Hipster Google 2: More Google Tools You Probably Never Heard Of is the sequel to the popular-in-edtech-circles Hipster Google. There are twenty-two Google-based ideas in this post, but there’s something for everyone! Music teachers! Science teachers! Math teachers! Humanities teachers! ALL THE TEACHERS. My two favorites are Just a Line, an augmented reality app for your phone (iOS or Android) that lets you draw on your environment, and LIFE Tags, which gives students quick access from the LIFE magazine photo database from 1936-2000. (In my heart, I lived through World War II and the Great Depression. My favorite periodical is Reminisce magazine.) Set aside a few minutes to explore here! Your students will thank you!
This is a great video about how students can cheat on assessments – even if you’re using Google Forms. Learn how to use Forms more proactively after watching this video. *You will need this form open in another window as you watch – to practice what he’s explaining.*
We all know that the comments section under a YouTube video is a dangerous place. If you’re showing a quick video in class, here are four ways to ensure that your students’ attention is focused on what you want them to see – not words you don’t want them to learn in your presence.
Safe YouTube allows you to share YouTube videos with your class by pasting the video link on the Safe YouTube site and then sharing their link. Students won’t see suggested videos or comments, but they will see any ads that appear (unless they’ve installed an Ad Blocker!). Unlike other similar services, this one is free.
Toggle YouTube Contents is an extension that gets to work when you open up a YouTube video: the comments section will not automatically show. You CAN read comments, if you wish, by clicking “Show Comments.” The great thing about this extension is that you don’t have to remember to turn it on – it will always engage when you pull up YouTube.
Turn off the Lights darkens your screen so that only the YouTube video (or any video!) is easy to see. This is a slightly more robust app, though, as you can select an option to have this feature on all websites you visit – so if you want your students to focus on just part of the Parts of the Frog website you’ve pulled up, you click where they should focus and dim the rest of the site.
Other sites exist that will only show the video – and none of the other nonsense surrounding it. One is Clean Video Search – type your request into the search box, and when your video appears, it plays with a blank background. This is a good one for sharing YouTube links with your students to view independently.
Pocket Points started as an app that encouraged college students to stay off their phones while on campus by offering incentives that grew in value the longer they stay phone-free. Now it’s available for anyone – and it even has an entire team devoted to helping teachers use the app in their classroom, where the incentives are either monetary or teacher-selected (free homework pass, etc.) I downloaded the app and joined, but don’t have a class to test it out with this semester. If you’re interested in trying it out, please let me know! I can guide you (so far, then we’ll guide each other!).
One of the (many) new websites I learned about at ICE this week is a game created by a high school student called Gimkit. It’s very similar to Quizlet Live in that students compete on a leader board as they progress through the game, but it differs in that they can use strategies to place bets and earn rewards as they get answers correct. It’s kind of like the part of Jeopardy! where the contestants have to decide how much to wager on themselves (and I would lose all of my money if I were playing because that part is beyond me). But students will love the thrill of accumulating points by taking chances! The video below is from a Spanish teacher who takes you through both the teacher set up (very easy) and the student screen as he plays. If you’re giving it a try, please invite me in! Maybe someone can teach me how to bet!
Teachers from all disciplines will probably find an engaging movie or TV show clip to spark interest in new lessons from ClassHook. I just learned more about symmetry than I did in high school geometry by watching their clip from “Isle of Dogs.” (Apologies to Mr. Callahan. It was me, not you.) Browse by grade level, content type, or playlist. Maybe it’s not 100% educational, but all the clips are current, short, and videos of any sort are definitely up your students’ alley.