Author - Lisa Nowakowski

Join the League of Extraordinary Bloggers

Helping students build cultural awareness becomes a choose your own adventure style game when you join the League of Extraordinary Bloggers. Travel through Asia as you and four other agents work together to catch the criminal mastermind The FOX.

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers are a team of four teen bloggers working together to find The FOX and the stolen cultural pieces. As Agent X, you will join each of the bloggers in their home country to learn about different Asian cultures, customs, and landmarks. While tracking The FOX, students will learn about customs and traditions of each country. The journey through the countries is not only fun but also engaging.

The game can be played on the web, iOS, or Android devices. The League of Bloggers is part of the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series. It was developed by Boston Children’s Museum. This adventure is great for students in upper elementary and beyond.

New Year, New Transitions (and Timers)

How often do you set a timer in order for students to complete a task? I know I do. Most often we find a timer online, set it to countdown mode, and project it for the students to see. The students then monitor their time and adjust accordingly. Okay, they don’t focus until the last few minutes where they panic to finish on time.

What if we switched up the timer? What if we searched for time-lapse videos and projected the video? Everyone knows what a sunset looks like: the sun vanishes below the horizon. Now the students need to complete their work before the sun sets but they don’t know how much time they have! They are more likely to use their minutes wisely as they aren’t sure how many of them they will actually have.

Not into sunsets and want something a bit more whimsical? No problem. There are all kinds of time lapse videos on YouTube. This playlist has 50 drawing videos ranging in times from 2 minutes to 16 minutes.

Music cues can also be used to signal time limits (and lots more) in the classroom. Recently, Eddie Campos, Jr. posted his playlist of over 30 songs, on Spotify, for the classroom. Some songs include “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock to signal partner work or “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC to end group work. Matt Vaudrey has a wonderful blog post on using music cues in the classroom as timers, transition signals, and more, along with tips on how to get started and lots of resources.

Staying on task can be fun! The new year is upon us and you can reduce your students’ stress level while saving your voice and helping your classroom run more efficiently. It’s easy, so get started today.

Summertime PD

Ah, summer! That time of year when educators say we are going to take a break but in actuality, we continue to think about school. We might be at the pool, visiting family, or on vacation, but we still have our teacher hat on. And as such, we are gathering ideas and taking the time to learn.

This summer, there are several ways to get your PD on. Some may choose to attend conferences while others may listen to podcasts or videos. Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook, is hosting a FREE short video series called Tech To Learn that will take you less than an hour to watch. In this series, Matt examines tips for technology success, ensuring your tech is effective, and your reason or why. Each video is a quick injection of ideas sure to keep your mind buzzing.

Still need more? Not a problem! CUE is hosting CUE Craft #DitchSummit. This is also a FREE video series led by amazing and inspiring educators. It will run from July 25 through July 29. The videos are on-demand. Watch when and where you’d like, but don’t wait too long. The summit ends August 10. After that, the videos will be gone. This summit is Powered by Adobe.

So many great, FREE learning opportunities available. No matter what you choose, you’ll be armed with new skills and new ideas: ready for the new school year!

Take a Tour

Several years ago, Google launched Tour Builder as a part of their Geo Tools collection. It was originally created for veterans in order to help share their stories, show where they had been, and save memories. Since then, many others, including teachers and students, have used it as a powerful digital storytelling tool. Tour Builder combines the beauty of Google Maps, images/photos, and text to help tell your story.

Now, Google has taken Tour Builder to the next level with Tour Creator. Imagine being able to create your own VR Tour. Imagine no more, that’s exactly what Google has created with Tour Creator!

Google Tour Creator allows you to create a digital story in VR. Using 360° photos, you can create scenes. No worries if you don’t have your own 360° photos; Google Street View images are there for you. Want to narrate your scene or have specific music that will enhance the viewers experience? Google’s got you covered there, too. Simply upload your mp3 files. Within each scene, points of interest can be created. These can be informational text, image overlays, or audio clips. Each scene can support several points of interest.

Once you have created your tour with a few scenes, you are ready to share it with the world! When publishing, you have the option to keep it unlisted or share publicly. Unlisted allows you to share with specific individuals whereas public will share with everyone. The best part is that once it is published, others can view on any device, including Google Cardboard viewer.

The uses for this in the classroom are exciting. A school might create a virtual tour. Students might create a story about the battles of Lexington and Concord, a tour of their town, or ecosystems and habitats. It is important to note that this tool is not yet a part of the G Suite Tools and therefore students under 13 cannot use it with their own account.

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