Monday, August 3, 2020

Stream Multiple Sources at Once With OBS Studio

Last week I got an email from a reader who was looking for a means to stream or broadcast from multiple sources. Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams can do that if you use screensharing. There are other tools available that provide a bit more "professional" level of mixing sources into your broadcast than what you can do with Zoom and Google Meet. One of those tools is OBS Studio.

Over the weekend Danny Nicholson, host of The Whiteboard Blog and all-around good guy, published a short tutorial on the features of OBS Studio for teachers. The video from his tutorial is embedded below, but be sure to visit Danny's site for more great ideas.

Don't Fall for This Image Attribution Scam

Anyone who has followed my blog for a year or more knows that I am nothing if not vigilant in promoting the use of public domain imagery in blog posts and other multimedia projects. To that end, I have used Pixabay for years to locate images to use in my blog posts. Pixabay clearly labels all of the images they host with "Free for Commercial Use. No Attribution Required." That's why this morning I was taken aback when I got the following email:

Hi Richard,
You are using my client's image (attached below) in one of your articles https://www.freetech4teachers.com/2018/05/three-ways-to-develop-programming.html. We're glad that it's of use to you :)

There’s no issue if you've bought this from our market partners such as Shutterstock, iStock, Getty Image, Pexels, Adobe, Pixabay, Unsplash, etc.,

However, if you don’t have the proper license for the image then we request you to provide image credits (clickable link) on your article. Or else this will be against the copyright policy.

Unfortunately, removing the image isn't the solution since you have been using our image on your website for a while now.

Feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

Rodney Sherwood
Content Head
Anti Spam Reporter
There are a few things in this email that triggered my Spidey senses to a scam.

1. No mention of the actual client.

2. "Rodney" represents an "anti spam" firm. Any legitimate copyright protection claim/ DMCA claim would at least be formatted with link to the original image source (a requirement in making any defense of your copyright, something I know from filing dozens of DMCA notices over the years) if not filed by a law firm specializing in intellectual property.

3. "Rodney" cites Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash as one of his company's "market partners." A quick search of his website makes no mention of those partners. Furthermore, Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash are quite clear in saying that attribution is not required.

4. This key tip-off was "Rodney's" failure to mention the website that he wants me to link to.

How I responded.
1. Just to be sure I was in the right, I did a reverse image search and landed back on Pixabay where I confirmed that I had the rights to use the image.

2. Took a screenshot of Pixbay page that hosts the image.

3. Sent the screenshot to "Rodney" and told him to take his spam elsewhere.

How you should respond.

1. Double-check that you have rights to use the image in question (a quick reverse image search is the easiest way to do this).

2. Mark the email as spam and delete it.

What's the purpose of this scam?
The purpose is to try to get website owners to link to a specific page or site in attempt to increase the number of pages linking a site. It's the same reason why the comments section of blogs get spammed with ridiculous links.

Good Places to Find Copyright-friendly Media
Back in May I published an updated guide to finding copyright-friendly media for classroom projects. You can find it here on PracticalEdTech.com

Lessons on Map Projections

The maps pages and education pages of the USGS should be bookmarked by anyone who teaches geography. One of my go-to pages within the USGS education site is this collection of 27 ideas for teaching with topographic maps. In the list of lesson ideas you will find suggestions for lessons about typical geography topics like coordinates, scale, and map projections. The USGS offers a free map projections poster that you can use in conjunction with the lesson on map projections.

You can download hundreds of USGS maps for free from the USGS store. You can also visit the USGS topoView site to download historic maps. One of the ways that I like to use these maps is to overlay them on Google Earth imagery. This can be a good way to compare map projections and map content. This video shows you how to do that.



Projection Wizard is an interesting tool developed by Bojan Šavrič at Oregon State University. The purpose of Projection Wizard is to help cartographers select the best map projections for their projects. Projection Wizard is a more advanced tool than most high school geography courses would need. That said, I would use the Projection Wizard to have students discuss the flaws of  various map projections. We'd also talk about why a particular type of projection is better than another for different types of projects.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where the sun has set on a beautiful summer day. I hope that you are having a great weekend!

Unlike last week in which I hosted more than a dozen webinars, this week I didn't host any. I am going to host a few webinars next week. One of them is a live Q&A with my friend Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning. Register here to join us for that free webinar.

As I do every weekend, I've assembled a list of the most popular posts of the week. Take a look!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Convert Handwritten Notes Into Google Documents
2. How to Make a Digital Bookshelf in Google Slides
3. How to Create a Timed Quiz in Google Classroom
4. 5 Alternatives to Traditional Book Report Projects
5. How to Convert a PDF Into a Google Document
6. Preparing for the Worst With Zoom, Dual Monitors, Microphones, and More
7. Phidgets - A Fun, Free, Hands-on Way to Learn Python, Java, and More

Back to School PD Opportunities
This week I received a bunch of requests to host PD webinars for the start of the school year. If you'd like to have me host a PD session for your school, please send me a note at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together.

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 it includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from FreeTech4Teachers.com.
  • My YouTube Channel - more than 26,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 400 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has more than 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.

What Did You Watch in July?

Nearly 27,000 people are now subscribed to my YouTube channel. On my channel I publish screencast videos about all kinds of things including how to make videos, how to do interesting things with Google Slides, how to publish a podcast, and many other topics. Most of the videos are made to address questions that people send to me.

YouTube provides channel owners with interesting statistics about their channels. Some of those statistics include the cumulative time spent watching videos, the time spent watching individual videos, and the average length of time spent viewing videos on the channel. Based on that information, the following were the five most popular videos on my channel in July.

The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms


How to Host an Online Meeting With Zoom



Use Whiteboards in Google Meet Without Screensharing


How to Create a QR Code for a Google Form


How to Create a Video With Canva