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Posts from the ‘digital storytelling’ Category

21st century social studies: tips, tools, and tricks at #maceks17

It’s day one of #maceks17 and it’s already awesome. Meeting old friends and making new ones. I get the chance to do a couple of things today – help man the ESSDACK booth and do an afternoon session. Excited about both. Hanging out at the table gives me the chance to meet lots of different teachers and hear all sorts of stories about what is working in classrooms.

And spending time with social studies teachers talking about technology?  That’s the sweet spot.

But if you’re reading this, chances are you missed MACE and the afternoon session. I get that. Not everybody gets the chance to hangout with the #maceks17 folks. So if you’re curious about the 21st Century Social Studies: Tip, Tools, & Tricks preso, here’s quick summary of what we talked about: Read more

Top Ten Posts of 2016 #4: Blackout Poetry

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


Okay. I know that movies about teachers rarely tell the whole story. You know the ones I’m talking about – movies like:

black-out-poetry logo

  • Stand and Deliver
  • Freedom Writers
  • Dangerous Minds
  • Mr. Holland’s Opus
  • Lean On Me

They rarely show the hours of grading, the phone calls from parents, IEP meetings, kids throwing up on your shoes, music program practice, endless committees, extra duties, coaching – though there does always seem to be some sort of happy ending.

But ya know . . . I still enjoy ’em. My favorite? Read more

History Nerdfest 2016 Day Three: Using Virtual Reality to Build Content & Empathy

Okay. Some serious History nerd overload going on. It’s Saturday afternoon and I need the Diet Pepsi to kick in. But some amazingly awesome stuff today – started with the #sschat Unconference and some of my favorite Twitter folks, and then three sessions on gaming, using primary sources, and integrating tech into social studies.

Plus I got to meet Stephanie Greenhut, the creative genius behind the powerful DocsTeach site. How cool is that?

There may be just enough caffeine left for this session before heading off the Smithsonian African American Museum later this evening. Paul Howard and Neil Soloman from the local DC schools are sharing how they use virtual reality tools as a way to build both content knowledge and create empathy in their students.

They started with a story of having kids use a VR viewer such as a Google Cardboard to look at a simple 360 Photosphere of the Taj Mahal. The kids went nuts. Read more

National Geographic Mapmaker Interactive just got better

National Geographic has always been the go-to for geography goodies. You get lesson plans, teaching resources, maps, and even more maps.

And they always have had great map making tools. But they just got better. Their MapMaker has been updated with new features, the biggest one for many of you is the ability to use the tool on mobile devices.

But they’ve also added some new interactive tools:

  • Country Facts and Flags – Explore and discover information about countries and territories around the world. Customize the fill and border colors to make this map layer your own.
  • Latitude and Longitude – See the coordinates of any place on earth.
  • Custom Text, Photos, Videos – Use markers, lines, or shapes to tell your story on MapMaker by adding in text, photos, and videos with the rich editing tool.

Start with a blank world map that allows Read more

Missing your Zaption? Try EdPuzzle

You may have already made the switch. If you have, quietly move along. You’re probably happy with EdPuzzle and there’s nothing to see here.

That leaves two kinds of people. Those of you still be looking for that perfect Zaption replacement. And those of you who never went down the Zaption road at all and have no idea what we’re talking about.

Quick recap:

At its most basic level, Zaption was a way for you to take a video clip from a variety of sources including YouTube, Vimeo clip, Khan Academy, and other educational video outlets and add interactive elements such as multiple choice questions, open response boxes, text, images, and drawings. Students responded to the elements you embedded. You tracked their responses using Zaption’s analytics feature. Everybody was happy.

You should have noticed the past verb tense going on. Zaption was a great tool for annotating videos and embedding formative / summative assessments tools into video clips. It was a great example of a push / pull edtech tool – giving teachers a way to push content and assessment out to students and a way for teachers to pull in work back from students.

But Zaption no longer exists, having sold out to something called Workday. No idea what Workday does but what it means for Zaption users is that a very cool tool won’t be available after September 30.

So.

If you’re a Zaption user who hasn’t found a Zaption replacement, I got you covered. And if you never used Zaption but the idea of integrating a very cool push / pull video annotation tool sounds like something you want to take out for a test drive, I’ve got you covered too. Read more

Need an awesome digital storytelling tool? Adobe Spark is the answer

I’ve been a fan of Adobe digital tools ever since I started playing with Voice several years ago. And have continued to fall in love as they added Slate and Post. All three provide incredibly powerful and easy to use tools for creating digital stories.

Post is designed to quickly create professional graphics. Slate focused on creating magazine style web-based stories letting you and students mix text and images in a highly visual way. Voice let you create animated videos by combining text, images, icons and themes on slides and then laid your own voice over the slides as a narrative for the finished video product.

I like that they provide both push and pull options – teachers can use them to create resources that they push out to students. Kids can use them to create products that teachers can pull in. All three tools are connected with the Adobe Creative Cloud, making it easy for users to find copyright free images to use in their projects. While not as powerful as Adobe’s pro tools such as Photoshop and InDesign, all three have some pretty amazing features making them accessible to teachers and students just by tapping buttons.

I also loved the fact that all three tools are free.

The problem was that all three were iOS only – available for iPhone and iPad users only. Eventually a web-based version of Slate did become available. But many were still locked out of the other tools.

Until this week. Read more