Category Archives: Blogs and Opinions

This category features my own blog entries as well as links to and excerpts from other blogs.

Soundtrap and Stop Motion Animator

Tomorrow June 23, 2017, I will be retiring from my position as my district’s Computer Technology Integrator.  It has been a good run.  I intend to keep curating educational websites and I will continue with my blog.  For the time being, I am going to recommend both Soundtrap and Stop Motion Animator.  Soundtrap appears to be much like Apple’s Garage Band.  I haven’t had a lot of time to play on this site but it looks like a great way for students to create their own music for videos, and podcasts, etc.  It is not free but it is somewhat less expensive than WeVideo and I think we have proven the value of that could-based software. As with WeVideo, Soundtrap can be used on Chromebooks. Stop Motion Animator is a Chrome Extension for creating animations using a webcam.  I know some teachers have been experimenting with stop motion videos.  This looks like it simplifies the process.  So that is all for now, but, as I have said, I will continue to post on this blog.  A number of teachers in the district have asked me to continue sending my postings of suggested apps, software, and extensions, etc.   If you would like to be notified of future posts, click on the  “Subscribe by Email”  at the bottom of the blog post.  You can also follow me on Twitter. Thank you for all of those who have worked with me over the past years. I hope I have helped you see the value of using technology to enhance and redefine how we teach.  I have never felt that we should use technology for its own sake.  It’s a tool that allows us to do things we couldn’t do before.  It’s also an integral part of life in the 21st Century.  We need to help our students to use technology wisely and effectively to enhance their lives and lifelong learning.  It has been a privilege to work for the Governor Wentworth Regional School District.

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15 Fantastic Virtual Reality in Education Resources from Class Tech Tips

I have been thinking about the implications of VR (virtual reality) in education.  I purchased an inexpensive VR 3D viewer and downloaded the free Google Cardboard Camera for my phone.  I have made some very interesting and effective 360 images that are quite realistic when experienced through the viewer.  Although I have had fun with VR on this level, I wasn’t quite sure how I would use this technology in the classroom.  I also downloaded some VR apps on my phone that allow me to explore the human mind, visit historical Egypt, and “invade” the human cell.  I suspect this is just the beginning. Recently I came across “15 Fantastic Virtual Reality in Education Resources” from ClassTech Tips.  This site links to some interesting 360-degree videos such as a tour of the Tour of London and a realistic experience on Mt. Everest.  These are worth checking out and as I said, this is probably just the beginning. We have yet another way that technology can redefine how we teach, learn and experience images and video.

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Rick Davidson’s Technology Integration Links

All of the links on my integration site are public, but some districts don’t allow outside sharing or email. Unfortunately,  it is not possible for me to respond to share requests from teachers who work in such districts.  I find this to be counter-productive in a world where one of the essential premises behind technology integration in education is communication and sharing.  In any case, I apologize on my end, for not being able to respond.

Free Images for Blogs and Marketing from “Freegrow”

Free Images for Blogs and Marketing, created by “Dreamgrow”, lists 38 sites that offer free images of all kinds.  The creative Commons concept has grown over the past few years.  It is getting easier and easier for students to find images that they can legally and freely use in their projects.  Flickr has been a great go-to site for students and teachers.   The other 37 sites on this list offer, even more, possibilities for finding appropriate images.  Just remember it is generally accepted that it is important to cite sources.

My Blog

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Rick Davidson’s Technology Integration Links

All of the links on my integration site are public, but some districts don’t allow outside sharing or email. Unfortunately,  it is not possible for me to respond to share requests from teachers who work in such districts.  I find this to be counter-productive in a world where one of the essential premises behind technology integration in education is communication and sharing.  In any case, I apologize on my end, for not being able to respond.

Rick Davidson Author

Some Interesting Cloud Based Presentation Applications

Before I recommend the following sites I want to respond to some of my followers who have attempted to access some of the links on my technology integration site.  All of the links are public but some schools don’t allow outside sharing or email so it is not possible for me to respond to share requests from such districts.  I find this to be counter-productive in a world where one of the essential premises behind technology integration in education is communication and sharing.  In any case, I apologize from my end, for not being able to respond.

