Five More Educational Android Apps for Chromebooks

As touchscreen Chromebooks with Google Play Store access become more common in education, Android apps will be a big part of making devices game-changers for the classroom. We are not there yet, but the future has great potential. I have blogged about five Android apps I like for education. Here are five more good ones.

Google Keep

Google Keep is the cat’s pajamas. It is great for brainstorming, to-do lists, collaboration, and feedback. Watch as I demonstrate the Google Keep Android app which comes with slightly more functionality than the web app.



  • Why doesn’t Google Keep’s web interface allow teachers to use their mic?
  • Webcam does not integrate for video.


Why spend precious memory installing the YouTube app? The answer is simple – 360° video! Convertible Chromebooks act like windows into another world when viewing a 360° video in the YouTube Android app. Watch as I demonstrate:


  • Enhanced ability when viewing 360° video.
  • Use that ability and Google Keep’s integration with Google Docs and Google Slides to give your students narrative feedback.
  • Ability to download videos.
  • The Android app works better than the web app when in tablet mode.


  • None. The app is most valuable as a 360° video viewer and it does that job well.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

In my previous post, I shared Adobe Illustrator Draw. That is a great tool. A more brush-centric tool is Adobe Photoshop Sketch. This app is so artsy it leaves brush strokes on the canvas! Watch as I demonstrate:


  • Very artsy – it’s like painting without ink.



Snapseed is Google’s photo editing app for Android. It has surprisingly robust features for a free Android app.

Here is another video where I play with Snapseed’s Head Pose tool:


  • Great tool for manipulation of images – especially photos.
  • Watch what happens when you use the Head Pose tool!


  • I can’t think of any. I’m Team Snapseed!

Science Journal

Usually, when I suggest a tool on this blog, I wholeheartedly endorse it. That is not the case with Science Journal. It’s worth sharing because it has great capability for capturing and organizing Science lab data. It debuted in Spring 2016 and it seems like Google has not been interested in it since. (Update: Google has recently published new Science Journal content. Yay!) Still, Science teachers should check out the Science Journal activities Google published in Spring 2016.


  • Great tool for collecting and organizing Science lab experiment data.
  • Google has activities ready to go.
  • Ability to record sound.
  • Webcam integration.


  • It is less useful on Chromebooks without a world-facing camera.
  • Google seems to have given up on it.

Thank you for reading.  Want to know if your Chromebook can run Android apps? Here is the list of Chromebooks that support Android apps. How would you use Android apps with your students? Please comment below or tweet me, @TomEMullaney.

Image sources:

Android logo (Wikimedia Commons)

Google Chrome logo (Wikimedia Commons)

Google Play logo (Wikimedia Commons)


360° Video – The New Frontier in Learner Engagement

YouTube is a vital tool all teachers should employ to engage learners. Teachers can use tools such as EdPuzzle and TED-Ed to build on the YouTube learning experience. Teachers can now use YouTube to share 360° videos – giving students a tactile, kinesthetic experience that allows for movement (see below) when watching videos.

Take advantage of these videos by using a YouTube search filter to find them:

Even better than having learners use a trackpad or mouse to explore a 360° video on a laptop is using the YouTube iPad app to have them explore using their fingers and movement. Watch as I demonstrate:

The YouTube Android app can do this on a touchscreen Chromebook:

The amount of 360° content on YouTube will likely continue to grow. Teachers will have access to more excellent content to share with learners. In the meantime, here are four of my favorite 360° videos, two for science teachers and two for history teachers. Click play and use a mouse (or finger on a phone or tablet) to explore all 360 degrees of each video:

If you would like to discuss this with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

Why This Teacher Loves ThingLink

ThingLink, a tool that allows for adding content that appears on top of images, is a great tool for both blended learning and student creation. Here are three reasons this teacher loves it:

Google Forms, YouTube Videos, and Google Slides

Scroll over this French Revolution ThinkLink to reveal that students can answer Google Forms and watch YouTube videos without ever leaving a ThingLink. No new tabs to open! Imagine how this can impact blended and self-paced learning!

The “Publish to the web” version of a Google Slides presentation renders nicely on a ThingLink. For an example, have a look at the ThingLink on my Sell World War I to the American Public digital breakout.

Add Sound and Images to Text

ThingLink is a great took for adding audio reading to text. Below is a screen capture of an old research paper of mine. I have added audio and imagery using ThingLink. This can open doors for students who benefit from an audio version of a text or need more than just text to learn.

