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.
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!
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!).
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!
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!
If you’d like students to take a quiz in Google forms, but would like to remove any temptations they may have to click away, use the new setting that Google just rolled out. No need to get Hapara involved for this – it’s built right into the form creation! Read about it in this post from Teaching Forward.