Monday, June 14, 2021

There, Their, They're - Reminders for Myself and My Students

On Sunday morning I was writing in a bit of a hurry and failed to notice a mistake in the title of my post about using the netstat command to see the connections a computer is making to external sites and devices. The mistake I made (I've since corrected it) was to use "they're" when I should have used "their." I know the difference and have taught the difference to students for as long as I can remember. That said, my mistake presented a good opportunity to dig up some short video lessons about the differences between "there," "their," and "they're" and when to use each one. 

Free School offers this short, to-the-point explanation of homophones. The video isn't going to win any awards for creativity, but it is effective in its delivery of the rules for using their, they're, and there. 



GCF Learn Free offers this 90 second video explanation of when to use there, they're, and their. The video uses little GI Joe characters to explain the correct use of each word. Judging by the YouTube comments below the video most people like the approach of the video but some don't like the use a military theme for the video.

Making videos about homophones can be a good way for students to learn and remember how to use them. On Next Vista for Learning you'll find this student-produced video explanation of the differences between their, there, and they're.



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.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

A Neat Way for Students to See What Their Computers Are Connecting To

Knowing just a few commands to use in the command terminal can be quite helpful in diagnosing problems with your computer and or the network that your computer is using. (Bonus, it's an easy way to make yourself look "super techy" in front of non-techy friends). One of those helpful commands is the Netstat command. 

The Netstat command will show you all of the connections that your computer is making to the Internet and to other devices on your local network. To run the Netstat command simply open your command terminal (on a Windows computer just type CMD into the search bar) then type "netstat" (without quotation marks) and hit enter. Give it time to run and you'll see all of the IP addresses to which your computer is connecting. 

This new video from PowerCert explains the Netstat command and variants that you can add to the command to learn even more about what your computer is connecting to. 



Applications for Education
The netstat command along with many other commands is one that my PC repair students and my Intro to Networking students learn early in the year as it is helpful in diagnosing problems. 

Using the netstat command can be helpful in showing all students how many connections their computers are making even when they don't realize it. Knowing what your computer is connecting to is an important part of building good cyber safety habits. So even if you don't make your students learn the command, knowing the command and showing it to students can be an eye-opener for them.

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 graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

How to Make a Connecto Game - Great for Review Activities

Connecto is the latest game template published by Flippity. The template lets you use Google Sheets to create a digital version of Connect Four in which students shave to correctly answer a series of questions to connect a line of grid spaces. I wrote about the game and how it's played last week. Since then I've had a few people ask for clarification on how the template and game work. That's what I explain in this new video

In Create a Connecto Game With Google Sheets I demonstrate how make a copy of Flippity's Connecto template, how to change the questions and answers in the game, and how to add your own custom markers to the game. I also explain a bit about how the game could be played as a team game in a classroom setting. 



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.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

A Great Series About Redwoods

The Redwood National park is one of the natural wonders that I hope to share with my daughters in a few years. While the tall trees are the "stars of the show" there is much more to the redwood forest than just the trees. SciShow Kids recently released a series of videos that explain the redwood forest to kids. The first part of the series introduces kids to the redwood trees and what makes them grow so tall, the second part shows students the layers of the forest, and the third part highlights the animals of the redwood forest. 

Meet the Redwoods 



From the Ground to the Sky: The Layers of the Redwood Forest



Life in the Redwoods: Surprising Animals of the Redwood Forest



Applications for Education
All three of these videos could be useful as introductions to forest ecology. Before showing the videos to students I'd probably have them list the characteristics of the trees and forests with which they are familiar. Then after showing the videos I'd have students compare the characteristics of the redwood forest with those of the forests with which they're familiar. Finally, I'd ask them to think about the environmental conditions that affect the growth of plant life in both forests.

On a related note, the National Parks Service hosts a series of virtual tours of the redwoods forest. There is also some nice Google Street View imagery from within the park. 




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 courtesy of Pixabay.

PDFs, Science, and Gravel - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising on what should be a nice summer Saturday. At this time last week I was riding my bike across the gravel roads of Emporia, Kansas for the Unbound Gravel 200. Today, will be a little less physically demanding. We're going to the Living Shores Aquarium to feed stingrays and learn all about marine life. It should be fun. I hope that you also have something fun planned for the weekend. 
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 36,000 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 WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Ziplet - A Great Way to Gather Feedback from Students

This morning I saw an interesting Tweet from a company called Ziplet. The Tweet is what prompted me to write this blog post. Ziplet's Tweet this morning was an interesting exit ticket prompt. Here's the prompt:

"Imagine a classmate is absent from class today. How would you explain the lesson to him/her in 25 words or less?"

