Thursday, July 20, 2017

Finding fellow Teachers to follow on Twitter

I use a variety of social media, but mostly all for different purposes.  For me, I use Twitter to follow what is happening with education, edtech, science and local news.  I am always looking for new people to follow.  Classtools created a page called Teachers on Twitter as a way to connect follow educators on twitter.

The list is automated and updates itself automatically.  It searches for specific hashtags and uses what it finds to add people to a specific list based on what is written in the person's profile.  The image below shows you what hashtags are connected with each teacher group.  If you have any suggestions of other hashtags you can tweet @RusselTarr to make a suggestion.

This post also appeared on my science blog Savvy Secondary Science

Monday, July 10, 2017

G Suite Learning Center

I've talked before about the G Suite Learning Chrome Extension in a prior post. That is a great option is you want help and tutorials about the specific app you are using. If you want more, you can head over to the G Suite Learning Center.  This is your one stop shop for all things G Suite Learning. It starts off with some common questions that you can access as well as some featured content, such as how to switch over to Google from Microsoft. You can search by specific product that you want to use and then a number of tips will show up for you to peruse. It's a great resource for anyone who want to learn more about using G Suite but wants just a short tip at a time.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

searching for Creative Commons images

I know we all like to practice good digital citizenship and encourage our students to do the same.  One of the biggest places were people fail is taking images that don't belong to them and aren't licenced to be shared.  Creative Commons is an a way for people to give a copyright license to their work to specify what permissions the public has to share and use their work.  (This blog has a Creative Commons licence).  Creative Commons has come out with CC Search which is a a search tool that allows you and your students to search for images that have a licence that allows you to use the images it finds.

Right now CC search looks for images from 500px, Europeana, Flickr, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library and Rijksmuseum.  While it's not perfect, it's nice to know that you won't be violating any copyright laws by using an image.  If you are looking for other ways to search check out my blog post about using your search engine to find images you can use.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Top 5 Post of June

I hope everyone's June went well.  My school year ends in June so it's the start of summer for me.  I hope you are all having a relaxing summer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Annotate Images and Videos

You've heard the expression A picture is worth a thousand words, but it can be so much more!  Thinglink is a site that allows you to take a pictures (or even a video) and annotate it so it's so much more.  The free education plan gives you and up to 100 of your students access to the basic ThingLink platform.  Of course your students can sign up for their own account that isn't connected to you if you have more than 100 students.  The only difference, is that if a student isn't connected to your account you won't be able to see what they have created unless they share the link with you.

The basic program allows you to annotate an image with little hot spots that pop up either a link to a website of your choosing or just some descriptive text.  You can also search for a previously created ThinkLInk images and remix them.  This means you can edit the image to add or remove hotspots to fir your need.   Thinglink is multiplatform and can be used on the computer or with the Android or iOS app.

Below is an example of a ThingLink on the human body (I can't take credit for this, it was created by a student ThingLink user).   As I've done here you can embed ThingLinks into any place that allows HTML code.  She decided to make the hot spots letters and numbers so that you can hover over them for more information.  You can also use small target like circles as the hot spots.  (If the image below isn't working, click here to see it)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Removing all of the related videos from YouTube

Showing a YouTube video in class is great.  There is so much awesome educational content on there and the videos can really add to your lessons.  What isn't always great is the related content videos that show up on the side.  Sometimes I wonder how YouTube thinks that what they are showing is actually related to what I am watching.  Often times it's not inappropriate, some some times it is and you don't want that.  Even when it isn't inappropriate, kids will always look at the related content and ask to watch that video next.  There are a few different website that will allow you get ride of those annoying related content videos.

Watchkin is a site that will allow you to both search for YouTube videos and also watch YouTube videos without any of those sidebar add.  It's very simple to use; you just copy and past the URL into the site and you are good to go!  If you have a topic you are interested it you can also use Watchkin as a search engine to find videos to watch that will play without the annoyances.

ViewPure is very similar to Watchkin is that you can paste in a video URL or search for a video.  In addition to getting ride of sidebar ads and related videos, it also hides the comments.  There is also an option to create a clean URL to the video. You can create a URL like instead of

Monday, June 12, 2017

Find images you can legally use

We all use images in our lessons whether we are putting them in our presentations or students are using them in their projects.  It is important that we are not taking images that the creator didn't give us permission to use.  It is very easy to take images from a website and to justify our use under the guise of fair use.  The fair use doctrine was create to allow copyrighted works to be used fro classroom instruction (among other things).  Many teachers believe this means that they can use anything in their classrooms and this is not true.  I'm not here to discuss the ins and outs of fair use, but if you want to learn more you can visit this site from the US Copyright Office.

While, many times I am covered under fair use when I use images for my teacher, I like to be sure that I am covered.  To do so you can filter your searches in your search engine to include ones that are licences for your to use.  While each site uses slightly different language here are some ideas as to what each term means.

  • Public Domain - the creator has basically waived all copyright rights
  • Free to share and use - you can use it and share (but not change it) for personal purposes only
  • Free to share and use commercially - you can use it and share it for personal or commercial purposes
  • Free to modify, share and use: you can use, edit and share it for personal purposes only
  • Free to modify, share and use commercially - you can use, edit and share it for personally or commercial purposes 
Here are some short animated gifs that show you how to find these search filters on a few different search engines.