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21 Reasons to Use a One Button Studio

October 2, 2015

Several years ago Penn State developed the One Button Studio, a room designed to make recording video ridiculously simple: plug in a flash drive, press a button, record yourself, press the button to stop, and remove your flash drive. The room is all set up with a video camera, microphone, lights, and everything else you need. The Nittany Lions have generously shared the technical knowledge required to build one of these spaces, and the idea has spread across the country – including Notre Dame.

[read on to learn why YOU might want to use a One Button Studio]

An easy way to add credits to Flickr images

October 1, 2015
beach waves

flickr photo ‘beach waves’ by Chris Clark
shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license

Students and faculty frequently ask me how they should give credit when using photos they find online. If you need a formal bibliographic citation, I would check a reference manual or ask a librarian. One website will generate MLA citations for digital images.

When incorporating an image into a PowerPoint or Word document I recommend including a caption with the artist’s name, the type of license, and a link to the original image (I also like to include the title).
[read on to learn about a bookmarklet for crediting Flickr images]

Snag a screencast from your browser

September 28, 2015


Screencasts are narrated videos of what’s happening on a computer screen. You can use one to

  • Create a course introduction or show how to use a piece of software
  • Explain a difficult concept or demonstrate a website
  • Tell a story or capture a presentation

At the end of this post I’ve listed some resources for those who want to know more about using screencasts for teaching and learning.

With the Snagit for Google Chrome extension, provided for free by our friends at Techsmith, you can make a screencast or screenshot of anything on your screen. After capturing an image or video the extension “shares” it, meaning the file is saved to a special folder in your Google Drive space.

[read on for more about this free tool]

Grade your Google Forms with Flubaroo

September 24, 2015

With Google Forms you can create a web page with multiple choice and other types questions. After making the form accessible, your students can submit responses that are then stored on a Google Sheet. I frequently conduct surveys with Google Forms, but you can also use them for quiz-like activities.

flubarooFlubaroo is a free Google Sheets add-on that can grade work you collect through a Google Form. I tried it out and it worked very well. It’s not very complicated: (1) create a form, (2) gather data, and (3) run Flubaroo.

I would personally only use this for low stakes activities. It would be great for a pre-class reading check, for example.

The video below explains the process very nicely.

Poll Everywhere has many new features

September 22, 2015

The built-in testing panel

For several years at Notre Dame we have encouraged faculty to use Poll Everywhere instead of hardware-based response systems (clickers) for polling. If you haven’t checked out this gem in a while, then take another look. During 2015 the feature set has gone through a series of important upgrades.

A major update in January included:

  • Familiar response formats – like ABC, 123, and True/False
  • Ranking polls – drag and drop items into the correct order.
  • Customizable heat maps and color schemes
  • Testing panel – try responding using text messages or a smartphone; you’ll see exactly what the students would see.
  • Presenters – embed polls in PowerPoint or Keynote on a Mac; embed a live web page in PowerPoint for Windows.
  • Pricing – some plans went up, but not the educator rate.

Improved reporting rolled out in June:

  • Thumbnails of each poll chart
  • Engagement widget to help measure audience interaction from poll to poll
  • You can quickly access archived results of several polls in one report.
  • New reports include “Executive summary” (a big picture view of engagement and responses) and “Gradebook” (correct/incorrect responses, ranking, and participation)

Finally, just this month polling features were added to the PowerPoint app for iPad; just insert the add-in and off you go.

20 Types of Tablet Tools for 2015

September 18, 2015

presentation app icons
Tablet sales are drooping worldwide. I’m not sure if higher education faculty are part of the trend, but it was time to update this popular list in any case.

There’s lots of new information at
20 Types of Tablet Tools for Teaching.

Top Ten page updated

September 15, 2015

top Ten

We have a newly-updated “Top 10” page. Please take a look!


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