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Wonderscope is an iPad app that uses augmented reality featuring stories that students interact with through voice and touch. Students position animations and interact with story animations by moving their iPads and reading the lines that appear on their screens.



Wonderscope doesn't require students to have any kind of log-in to use the stories in the app. Students simply open the app and tap the story to begin. Once the story is open students have to move around the room to make the animations appear on the screen. If students end up pointing the camera in a direction that isn't sustainable for the entirety of the story (looking at the ceiling, for example) they can reposition the animations. Once the animations appear students read the lines on the screen to unlock each chapter of a story. The animations in the story will talk to the students too. In the first story students pop balloons, position tea cups, and spin ferris wheels as part of the interaction with the stories.




Wonderscope includes one story for free and offers two others through in-app purchases. A fourth story is coming soon and, I presume, it will be available only through in-app purchase. Depending upon the age of your iPad, Wonderscope may not work for you. If you're in the market for a new iPad, Amazon has a great deal on current generation iPads for only $249 (current price as of 4:10pm on December 11th).



Applications for Education

Wonderscope is a great example of the potential for augmented reality to engage students in reading. The free story is fun and cute, but I'm not sure that every elementary school teacher would agree as it does have some funny (to kids) lines about burps and farts. That said, I'm using the app with my toddler (feel free to judge me for letting my daughter laugh at fart and burp jokes).

Whenever I lead a workshop or webinar about classroom video projects I always talk about the importance of respectfully sharing students' videos online. That often leads into discussions about YouTube privacy settings and alternatives to using YouTube to publish students' videos. Recently, I've started share the idea of using Flipgrid to have students share videos that they have made.



Flipgrid is known for its built-in video recording tool. Many people overlook the option to have students upload videos that they have made on other services like WeVideo and iMovie. As long as their videos are less than five minutes long, students can upload them to topics that you create in Flipgrid. Watch my video to see how students can upload videos to Flipgrid topics.




Flipgrid recently introduced "guest mode." Guest mode enables you to invite parents to view a specific Flipgrid topic and students' responses without giving parents access an entire Flipgrid grid. Watch this video to learn how to enable guest mode on a Flipgrid topic.




By combining the upload function in Flipgrid with the guest mode in Flipgrid you can create a private space for students to share their videos and parents to see those videos without exposing the videos to the entirety of the web.



Note, this post is intended for those people who cannot access YouTube in their schools or would prefer not to use it. If you can use YouTube in your school, the "unlisted" setting in YouTube will let you hide videos from public search results. 



Learn more about student video production and sharing in my upcoming course, Video Projects for Every Classroom

This morning I received a question from a viewer of my YouTube channel. The question was about the Google Forms add-on called FormRecycler. The viewer was attempting to use the add-on but was repeatedly getting the following error message, "Error: ReferenceError: "FirebaseApp" is not defined." So I logged into my Google Forms to see if I could repeat the error, sure enough I got the same error. I reached out the developer of FormRecycler, John McGowan, and he replied with the following message:




I just published an update and it was missing a library...I fixed it and pushed out the update but I am waiting on Google to let it go live (they vet every update to ensure their is no malicious code). I hope the fix is live soon! I will respond back when it is :) You should see that it runs about 3-4 times faster with the update and I am adding a lot of new features in the coming weeks.

I'm happy to report that as of this writing (11:52am ET) FormRecycler is once again working as intended without any errors.



If you're wondering what FormRecycler is, it's a Google Forms Add-on that makes it easy to reuse questions from one Google Form into another form. Watch my video to learn how to use it.






If you're new to using Google Forms or any part of G Suite for Education, join my professional development course on the topic. The next class starts on January 7th. 

If you want to keep up with every update that Google makes to G Suite for Education, take a look at the What's New in G Suite? searchable index.



What's New in G Suite? is a table of recent updates and changes to all of the core G Suite products. You can filter the table according to product. The table includes the date of the update, brief description of the update, and a link to read more about the update.



Upcoming G Suite Releases is a table of updates to G Suite products that Google has in development but are not yet available to all users. You can search through that table according to G Suite product. You'll see a brief description of the coming update and the release schedule for it.



Applications for Education

It can be hard to keep up with all of the updates that Google makes to G Suite for Education throughout the year. I try to highlight all of the updates that impact students and teachers directly, but there are many that I don't report on because they affect impact a few users or only affect administrators. If you want to be the first to know when any G Suite for Education product is getting updated, keep an eye on What's New in G Suite? and Upcoming G Suite Releases.

Space Math is a NASA website containing space-themed math lessons for students in elementary school through high school. You can search for lessons according to grade level or mathematics topic. The bulk of the materials seem to be PDFs of directions for carrying out the lesson plans. The exception to that pattern being the middle school (grades 6-8) resources which include the use of some of NASA eClips videos.



The featured lesson plans on the Space Math homepage today are designed to have students use some free apps on their smartphones to record data and learn about sound, light, radiation, and magnetism.



