In another somewhat futile attempt to reduce the backlog of resources I want to share, I’m starting this weekly “Ed Tech Digest” post where I’ll share three or four links I think are particularly useful and related to…ed tech:
I’ve previously posted several times about how much I love theShadow Puppet app— there isn’t anything out there that’s an easier tool for creating a quick audio-narrated slideshow. It’s perfect for English Language Learners. Recently, the company behind Shadow Puppet has just released another new and free educational app that looks like it could be very useful. It’s calledSeesaw, and basically lets students easily create digital portfolios that can be shared with teachers and parents. It’s free for teachers and students, and has a free and paid version for parents.
In order to be able to use it for voice or video calling, however, you still have to download a plugin. Much to my surprise, however, my school computer, which has a zillion restrictions on what can and cannot be downloaded, let me do it.
This can come in quite handy now for teachers whose districts restrict software downloads, and could make it easier for class conversations with authors, other classes, etc.
I’m a bit skeptical of the effectiveness of these kind of online test programs for anyone but the most motivated student, but I may very well be wrong. It might be helpful to my IB students. At least, except for an initial introductory one, it seems free of most of their awful usual Khan videos.
While Expeditions can be used on devices already in the classroom, they come alive with Google Cardboard. Our pilot kit is a collection of all the hardware needed to go on Expeditions in full virtual reality — a tablet for the guide, VR viewers for each student, a speaker to provide ambient sounds and a durable box to transport, charge, and store it all. We know many schools don’t have great Internet service (or any at all) so we built Expeditions to work without it. The kit includes a router that allows Expeditions to run over its own local Wi-Fi network so there’s no buffering, dropped connections or lengthy loading times.
It’s unclear to me if they’re making these “pilot kits” available for free or if schools have to pay for them. It seems like the Cardboard viewers cost about $20 each, though Google also makes the designs available so really ambitious teachers could have students create them. However, since Google introduced a new Cardboard version yesterday, I don’t know if the new designs are on their site or if those are for the older kind.
I wouldn’t want to deal with having to make them, and I’m hopeful they will be making the kit, or at least the Cardboard viewers, free to schools.
Real-world trips can’t be beat but, if you’re going to go on a virtual one, it seems like “Expeditions” is going to be the coolest way to go….