I remember the day that I walked into an elementary art classroom and saw that the students were hard a work learning how to sculpt and manipulate clay. But the teacher was not at the front of the classroom leading the students in the lesson, rather it was a video from YouTube. While the “virtual” teacher continued with the lesson, the “real” was free to make the rounds in her classroom and provide students with 1-on-1 individualized support and direction.
YouTube continues to grow at an amazing pace with videos on a wide variety of topics. Common Sense Education has put together a list of their Top YouTube Channels to Boost Classroom Lessons that teachers could use both in and outside of the classroom.
In addition to their list, here are a couple of channels that I’ve used to support my Digital Citizenship lessons:
Brooke Gibbs – Author/speaker and authority on bullying in the schoolyard and workplace.
Bystander Revolution – Simple acts of kindness, courage, and inclusion anyone can use to take the power out of bullying.
In a previous post I talked about how to setup offline access to your files inside of Google Drive. Now Google has added several features to make offline access clearer and give users more control over what files they will have access to offline.
Once enabled, Google Drive offline will make certain files available for access even when you are offline. But, it will not make ALL of your files available offline. To see which files/folders are currently available offline:
Move your cursor to the top-right corner of the Google Drive window and find a checkmark icon labeled, Ready for offline.
Click the checkmark icon to reveal a drop-down menu with the option to toggle Offline preview on/off.
When ON, icons that are grayed out are NOT currently available offline. Remember that only recently accessed Docs, Sheets, and Slides files will be made available offline by default.
Manually mark files available offline
If you would like to permanently make a file available offline, you can do so by right+clicking on any Google Doc, Sheet, or Slides file. From the context menu select the toggle switch next to Available offline. Once enabled, a checkmark icon will appear to the right of the filename denoting that this file will always be available offline.
Google Earth continues to add great modules to their Voyager tool. One of the most recent additions is a series of 31 U.S. National Parks. Each park location comes loaded with multiple points of interest for you to visit. Easily switch from map view to street view at each of the destinations.
Last week WeVideo announced that they will now provide users with the ability to export audio-only projects, essentially allowing students to create their own digital radio shows or “podcasts.”
(NOTE: This option is not available under the “free version” of WeVideo, but is included with any WeVideo plan.)
Why is it important?
Giving student the choice to create movies to demonstrate their understanding provides for so much potential, creativity, and fun, but at the same time can eat up a lot of class time to allow them to produce a quality product. Creating a podcast can be done in less time because there are no visuals to worry about, and at the same time because there are no visuals students need to pay more attention to the quality of their content to ensure it communicates their knowledge and comprehension of the material.
How it works
When a project is ready to be rendered, click the FINISH menu option at the top of the WeVideo editor.
On the FINISH page, next to “Export” you will now see two options: Video with audio and Audio only. Audio only will export the project as a .mp3 file.
You can export prior projects that contain visual components as audio only files. This could be an interesting test to see how well the audio components alone work to support the project’s message, or show how powerful using appropriate visuals can be to the telling of a story.
Last week Google announced three changes they’ve made to the Classwork tab inside of Google Classroom designed to make finding and organizing information easier.
New attachments display with preview
All attachments to a post will now be given more space for the file name. For those that still are not displayed in full, hovering over the file will display the entire title. In addition, attachments will once again display a thumbnail preview of the file/link, making it easier for users to quickly identify the content they want to access. These features also apply to how posts are displayed on the Stream tab.
Filter by Topic is BACK!
You can again filter the Classwork page by topic using the topics list displayed in the top-left corner of the page. When filtering by topic you will see:
Each post expanded to show the entirety of text entered in the directions area of the post.
All attachments added to the post.
Turned-in, Assigned, and Graded counts for teachers.
Post status for students (Assigned, Turned In, Missing, Returned, and Graded).
Clicking on the “All topics” heading will return the Classwork page to its original layout.
New items post to the TOP
Starting with all newly created classes, when using the ‘Create’ option to make a new Assignment, Question, Material, or Reusing an old post, Classroom will add that post to the TOP of the Classwork page instead of at the bottom. NOTE: This feature is not available in current classes to: “…prevent this change from impacting classes you’ve already organized.”
AirDrop is a feature built-in to most Apple devices that allows users to easily transfer files from one device to another. I use these service all the time to quickly and easily transfer photos I’ve taken on my iPhone to my Apple laptop or even larger video files from the schools’ tripod-mounted iPad. However, with any file sharing service there is the potential for misuse and abuse. Being aware of the positive and negative uses is part of what it means to be a good digital citizen.
Common Sense Media has put together a parent’s guide to using AirDrop and the things to look out for when it comes to its use by kids. As a Digital Citizenship teacher, I am a firm advocate of educating students on the positive ways to use technology instead of denying them access. However there are situations where this action may be warranted and the article includes directions on how to “turn off” AirDrop on a kid’s device. For me personally, I have set up AirDrop so that I can use it but that only users who are listed in my Contacts can see my device.
Earlier this month WeVideo announced that they are providing integration with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. What does this mean?
Users can link these files from their Google Drive to WeVideo projects.
Once the files are linked to a project, users can access them from both the Projects tab as well as directly inside the WeVideo editor. These Google files can be edited directly from within the WeVideo interface and the changes are automatically saved back to Google Drive.
WeVideo will respect the privacy settings set in Google Drive, so if a project member does not have access to the file in Google Drive then they will not have access in WeVideo either. Project members can request access to a file from within the WeVideo interface.
For more information, please check out this post from the WeVideo Blog.
Get detailed step-by-step directions on how to setup Linked Resources from Google Drive by referring to this WeVideo Support Article.
Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego is a fresh take on the classic detective game from the 1990’s. As a newly graduated “gumshoe” from the ACME Detective Agency, you are given your first assignment: track down the elusive Carmen Sandiego who has recently stolen the Crown Jewels of London! You will need to use all of your globe-trotting skills, and an awareness of Google Earth, in order to catch this slippery crook!
How it works
Carmen Sandiego is a built-in component of the Google Earth app and can be accessed from the Voyager option in the main menu for both Chrome and mobile versions.
The interface is pretty basic, with a magnifying glass button to help you search for clues and interview witnesses. Each stage provides multiple locations (between three and four) to investigate. Once you have an idea of where to go to next, you can click on the plane button to book your flight.
This is just the first in what will hopefully be a series of Carmen Sandiego adventures for us to solve. Already in the works are two additional capers: “The Tutankhamen’s Mask Caper” and “The Keys to the Kremlin Caper!”
What could be better than having someone read a story to you? How about having that someone be an astronaut who reads a story to you FROM SPACE?! Enter Story Time From Space.
Story Time From Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation, and contains over a dozen different videos of astronauts aboard the International Space Station reading space-themed children’s books. Each video starts out with a quick introduction to a part of the International Space Station, such as the all important airlock door and the cupola “window observatory” module. Then, as the story begins the videos cut back and forth between the astronaut reader and the book illustrations with a little animation thrown in for fun.
Each video comes with the following information:
Scrolling down the page will provide you with a written synopsis of the story. There is also room for multiple Activity Guides that are “coming soon!” Finally, almost all of the Story Time videos include links to purchase the books from a variety of vendors.
In addition, the foundation is in the process of putting together a playlist of “Science Time Videos.” These will introduce basic scientific concepts that are connected to some of the science experiments that the astronauts have conducted about the International Space Station, so stay tuned!