Adding sound to images is especially easy with the iTunes Store version of ThingLink on iPads. It kills me to admit the iTunes app is superior to the ThingLink Android app.


Check out how ThingLink can help students with vocabulary!


How do you use ThingLink with your students? Comment below or tweet me @TomEMullaney. Thanks for reading.

Author’s note: I originally published this is February 2016. I subsequently updated this post in April 2017 and September 2018.

Five Strategies for Using Video in the Classroom

Five Strategies for Using Video in the Classroom

Strategy 1: Never Project to the Whole Class

Student devices and simple strategies render whole-class video projection obsolete. When students view video individually, they can watch at their own pace by pausing and rewinding. They can be assessed and engaged at their own pace.

A video projected to the whole class lives in the recesses of students’ memories where it can be forgotten or misremembered. A video shared for individualized viewing will live on a teacher website, LMS or, preferably, Google Classroom. There students can access it anywhere, anytime. The time for whole-class projection is over. No 1:1 devices? Try a computer lab.

Strategy 2: Take Advantage of YouTube Beyond Pressing Play

Teachers can make their own videos for free using their device’s built-in webcam and Screencastify. Beyond simply uploading and sharing videos, there are four components of YouTube teachers should take advantage of:


Teachers can add text boxes to their videos using annotations. This is a great opportunity to point students to further resources or scaffold content conveyed in video. This is what it looks like:


Adding annotations when uploading video or adding them to old videos is easy.


Cards appear in the upper-right corner of a video. They link to other videos. This is a great way to point students to another resource. Notice the use of an annotation and a card in this video:


Making cards is simple. They can be added when uploading videos or to old videos.

Here I demonstrate adding cards and annotations to a YouTube video:

Custom Thumbnails

A YouTube video thumbnail appears when a video comes up in search results or is embedded on a website. YouTube gives users three thumbnails to choose from when uploading a video. Each is a paused moment from the video. They rarely look good. Users can also upload a custom thumbnail.

It is helpful to students to have an image and title on a custom thumbnail. I design mine using Google Slides (keeping the default 16:9 ratio in page setup) and then screen capture them to create an image. Google Drawings works too. I have made custom thumbnails for the first video in each of my playlists:

Screenshot 2015-12-07 at 7.54.11 PM

Here are steps to add custom thumbnails to your videos.

Watch as I demonstrate how to add a custom thumbnail to a YouTube video:


My playlist, Student-Centered and Future Ready, contains videos created by others. YouTube users can make playlists using all videos on YouTube, not just their own. This is a great way to easily curate and share videos with students. Creating playlists and adding videos to them is as easy as clicking “Add to” in any YouTube video:

Adding to or Creating a Playlist

Strategy 3: Use DragonTape to Edit and Curate YouTube Videos

Is there a great video for your next lesson that has a moment of inappropriate content? Do you want students to watch that video with the offensive content magically removed? That’s what DragonTape does. DragonTape lets users make mix-tapes using YouTube videos.  The magic is that users can crop videos and insert clips from the same video over and over again. This means a YouTube video can be cropped in infinite ways. Teachers can also use DragonTape to curate videos like they would playlists in YouTube.

DragonTape allows users to make mix-tapes with YouTube videos. Additionally, users can crop videos and use the same video multiple times.

Strategy 4: Use TED-Ed to Add Assessment and Engagement

TED-Ed is a great tool to add assessment questions, discussion prompts, and links to further resources after students watch a video.

TED-Ed Plain
A YouTube video in TED-Ed. “Think” questions are multiple choice. “Dig Deeper” leads students to further resources. “Discuss” questions give students a discussion prompt and opportunities to comment on responses.

Here is a tutorial to help you get started using TED-Ed.

Don’t have time to create a TED-Ed lesson? Search through their more than 150,000 lessons to see if they have what you need.

Strategy 5: Use EDPuzzle to Add Assessment and Engagement

EdPuzzle allows teachers to add assessment questions and their own voice to videos as students watch them. This is what a student sees when watching a video in EdPuzzle:

EdPuzzle Answer a Question
Student view of a video in EdPuzzle. The yellow mark shows where a student has to listen to a voice recording of their teacher.

Here is a tutorial to help you get started using EdPuzzle.

