Saturday, April 14, 2018

18 Free Image Sites and Tools for Schools

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it might also be worth a thousand dollars if your school gets hit with a copyright violation claim. This happens to schools every year as students or teachers inappropriately use an image that they do not have the rights to.

Thankfully this does not have to be the case as there are loads of high quality pictures that can be used in school projects without any licensing concerns. These can include images that are released under creative commons, or are in the public domain, or simply are copyright-free. Of course depending on the license, it may still be necessary to cite where the image came from to provide proper attribution (and it can be a good practice to do even if not required).

There are many sites and tools that can help educators and students find free photos, clipart, icons, and more. See below for a list of many of these, and be sure to share your suggestions for other resources to add to this collection.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Googley Poem Projects for National Poetry Month (or any time of year)

April is the time of year
For kids to write a poem.
There's loads of fun activities
Here for you to show 'em.

Google tools can be used
To make the perfect rhyme,
With templates, tools, and writing prompts
To save your students time.

Draggable Drawings, random Sheets,
And Google Docs highlighting
Will give your students inspiration
For their creative writing.

So look below to find out more,
Then get your students on it,
Writing their ode, haiku, free verse,
Their ballad or their sonnet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Free Tech Curriculum for all Subjects with Google's Applied Digital Skills

What skills do our students need to be successful in their future? What skills do adults need to be competitive in the job market?

Although we can certainly give a wide range of answers, one theme would likely be common:

To be successful, students and adults need technology skills and the ability to apply them in practical ways in daily life, in learning opportunities, and in their jobs.

These skills might include:
  • Budgeting for expenses
  • Creating a resume
  • Planning an event
  • Managing a project
  • Researching and writing on a topic
  • Making a presentation

But how do people develop these needed skills? One excellent option is Google's Applied Digital Skills program. This is a totally free, online curriculum, with engaging videos and practical projects that teach technology skills to students (middle and high school) as well as adult learners.

In this post we will take a look at four topics: "What is Applied Digital Skills?", "What is in the curriculum?",  "What is the instructor experience?", and "What is the student experience?". Also, see below for details about several free trainings I will be leading in the coming months to help educators get up and going with the program.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Springtime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings

Spring is here, and April is National Poetry Month, so what better time to have your students work on their creative writing skills with a Springtime-themed writing activity.

In the past I have shared Google Drawing templates for students to create drag-and-drop "magnetic" poetry with a winter-theme as well as for Valentine's Day.

This time I have updated the template for Springtime. Just like before, doing this activity with technology such as Google Drawings provides many benefits:
  • No limit on the quantity of words provided. Just copy and paste more of them as needed.
  • Great tech skills practice with dragging and dropping and copying and pasting.
  • Ability to edit the words provided if needed.
  • Ability to add your own words.
  • Easy collaboration with others.
  • Easy to share or download your final creation.
  • No pieces to get lost.
  • It’s free!
See below to get your free copy of the Springtime Magnetic Poetry template to use with your students (or yourself) however you want, as well as directions on how to use it.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Copy Comments to Google Classroom Docs and Slides

Several months ago I shared a blog post about "How to Force a Docs Copy WITH Pre-Loaded Comments to Help your Students". The post explained a URL trick you can use to not only make a copy of a document, but to also copy any comments you have made in the Doc.

This can also be a creative way to provide additional resources, links, and assistance to your students in their projects. Instead of just getting a copy of a worksheet, HyperDoc, study guide, or other document, students can also have comments pre-loaded into their copy of the document. These comments can provide them with:
  • Additional directions
  • Hyperlinks to resources
  • Voice recordings from the teacher
  • A checklist of items for the student to resolve
  • And more

The only drawback was this trick does not work in Google Classroom. So if you use Classroom to push out copies of Docs or Slides to students, there was no way to also copy the comments during that process.

Until now…

See below for details on a great new Chrome extension that lets you copy comments for Docs and Slides when making copies through a Classroom assignment.

What's New in Google - March 2018

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from March 2018, and see great ideas and resources!

Because the end of the month fell during Spring Break for most all of our schools, we did not hold our normal monthly Google User Meeting. However, I still wanted to share out all of the new updates from the month, so I have included them below.

We will be back on track with live Google Hangout meetings at the end of April. The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below for all of the updates from March 2018 for G Suite for Education.

Monday, March 26, 2018

12 Terrific Podcasts to Learn Something New Everyday

As lifelong learners, we should always be looking for ways to learn something new everyday. One of my favorite tools for this is podcasts.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well. If there was an "Eric Curts Bingo Game" one of the squares would be:
  • Eric says "Speaking of that topic, I was just listening to a podcast recently that talked about that, and I learned…"

For what it's worth, some of the other squares would probably be:
  • Eric drinks a Coke Zero.
  • Eric tells you about a movie or TV show you JUST HAVE TO SEE.

Back to podcasts though… I have blogged about podcasts before, including 11 of my favorite podcasts that deal specifically with Educational Technology. I would encourage you to check out that post to see that list of recommendations. However, podcasts can be a great way for you, and your students, to learn information from a wider range of topics.

At last count, my podcast app indicates that I am currently subscribed to 155 podcasts. Now I certainly can't listen to all of those, but they provide me with new options everyday to learn something new. In this blog post I would like to share some of my favorite podcasts for learning new information. These can be great for your own personal growth, to bring into class and incorporate into a lesson, or for your students to use for their own learning.

Note: Some of these podcasts can have episodes that deal with more mature topics, but the hosts are always good about mentioning that early in the episode if that is the case.