Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the temporary Byrne Instructional Media, LLC headquarters at O'Hare International Airport. I'm currently waiting for my flight home after a great afternoon yesterday with people who came to the networking event hosted by Otus. Thank you to everyone that came out to hear me speak. Getting to meet passionate educators all over the world and share stories is the best thing about maintaining this blog. Those opportunities wouldn't happen without all of you who follow and share my posts. Thank you!

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. My Three Favorite Classroom Timer Tools
2. Telling Stories With Storyboards - Webinar Recording
3. How to Add Word Art to Google Slides
4. Four Tools for Creating Screencasts on Chromebooks - A Comparison
5. STEM in 30 - A Smithsonian Webcast for Middle School Students
6. Four Ways to Explore the News Through Maps
7. Resources for Reviewing for AP US History Exam

Spring and Summer PD Opportunities With Me
  • Discounted early registration for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps is available through the end of the day. 
  • If coming to Maine isn't an option for you, take a look at the online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.
Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
FreshGrade is a great online digital portfolio tool. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
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.
FrontRow offers adaptive online ELA and Math practice activities.  
Teach n Go is a comprehensive platform for teaching online courses.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.

11 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Month

It's the end of the month and it feels like I was writing about Google Apps daily in April. I checked, I wasn't, but there were a lot of useful updates to Google Apps products this month. Here are the updates that are of interest to teachers and students.

1. Google Play podcasts. You can now publish your podcast on Google Play. The process is actually rather straight-forward.

2. New filtering options for YouTube within Google Apps domains.

3. Google Calendar now suggests mutually convenient meeting times for your group.

4. You can now create and track goals in Google Calendar.

5. Google Calendar's web app now includes task reminders.

6. Google Classroom now includes a polling function.

7. Outlook users will be pleased to know that the Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office now supports Outlook.

8. The Mac & PC Google Drive desktop apps now allow you to choose which folders you want to sync.

9. Google Drive now lets you choose which files you want to sync for offline access.

10. Google Keep for Chrome & Android now let you bookmark websites, add notes to your bookmarks, share bookmarks, and set reminders for sharing. Watch my latest video overview of the Google Keep for Chrome extension.

11. Desktop notifications are now a feature of Google Drive's web app. The notifications will tell you when someone shares a file and or requests a file. Watch my video to learn how to enable this feature.

Learn how to put all of these features and more to good use in your classroom in my online course Getting Going With GAFE. You can earn three graduate credits in the course. 

Preparing Students to Learn & Work Independently - Slides

On Friday afternoon I gave a presentation to a great group of educators from the greater Chicago area. Twice as many people registered as came to the event so I'm guessing there are some folks who would like to see the slides from my talk. Those slides are embedded below.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Resources for Reviewing for AP US History Exam

The AP exam for US History is just a week away now. Tom Richey has put together a great page of resources for students who are reviewing for that exam. Tom's AP US History review page includes short strategy guides for each part of the exam. Those guides include PDFs and videos with strategy hints.

Students in need of specific content area review will find plenty of videos. The videos are organized by period according to the AP exam structure. The videos on Tom Richey's AP US History review page are produced by Tom as well as others including Keith Hughes, Daniel Jocz, and Timothy Betts who all have large followings of their own on YouTube.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Explain VR Virtual Zoo - Animals in Virtual Reality

Explain VR Virtual Zoo is a free iPhone app that is designed to work with Google Cardboard. The free app features ten animals in virtual reality. Some of the animals featured in the app include giraffes, elephants, tigers, and bears. Each animal appears individually and students can see them move in virtual reality. Audio in the app provides students with some basic information about each animal.

Applications for Education
Explain VR Virtual Zoo could provide students with a fun way to learn about animals that they might not see without otherwise going to a zoo. The audio information in the app isn't terribly detailed so the app is probably best for elementary school students.