Thursday, May 31, 2018

Common Sense Education

I was just reviewing some software that a teacher is investigating for game design and it reminded me of what a valuable resource Common Sense Education is. Common Sense Education is a part of, "... the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century." These are the same people who bring us Common Sense Media and have excellent resources on digital citizenship that I've written about before.

If you don't have Common Sense bookmarked, I recommend you do so.  It's an invaluable resource. 

Also, a reminder that you don't need to do all the research yourself.  If you're looking for an app, extension, or other software for your classes, please let me help.  And if you've found something already that you'd like to use, a reminder to check for it on the Tech Request Approvals (and submit it if it's not already there).

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Adding sound to Google Slides

With Grad Challenge presentations upon us, I've been getting asked about how to add sound to Google Slides. While you can't insert audio files directly to Google Slides, you can insert videos (either from YouTube or Google Drive).  So, the trick is to create a "video" that contains the audio you want to hear.  The video can have a still image or just a solid background.  You can create the video in WeVideo or any video editor, as shown below.

When you "finish" your video, save it to Google Drive.  You can then insert the "video" to your slide.  Playing the video will play the audio.  You can even set the video to play automatically when the slide is opened.

In a post earlier this spring, I showed how you can use a similar technique to create voice-overs for Google Slides. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dynamic Landscapes Recap

The 2018 Dynamics Landscapes conference took place this week on Monday and Tuesday at Champlain College. Both teachers and students from CVU participated.  

Peter Langella led a session called Bridging the Gap, Troy Paradee and Amy Wardwell gave a talk called Implementing a Personalized Learning Space in High School and I presented a workshop called Every Single Thing You Can Do With WeVideoCorina Hussey, Colleen Wedge and Adrian Walther were also at the conference.   Here are some of us at lunch on Tuesday.

The theme of this year's conference was Authentic Student Voices.  Three CVU students presented their work to educators (and other students) from around the state at the Innovation Fair.  They all made a big impression on conference attendees.

Mackenzie Fournier: Hands on Learning: From Keyboard to Creation 

Cole Glover: Art through technology

and Willem Hillier: Robots that play musical instruments

Please ask any of us who attended about the conference.  I'm sure we each had our own take-aways.  One that I will share is a reminder about the power of sharing learning beyond the walls of the classroom.  If that resonates with you, let's talk about how we can use tech tools to get your class connected to other classes and/or experts.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Who's using Flipgrid?  If you don't know it, it's a tool for creating discussions around a topic.  Students post short video responses to a prompt.  If you've used VoiceThread in the past, check out Flipgrid, as well.  If anyone has a grid they'd like to share, please let me know.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Powerful simulations

Creating engaging online simulations that give students agency is challenging. I've come across a few that are very powerful (through a course I'm taking).  Here are four that I'd recommend highly:

Spent  (from the Urban Ministries of Durham NC) puts you in the shoes of someone trying to make ends meet with limited resources.  What job should you do?  Where will you live?  What do you do when your car breaks down?  As you make choices, the balance of your savings is shown on the upper left. 

Rebuilding Haiti was created after the 2010 earthquake.  Students learn about the challenges and decisions that government officials, NGOs, and others face and how their choices play out in the future.

Journey to the End of Coal is a web documentary about the coal industry in China in which the viewer plays an active role.

Pirate Fishing puts students in the role of a junior researcher gathering evidence about illegal fishing.

What are other simulations that you use in class?