Create bookmark collections with your class – or just yourself!

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I am newly in love. With Wakelet. You can create groups (“Politics” – “Differentiated Learning” – whatever you want!) and then, as you come across interesting articles or websites online, you can use the handy Wakelet extension to add them to your collection! But it’s not only bookmarks you can save – here’s a (partial?) list:

  • Links
  • Images
  • PDFs
  • YouTube videos
  • Tweets
  • Facebook & Instagram posts
  • Google files of any sort (docs, sheets, etc.)
  • Spotify or Soundcloud playlists
  • Flipgrid responses
  • Screencast recordings (on your favorite screencasting tool)

Students can create groups as they work on projects together, or you can make a class group and allow everyone to add to it. I made a sample group here for the Crossroads satire edition.

Let me know if you have questions, or check out their help site!

Hipster Google 2 has dropped!

 

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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!

Focus on the video…not the comments

noun_645938_ccWe 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.

Join student Google Classroom for more tech tips!

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Did you know that students have their own tech tips page? I also maintain a Google Classroom page for them, and send out weekly tips they might like. If you want to receive these tips too, please feel free to  join their Classroom page! (Join code: 7xykjq3) The info is mostly different than what I share here. For example, below is a tip I sent them yesterday. Feel free to sign up!

This one goes out to the people who like pretty, shiny paper products. If you’re a visual person, here are two calendar options you may enjoy:

The first, Artful Agenda, looks like your typical whimsical planner, but it’s on your computer (or phone) and integrates with Google Drive. What I like about it are the to-do lists, the drag-and-drop feature for appointments or tasks, and (look, I’m baring my soul here) the stickers. It does cost money, and there are no plans to make it free for students, but I have a referral code? The web version works great, or there’s an iPhone app, too. (Android coming soon.)

The second, Palu, doesn’t have a lot of information available, but it’s a calendar app that allows you to type OR draw. I downloaded it in December, and use it to track things with just colorful symbols that I sketch with my non-artistic claws, but I really like it. (What am I tracking? DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.) This one is free!

 

 

How to add folders or documents that have been shared with you to your Google Drive

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A lot of times, I create folders for my journalism students where they can submit miscellaneous documents that I don’t want to collect through Google Classroom. I share the folder with these students by providing a link to it, and they are able to access it when they click the link, but when I ask them to return to the folder a week later…they have no idea how they got there.

If someone shares a document or folder with you that you’re pretty sure you’re going to need to reference again, add it to your Google Drive! It won’t make you the owner, unless the person doing the sharing set the permissions that way, but it will make it accessible whenever you need it.

This quick handout tells you how!

Use Sorc’d to save and share online information

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I often encounter websites that contain information I’d like to share with my class at some point in the future. An easy way to catalog and store that information is by using the Sorc’d extension and add-on. After installing Sorc’d to your Chrome browser and to your Google Docs (see this how-to page for directions – it’s easy!), you’re ready to use it whenever the mood strikes! Here’s a quick video that shows me saving something I read in an NPR story: