Newest Features in Screencastify

Screencastify is one of my go-to tools for screen recording because it is so easy to use and uploads to Google Drive or YouTube automatically. The free version allows you to record video up to ten minutes. 

The extension recently had an update that now allows the recorder to highlight important areas on the screen with a mouse pointer or pen feature. Here is a quick video that will show you the latest updates. 

If your Screencastify hasn't made the update you can right click on the Chrome extension, remove from Chrome and then re-add in from the web store. 

The new tab tools (mouse pointer and pen) work on the majority of websites. If you start recording and the tools don't appear you know you have found one of those websites where the tools are not enabled. 

Using Collections in TweetDeck to Save Tweets

TweetDeck is the perfect tool for following along during a Twitter chat because it allows you to build columns to keep track of the chat feed, notifications, mentions, home feed, etc.

If you have ever participated in a twitter chat then you know how hard it can be to check out the resources shared and keep up with the chat. There are many different methods for 'saving' the resources shared. I personally use the collections feature in TweetDeck to gather those resources to review at a later time.

Here is how to add a collection and start saving those wonderful resources people are sharing. 

Step 1: Click on Add Column

Step 2: Click on Collections

Step 3: Click on Create Collection

Step 4: Name Collection

Step 5: Check the Collection Name and Click Done

Create a Custom Search Engine for Your Students

As more and more classrooms are moving in the digital age, teachers are encouraging students to conduct research online. After all textbooks are becoming outdated the minute they are printed. While the internet is great for finding answers it can also be a daunting experience for students.  Custom Search Engine is the perfect way for teachers to control which websites the students are directed to when conducting a search. 

Custom Search Engine should not be used for everything, as teaching students how to decipher the online world of information is important. With that said, there are times when you want to guide students into a more focused search. 

Below will show you how to create a custom search engine in five easy steps.

Step 1: Open the Custom Search Engine website. 

Step 2: Enter sites students can pull information from
 Step 3: Name the search
Step 4: Click Create

Step 5: Get the public URL and share with students

Here is what students see when they click on the teacher's custom search link:

Participate Learning - One Stop Shop to Find, Collect, and Share Digital Resources

As an educational technologist, I am always looking for new tools to learn and then share with educators. To find digital resources, I search online, read blog posts, and scour through social media. I save the resources using the Tweetdecks collection feature, Pocket, or Citable, so when time permits I could review the tool. I then share the resources via my blog, website, email, social media, etc. The process is quite daunting and takes a great amount of time and effort. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but until now I didn't have a very efficient method for my madness.  

Participate Learning, is a free website that allows educators to search, collect and share digital resources all in one location.  Quickly search the websites database for digital resources by keyword, content, topic, or grade level. 

You can narrow your search down by price, type, and/or grade level in order to find tools that will work for you and your students. Read reviews of the digital resources by Participate Learning experts. 

Gather the resources you find into collections that can be shared via link, email, embed code or through social media. Easily add additional web resources or upload files, photos or videos into your collections. I use the Participate Learning Chrome Extension to bookmark the resources I find, so I can easily add them to my collections. Control who has access to your collections by changing the visibility setting. Everything that I used to do with multiple tools can now be done with Participate Learning.

Here is one of the collections I am currently building around Creativity Tools.

In addition, you can add collaborators to your collections in order to build a collection of resources together. Now team/departments can create one collection for their students or the curriculum department can create a collection for teachers. 

If you are interested in learning more, please check out this brief overview of Participate Learning

Participate Learning should be a go-to website for any educator looking to curate digital resources for themselves and their students. Happy curating!

Use Crafty Text Extension to Project Text Bigger

Crafty Text Chrome Extension makes text appear bigger in the center of your screen. It works on top of any website. 

Click on the Crafty Text extension, enter text into pop-up, hit enter, and voilĂ 

Need to project a shortened URL? Use the Chrome Extension to create the URL and then paste the address into Crafty Text. Now everyone can see it!

Mash-up: Student Created Animated Dictionaries

I just learned about a new website from Bruce Mercer, called SumoPaint. It is free, online photoshop style website. I love combining tools to create new unique learning experiences and when I saw what SumoPaint could do, I instantly knew this would be great combined with GIFs. 

SumoPaint, combined with Google Slides and the MakeGif Video Capture Chrome Extension, will allow students to create animated dictionaries. What a great way for students to take ownership of their learning by creating individual animated dictionaries. You could also turn it into group or whole class collaborative unit dictionary, if limited on devices.  

Here is a quick video showing you some examples and the steps I took to create the slides. 

Another option: If you find SumoPaint to be too challenging,  you can have the students create word art on the Google slide, fill with transparent, and make the line weight a high pixel. It won't have the same look, but you would remove the Sumo Paint step. 

Implementation Ideas:
  • Create a dictionary for each unit, assign in Classroom, and collaboratively as a class have students built based on unit vocabulary.
  • Group students and assign various roles (example: GIF Maker, Word Maker, Definer).
  • Have students collaboratively create a whole class animated dictionary.
  • Have students create individual dictionaries and share with one another.