Friday, August 29, 2014

ViewPure - a Clean YouTube Experience

The title of this post describes this site perfectly.  Yes, watch YouTube videos without the ads, comments, and suggested videos.  Great for the classroom.

Prevent accidental inappropriate suggested videos suddenly appearing when showing YouTube videos with your class.

If you create hyperlinks to YouTube videos inside a lesson, link to ViewPure instead.

If you want to search for a video in front of your class to demonstrate an on the fly quick point, searching ViewPure with Strict Safe Search provides much more comfort and appropriate results.

Try ViewPure, as this is a great tool for your classroom.

Friday, May 30, 2014

EDpuzzle : An Interactive Video Resource

A lesson containing a video I've facilitated many of times typically went like this:  teacher will project the video in front of the class as the entire class watches the video, with those in back squinting because they forgot their glasses, in a darkened room because the lumens on a projector aren't strong enough to provide a bright enough video thus students start nodding.  Wake up I say. 

What about assigning videos that are interactive, where students watch them at their own pace with periodic engaging questions and activities throughout the video? 

EDpuzzle is one of several online free tools that allow teachers to create these video environments for their students.

Teachers can choose to import videos from a wide range of websites hosting videos, or even upload your own video if you show choose.

Whichever video you select, you are do not need to force the students to watch the entire video, but just the portion that is meaningful for your lesson using the crop tool.

You may insert your own audio intro and/or concluding remarks at the end of the video.  Maybe you would like to record over a video using your own voice.  This creates a more personalized feel of the video for your students.

You may insert questions, either multiple choice or free response, at any point within the video.  These questions can be self grading, or graded at the end by the teacher.

Teachers set up a class, then students create an account and join the class.  The teacher assigns video tasks to the class, and students in that class complete those tasks.  All work is saved so the teacher can monitor student understanding and progress through the material.

For a higher engaging type of assignment teachers can have students find a video themselves and use the appropriate tools, crop, add audio, or embed questions to demonstrate their understanding of a topic and submit this finished video back to the teacher.  The teacher can then save this video into their My Video section, and share it back out with the rest of the class.

EDpuzzle is a great tool if you are looking to flip your classroom, or just to provide more engaging personalization of videos for students in your regular classroom.  Teachers can embed their video lessons onto other platforms, including Edmodo, Schoology, Moodle, and more.

Another interactive video resource to check out would be eduCanon.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Virtually Attending a Tech Conference Using Twitter

Twitter is a great resource to obtain information shared by millions of others from all over the world.  Conferences are great events to visit as you network with peers in your profession.  However, they can be costly for many of us.  I say check out conferences via Twitter.

Most conferences have a Twitter hashtag.  The conversations shared and resources provided are endless.  You can take part in these conversations whether you are at the conference or not; or simply kick back and peruse through the posts as they scroll by.

What if you aren't a Twitter user?  No problem, you can still read through all the posts by accessing Twitter search at and searching for the hashtag of interest.

A great instructional strategies conference I’ve attended for several years is IntegratED in Portland, OR, usually held in late February.  The hashtag they use is #ipdx14.

If you were to search through #ipdx14 feeds you would find the following:

  • A post referencing the IntegratED environment
    I love that everyone has same name badge (no difference for presenters) Sends message we are ALL here to learn and share

Find a conference and follow the hashtag in Twitter, or go back and review the feed afterwards.  There are great opportuntities to learn new ideas towards improving your craft. At a fraction of the cost to physically attend.

Other hashtags of conferences

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Snagit - Screenshots and Screencasting on Chrome

TechSmith Snagit for Google Chrome is a handy free extension and app that allows nice integration between taking screenshots or screencasting and your Google Drive account.  This is great for those that utilize the Chrome browser or have Chromebooks.

For screenshots, the extension allows you to choose the section of the screen you would like a image of. Once the image is taken there is then the option of using a variety of annotation tools and a variety of color options.  The image then saves into the Snagit App library as well as into a folder labeled "TechSmith" in the Google Drive account.

The screencasting tool is in the Snagit App.  By pressing the + symbol, a new recording will begin, giving you the option of recording the screen or a specific tab.  Adjustments to audio can be made in the settings of the app.  When finished, the recording can be uploaded to youtube and saved into the Google Drive account in the TechSmith folder.  

To make Snagit work, you must install both the extension and the app from the Google Chrome Store. There are a few settings in your chrome browser that may need to be adjusted, which TechSmith does a great job explaining in the two video chops below.  Original Hang Out from TechSmith announcing the new screen recording feature can be found HERE (15 minutes total viewing time). 

Granted, if I am using my Windows 7 computer, I do have access to the snipping tool in the accessories folder for quick screenshots.  The benefits of using the snagit extension over the snipping tool are the extra annotation tools to mark on the image with and the fact that it is automatically saved into a folder in my Google Drive. I use my Google Drive for a lot and this makes pulling in images easy.    

Friday, March 21, 2014

Google has a Timer

Need a timer for your classroom?  No need for additional software.  No need for the clock under the document camera.

Just use Google.

In the Google search bar type in "set timer for 5 minutes" and press return, or use whatever time you'd like.

Options include to stop, and go full screen.

When timer is finished, Google will play an alarm.

A perfect easy to use clean tool for your classroom environment.

Monday, March 17, 2014

No Time for Leprechaun Traps?

Did Leprechaun Traps fit into your lesson plans last week?  No?  Why not?  What can students learn from making a leprechaun trap?

It's the perfect project to hit the Four C's; creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, as well as hitting on some key CCSS and teaching engineering and science.  Lots of ideas are on the web, from kindergarten through higher grades.  Here are just a few I came across:

So if you missed out on this year, put it in your plans to revisit for next year.  
Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cue Up Videos Using VideoNotes

Have you taught a class and had plans on using a video for part of the content? Yet the problem was you wanted to use a 30 second clip inside a 20 minute video. Thus, you get it all cued up ahead of time. Without needing to refresh the browser, this ends up working, until you need to repeat the cuing up for the next period.

What is is an online tool that collaborates with your Google Drive, so all your videos and annotated notes are saved in your Google Drive. creates it's own folder in your Google Drive, so you can share your folder, or just a particular notes file, like any other Google Document.

The steps to using this tool are quite easy. Load a video, start watching the video, and when you type a note on the side the time is automatically recorded. Thus, after your video has been noted, you can simply click on any noted line and the video starts playing at that specified time.

Who can use this tool?

This tool can be great for teachers that would like to show portions of videos for a lesson. A teacher can load more than one video in the notes file, and by clicking on the line, the chosen video at that time slot is cued up and ready to play.

An administrator can video a lesson completed by a teacher, then go in and create a notes file shared with the teacher containing comments about what the teacher did positive, and what they need to work on in the future.

A coach can record a game and create a notes file for athletes to watch and learn from what they did or didn't do well.

Finally, have students create a video notes file which contains cues to their research for a particular project, and the teacher would have an easy record verifying student information.