a website to read it later? No problem. Once installed you simply click the Wunderlist icon in your toolbar and add it to a list of your choice. Tired of using your email as your to-do list? Click the custom “Add to Wunderlist” button inside Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or Outlook and you can add an email to your task list so that you can streamline your workflow, clean up your inbox, and barrel headlong towards inbox zero. You can see more of these custom buttons at Amazon, Etsy, YouTube and even Wikipedia, but the toolbar button is always there for adding almost any other site to your Wunderlist.

Add to Wunderlist

At school I can see a lot of creative uses for Wunderlist. Teachers can use it to help organize the multitude of tasks they complete on a daily basis. Ideas for lessons, interesting articles, and a list of things that have to get done can all be put into Wunderlist. Teaching in a team? No problem. Lists can be shared with other Wunderlist users, or emailed to anyone. You can also set a recurring reminder to yourself about that team meeting you always forget every second Wednesday. Smart Lists can show you what is due today, or reveal all the starred tasks across all of your lists.

If you use Wunderlist on a mobile device you don’t have access to the Add to Wunderlist extension yet, but you can get close to the same functionality  You can email URLs or forward emails to me@wunderlist.com, and it will quickly arrive in your Wunderlist inbox for sorting, so long as you email it from the same account you use for your Wunderlist account. Clever, eh?

Students can use Wunderlist as a homework planner because tasks can have a due date, and reminders can be set for upcoming assignments. They can even have lists for every class that they attend so that they can keep track of all that they want to get done. Students can gather research for school projects by sending links to articles or YouTube videos to pre-defined lists in Wunderlist, and again share these lists with others if they need to. The built-in Activity Monitor will notify you if someone has added something to a shared list, or completed a shared task. Planning a project? Wunderlist lets you have up to 25 sub tasks, so it is easy to plan a step-by-step action plan.

There are lots of task list managers out there, but if you haven’t tried Wunderlist, you should. It might look simple, but it can do a lot for you if you take advantage of all the features it has. In my opinion, there really are very few free options that compare as favorably. Do you have a favorite task manager? Feel free to add it to the comments below and tell us why you like it so much.

 

Wallwisher is Relaunched as Padlet

Wallwisher now Padlet

Been to Wallwisher.com recently? If so, you may have noticed a change. The site has re-branded itself as Padlet. For now, the site can still be accessed at http://wallwisher.com, but Padlet is the future, so http://padlet.com will soon be the new URL of this popular collaborative workspace.

So, why Padlet? The developers say it is a nod to tablets as the future of computing, but also an almagamation of the words paper, wood and tablet – the ancestors of the original Wallwisher concept. Although the new name might take a little while to get used to, it does make sense, especially after the site’s last big overhaul to make it compatible with iPads and other mobile devices.

If you already have links to existing Wallwisher wall, or have some embedded on websites, they will continue to work as normal, even once they get renamed with Padlet.com branding. Otherwise the site looks just the same as it did a week ago with all the usual features you have come to expect.

While there are similar sites like Lino.it, Corkboard.me, and Murally, Wallwisher, or Padlet as it now is, has probably been around the longest, and there is good reason for that. Its evolution over a five year existence has kept it at the forefront in terms of features and ease of use for educators.

So, if you haven’t paid it a visit for a while, you should. There is a lot to like about this multi-platform collaboration tool, and the future looks bright.

 

Evernote Updates Terms and Conditions for Using Evernote in Schools

Evernote announced today that they are updating their terms and conditions. The new changes will take place on December 4th, 2012, and there are some concessions made to educators among the new terms.

We’re thrilled with the number of educators and administrators around the world who have shown interest in using Evernote in their schools, so we have modified our contracts with respect to use by underage individuals who might not be old enough to enter into a contract on their own, including specific guidance for schools in the US where we want to ensure that the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act are satisfied.

So, what is new for educators? Well you can read the new terms and conditions in full here, but the important part for educators is quoted below:

Can Kids Use Evernote?

Of course, but Evernote is not currently directed to children and we expect that use by children will only be done with the guidance, supervision and consent of their parents, guardians and/or authorized school officials. Further, we rely on parents and guardians to ensure minors only use the Service if they can understand their rights and responsibilities as stated in these Terms and our Privacy Policy.

In the United States, if you are the sponsor of a Sponsored Group (the “Sponsor”), including an Evernote for Schools group, that includes children under the age of 13, you (or your school) assumes the responsibility for complying with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and, to the extent applicable, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). This means that the Sponsor must notify parents/guardians of the information to be collected and obtain parental/guardian consent before collecting and sharing with the Service the personal information of children under the age of 13 in order to establish an account or use the Service. Schools may under appropriate circumstances provide such consent on behalf of parents/guardians. For more information on complying with COPPA, see the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov/COPPA.

If you are outside of the United States, please ensure that you are complying with any laws applicable to you before submitting any child’s personal information or permitting any child to submit personal information to us. If a school outside the United States wants to enable its students to use Evernote for Schools, Evernote will work with such schools on case by case basis to ensure compliance with any applicable laws regarding the collection of information from minors.

I’m not a lawyer, so I am not going to make any further interpretation of the terms as they stand, but I think it is a positive move to attempt to address the use of Evernote in schools, and any possible confusion or misinterpretations of the previous terms and conditions that were not specifically aimed at the use of Evernote in schools.

I am sure that there are already teachers out there that are already using Evernote with students under 13 because they have had parents set up the accounts in their names for students to use, or parents have signed off on generic school created accounts, but with these new guidelines, educators have a clearer vision of what is and is not acceptable in order to comply with legal requirements and Evernote’s  own terms and conditions.

So, what do you think about the new guidelines for using Evernote in Schools with those under 13? Does your school use Evernote with students who are under 13? How do you get around the legal implications of such a move, and would you be willing to share any of the documentation you send out to parents about this? Please share any feedback below.