Don’t have time to create an EdPuzzle lesson? Search through the many lessons other teachers have created!

If you would like to discuss these strategies further, please comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom. Thank you for reading.


Use EDpuzzle to Make YouTube a Powerful Educational Tool


YouTube, the second largest search engine, is a transcendent resource for educators.  TEDEd is a great tool for engaging and assessing students after they watch YouTube videos. There is another great resource for ensuring students are getting it as they watch. This tool gives teachers the ability to add explanations during videos while individual students watch at their own pace. This free tool, EDpuzzle, is a great way to enrich video instruction.


To get started, go to EDpuzzle. Create a free teacher account:

Screenshot 2015-09-08 at 5.03.02 PM

Use your school account to sign up. Edpuzzle has a “sign in with Google” feature that is great for GAFE schools. Students also have to set up accounts to log-in. This means teachers can easily keep track of assessment data.

Create classes and enroll students by sharing a unique class code, just like Google Classroom:

Screenshot 2015-09-08 at 5.09.20 PM

Creating Lessons

Screenshot 2015-09-08 at 5.16.25 PM

This brings the teacher to “My Content” where lessons are stored:

Screenshot 2015-09-08 at 5.29.51 PM

Screenshot 2015-09-17 at 6.48.02 PM

To make a lesson with a YouTube video:

Screenshot 2015-09-10 at 5.01.44 PM

An editor opens that looks like this:

Screenshot 2015-09-10 at 5.06.47 PM

Screenshot 2015-09-17 at 6.50.40 PM

Teachers can add short-answer and multiple choice questions. To add a multiple choice question:

Screenshot 2015-09-10 at 5.37.25 PM

Another good option for teachers is audio notes:

Screenshot 2015-09-16 at 4.45.09 PM

Screenshot 2015-09-16 at 4.50.31 PM

EdPuzzle gives teachers the option to delete and re-record audio notes to get them just right. Teachers can also add a separate audio track:

Screenshot 2015-09-16 at 4.58.50 PM

One Extra Benefit of EdPuzzle

EdPuzzle just added a “Share to Google Classroom” button:

EdPuzzle Share to Google Classroom for Blog Post

In Conclusion

YouTube is a great resource for teachers. However, it has nothing to ensure students are learning and engaged while watching. EdPuzzle changes that. Use it to make YouTube a powerful tool for your students. This is the EdPuzzle lesson I made in this post. If you have any questions about it, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. The video is The Forgotten War Hero – Milunka Savic by The Great War. It is well worth watching:




Making Lesson Recap Videos with SnagIt and a Chromebook

I went to to EdCamp New Jersey at the end of November where I heard Chris Aviles suggest teachers should make video recaps. He argued that in a 1:1 classroom, video lesson recaps are a powerful tool to fight learned helplessness. A student doesn’t know the answer to a question? Have them watch the video recap. Chris also made the point that video recaps give students multiple opportunities to learn and help absent students catch up.

Intrigued, I set about using December to incorporate video recaps into my practice. I made this video about what I have done so far:

After you create your account (I used my school Google e-mail), SnagIt creates a folder in your Google Drive. It is called “TechSmith” after the company that makes SnagIt.

Screenshot 2015-01-02 at 7.10.08 PM

When you record using SnagIt, the app will capture your screen and the Chromebook’s microphone. I use the Chromebook camera so students can see my face rather than listen to a disembodied voice. When you stop a recording, it will appear as ” unfinished video” in the TechSmith folder.

Screenshot 2015-01-03 at 8.15.27 AM

You can rename your video in the SnagIt video player and push it directly to your GAFE connected YouTube account.

Screenshot 2015-01-03 at 8.27.53 AM

When SnagIt is finished processing you can access the video file in the TechSmith Google Drive folder.

Screenshot 2015-01-03 at 8.31.28 AM

From Google Drive, you can download the video. I take this extra step because I post videos to my personal YouTube channel.  I want the videos to still exist should my job change. It is very easy with only upload and download time as minor inconveniences. Login to your personal GMail account and go to YouTube. From there:

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Then simply click on upload and you’re good to go.

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Pixiclip is another tool with great potential for video recaps. As I explained in the video above, I stopped using Pixiclip because when my students play it back on their Chromebooks they cannot rewind and fast forward.

Video lesson recaps are one way educational technology transforms educational practice. I am only one month into using them and am thrilled with the opportunities they create for my students!