The Yelp! of apps & extensions

Edshelf is a constantly-updated directory of apps and extensions that is organized by grade level, academic subject, or task (presentations, flashcards, augmented reality, etc.). You’ll get reviews of the apps from educators (which is why I likened it to Yelp!) – and the reviews contain useful information, like whether you need to pay money to use apps, or how easy/hard the learning curve is. There are also “shelves” where people curate their lists of apps, so if you find a like-minded teacher, you can follow him. It’s very user friendly – check it out!

New Google Sites vs. Old Google Sites

noun_310584_ccThe new version of Google Sites is much easier to use, but still very pared down. I found this article that helps to quickly see what’s available in the new version and what isn’t. Like all Google products, they’ll add to it gradually, so don’t be discouraged by things like limited fonts!

Don’t steal photos. Don’t let your students steal photos.

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What do I mean by “stealing photos”?

  • Taking an image from the Internet that isn’t labeled “fair use.”
  • Using a fair use photo without citing it.

It’s not difficult to use online images responsibly, it just means adjusting the way you do things. There’s a page on the #ChromebookPirate website about how to use photos, music, and video without stealing, and there’s one on the student Chromebook Handbook as well.

If we’re not modeling ethical behavior, we can’t expect it of our students.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like for me to come in to your classes to show students how to search and cite fair use photos, please let me know!

But for starters, Photos for Class offers a simple fair use search feature and does the citation right on the photo for you!

Math Teachers: This One’s For You

noun_533103_cc“Math teachers may sometimes feel that their content and specialized symbols aren’t always so easy to transfer over from the convenience of paper and pencil to the uniqueness of a digital environment,” said Eric Curts the author of the Control Alt Achieve, an edtech-themed website.  So he wrote an entry titled “20 Chrome Extensions, Web Apps, and Add-ons for Math. “Some of his suggestions, like Geogebra and Desmos, are apps we already have available for students in their collection of open apps and extensions. But some are new to me – and maybe to you too? Let me know if you’d like for me to add an app/extension to the Chrome Web Store!

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 three 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.

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.