Saturday, April 10, 2021

Photos, Poetry, and History - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is going to be another gorgeous spring day. We've been lucky to have a bunch of nice days this week. My family has been soaking up every minute of nice weather by riding bikes, cleaning out garden beds, and generally playing outside as much as we can. And that's what we're going to do today. I hope that you also have some fun things planned for your weekend. 

This week I hosted Intro to Teaching History With Technology. If you missed it, you can watch the recording and see the slides here. That webinar was an introduction to my full Teaching History With Technology course that begins on Tuesday. You can register for that course here

As I mentioned last week, I'm starting to put more blog posts on my other site, Practical Ed Tech. I'm doing that because all of my blog posts on Free Technology for Teachers are getting scraped (stolen) by shady websites faster than I can keep up with. I simply don't have enough time in my day to file all of the DMCA notices with hosting companies (some of which don't care anyway) that it takes to shut down those sites. That's why you'll see that my week-in-review lists now include some posts from Practical Ed Tech

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. TeacherMade Adds More Features to Make Your Online Lessons Better
2. How to Move from Google Photos to Amazon Photos
3. Activities for National Poetry Month
4. Intro to Teaching History With Technology – Webinar Recording
5. Two New Google Workspace Features for Students - Including Saving Google Forms in Progress!
6. Everything You Need to Know to Create Quizzes With Microsoft Forms
7. Five Collections of Historical Maps

On-demand Professional Development
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 35,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
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 711Web.

12 Fun, Challenging, and Interesting Geography Games for Students

Last year I published a list of geography games for students. Since then I've come across a few more interesting geography games and one that I used for years has disappeared. Here's my updated list of fun, challenging, and interesting geography games for students. 

Map Quiz is exactly what its name implies. It's a quiz game in which you're shown a country or territory on a map and have to identify its name. The questions on Map Quiz are multiple choice so you have at least a 25% chance of getting it right. Whether you answer the question right or wrong you'll be shown the right answer and be given some basic information about the country or territory. When you're shown a question on Map Quiz the map may be oriented in way that is unusual for some people. You can spin the map by using the compass icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Zooming in and zooming out is also possible in the game. 

GeoQuiz is a simple game that just asks you to try to name as many countries as you can in fifteen minutes. As soon as you enter a country's name the globe on the screen spins to center on that country. If you misspell a country the globe doesn't spin and your entry doesn't count. You can play GeoQuiz on your own or you can compete against other players in online rooms. Either way, you don't need to register or enter any personal information in order to play GeoQuiz. To play against others you can join an existing room or create your own and invite people to join it. To have others join your room all you have to do is pick a name for your room and tell people to join it in the "online mode" on the GeoQuiz homepage. 

In City Guesser 2.0 players are shown video clips (silent or with background noise) and have to guess the location of the city they're seeing. After each guess players are shown how close or far their guesses were from the actual city location. It's a simple game while also being a challenging game. City Guesser 2.0 offers games based on cities of the whole world and landmarks of the whole world. There are also country-specific versions of the game for the United States, Canada, Russia, England, France, Japan, India, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina. Additionally, there is a version of the game covering all of Asia and a version covering all of Europe.  

WikiWhere is a neat map-based trivia game. The goal of the game is to identify cities based on their descriptions. The descriptions come from Wikipedia entries. You can get up to three clues before you have to answer by clicking on the map to identify the city that you think is described by the excerpts. When you click on the map you'll be shown the correct answer and how far away you were from the correct answer.

The browser-based version of Google Earth has a bunch of geography games for students to play including a few versions of Where In the World is Carmen San Diego? If you go into the Voyager mode in Google Earth you will find other games and quizzes to try. The quizzes are neat because when you answer a question correctly you automatically zoom to the Street View imagery of the location. Check it out in my video below.



GameOn World is a multiplayer geography game developed by a high school teacher and his student in Portland, Maine. The game is similar in structure to that of Kahoot. In GameOn World the teacher selects a game category (cities, places, and timeline are three of the nine categories) and starts the game. The students join the game by going to GameOn.World and entering a game pin. In the location and timeline games, students answer the questions by moving a placemark on a map or selecting a date on a timeline. In some of the other games students answer by choosing a number on a sliding scale.



GeoGuessr shows you a Google Street View image and a clue to try to guess where in the world the imagery was captured. Playing GeoGuessr is a fun way to get students to look at all of the visual and text clues they have in order to form a good guess as to where in the world they think the imagery came from. This used to be completely free, but it moved to a freemium model in 2020 which limits how many games you can play for free.