Applications for Education

Each of the Space Math lessons align to different NASA missions. The NASA missions provide the context for the math lessons. That alignment makes Space Math lessons a good option for an integrated science and mathematics lesson.

The winter concert season is upon us in many schools. For some students the experience of being on stage is truly frightening. For others it isn't so scary. This is a good time to bring up this TED-Ed lesson that explains why people get stage fright and how to deal with it.




Applications for Education

Understanding why something happens and accepting it are the first steps to changing it. This TED-Ed lesson could be a great little lesson to share with students in the weeks before they give presentations in your classroom.

As you may know, one of the ways that I keep Free Technology for Teachers running is with the revenue generated through my other site, Practical Ed Tech. On Practical Ed Tech I offer online professional development courses. In January I am hosting three professional development courses on PracticalEdTech.com. Enrollment is limited to 25 people in each course.



Teaching History With Technology

Teaching History With Technology is a series of five live webinars starting on January 8th. Each interactive webinar features practical ideas for using technology to create new, engaging lessons or to update some of your existing “go-to” history lessons. Detailed handouts are provided with every webinar. And if you miss a meeting or you just want to see something again, a recording of the webinars will be available to you too. Register by December 31st to save $15.



Video Projects for Every Classroom

Start the year with this five week webinar series in which you will learn how to create and complete five video projects that can be used in almost any classroom. Whether your students use Chromebooks, iPads, Android, Windows, or Mac, you can do these projects. Making videos gets students excited about polishing their work for others to see. From Kindergarten through high school students can make videos to showcase their skills, knowledge, and creativity. Click here to register and learn more. Register by December 31st to save $15.



Getting Going With G Suite in 2019

Every year this is my most popular online course. It has been updated for 2019 to include all of the latest features of G Suite for Education. This course offers everything you need to know to take advantage of the great things that G Suite offers to teachers and students. Getting Going With G Suite is a five week course covering everything you need to know to integrate all aspects of G Suite for Education including Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Sites into your practice. Click here to learn more and to register. Register by December 31st to save $15.



FAQs



  • Each of these courses is five weeks long. They all start the week of January 7th. 
  • Each course meeting is scheduled for one hour of instruction plus time for Q&A. 
  • You can receive a PD certificate for five hours. 
  • All of the live sessions are recorded so that you can go back and watch them whenever you like. 

Speakd is a free Google Docs add-on that will read your documents aloud. When you have Speakd installed in Google Docs you can open the add-on and press play at any time to hear your document read aloud. Unlike some other text-to-speech tools, Speakd doesn't require you to copy and paste text to hear it read aloud.




Applications for Education

Voice that Speakd uses is very robotic. That said, Speakd could be a good tool for students to use to hear their documents read aloud as part of the editing process before turning in a final submission.

PBS Kids ScratchJr is a PBS Kids-themed version of the popular ScratchJr app. PBS Kids ScratchJr is available as a free iPad app and as a free Android app. The app is designed to help five to eight year old students learn basic programming concepts through a drag-and-drop interface.



Just like the ScratchJr app, on PBS Kids ScratchJr students program a story or game by selecting background settings and characters for each frame of the story. Then in each frame students select the actions that they want their characters to take. Students snap programming pieces together to make characters move and talk in their stories and games.



The difference between PBS Kids ScratchJr and the regular ScratchJr app is found in the character and background choices. In the PBS Kids version students can select backgrounds and characters from some of their favorite PBS Kids programs including Nature Cat, World Girl, and Arthur.



Applications for Education

PBS Kids ScratchJr provides a fun platform through which students can learn programming concepts while animating stories based on some of their favorite PBS Kids characters. Visit the PBS Kids ScratchJr landing page to find resources for teachers getting started with the app or planning how to use it in a K-3 classroom.

This is a guest post from Avra Robinson (@AvraRachel), Director of Online Learning for EdTechTeacher.



When teachers or students begin to explore new digital environments, they often become confused and frustrated because they lack the basic building blocks needed to feel comfortable and proficient - whether it is the vocabulary of the app, toolbars that seem to randomly appear and disappear, or workflow that seemingly defies the laws of organization. However, there are some simple concepts and lessons that can help increase success with technology.



Sometimes when we’ve been teaching concepts for a long time or using tools for what seems like forever, it’s hard to remember what it feels like to just get started. In other words, we have to work really hard to see a lesson through the eyes of a beginner. As a professional development instructor, participants often tell me that they wish someone could just break down some of these basic skills and concepts, not only for them but also for their students.



With that in mind, I decided to create this eBook - 3 Mysteries of Utilizing G Suite with Newbies - to introduce many of the concepts and skills necessary to ease the transition into G Suite for Education. Whether you are a teacher working with students, a technology coach working with teachers, or someone new to Google tools, I hope that exploring the ideas within this book will help you build a strong foundation for future success!




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