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.




Monday, June 5, 2017

QuizBean - great for quick feedback or simple quizzes

QuizBean is a website that you allows you to digitally assess students. You can use this as an actual quiz or for things like in class feedback or something like an exit ticket. As with many similar sites, there is a both a free and paid version. The free version lets you have 3 quizzes at a time, up with to 26 students total. This is not really the most idea for those who teach secondary and have multiple different classes. This might be good, however, if you have one section that is different than the others. (In the past I have taught one section of chemistry and the rest biology so I could use this with just my chemistry class).

The site itself does give you a lot of options for your "quiz." You have the option to scramble choices and choose from three different question types (multiple choice, multiple correct and true/false). I also like that you can add in images and videos in the questions and explanations in the answers.

Once you have the quizzes created you can share it with your students through Quizbean (assign to specific students or classes) or with url (direct link or embed link) . You can also set an expiration date when it will no longer be activate and the maximum number of attempts students can have.

Once the test has been taken the students can see their score and which questions they got right or wrong. You get to see how many students took the quiz, what the average score was and even look at a specific student and see who they did. You can print or export this data as a pdf, csv or excel file.

What's your go to site for online assessment?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Top 5 Posts of May

Thank you so much for reading my blog!  I love being able to share with you and I really hope that it is valuable to you.  If there is something that you are looking for, please feel free to send me an e-mail!

Monday, May 29, 2017

FotoJet - free online photo editing

FotoJet is an online site to edit photos and create collages.  As with many sites, there is a free and a paid version.  If you know me, you know that I'm all about free.  I played around with the free version and it is very easy to use.  It reminds me of some other online photo editing site, but it very simple and easy to use.  I like that I don't need to have an account to use the free version.  Edits that you are able to do with the quick version are quite varied.  There are options to add frames, overlays, clipart and text.  These simple options really allow you to spice up your pictures.  You can also add effects which remind me of Instagram filters.  Lastly, but certainly not the least important, are the basic edits.  You can crop, resize and rotate the picture as well as adjust the color and exposures.
When you are done you can save the picture as a png or jpg file.

When you are done editing your photo you can make a fun collage.  While FotoJet has a basic collage
template to merge two or more photos, it also has some fun options like putting your face on a wanted poster or on a pumpkin.  You can design photo cards as well and there was a number of templates to choose from.  There is also an option to design graphics that are presized to certain dimentions (such as a YouTube Header or an Instagram post).  This option reminds me of Canva.

There is so much on the site that I suggest that you check it out.  I could talk about it more, but this post is getting long. ;-)

  FotoJet was nice enough to provide me with access to their premium version so that I can try out those extra features.  The paid version is  and give you more options within each of the six editing categories (in addition to removing the ads).  Some of the extras that you can are more choices for clip art and some more of the basic editing features.  One of my favorite of those is the focus option where you can blur the background of a picture to mimic depth of field.  The other extras are more choices when it comes to collages and the design options.

If you are looking for a simple, but effective online photo editing program I suggest you try out FotoJet.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Top 5 Post of April

Once again I'm a little late with this, but below are the Top 5 Posts of April.  I hope that you enjoyed reading them and if you haven't now is a great time to give them a read. :-)
  1. StudyBlue Pro - give it a try!
  2. Separating and Combining Columns in Excel
  3. Socrative quick Questions
  4. Random Group Generator and Student Selector
  5. G Suite Google Apps Training Chrome Extension

Is there something that you are looking to learn how to do?  Leave me a comment below and I will work on a post and video to help you out! 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A secure way to have students take tests and quizzes online

Microsoft has developed a super easy way to lock down students' computers so that they can also access the webpage that is hosting your online test. Students won't be able to use the clipboard, go to another website or apps, share their screen or print anything. All you need is the link to your online test (it doesn't have to be anything fancy; I use a form I created through Microsoft or Google) and a way to get the link out to the students. Students do need to be on a computer that is running Windows 10. I also recommend that they use the Edge browser as I haven't encountered any errors using it. 

The link that you need to share with the students is ms-edu-secureassessment:<URL>!enforceLockdown where you would replace <URL> with the url to the quiz. You want to make sure that there are no spaces in the address. I would also recommend that you set the link to display as a word or phrase so that students don't just copy and paste the quiz url instead of the whole long url. If you are not sure how to do this, leave a comment with how you are sending out the link and I will make a tutorial for you! If you want more information on the Take a Test app, you can read about it here.