Quizzity is an online geography game that uses a familiar concept. Quizzity presents you with the name of a city and you have to click on the map where you think that city is in the world. Quizzity quizzes you on cities all over the world. To increase the accuracy of your guesses you should zoom-in on a region before clicking the map. Each round of Quizzity presents you with six city names. Points are awarded for accuracy and speed.

Step Right Up States & Capitals is a free geography game from ABCya. It's based on an older version of the game that was called Capital Toss. The new version of the game only has U.S. states and capitals while the old version also had a country mode. In the game the name of a U.S. state capital appears at the bottom of the screen and two rows of state names scroll across the top. When the correct state name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

How Many European Cities Can You Name? and How Many US Cities Can You Name? are game developed by Ian Fisher who is a software engineer at Google. Both of the games are played the same way. Simply open the game map and start typing the names of cities. When you enter a city it will appear on the map. The object is to name as many cities as you can without stopping. When you're done you'll see a list of the cities that you named and the populations of the five biggest cities and the five smallest cities that you named.

Seterra offers hundreds of geography games in 39 languages. You can play the games online in your web browser or download the apps to play on a phone or tablet. In the following video I demonstrate four ways that you can play the online version of Seterra's geography games.


You can learn more about how get the most out of Google Earth and Maps in my self-paced Crash Course in Google Earth and Maps for Social Studies course. 

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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Loom Adds Transcriptions and Captions

Loom is one of my favorite Chrome extensions for making short tutorial videos. In the last year I've made a few tutorials about different ways to use Loom. Some of those include recording videos from your Gmail inbox and making whiteboard videos

Loom recently added two new features. Those are a transcription/ captions tool and an Android app. 

Loom's transcription tool will automatically create an English transcript of your videos. Any videos that are transcribed will also have captions added to them when viewed. Transcriptions and captions are a beta feature right now so not all accounts have them at this time. You can read more about the transcription and caption feature here

Loom also introduced a new Android app at the end of March. I have now installed it and uninstalled it twice. It is supposed to to make it easy to record screencasts on your Android phone. However, both times that I tried it the log-in function didn't work if I used Google single sign-on (it put me into an infinite loop of asking to verify my log-in with my phone). Once I finally signed in by creating a completely new account without the use of Google single sign-on the recording function was clunky at best. The recording would start, but it wasn't obvious that it had started and it wasn't obvious how to stop the recording. When it did stop, I couldn't find the recording anywhere. In short, Loom's Android app is not something I'd recommend using at this time. Perhaps you'll have better luck than I did on my Pixel 5

Applications for Education
The new transcription and captions option in Loom could be helpful to teachers who are already using Loom and want to improve the accessibility of their instructional videos. The captions are helpful to students who have hearing impairments but also to students who might be watching the videos in a place where they cannot play the videos aloud and don't have ready access to headphones.


On a related note, Loom is one of the tools that is featured and utilized in my self-paced Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video course.

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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

ICYMI - Intro to Teaching History With Technology - Webinar Recording

Earlier this week I hosted a free webinar titled Intro to Teaching History With Technology. In the webinar I introduced my Discovery, Discussion, Demonstration framework and how it can be applied to developing interesting history and geography lessons. More than 100 people joined the webinar. If you missed it, you can watch the recording right here on my YouTube channel or as embedded below. 



The slides that I used during the webinar can be viewed on this Canva page.

My full Teaching History With Technology course begins on Tuesday. You can get the full details of the course and register for the course right here. Register before Saturday using the code THWT2021 to save 10%.

Intro to Teaching History With Technology 2021 by Richard Byrne

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Five Collections of Historical Maps

As I mentioned in my previous post, reading this new BBC article about the rediscovery of the first 3D map in Europe prompted me to look through my archives for collections of historical maps. Here are some collections of historical maps that I've featured in the past and used in my classroom and or in Teaching History With Technology workshops over the years. 

The King's Topographical Collection hosted on the Flick Commons contains more than 17,000 historical maps and images related to maps. The King's Topographical Collection is comprised of maps and drawings produced between 1500 and 1824. You can browse through, view, and download all of the maps and drawings in the collection. Unfortunately, the ability to search within the collection on Flickr is limited to just using "control+F" to search for words on the displayed page. When you do find something you like, click the download button on the image to save it in resolution of your choice. 