Since our district has been using Google Apps for Education for a number of years and since we are approaching 1:1 using Google Chromebooks, we are always looking for applications that can be used online.  We have had a lot of success using the paid version of  WeVideo.  This Video creation tool is based on the traditional timeline concept of video editing.  Stupeflix somewhat simplifies the process.  Much like WeVideo,  you can add video clips, images, text, maps, transitions, and a soundtrack. Stupeflix then creates a “ready to share” video for you. You don’t have all of the features of an editing suite but Stupeflix is still a very effective storytelling tool. The final version can be downloaded and uploaded to Google Drive. Sutori can be used collaboratively to create stories.  You can add text, images, video, audio, forums, and quizzes.  The product can be shared via email, or embedded into a website.  Storybird is a great site for making book-like stories. You can actually pay a nominal fee to have the stories published as hardcover or softcover books. A  story can be shared via email, with Google Classroom or with a link.  All of these cloud-based sites are examples of how technology can transform education and allow us to do things that were not possible in the past.

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Extensions for Google

At one of our district technology task force meetings, I was asked to make a list of useful extensions.  There are many that I haven’t used and many that I have. I am always trying new ones.    This post lists some of the extension that I have used over the past couple of years.  I have also provided links to “Teacher Thoughts” list and “Technology Guru 77’s” list.

Google Chrome Extensions “are applications that run inside the Chrome browser and provide additional functionality with third party websites, services, and customized browsing experiences.” (Google’s definition)

How to install and remove extensions by Technology Guru 77  Plus extension suggestions for teachers

Extension can simplify access, make things more convenient and add functionality

50 of the best  Google Chrome Extensions for Teachers  by “Teacher Thought

Too many extension can slow down your browser so you need to find the ones that work best for you.I try out a lot of different extensions so I use “Extensity” This app allows me to control what apps appear on my toolbar and I can enable or disable any of my loaded apps.  If an app is disabled, it still appears in the Extensity list.  I just need to click on it to turn it on.  I simple click will also turn the app off.

Here are some of my favorites that add to the functionality of  Google Chrome and G Suite:

WeVideo  Cloud-based video editor
Mercury Reader  Clear away article clutter
Save to Google Drive Save web content and screen capture to Drive
Share to Classroom Push web pages to classroom classes
Google Tone Use microphone and speakers to exchange url’s on computers
Google Cast For Education Turn your computer into a wireless projector
Loom Create quick videos that are great for demos
Read And Write Make documents more accessible
Scoop It Curate and share websites
Pocket  Save to read later
Easy Bib create ” works cited”
Tweet Deck Twitter tool for tracking, organizing and engaging tweets
Goo.gl URL shortener
Awesome Screenshot Capture Screen capture
Add This Share and Bookmark  Easily share to other services such as twitter and facebook
Grammarly Grammar check
QR Code Generator  Create QR codes
Google Keep Create edit and share notes and lists
Pinterest  Save to Pinterest
Google Photos Store and share photos
Lucid Press  Desktop publishing
OneTab Compress all open tabs into one

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New Web Version of Google Earth Works With Chromebooks

The new web version of Google Earth is usable on Chromebooks. This is, of course, a plus.  I noticed that some of the images have been updated and the detail in both 2D and  3D are stunning.  Some other locations seem to still be using older images that are not as detailed. The web version is great for searching and browsing but it is not so user-friendly for adding placemarks. Richard Byrne has created a video that demonstrates a workaround should you want to add placemarks.  I assume that Google will continue to add features to the web version.  For the moment, it’s nice to have the option of using Google Earth on the Chromebooks.  Check out famous locations.   The ones I looked at are impressive.

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Make Quick Videos With Loom

This is a demonstration of the rule of thirds using the Loom extension in Google Chrome.  It looks like a very handy tool for instruction and communication.  Try it out here:  Loom

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Common Sense Education SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy

I have been using the SAMR model of technology integration in education and “Bloom’s Taxonomy” as the guild lines for my work in promoting ICT standards in my district.  “Common Sense Education” has created a graphic that shows how these two frameworks relate to each other.  The goal to reach the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy fit well with the transformational levels of the SAMR  integration model. Both provide definable steps to higher level learning and effective technology integration.  I am not an advocate of using technology in education for the sake of doing so.  I believe that technology can enhance what we are already doing while providing us with an ever-changing means of doing things that weren’t possible in the past.  This site provides guidance in helping structure activities and projects that can help students climb both the SAMR and the Bloom’s ladders.

 “SAMR and Bloom’s Taxonomy: Assembling the Puzzle”

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What Schools Can Learn From the World of Photography by George Couros

Having been a professional photographer and technology integrator, I think this article is insightful and relevant.  It is great to see that, because of technology, more and more people are creating great images as well as viewing them.  I also appreciate George Couros‘s observations on photography being such a catalyst for change.  I certainly have had to adapt to the evolution of photography from film to digital.  It would be difficult to keep up an interest in photography by doing things “the way the were always done”.   I just ordered my first mirrorless camera.  I can wait to try it out.

What Schools Can Learn From the World of Photography by George Couros

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