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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Kitchen Science - Let's Make Butter

SciShow Kids recently released a new video titled Let's Make Butter. The video provides directions for making butter in your kitchen then goes on to explain the science of what happens in the process of making butter.


Applications for Education
Rainy days like the one we're having here in Maine are perfect for kitchen science lessons. My daughter is a little too young for this activity, but if you have kids of elementary school age, this could be a nice rainy day science lesson.

Practical Ed Tech Webinar FAQs

Starting in May and running through the end of August I will be hosting five different professional development webinars for teachers and school administrators. I recorded the video embedded below to answer some of the questions that are most frequently asked about my Practical Ed Tech webinars. Watch the video and you'll get the discount code for the webinars as well as a chance to see a guest appearance from one of my dogs.


Of course, you can always email me at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com if you have questions that aren't answered in the video or on the webinar registration pages.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from rainy Maine. The rain doesn't stop us from playing outside, but it's not quite as fun as playing in the sun. I am hopeful that all of our April showers will soon be replaced by May flowers. Speaking of things happening in May, next month I'm kicking off my summer schedule of Practical Ed Tech professional development webinars. Join me for one or all five of my courses and you'll be ready to start the next school year with lots of new ideas about using technology in your classroom. Of course, if you're the type of person who prefers an in-person learning environment, the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps are for you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Tour of the New Google Earth - Google Earth in Your Browser
2. More Than 400 Science Animations
3. The PeriodicTable of Videos - An Update from the Archive
4. SeeSaw Now Directly Accepts Google Drive Files
5. WriteReader and Sesame Street Partner to Help Kids Create Multimedia Stories
6. Loopy Makes It Easy to Create Animated Simulations
7. 5 Good Ways for Students to Create Digital Showcases of Their Work

I am offering five different online courses over the next four months.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Three Simple Platforms for Publishing Writing

I recently finished making a couple of videos that teach people how to create self-hosted WordPress blogs. Using a self-hosted WordPress blog is the way to go if your goal is to create a robust platform to showcase your professional work. But creating a blog like that could be overkill for those who just want to find a quick and easy to way to publish their thoughts online. The following three platforms reside somewhere between Creed Thoughts and full-fledged blogging platforms.

Telegra.ph gives you a simple place to publish your writing and pictures without the need to create an account on the site. To publish you simply go to telegra.ph and start writing. You can include pictures in your writing, but you cannot include videos. Your writing will be given its own URL that you can share with those you want to read your work. The whole process of publishing on Telegraph is quick and easy. Here's my first Telegraph entry.

Draft is a free, collaborative writing platform that provides a distraction-free environment. When you write in Draft you won't see anything but the text in front of you. Draft is stripped of options for messing about with font colors or inserting pictures. Anyone who has an email address can participate in editing a document in Draft. Draft is a nice option for people who don't have access to Google Docs and or those who just want to focus on the text and not worry about playing around with font styling.

Page O Rama is a free service for quickly creating stand alone webpages. Creating a webpage with Page O Rama is very simple. Just visit the Page O Rama homepage, select a web address, title your page, and start typing. Page O Rama offers a good selection of text editing tools including page breaks. If you want to, you can add images to your Page O Rama pages too. If you think your page is something that you're going to want to edit and update occasionally, you can enter your email address to create an administrative log-in.

5 Good Ways for Students to Create Digital Showcases of Their Work

As I look at dreary weather outside my window it doesn't feel like the end of the school year is near, but it is getting near for many people. The end of the school year is when many of us start to think about summative activities for our students to do to show what they have learned over the course of the year. Having students create a showcase of their best work is a good way to have them reflect on the school year while also showing you and their parents what they've learned. Creating a digital showcase makes it easy for parents to see what their children think are their best works. Here are five ways that your students can create a digital showcase of their best work.

Adobe Spark's webpage creator offers a fantastic way to create simple webpages in which your students can include images, text, and videos. Consider having your students arrange their pages chronologically so that the top of the page shows their work at the beginning of the year and then as viewers scroll down they see your students' latest work. Click here for a video tutorial on how to use Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark works in your web browser and is also available as an iOS app.

Tackk is a free service on which your students can create a page to announce an important event, to advertise an event, or to show off their best digital works. To create a Tackk page you do not need to register for an account, but unregistered Tackk pages expire after seven days. If you register for the service your Tackk pages stay up indefinitely. Tackk offers an edu version which lets students integrate their G Suite accounts, Edmodo accounts, or Office 365 accounts. Creating a Tackk is a simple matter of uploading an image then adding text in the customizable fields above and below an image. In addition to images Tackk pages can accommodate videos, audio files, and maps. Learn more about Tackk in my video here. Tackk can be used in your web browser. It is also available as an Android app and as an iOS app.

SeeSaw offers a fantastic way for students to organize a digital portfolio that they can share publicly or privately. The most outstanding feature of SeeSaw is the option for students to record videos in which they talk about the artifacts in their digital portfolios. And as was explained in a post earlier today, SeeSaw now makes it easy for students to import items from the G Suite for Education accounts.

Google Sites might be the obvious choice for teachers who work in schools that use G Suite for Education. Google Sites will let you create a site on which you give each student his or her own page to manage. By doing that you're only tracking updates on one classroom site as opposed to trying to keep track of each student's individual sites created in a service like Adobe Spark or Tackk. Another good feature of Google Sites is that it is designed for importing files from Google Drive which makes it easy for students to showcase their best docs, slides, videos, and drawings. The downside to using Google Sites is that it rejects a lot of third party embed codes.

ClassDojo's Student Stories offers a convenient way for your students to create a portfolio that their parents can see while they're also checking all of the other information that you share with them through the ClassDojo platform. Student Stories puts students in charge of assembling their portfolios. Their portfolios can include digital work as well as physical work that they take pictures of with a camera on a mobile device or on a laptop. You moderate your students' submissions before anyone can see them. To submit work students simply scan a class QR code then add their submissions. Watch the video embedded below to see how it works. Click here for a PDF of directions on how to use Student Stories.