Maps of Cities, hosted by the Library of Congress is one of two sets of historic maps available through the Free to Use and Reuse collections on the LOC's website. The other set of maps is called Discovery and Exploration. Both the Maps of Cities and the Discovery and Exploration collections contain about two dozen historic maps that you can download and reuse for free in any classroom project. All of the maps can be downloaded as JPEG files (three sizes available) and as GIFs.

topoView is a good place to find historical maps. topoView is a USGS website that provides historical maps dating back to 1880. You can download the maps in variety of file formats including JPG and KMZ. In the following video I demonstrate how to find and download historical maps on the topoView website.


LOC's online historical map collection, different from the use & re-use collection listed above, has nearly 38,000 items for visitors to view. Many of the maps are in the public domain or have Creative Commons licenses. You can browse and search for maps in the collection according to date, location, subject, language, collection, and contributor.

Even though it hasn't been updated in a decade, Florida's Educational Technology Clearinghouse's collection of more than 5,000 historical maps is still worth noting. The maps are licensed for free download and reuse by teachers and students. The collection is organized by continent and country. The US category is further broken down and organized by state and by historical theme.

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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

A Video Tour of 17th Century London in 3D

This morning I read a BBC article about the rediscovery of the oldest 3D map in Europe. The map is a roughly 5 x 6.5 foot slab of carved rock. Reading that article prompted me to start looking in my archives for collections of historical maps. While doing that I came across a video that I shared back in 2013. That video is an animated 3D tour of 17th Century London

Pudding Lane Productions created a three and one half minute video tour to show viewers what London may have looked like prior to the Great Fire. The tour is based upon historical drawings and maps that the Pudding Lane Productions team researched. The video is embedded below.



Applications for Education
This video could be a good supplement to lessons about British history to show students a slightly different perspective of an overview of London that they may have read about or seen drawings of in textbooks.

This video might also inspire some ambitious students to create their own historical video tours of other cities they're studying in history and geography classes. It's possible to do that with the tour creation tool that is built into Google Earth Pro.

On a related note, in A Crash Course on Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies I teach how to make tours in Google Earth and how to overlay historical maps onto current Google Earth imagery.

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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

TeacherMade Adds More Features to Make Your Online Lessons Better

Disclosure: TeacherMade is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Back in September I wrote a lengthy piece about a new service called TeacherMade that was made by a teacher for teachers like you and me. Since then I’ve mentioned it in a few webinars and published a video about it. Every time I mention it I hear back from people saying how much they use it and love it! According to TeacherMade, more than 200,000 teachers have used it this year! 

TeacherMade continues to improve every month. In this post I’ll highlight some of the features of TeacherMade that are new since the last time I wrote about it.

What is Teachermade? 
Before jumping into what’s new with TeacherMade, let’s recap the core functions of the service.

You can use TeacherMade to turn your PDFs, Word docs, Google Docs, and pictures into online activities. And if you choose to make your activity a graded one, TeacherMade will automatically score responses for you. There are thirteen question or prompt formats that you can add to your TeacherMade activities. My favorite of those are the “Hotspots” and matching responses. Some of the other response types include typical multiple choice, true/false, and short answers. There’s also an option to have students respond to questions with fractions, mixed fractions, numbers, formulas, and Algebraic expressions.

My Favorite TeacherMade question types.
Hotspots allow you to have your students click on an image or document to identify things in response to your question. One example of this from my own classroom is having students click on an image of the inside of a computer to identify parts that I have listed. Another example, not from my classroom, is having students click on words in a document to identify parts of speech that are listed by their teacher.

The matching responses option in TeacherMade is my other favorite response type. I like using that option to have students match event names to sequences. For example, in my PC repair class students need to know the boot order of a Windows 10 computer. In a TeacherMade activity I can list the steps of the boot order then have students match them to their numbers 1-10. Literature teachers could use that approach for designing an activity in which students match excerpts of a novel to its place in the story arc.

 

New TeacherMade Features!
TeacherMade recently introduced a Pro version of their service. The Pro version is free to all registered users for the rest of this school year (ending July 1, 2021). TeacherMade Pro builds upon and enhances all of the core features of TeacherMade that I outlined above and in this blog post back in September.

Highlights of TeacherMade Pro include:
  • Audio recording.
  • New highlighter and drawing tools.
  • Annotating/ marking student responses.
  • Teacher/ Student feedback threads.
  • Integration with Learning Management Systems
  • Integration with Google Classroom
  • Integration with Canvas
  • Integration with Schoology

Of all of the new features available in TeacherMade Pro, the ones that I’m most excited about are audio recording, Google Classroom integration, and drawing/annotating student submissions.

