Friday, September 4, 2015

Find and Create Graphing Problems in the Desmos Teacher Resources

Desmos is a free graphing calculator that is available to use in your web browser and as an Android and iPad app. The Desmos calculator performs all of the functions you would expect to see in a graphing calculator with a couple of extras that you don't find in typical graphing calculators. Desmos allows you to share your equations and graphs. Desmos graphs your equations as you type them and redraws them as you alter your equations.

Applications for Education
Desmos offers a good collection of resources for teachers. The teacher resources page features a dozen pre-made activities that you can distribute to students. The activities take advantage of the functions in Desmos while helping your students learn about graphing, problem modeling, algebra, and geometry. Once you've reviewed some of the pre-made activities in Desmos you can use the Desmos activity builder to create your own lessons and distribute them to your students.

New Video Series Coming Soon - #askRichardByrne

One of the things that I've been doing since joining MindRocket Media Group in late June is getting things in order for a video series that will be appearing on EdCircuit. Every week I'll be answering some of the questions that I get asked on Twitter, Facebook, and in my email. While the series will mostly be focused on technology, I'll take on some other questions too. If you have a question for me Tweet it with the hashtag #askRichardByrne or send it to me on the EdCircuit Facebook page.

I attempted to do a series like this on my own a couple of years ago and found that I didn't have the time to do all of the video editing that was necessary. By working with MindRocket Media Group I don't have to worry about that and I can just focus on answering your questions. So if you have an ed tech question for me use the hashtag #askRichardByrne or send it through the EdCircuit Facebook page.

And, of course, you're still welcome to email me anytime at richardbyrne (at)

How to Use the Google Drive Templates Gallery

The Google Drive templates gallery is a good place to find designs for slides, documents, and spreadsheets. As someone who gets frustrated by manipulating spreadsheets, I find the Sheets templates to be particularly useful. The Docs and Slides templates are also helpful when I need inspiration for layouts and color schemes. In the short video embedded below I provide an overview of how to access and use the Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides templates.

Google Docs for Android Now Includes a Research Tool

This post originally appeared on one of my other blogs,

The research tool within Google Documents is one of my favorite features for students. That research tool has been available in the browser-based version of Google Docs for years. Now that same feature is available in the Google Docs for Android app.

The research function in Google Documents allows students to conduct Google searches without leaving the Android app. When students find links, pictures, or quotes that they want to include in their documents they can simply tap the insert button to place it in their documents. For students who are using Android tablets or phones as their primary devices, the research function should make the process of writing research papers a bit more efficient.

How to Create Custom, Multimedia Maps on Scribble Maps - No Account Required

Scribble Maps is a free tool for creating custom, multimedia maps online. Scribble Maps allows you to create your maps without creating an account on the site which makes it a good option for students who don't have email addresses or for any setting in which you don't want to make students go through yet another account creation process.

Scribble Maps provides a variety of base layer maps on which you can draw freehand, add placemarks, add image overlays, and type across the map. Compared to creating a custom map on Google Maps, Scribble Maps is much easier for students to learn how to use. Scribble Maps also provides far more default placemark icons than Google's My Maps tool. Scribble Maps will work in the web browser on your laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or Android tablet. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Scribble Maps.

Applications for Education
Scribble Maps could be the ideal mapping tool to use in social studies classes when you want students to identify natural and man-made landmarks. They can use the drawing tools to circle the landmarks then use the placemark tools to write about the landmarks. For example, you could give students a list of ten landmarks to identify then have them use the numbered placemark icons to identify and write about those landmarks. The drawing tools will help students make their placemarks standout.

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