Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Just Five Days Until...

It is just five days until the first session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp begins. If you haven't registered for the session of your choice, you can do so up until the day before it starts. While the early-bird discount has passed, you can still get group discounts. 

There is a June session, a July session, and an August session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. In all three sessions we'll cover ten key topics over the course of ten live webinars (recordings will also be available). 

These are the topics for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp:
  • Teaching Search Strategies & Digital Citizenship
  • Video Projects for Every Classroom
  • Classroom Podcasting 101
  • Building Digital Portfolios
  • Fun Formative Assessment Methods
  • Using AR & VR in Your Classroom
  • Making Virtual Tours
  • Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps
  • Simple and Fun Makerspaces Projects
  • Blending Technology Into Outdoor Lessons

Register online or email me to register your group of five or more. 


Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a group discount?
Yes, there is a group discount available. You can save $50/person if you have five or more people registering from your school district. Email me for a discount code to apply to online group registrations or to initiate a PO registration.

Can I register with a purchase order or check?
Yes, you can certainly register with a purchase order. Send me an email or have your business office send me an email to initiate that process. Because of the additional paperwork and delay in receiving funds, the early registration discount doesn't apply to purchase order registrations.

Can I get CEUs/ contact hours?
You will receive a certificate from me indicating that you participated in ten hours of professional development time. Whether or not your school, state, or province will accept it for license/ certificate renewal is a determination that you will have to make. The rules about CEUs vary widely from state-to-state and I can't possibly keep track of them all.

What platform are you using for the webinars?
All of the webinars will be conducted through the GoToWebinar platform. I've tried many other webinar services, but I keep coming back to GoToWebinar because of it's reliability. I've used it for almost a decade for hundreds of webinars. You can access GoToWebinar on any computer or tablet.

Will the sessions be recorded?
Yes, all of the live webinars will be recorded. If you have to miss a session, you'll be able to watch the recording. That said, I find that people get the most out of webinars when they can attend live broadcasts and ask questions in real-time. Therefore, I encourage you to pick the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp session that works best with your schedule.

Blockchain - From the Basics to Advanced - A Free Course

Turn on CNBC or any business/ financial news channel today and you're likely to hear about Bitcoin. Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies. If you're not familiar with how blockchain works or you're looking for a simple explanation to share with your students, Common Craft has you covered. Blockchain Explained by Common Craft makes a great analogy between keeping a ledger of tangible assets to keeping a ledger of digital assets. The presentation of that analogy makes it easy to understand how blockchain works. 

Once you understand the basics of blockchain you might want to learn more about cryptocurrencies. Blockchain and Money is an open course from MIT. The course was originally taught in the fall of 2018, but all of the materials and lectures are still available for free. All twenty-three lectures in the course can be viewed in this YouTube playlist. It is a graduate course so I don't expect that high school students would be able to understand all of it, but an interested high school student could still glean some good lessons from it. 

H/T to Open Culture

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

Code Your Own Retro View-Master

CodePen is one of my favorite sites for helping students learn how web apps are constructed. In fact, I like it so much that I'll be featuring it in one of next week's Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp webinars. 

The concept of CodePen is that people can share the web apps that they develop and others can copy and modify those projects. The neat thing about it from a teaching and learning perspective is that you can see the how the CSS, HTML, and JavaScript work together. Edits made to the code are almost instantly carried-out for you to see. 

Earlier this week I received an email from CodePen that highlighted a few projects from the public project gallery. One of those projects that jumped out to me was the Visualizer 3000 project. The Visualizer 3000 lets you create an image gallery that is displayed in the form of a View-Master. A new image from your gallery is displayed each time you click on the handle on the side of the View-Master. 


Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, CodePen's format provides a great way for students to see how CSS, HTML, and JavaScript work together to form a web application. The Visualizer 3000 project could be a fun one for students to tinker with to change the color scheme, add pictures of their own, or change the number of pictures that rotate through the gallery.

Here's a video overview of how CodePen works.



This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite.

A Few Short Lessons About the Longest Day of the Year

It is going to be warm and sunny here in Maine today. That temperature will make it feel like summer a few days before the summer solstice. Many refer to the summer solstice as the "longest day of the year" when they really mean "longest period of daylight in a day." But that's beside the point of this post which is to share a few resources that can help kids understand what the summer solstice is.

SciShow Kids offers a nice video that can help K-3 students understand why the length of daylight changes throughout the year.


Reasons for the Seasons is a TED-Ed lesson appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students. The lesson explains the relationship between the shape of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the Earth's tilt on its axis, and how those affect the amount of sunlight on different areas of the Earth.


And for a little perspective on winter vs. summer solstice here's a great side-by-side time-lapse of the winter and summer solstices in Manchester, England.


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Roadside America in a Story Map

The Library of Congress houses the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive. That archive contains nearly 12,000 photographs of interesting roadside attractions all over the United States and eastern Canada. The collection includes pictures of things like gas stations shaped like a dinosaur, windmills that serve as ice cream stands, funky miniature golf courses, and lots of neon signs for motels and restaurants. 

Recently, the Library of Congress published an ESRI Story Map of photographs in the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive. The map is titled Roadside America. You can view the images on an interactive map or simply scroll through some curated collections of images from the collection. I found it fun to click on the markers on the map to discover some roadside attractions in my home state as well as others around the country. But before you head out on the road to look for them I should point out that many of the photographs are of things that are no longer out on the roadside. 


As you click through the Roadside America map you will be able to click-through to the LOC pages that host the images. There you can download the images in various sizes. The images are free for re-use. Image record and citation information is available on each page on which the images are hosted.

Applications for Education
Roadside America provides a nice way for students to discover some pieces of Americana past and present. I'd use the map as a way to spark students' curiosity to conduct a little research about some of these interesting roadside attractions. I might also use the map as a model for having students create their own roadside attractions maps of places in their home states that they may have seen and or taken pictures of.

H/T to Maps Mania

Featured image credit: Margolies, John, photographer. Harold's Auto Center, horizontal view, Sinclair gas station, Route 19, Spring Hill, Florida. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/2017702118/