Audio Recording in TeacherMade
The audio recording function in TeacherMade Pro enables you and your students to make short recordings directly inside of TeacherMade activities. You can use it to record yourself giving directions, clarifying comments, or even as a prompt for students to respond to. Students can use the audio recording function to respond to prompts in TeacherMade activities. For some students that will be a lot easier than writing responses or trying to click the correct response.

The new audio recording function in TeacherMade Pro opens up the possibility of having students in world language courses respond with audio that you can listen to and then provide with feedback.

LMS Integration
The Google Classroom integration, like the other LMS integrations, just makes life easier for teachers and students. It’s a lot easier to share an assignment directly to Google Classroom and have students access it from there than it is to direct them to yet another website that they have to use for your class. The Google Classroom integration also pulls-in your rosters so that you can quickly find your students’ TeacherMade activity submissions in TeacherMade and in Google Classroom.

Draw/ Annotate Submissions
The new option to draw/ annotate student submissions in TeacherMade is one that I can see myself using when looking at long answer responses to TeacherMade activities. For example, when looking at lines of code that students have written I’ll use the drawing tool to point to errors or places for improvement.

A complete list of all of the TeacherMade Pro features is available right here. Again, I’ll point out, the core features of TeacherMade that have been available to all users since the fall are not changing. The TeacherMade Pro is just an add-on that you can use now through July 1st and then will become a paid option.

There are more TeacherMade features in the works. You can see that list here. Some of the highlights are listed below.

New TeacherMade Pro features coming soon:
  • Audio uploads
  • Embedding videos
  • Timed activities
  • Clever integration
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams
  • Real-time student progress monitoring
  • Co-teacher access to activity scores
Finally, if you haven’t tried TeacherMade this year, give it go before the end of the school year. If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to think about end-of-year review activities before final exams. TeacherMade makes it easy to take some of your documents and diagrams from earlier in the year and build review activities on top of them. This video that I made in the fall shows you how to do that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Activities for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. I forgot all about it until this morning when I looked at my video about using Google Jamboard to create magnetic poetry activities. That's just one of many resources for National Poetry Month that I have in my archive of resources. Here's a handful of my favorite activities and resources for National Poetry Month. 

Verse by Verse is an experimental AI project from Google. Verse by Verse lets you compose poems by combining lines from the works of famous poets. In other words, it's a poetry remix tool. To use it you simply visit the site and select three poets to inspire you. Then you write your own first line of a poem. Once you've written a line of your own Verse by Verse will suggest three lines from each of the three poets you originally selected. You can then include those lines in your new poem. Finished poems can be downloaded as text overlaid on an background image. 

Read Write Think used to host a great, interactive template to help students create theme poems. Unfortunately, that template was Flash-based and it no longer works. That said, the page it was hosted on still offers more than a dozen poetry lesson for use in K-8 classrooms

Make Beliefs Comix offers more than 700 writing prompt pages. All of the pages are designed to be printed and given to students to write on. Within that collection you will find a small collection of poetry pages. All the the printable poetry prompt pages include artwork designed to spark a student's imagination. Some of the artwork is in color and some is in black and white. A bonus of the black and white artwork is that you're essentially getting a coloring page and a poetry prompt in one package.

Poetry 180 is a Library of Congress project that was created when Billy Collins was the U.S. Poet Laureate. The purpose of the project is to provide high school teachers with poems for their students to read or hear throughout the school year. Collins selected the poems for Poetry 180 with high school students in mind. I didn't look at every poem in the list, but of dozen or so that I looked at, none would take more than a few minutes to read in a classroom. Speaking of reading in class, Collins encourages teachers to read the poems aloud or have students read the poems aloud. To that end, here's his advice on how to read a poem out loud.

There's a Poem for That is a series of twelve TED-Ed lessons featuring six famous works. The lessons include poems from from Frost, Shakespeare, Yeats, O'Keefe, Gibson, and Elhillo.


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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Handy Microsoft Forms Settings for Teachers

On Monday I shared a video that demonstrated how to use videos in quizzes created with Microsoft Forms. That video is one of four that I recently created to provide teachers with a comprehensive overview of how to create quizzes in Microsoft Forms and how students view quizzes in Microsoft Forms. The shortest video in that series is this one in which I provide an overview of sharing settings and question sequence settings in Microsoft Forms. 

Handy Microsoft Forms Settings for Teachers shows the following:

  • How to automatically collect student names.
    • Why you might not want to automatically collect student names. 
  • How to limit quiz attempts.
  • How to automatically shuffle question order. 
  • How to hide quiz results. 
  • How to customize quiz completion messages. 


Applications for Education
In case you didn't watch the video, the reason that I give for possibly not automatically collecting student names is to honor students' name preferences. For example, I have a student whose given name is a traditionally female name but prefers to be referred to with a traditionally male name. The school's student information system lists the student's given name and that is what would be automatically collected by the Microsoft Form if I used the automatic name collection option. 

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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

A Handful of Jamboard Tutorial Videos

Last week I posted a video that contained a quick overview of five Jamboard features that are helpful to teachers and students. That was just the latest in a series of videos that I have made about Jamboard over the last couple of years. To learn more about Jamboard and how you might use it in your classroom, take a look at the following videos. 

I made this video a couple of years ago when many people thought that you had to own one of Google's physical Jamboard interactive whiteboards in order to use Jamboard.Google.com


How to Use Jambord & Screencastify to Make Whiteboard Videos



How to Make Whiteboard Videos With Loom & Jamboard



How to Use Jamboard in Google Meet
You can use Jamboard in Google Meet without having to share your whole screen. 



Making Magnetic Poetry With Jamboard and Google Classroom


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, Today Headline, and 711Web.

Monday, April 5, 2021

How to Use Videos in Microsoft Forms Quizzes

Microsoft Forms has improved a lot over the last few years. In fact, there are some things about it that I prefer over Google Forms. One of those things is the way in which you can use videos as question prompts. 

In Microsoft Forms you can include a video as a part of question instead of having it be its own stand-alone item as Google Forms makes you do. In Google Forms you insert a video then write a question directly below it. The flaw with that system is that it's easy to accidentally move the video away from its corresponding question(s). In Microsoft Forms the video is actually a part of the question prompt so that the video and its corresponding question are always connected. 

In this video I demonstrate how to use video in Microsoft Forms. The video is part of a series of Microsoft Forms tutorials available on my YouTube channel and here on Practical Ed Tech



Applications for Education
Using short video clips in a quiz or review activity is something that I do fairly regularly. I use short, often silent, clips to have students make observations about network activity then answer a few questions. The advantage of Microsoft Forms is that when I use the "shuffle questions" option the videos are still connected to the questions unlike in Google Forms where the videos aren't always connected to the questions after using the shuffle option.

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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Hybrid Instruction, Boxes, and Tires - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising and it's going to be a nice spring day. That doesn't mean we don't still have some snow lingering in the yard. My dogs are grateful for the few remaining piles of snow that we have. My daughters will be happy that tomorrow's Easter egg hunt won't require them to wear snowsuits and boots like last year. 

This week I'm taking a slightly different approach to my week-in-review list. Usually, I just list the seven most popular posts that appeared on Free Technology for Teachers during the week. This week I'm including a few posts from the other sites that I maintain. 

These were my most popular posts of the week:
1. Three Areas That Can Help Teachers Improve Hybrid Learning for All Students
2. How to Make and Share Google Jamboard Templates
3. A Fun and Educational Use of Cardboard Boxes
4. How to Record Voice Notes in Gmail, Google Classroom, Google Slides, and Google Docs
5. A Great Series of Videos for Those Who Have I.T. Career Questions
6. Google Meet Transcripts Automatically Saved as New Google Docs
7. How to Fix a Flat Bike Tire

On-demand Professional Development
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 34,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
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 711Web.

Webinar Recording - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff - Episode 34

On Thursday afternoon Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I co-hosted the 34th episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. It was another fun half-hour of answering all kinds of questions. We also shared a couple of cool tools including one that isn't available right now, but at the current pace of AI development it might be available in the not-too-distant future. The recording of the episode along with the slides can seen here or as embedded below.

Some of the questions that we answered in this episode included batch export of Google Photos, alternatives to Smart Notebooks, ideas for using Jamboard and Wizer.me, recording videos, and developing your own mobile apps.


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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Two New Google Workspace Features for Students - Including Saving Google Forms in Progress!

This week Google announced two new Google Workspaces for Education features that are sure to be beneficial to students. Both of the new features are things that teachers and students have requested for years. The first is a new set of citation options in Google Documents. The second is a new "save in progress" option in Google Forms.

Google Docs has included a citation and bibliography tool for quite a while. This week Google announced that new citation options are going to be available in Google Docs soon, if you don't already have them. The new options include citing films (movies), television shows, and a catch-all miscellaneous category.

