Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where it definitely feels like winter tonight. Between the snow flurries and the earlier sunset there is no denying that the winter weather is here. I hope that all of you had a great weekend and feel ready for the new week ahead. As I do every weekend, I've put together a short list of the most popular posts of the previous week.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. The Pit and the Pendulum Rap
2. A Short Guide to Using Google Books for Research
3. Lets You Tweet and Bookmark Simultaneously
4. 5 Fantastic Apps for Digital Storytelling on iPads
5. Form+ Adds More Flexibility to Your Google Forms
6. How to Create Google Scholar Alerts
7. Wikispaces Adds GeoGebraTube to Their Widget Library

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Remind 101 offers a free tool for sending text message reminders to students.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
Our World's Story is your one-stop online social studies portal for all World, European and United States History courses.

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New RSS Feed and Subscription Methods

One of the drawbacks of putting your faith in Google is that occasionally they cease support for the products that you love. See iGoogle and Google Reader for the most recent examples. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that FeedBurner is going to be the next to go from Google's stable of products. Rather than wait for that to happen, I've decided to move the RSS feed of Free Technology for Teachers from FeedBurner to FeedBlitz (a service that I pay for and in return get real human customer support). I moved the RSS feed tonight. You should not notice any changes other than some possible minor formatting (text, link structure) differences. If you do notice a major change, please let me know via email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers (dot) com.

Do I need to do anything?
Over the next month or so I will be attempting to migrate all subscribers to the new RSS feed. If you don't want to wait for me and or you're syndicating the truncated feed somewhere (school blog via a feed widget, for example) you can manually re-subscribe here (

Email subscribers:
Nothing is changing for you. I moved the email list to FeedBlitz two+ years ago. If you are interested in subscribing via email, you can do so here (

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Stanford Mini Med - An Online Introduction to Med School

MOOCs and other similar online resources have made it possible to learn more than ever without ever leaving your house if you don't want to. A good example of this can be found in the breadth and depth of the free course materials that Stanford has put online over the last few years.

The Stanford School of Medicine has made available three semesters worth of lectures on human biology, health and disease, medical research, and health care. The lectures are available through iTunes, YouTube, and on the Stanford Mini Med School website. Click here for winter term, here for spring term, and here for fall term.

Search Mind Cipher for Your Next Brainstorming Session Warm-up Activity

Trying to solve riddles and other brain teasers can be a fun way to "warm-up" the brain before a brainstorming session or before a lesson on Monday morning. If you use this method, take a look at Mind Cipher for some new-to-you riddles and brain teasers. Mind Cipher is a collection of brain teasers, logic puzzles, and riddles submitted by members of the Mind Cipher community. All submissions placed into one of ten categories. The categories include mathematics, logic, lateral thinking, and physics. All submissions are ranked one a difficulty scale of 1-10.

Applications for Education
Mind Cipher could be a great resource to consult during those times when you have a few minutes of "down-time" with your students. Bring up one of the Mind Cipher puzzles to keep them engaged in thinking even if they're not thinking specifically about your content area.

30 Images of Cyber Safety Reminders

October was Cyber Security Awareness Month. Throughout the month Google's Google+ feed included a cyber security tip of the day. On the last day of the month Google posted the five most popular tips along with 30 images representing each of the tips shared in Google's Google+ feed. You can view all of those images in this album. The two most popular tips are tips that I often pass along too. Those are using two-step authentication on your Google account and securing your wi-fi network. Videos for both tips are embedded below.

Five Short Lessons About Daylight Saving Time and Time Zones

This morning my dogs woke me up exceptionally early even by their standards. They did it because they don't understand Daylight Saving Time. And as my sister is fond of pointing out, neither do young children. If you're looking for some quick lessons about Daylight Saving Time to share with your students, take a look at the videos below. These are the types of videos that I would post on my high school classroom blog as "that's interesting and might appear as a bonus question somewhere" material.

And though it's not about daylight saving time, this TED-Ed lesson about the standardization of timezones is good.