Great Big Story, Google Tour Creator, and YO Teach!

YoTeach! is a great tool for having “back channel” discussions. There are lots of ways to use YoTeach! in classrooms. For exit tickets, easy polling or voting, silent discussion while watching a movie or video, collecting positive comments or feedback during presentations… the possibilities are endless!

When you set up your “room” for your chat, be sure to activate the admin function, the password function, and to select "avoid search." The "avoid search" option will hide your room from search results so that people cannot find it without being given its direct URL. The password function lets you set a password that must be entered before students can participate in the chat. The admin features of Yo Teach! let you mute or remove students from a discussion, delete your room, and view statistic about the usage of your room. The admin function that reveals statistics will show the names of participants and how active they have been in your Yo Teach! room.

A student can participate in your Yo Teach! room by going the URL that is assigned to your room, entering the nickname that he/she wants to have displayed, and then entering the password that you have set for your room. This is a great way to get those quiet kids engaged!

Great Big Story is a library of interesting and engaging short videos that can be used by teachers to supplement any subject area. Average length is 1-5 minutes. Topics range from how falconry and Shakespeare influenced the English language to how a bored intern at Microsoft invented the Solitaire game. The filmmakers have, so far, gathered interesting stories from 75 countries. Videos are organized under five headings and a sixth provides playlists. The site can also be keyword searched.

Google Tour Creator Using Tour Creator, students can easily create their own virtual tour using footage from a 360° camera or even curate photos from the vast collection found on Street View. Not only can they add 360° footage, but they can annotate the images with their own custom content and then publish to Google’s Poly site to be viewed via the web or in VR by loading the published URL on a mobile device and placing it in VR goggles. It has been confirmed by Google that they will be adding the ability to import these tours directly into the Expeditions application later this year.

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