The other new Google Workspaces for Education feature that Google announced this week is an option to save Google Forms responses in progress. Google is calling this feature "draft responses." Draft responses will let students save their responses to a Google Form without having to actually submit the form or leave the form open in the background. Draft responses can be saved for up to thirty days. Students will need to be signed into a Google Workspaces for Education account in order to save their responses in progress.

Draft responses in Google Forms is a beta product. Your Google Workspaces for Education domain administrator will need to apply for the beta in order for your school to use it. Domain administrators can apply for the beta here.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, the ability to save Google Forms responses in progress is a feature that teachers have requested for years. This feature will remove some of the pressure to give students a finite period of time to complete a quiz or other activity in Google Forms. I have never been a fan of timed quizzes so this new feature is particularly appealing to me.
 
The new options for citing sources in Google Documents is also going to be helpful to students. In particular, I foresee it being helpful to students in film studies classes as well as history students who might be viewing archival television news broadcasts.

On a related note, here's how to use the citation tool in Google Docs and here's how to create a quiz in Google Forms.

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 , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Five Jamboard Features You Should Know How to Use

In the last year Jamboard has become one of my favorite tools for online and hybrid instruction. I often use it in place of Zoom's whiteboard function because I can create multiple page whiteboards that I then share with my students via Google Classroom. My students can then take notes on their own copies of the Jamboard and modify their copies of the Jamboard. I also like using Jamboard to give students diagram templates that they then complete on their own. Those features of Jamboard and more are highlighted in my new video, Five Jamboard Features You Need to Know.

In the following video you can learn:

1. How to use version history in Jamboard and how to name versions. 

2. How to quickly duplicate objects and why that's helpful.

3. How to export Jamboards as PDFs. 

4. How to set custom backgrounds in Jamboard. 

5. How to create and distribute Jamboard templates. 



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 711Web.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

My Most Popular Tutorials in March

As I mentioned in today's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff, my YouTube channel now has nearly 35,000 subscribers watching my tutorial videos. On my channel I cover everything from how to make a Google Form to how to make a green screen video to how to map spreadsheet data. Here's a list of the ten most-watched tutorial videos on my YouTube channel in March.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

How to Create Comic Strips in Google Slides



How to Add a Timer to Your PowerPoint Slides



How to Create Videos on a Chromebook - No Extensions or Apps Required



Threadit - Google's Alternative to Flipgrid?!


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

Free Webinar - Intro to Teaching History With Technology

As announced just a few moments ago during Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff, next week I'm hosting a free webinar titled Intro to Teaching History With Technology. 

In this free webinar on April 6th you'll learn about my Discovery, Discussion, and Demonstration framework for using educational technology and how to apply to history and geography lessons.

In this webinar you'll learn:
🔎 How to get your students beyond the first page of Google search results.
🧿 Tips for engaging students in online discussions about history.
🎥 Ideas for new ways for students to show what they know about history and geography.

Intro to Teaching History With Technology will be live at 4pm ET on April 6th. Use this time zone converter for your local time. The webinar will be recorded and the recording will be emailed to those who have registered in advance. 

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

Five Ways to Get Students to be More Active in Remote Learning

This is a guest post from Hali Larkins (@HaliLarkins), communications intern at The Learning Accelerator and Master's student at Columbia Teachers' College.


In remote environments, sustaining engagement is a challenging task even for adults, but with school continuing to take place virtually, the question of “How to motivate and keep students engaged in remote learning?” continues to be top of mind for many teachers. In exploring this question, The Learning Accelerator has outlined five key steps to getting and keeping students engaged:

1. Be Clear and Consistent:
Classroom agendas can be recreated virtually to offer students a central place to track objectives and activities for the lessons. Tools such as virtual notebooks, online agendas, and visual virtual classrooms can establish consistency for students.

2. Provide Opportunities for Ownership and Choice:
Systems such as classroom jobs, choice boards, and award systems can be designed for virtual contexts to both give students something to look forward to and establish a sense of agency in their learning.

3. Offer Opportunities Non Verbal Engagement:
Normalizing non-verbal communication through strategies such as wait questions, muted share alouds, and communicating with hand signals allows for variety in classroom participation.

4. Establish Effective Small-Group Collaboration:
Establishing clear expectations, assigning group roles, and providing space for wellbeing check-ins can help students build community and connection with their peers in across both remote and in-person environments.

5. Build Movement in Lessons:
In remote learning, students are generally less active than usual. Teachers can motivate students to get active by offering brain breaks, creating active activities, and providing virtual scavenger hunts.

