Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 32 - Back from the Flu

Last week I had the flu and lost my voice so I wasn't able to record the Practical Ed Tech Podcast. But after a week I'm back to full strength and have a new episode of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast.

In this episode of the podcast I shared a neat new stop motion video tool and a handy update to Wakelet. I also explained a new tool called PayGrade.io that I'm trying with my freshmen. And in the Q&A I answered a tricky Creative Commons license question.

You can listen to episode 32 of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your favorite podcast network. The complete show notes can be read here.





Listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Animate Anything With Cloud Stop Motion

Cloud Stop Motion by ZU3D is a new stop motion animation tool that I recently learned about from Danny Nicholson's The Whiteboard Blog. Cloud Stop Motion is a browser-based tool for creating short stop motion videos. I gave it a try this afternoon and found it quite easy to use.

You can try Cloud Stop Motion without creating an account. That said, I'd recommend creating a free account because without one your video has to be so short that you really can't get a sense for how all of the tools work.

Once you've created your Cloud Stop Motion account you should enable your webcam so that you can use it to capture pictures of objects that you place in front of it. Taking a series of pictures is as simple as clicking the camera icon in the Cloud Stop Motion editor. Your pictures are automatically added to the editor in the sequence in which you took them. If you already have a set of images that you've taken with another app or device, you can upload them to Cloud Stop Motion to use in your projects.

After adding images to your Cloud Stop Motion project you can upload sounds, record sounds, or select sounds from the gallery provided by Cloud Stop Motion. You can also add text and title screens to your project.

When all of the media for your Cloud Stop Motion project are in place you can preview your video by hitting the play button. If you don't like any element of the video, you can go back and edit it out. Adjusting the frames per second is a simple edit that you can make in the Cloud Stop Motion editor.

Applications for Education
Cloud Stop Motion offers free accounts for schools. The free school accounts provide 2GB of storage for every student. The school accounts also provide tools for administrators to manage student accounts.

Cloud Stop Motion could be a great tool for students to use to create short videos to animate stories they've written by using toys or clay models. Making a stop motion video is also a good way for students to demonstrate the steps of a long process in a short window of time.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it is a crisp -9F! Unfortunately, the forecast indicates that it's not going to get much warmer than 0F and it will be windy. In other words, it might be a day for bowling instead of playing outside. My youngest daughter recently discovered that she loves bowling! Well as much as you can call it bowling when you're two years old. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have time for something fun no matter what the weather holds.

As it is a frigid day here in Maine it's only natural to remind myself that spring isn't too far away. And my spring will be busy as I get ready for Dirty Kanza 200 and then the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Tickets for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp are on sale now! Fill out the form on this page to get a discount code.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Fifteen Digital Citizenship Resources for K-12
2. The Electoral College Explained by Common Craft
3. Headliner - A Good Alternative to Adobe Spark Video
4. Three Neat Things You Can Do With Google Sheets
5. PayGrade - A Classroom Economy Simulation You Can Use All Year
6. Three Easy Steps to Encourage Technology Integration
7. Four Tips for Facilitating Classroom Arduino Projects

I'll come to your school in 2020! 
Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together. This year I'm offering an opportunity to bring me to your school for free! Ask me for details.

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides FreeTech4Teachers.com and the daily email digest, there are other ways to keep up with what I'm publishing. 
  • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from FreeTech4Teachers.com.
  • My YouTube Channel - More than 17,000 people are subscribed to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 300 Google tools tutorials. 
  • The Practical Ed Tech Podcast is where I answer questions from readers, share news and notes, and occasionally talk to interesting people in education. 
  • Facebook - The FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has nearly 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last twelve years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.

Friday, February 14, 2020

DNS & IP Explained

One of the things that quickly became clear when I started teaching an introduction to computer science course for high school freshmen was that while they are happy to use the Internet, they don't really understand how the Internet works. I suppose the same can be said for lots of adults too. The Domain Name Systems is the most important or at least most frequently used part of how people use the Internet today. PowerCert Videos, a YouTube channel that I featured a couple of weeks ago, has a good video that explains how a DNS server works. I used this video with my own students earlier this year.


Code.org offers a video on the same topic. Code.org's video gets into a bit more of the history of the development of the Internet. I also showed this video to my students, but I didn't find it nearly as effective as the PowerCert video.


Applications for Education
If you have never built a website from scratch without the use of service like Weebly or Google Sites, you may not have ever thought about the role of IP addresses and the domain name system in getting a website online. These videos can help students understand how that process happens and how DNS makes it easy to navigate the web today.

Local vs. Online Documents

I've been a Google Docs user longer than most middle schoolers have been alive. I don't need convincing that online documents are great. But not everyone is convinced. In fact, just last week I had a conversation with a teacher in my school who wasn't convinced that there could be any benefit to moving away from using Word on his desktop PC. I even tried telling him that there is an online version of Word. (This was also the same person who didn't want to use two-factor authentication on his G Suite account because "who knows who can see my phone number?")

If you find yourself, like I did last week, trying to explain the benefits of online documents to someone, consider using Common Craft's new video on the topic. In my case, with the colleague I described above, it might not help. Hopefully, in your case it does help explain the benefits of online documents.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing, in-kind relationship with Common Craft.