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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What is Hotlinking?

This morning I received an email from a reader who had a question about my article on making bingo game boards in Google Sheets. Her question was essentially, "why won't Pixabay images show up on the board?" The answer is that Pixabay doesn't allow hotlinking its images.

The following is from an article about image reuse that I published a few years ago

What is hotlinking?
In a nutshell, hotlinking is inserting a picture into a blog post through a URL rather than uploading the image file itself to your blog. You can read more about hotlinking on the Simple English Wikipedia or on Host Gator's page about preventing hotlinking to your own work.

Why you and your students should avoid hotlinking.
Hotlinking itself isn't bad if you're only linking to images that you own and control online. For example, let's say that you have a Flickr account to which you upload dozens of pictures that you took. You could use the embed code or the link that Flickr provides to post your images in your blog post.

When hotlinking causes trouble is when you link to another person's image hosted in their account or on their servers. Even if the image is in the public domain you probably don't want to hotlink to it. In fact some services, like Pixabay which hosts public domain images, block attempts at hotlinking. They block hotlinking because when you hotlink you're using more of their bandwidth than if you simply downloaded the image to your computer then uploaded it to your blog.

The biggest concern about hotlinking is not knowing exactly who or what you're linking to. As Sue implied in her Tweet this morning, it is possible that the image you linked to and the image displayed could be changed without warning. It's also possible that the link a student inserts to hotlink links back to site or host laden with malware that could then rain down havoc on your blog.

Two Simple Timeline Creation Tools That Are Frequently Overlooked

This morning I answered an email from a reader who was looking for a suggestion for a timeline creation tool. My recommendation was to try Timeline JS which is my favorite tool and is featured in my Teaching History With Technology course. But there are many other ways to create timelines. Two of those ways are hidden in the tools that many of us use on a regular basis. Google Slides and PowerPoint have templates for making timelines.

Browse through Microsoft's templates gallery and you will find an entire section devoted to making timelines in PowerPoint and in Word. I really like this circle accent timeline template.

Google Slides also has timeline templates that your students can use. In the following video I demonstrate how to access and use the timeline option in Google Slides.

ReClipped Adds New Features for Recording & Sharing Video Notes

ReClipped is a video annotation tool that I first tried back in November. I was impressed by how ReClipped lets you not only clip or highlight sections of videos, but also lets you write time-stamped notes about those clipped sections. Watch the video here to see ReClipped in action.

Recently, ReClipped added some new features that teachers and students will like. ReClipped has always allowed you to create private boards (a place to share your video notes) but there was a limitation of 20 members per board. That limit has been raised to 25 members. Another improvement is the option to download your notes as a PDF. That could be helpful if you want your students to share their notes with you via Google Classroom or another LMS. Finally, there is now control over the auto-play function in ReClipped.


Applications for Education
There is still one option that I wish ReClipped would add. That option would be to remove the public board display when students log-in. The public board display is like looking at a random collection of YouTube videos. That said, if you have high school or college students, ReClipped could be useful for them to use to record notes on video lessons and lectures.

Last-minute Collection of Valentine's Day Resources

Valentine's Day is tomorrow. If you're looking for some last minute activities to do in your classroom, take a look at these resources that I featured earlier in the month.

Storyboard That offers templates for designing and printing Valentine's Day cards. To do this your students will first have to create a simple three-frame storyboard. Then they can print the story in a foldable card format. In my video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a Valentine's Day card on Storyboard That.



Canva offers design templates for almost every card-giving occasion. That includes offering Valentine's Day card designs. In the video below I demonstrate how to use Canva to design cards.



If you're wondering if you can use Canva with students under the age of 13, please read this statement from Canva's CEO Cliff Obrecht.

Science & Math Connections
The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friends who teach middle school and high school health classes.


The following fun video, also from It's Okay to Smart, attempts to use math to determine the odds of a 25 year old woman finding love in New York. (Remember, the video is just for fun).


Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Webinar Recording - Inquiry and the Fire Lab

On Monday I hosted a free webinar sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories Xplorlabs. The webinar focused on the ideas of inquiry-based learning and how they are applied to Xplorlabs's Fire Forensics: Claims and Evidence online learning experience. If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording as embedded below.

Inquiry-based Learning and the Fire Lab from Richard Byrne on Vimeo.

The slides from the webinar can be viewed here.