The key to designing engaging remote learning experiences is for them to be fun, interesting, and account for the full needs of students during these times. We want to create learning environments where students feel challenged, emotionally safe, and connected to their learning community — whether remote or in-person.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Games, Transcripts, and Copyright - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where it was a beautiful day for bike ride after school. Jumping on my bicycle after school on a sunny spring day always makes me feel like a kid again. I hope that you also have an activity in your life that makes you feel like a kid again.

As the sun sets on the month of March I've compiled a list of the most read posts of the last 31 days. Take a look and see if your favorite post made the list or if there is something neat that you missed earlier this month.

These were the most popular posts of the month:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. Kahoot Now Displays Questions and Answers on the Same Screen - Finally!
3. How Does Artificial Intelligence Learn? - A TED-Ed Lesson I'm Using Today
4. Google Meet Transcripts Automatically Saved as New Google Docs
5. 27 Videos That Can Help Students Improve Their Writing
6. 5 Features of Google Advanced Search That Students Should Know How to Use
7. Why My Dogs Have Email Addresses and Your Dog or Cat Should Too
8. New Copyright Compliance Checks in YouTube
9. Jamboard Now Offers Version History
10. A New Option for Shortening Microsoft Forms Links

On-demand Professional Development at PracticalEdTech.com
The registrations for my Practical Ed Tech webinars and courses is what enables me to keep Free Technology for Teachers going. Right now there are three on-demand courses and webinars available.
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 34,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

A Fun and Educational Use of Cardboard Boxes

Instructables is a site that I've written about a couple of times during the last year. I love to visit the site for inspiration for all kinds of hands-on STEM projects for kids to do at home and or in their classrooms. On Instructables you'll find everything from complex Raspberry Pi projects to relatively simple projects developed with cardboard, glue, and other common craft materials. 

Just like they did at this time last year, Instructables is hosting a contest called the Speed Cardboard Challenge. As the name implies, you have to design and make something out of cardboard. You also have to publish directions that other people can follow to make your project. The contest runs through April 12th at midnight Pacific Time. There are nine prizes to be awarded to contest winners and runners-up. The top prize is a $250 gift card.

At the time of this writing there are not any entries into the contest! So you or your students have a good chance of winning. You can see some of last year's entries into the contest right here

Thanks to online shopping and quarantining there is an abundance of cardboard in my life. Projects like the ones on the Instructables Speed Cardboard Challenge provide a good way to put some of that cardboard to use. 

Applications for Education
Doing things like Instructables cardboard projects can be a good way to spark students' imaginations for STEM-related questions to explore. Depending upon the project and the age of your students they could come up with questions about PSI (pounds per square inch), calculating area and volume, or the structural integrity of various adhesives as they interact with cardboard.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

A Great Series of Videos for Those Who Have I.T. Career Questions

A couple of weeks ago I asked for help from my Twitter followers as I planned to help my students create resumes. Many of you were kind enough to take some time to offer really helpful advice. I passed that advice along to my students when we spent a day working on their resumes that they were developing for jobs in I.T. 

The other thing that I did on that day was share this video from a YouTube channel titled I.T. Career Questions. In the video, Types of I.T. Jobs in 2020, the host runs through a big list of job titles in the field of information technology. He categorizes the jobs and explains what the job titles mean, the career levels that correspond to the job titles, and the level of education that is expected in each type of job. 

The video was a great complement to and reinforcement of what I had already explained to my students. As we all know, you can explain something to your students as many times and ways as you like, but sometimes it takes a different voice for students to really "get it." That's exactly what this video did for me and my students. 

I.T. Career Questions has dozens of other videos explaining what it's like to work in I.T. They also host occasional livestreams during which viewers can ask questions about working in I.T. 


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

Three Areas That Can Help Teachers Improve Hybrid Learning for All Students

This is a guest post from Hali Larkins (@HaliLarkins), communications intern at The Learning Accelerator and Master's student at Columbia Teachers' College.


Across the country, teachers, students, and families have been engaging in simultaneous learning (often referred to as hybrid learning, or “Zoom and Room”) for quite some time. A year into these practices, we have become more familiar with the unfamiliar, but there is still so much for us to learn. Some of the challenges that teachers face in simultaneous learning are related to questions around, “How can teachers equally engage, monitor, and support groups of students who are both in-person and at home ?” We know that this is not the optimal practice, but at The Learning Accelerator, we have identified some tips that can hopefully help to provide success in classrooms during this time.

