Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Generate More Ideas with IdeaBoardz

If there is one thing that I have learned during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it is the skill of using technology to collaborate across distances. What tech tools are available for students and staff to collaborate inside and outside of the classroom? 

In one PD session that I recently gave, a participant told me about a free team collaboration tool called IdeaBoardz. This tool is amazingly powerful and simple! Participants can brainstorm ideas, gather information, reflect, and even retrospect. There are built-in tools for providing feedback in the form of "likes." 

This could be the perfect tool for comparing and contrasting topics in a class, brainstorming PD ideas for the next faculty meeting, or ending class with a reflection. 

How do you create your own IdeaBoardz? Check out my video below. 






Friday, April 23, 2021

I'm a Puzzle: An Awesome Tool to Create Your Own Online Puzzles

 Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential qualities for our students today. Puzzles are a great way to help students sharpen these skills. 

I'm a Puzzle is a great site that you can use to piece together a custom puzzle for students. Whether you are giving students a preview about a topic or want to put together a clue for a scavenger hunt, this a great free resource for you to use!

Step 1: Upload your Picture

Upload your favorite JPEG or GIF file. You can also make your own custom picture using a tool like Google Drawings.

Step 2: Select the Game Mode

Do you want traditional puzzle pieces? Or do you want something more untraditional like hearts, stars, and honeycombs? 



Step 3: Select Your Game Difficulty

How difficult do you want to make this puzzle for students? It's up to you! If you make it too difficult, you may lose your student's attention! 


Step 4: Share Your Game

Share your puzzle with your students via a link! This is a great way to keep students engaged and excited as the school year comes to a close.  Click here to access my game! 








Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Helperbird: Your ALL-in-ONE Accessibility Chrome Extension

 I am a big fan of accessibility tools for students because it helps reduce learning barriers and provide access to learning. One of my favorite tools right now is a free Chrome Extension called Helperbird. Whether you need speech to text, text-to-speech, Opendyslexic font, highlight tools, note-taking, clutter removal, Immersive Reader, etc., this tool has all of your favorite accessibility tools rolled into one! 

There is a free and paid version of this application; however, the free version has many great tools to get you started in making your classroom more accessible! Want to see how it works? Check out my video on how to use some of the free features of Helperbird!










Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Create Your Own Custom Background in Classkick Using Google Drawings

 Did you know that you can create your own custom backgrounds for Classkick using Google Drawings? Classkick allows you to create a custom background using any PDF, JPEG, or PNG file. Want to learn how? Check out my video below:


Thursday, April 8, 2021

5 Best Practices for Creating Engaging Screencasts

I'm sure by now you might be familiar with the term screencasting. If you are not, it is a way of recording a video with your device's screen and/or webcam. In fact, if you watch my tutorial below, you are watching a screencast! 


There are a variety of screencasting tools out there; however, it makes sense for you to choose the one that will best fit the needs of yourself and your audience. Here are a few of my favorites:

How do you create engaging screencasts for students? Watch my video below for 5 best practices for creating engaging screencasts



Wednesday, April 7, 2021

How to Create a Multimedia Text Set (MMTS)

 Have you ever used a Multimedia Text Set? If you have ever seen one, you may think that it is another version of a HyperDoc, but there is a big difference. HyperDocs are digital lesson plans, based on pedagogy, collaboration, creation, and critical thinking. 

Multimedia Text Sets


A Multimedia Text Set (MMTS) is essentially a document containing links on a topic and uses multiple media types, such as videos, audio clips, articles, etc. to help students consume and explore a topic. Check out this Solar System MMTS example

Brain research tells us that students need multiple representations to understand a topic because we are using our background experiences, senses, and perceptions to form meaning. You might do this all of the time when you provide students with video clips, simulations, podcasts, and articles. However, a MMTS provides a proactive and structured tool for infusing different forms of media into learning. 

How Do You Create One? 

There are many great templates out there! Berg's 21st Century tools has several great examples and templates. I took a stab at trying to create my own Multimedia Text Set (MMTS) for a graduate course that I am creating. Watch the following video to learn more and see my first attempt!