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Monday, June 18, 2018

Google Tasks to Becomes a Core G Suite Service

In late April Google launched a new stand-alone app called Google Tasks. Last week Google announced that at the end of June Google Tasks will become a core service of G Suite. It will be on by default for all domains.

Google Tasks is kind of like Google Keep without a bookmarking function. At its most basic level Google Tasks lets you create lists of tasks that you need to do and check them off as you complete them. Dig a little deeper into the app and you will find that you can create multiple lists for different projects or goals. Within each list you can create tasks and sub-tasks. Google Calendar is integrated into the app to let you set due dates for each task and task list.

Get the Google Tasks Android app here and get the Google Tasks iOS app here.

Huge Flipgrid News! - All Features Now Free

Flipgrid has been acquired by Microsoft. That's good news for the founders of Flipgrid and great news for all of us who enjoy using Flipgrid. As of this morning all Flipgrid features are now free for all users! If you are a person who paid for a Flipgrid Pro account, you'll be getting a prorated refund of your subscription.


Some of the features of Flipgrid that are now available to all users include:
  • Unlimited grids!
  • More time limit options
    • Set a time limit between fifteen seconds and five minutes. 
  • Scheduled launch and freeze dates.
According to their statement Flipgrid will continue to work and Chromebooks, iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, and in the web browser on your Windows or Mac computer.

If you haven't tried Flipgrid, take a look at my video to see what it's all about.

A Quick and Easy Way to Create Printable Mazes

Maze Generator is a free site that does exactly what it says on the tin, it generates mazes. To make a printable maze on Maze Generator just select the shape, size, and style you want your maze to have. The shape options are rectangle, triangle, circle, and hexagon. You can also choose the level of difficulty and starting point for your mazes. After you have made all of your size and style selections just hit the "generate" button to get a printable PDF.


Applications for Education
From time-to-time we all need a low-tech to no-tech activity for our students. You might need a no-tech activity for students to do after finishing a test. Completing a maze on paper is a decidedly no-tech activity for students. But making the maze on your computer for to replicate, modify, and print is low-tech activity. If you find yourself wanting to make a maze, take a look at Maze Generator.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Games, Screencasting, and Ducks - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where we had a great day exploring the Maine Wildlife Park. My older daughter loved feeding the ducks! And we all enjoyed seeing the deer, moose, lynx and bears up close. It was a great way to relax after a long week on the road during which included seven workshops in South Carolina and one all-day workshop in Boston. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you get time to relax and unwind too.


These were the week's most popular posts:
1. An Easy Speech-to-Text Option for Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint
2. Educational Games for Elementary School Science Lessons
3. Camp GoNoodle - Four Weeks of Fun and Educational Summer Activities
4. Three Ways to Use Screencasting In Your Classroom
5. The Economics of Seinfeld - Lessons Based on Seinfeld Clips
6. Now You and Your Students Can Create Quizzes in Kahoot's Mobile App
7. Crayon - Super Simple Collaborative Whiteboard

Bring Me to Your School
I have three openings left in my summer schedule for on-site professional development workshops. I can provide professional development workshops on G Suite for Education, Teaching History With Technology, and many other topicsClick here to learn more or send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to book me today.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.

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.
MySimpleShow offers a great way to create animated videos for free.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
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.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Educational Games for Elementary School Science Lessons

Educational games can be useful in helping to reinforce concepts and content. A good game can keep students engaged while also helping them develop some thinking skills at the same time. You could create your own games on platforms like Kahoot or Metaverse, but those might not provide the depth of context that professionally developed games provide. If you're an elementary school teacher looking for some games to use in science lessons, take a look at the following five games that I frequently share with other teachers. 

Peep and the Big Wide World, produced by WGBH, offers a great collection of online games, videos, and offline activities designed to help students learn and practice skills in math and science. One emphasis of the games that I tried is recognizing patterns. In all there are twenty-one online games available through Peep and the Big Wide World.

Shutterbugs Wiggle and Stomp is an educational game produced by the Smithsonian. The purpose of the game is to help children recognize the movements of animals. In the game children move through a virtual zoo with a zoo keeper. As they go through the virtual zoo the zoo keeper will ask students to take pictures of animals who are demonstrating running, jumping, stomping, and other movements. Shutterbugs Wiggle and Stomp can be played online. The game is also available as a free iPad app and as an Android app.

Habitats is a fun little game from the Smithsonian Science Education Center. The online game challenges elementary school to match animals to their habitats. The game shows students images representative of four habitats; desert, coral reef, jungle, and marsh. Students drag pictures of animals from a list to their corresponding habitats. Students receive instant feedback on each move they make in the game. Once an animal has been placed in the correct habitat students can click on it to learn more about it in the Encyclopedia of Life.

Aquation is a free game offered by the the Smithsonian Science Education Center. The game, designed for students in upper elementary school or middle school, teaches students about the distribution of clean water and what can be done to balance global water resources. In the game students select a region to explore its current water supplies. Based on the information provided students take action in the form of building desalination plants, conducting further research, reacting to natural events, and attempting to move water between regions. Aquation can be played in a web browser. It is also available as a free iPad app and as a free Android app.

Feed the Dingo is a fun game that teaches students about the importance of maintaining balanced ecosystems. In the game students have to build and maintain a desert ecosystem. The game begins with a blank slate to which students have to add plants and animals. The game plays out over twelve virtual days. Each day students have to add more elements in order to maintain balance in the ecosystem. At the end of each day students are given feedback as to which plants and animals are healthy, which are in danger, and which have died.