  1. Make the plan and content visible. The use of tools such as virtual notebooks, online agendas, and communicating the plan, can provide consistent structures, routines, and access to virtual materials and content. 

  2. Build Culture and Community. We understand that community building is difficult in simultaneous learning environments, but providing remote classroom jobs, virtual reward systems, and opportunities for fun can go a long way in strengthening collaboration and connection amongst students. 

  3. Create Opportunities for Student Agency. Simultaneous learning does not always have to be synchronous. Provide students with a variety of opportunities for engagement such as through playlists, choice boards, and task lists. Such strategies cam empower students to drive their own learning
While simultaneous learning is new for most of us, the tips above only scratch the surface. The Learning Accelerator continues to learn from educators and school systems across the country about what is working and what is not working. One of the tools that we have found to be helpful for designing instruction for simultaneous learning is the Concurrent Classroom Model Toolkit, a guide created by Mendon-Upton Regional School District. In this guide, teachers will find additional resources and models that can continue to enhance hybrid learning for their students.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Free Webinar This Thursday - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff

Every other Thursday Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I host a free webinar called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. The next one is this Thursday which happens to be April Fools' Day. 

As the title implies, during each webinar we answer questions from anyone who attends as well as questions that have been sent to us in advance. You can email me or Rushton with your questions. In each episode we also share a couple of interesting apps, websites, or videos that we've found during the last couple of weeks.

Watch one of the recent episodes to get a sense of the webinars are all about. Register for this week's webinar right here

And on a related note, PBS Learning Media offers this short video explanation of April Fool's Day

Record and Send Voice Notes in Gmail

A couple of months ago I started dabbling with a Chrome extension called Mote that lets me add voice notes directly into Google Classroom, Slides, and Docs. I have found it quite helpful for adding clarifying comments to the announcements that I post for my students in Google Classroom. Recently, Mote added the capability to record and send voice notes through Gmail. This is a feature that I foresee myself using quite a bit as well. 

With Mote's Chrome extension installed you'll notice a little "Mote" icon in the Gmail composition menu whenever you open a message. Just click on that little icon and you can start recording a voice note that is then automatically inserted into your message. As I demonstrate in this short video, you can type above and below the inserted voice note. 

Watch my short video about using Mote in Gmail to learn how to record and send a voice note. The video also shows how recipients can play your voice notes even if they don't have Mote installed in their web browsers. 


Check out this post that I published on PracticalEdTech.com to learn how to use Mote to record voice notes in Google Classroom, Slides, and Docs. And take a look at this post for a dozen Gmail productivity tips

Three Ways Teachers Can Improve Remote Learning

This is a guest post from Hali Larkins (@HaliLarkins), communications intern at The Learning Accelerator and Master's student at Columbia Teachers' College.


Right now, many students are still trying to navigate major changes to their environments, learning formats, and wellbeing —all factors that can impact their ability to do well in remote learning. Teachers can help students to do their best by introducing them to tools and skills that allow them to manage their own learning. We found that not only do skills in self-directed learning help students to take initiative and set goals, as well as to identify and choose the right resources, but it can also lead to success in remote learning. Here are three areas that teachers can focus on to better help students develop the skills that they need to do well during these times:

Build Independent Learning Skills: 
Independent learning, whether synchronous or asynchronous, requires students to exert greater effort to self-regulate and direct themselves. Teachers can help students build these skills by giving them tools to track their learning through goal setting— a fundamental skill that can help students track their learning progress. With the help of their teachers, students who are learning remotely can co-create schedules and goals in order to manage, monitor and reflect on their learning to know when and where to seek help.

Partner with Families: 
Remote learning also provides a tremendous opportunity to increase partnership with families. Teachers can establish open lines of communications using tools such as Google Classroom to provide weekly guardian summaries and offer frequent communication through emails, texts, and virtual check-ins. These mechanisms can empower parents and guardians tooth guide students and provide valuable feedback to teachers.

Foster Supports for the Whole Child: 
Students’ abilities to fully engage in learning is ultimately influenced by their social and emotional wellbeing (SEL). In remote learning, teachers can implement SEL supports by providing time for students to reflect, journal, and share their feelings, through the use of emojis, and by providing “brain breaks” during instruction time. These strategies not only help teachers to fully understand students’ emotional needs but also provide them with valuable information to adjust instruction as needed.

Navigating remote learning continues to be a challenging task for students. The areas and strategies mentioned above can be applied at every grade level and with all students to provide skills in self management that are valuable beyond academics.