Ziplet is an online tool that lets you create an online classroom to post questions for your students to respond to with emojis, with words, or by selecting an answer choice. You can let your students respond anonymously or require them to identify themselves. Those features alone don't make Ziplet different from lots of similar services. What Ziplet offers that is somewhat unique is the option to respond directly to individual students even when they are responding to a group survey. The purpose of that feature is to make it easy to ask follow-up questions or to give encouragement to students based on their responses to a question posed to the whole group.

Applications for Education
Ziplet fits in a gap between tools like Kahoot and Google Classroom. For that reason it could be a good tool for engaging students in discussions about assignments, course topics, or the general feeling of the class. Ziplet does offer a Google Classroom integration as well as an Office 365 integration. Students can respond to Ziplet prompts in the web browser on their computers or by using the free Ziplet 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 and WayBetterSite. 

More Virtual Background Options in Google Meet

Last fall Google added options for blurring your background in Google Meet and using your own pictures as backgrounds in Google Meet. This week another background option was added to Google Meet. 

You can now use videos as virtual backgrounds in Google Meet. Right now the options are limited to just videos provided by Google. Hopefully, more options including uploading your own videos will be added in the future. The current video background options provided by Google are "classroom," "party," and "forest."

Applications for Education
This update isn't going to change the way that any of us use Google Meet for online instruction. That said, it is nice to have an option to break-up the routine of Google Meet meetings with a fun background choice. In the future, if Google allows us to upload our own videos to use as backgrounds we could us those videos in a virtual green screen environment in which the video plays behind us while we talk about what's displayed. I'm picturing that working much like the animated green screen backgrounds used by television meteorologists on morning news shows.

For those who haven't tried virtual backgrounds or blurred backgrounds in Google Meet, in the video below I demonstrate how to use both of those features.


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 taken by Richard Byrne at Norway Lake in Norway, Maine. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Five Sources of Summer Math Activities for Elementary School Students

If you're like me and you still have another week or two until summer break, you might be looking for some resources to share with students and their parents to help prevent summer slide. In fact, a few readers emailed me this week looking for suggestions for math activities to share with parents of elementary school students. Here are five good places to find summer math activities for elementary school students.

MathGames.com
Don't let the name fool you, MathGames.com offers more than just a series of math practice games. You can find hundreds of worksheets to print for free on MathGames.com. Those are organized according to grade level.

There are plenty of games for students to play on the site too. You can find those by clicking on the "games" header in the site. If you do that, scroll down the page a few times to find the MathGames.com digital textbook which organizes the games according to topic.


CK-12 Elementary Math Resources
CK-12 offers a good collection of resources for elementary school math practice. The collection is organized by grade level (grades 1 through 5) and skill set. The resources include a mix of videos and online practice exercises. Students can review a video and then attempt the practice activities.

MathQuiz.io
MathQuiz.io is a math game developed by a student. It's a relatively simple site that presents you with a series of math problems to solve in your head then enter an answer. The problems are presented in sets of ten consecutive questions. You can play in an "easy" mode which is mostly simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication or you can plan in the "medium" mode which incorporates problems with fractions, division, and negative numbers. 

A Maths Dictionary for Kids
Jenny Eather's A Maths Dictionary for Kids has been one of my go-to math resources for many years. It students provides simple and clear definitions of math terms. Each definition includes a small diagram or simple activity to illustrate the term's definition.

A Maths Dictionary for Kids has more than 270 free worksheets arranged according to topic. All of the worksheets can be found here.

ABCya
ABCya offers hundreds of educational games for K-8 students. The site is arranged according to grade level and Common Core standard. The trouble with that arrangement is that you can't search for a skill without knowing the corresponding Common Core standard. If you use keyword search on the site, it will yield results to everything on the site, not just the games.

Free Summer Reading Packets from ReadWorks

Summer is here in the northern hemisphere. If you find yourself looking for some summer reading that you can give to elementary and middle school students, ReadWorks has you covered. 

Once again this summer ReadWorks is offering free summer reading packets that you can send home with your students. The free summer reading packets are available with fiction and nonfiction articles for students entering first grade through high school. Click on either the fiction or nonfiction packet for a grade and it will open a PDF that you can print and distribute to your students. There is an option to download a packet with reading comprehension questions for each grade level.

To preview, download, and print the ReadWorks summer reading packets you will need to create a free ReadWorks account.


If this is your first time reading about ReadWorks, there is much more to it than just PDF packets. ReadWorks offers a complete online environment for finding grade-level appropriate fiction and nonfiction assignments then distributing those to your students. Here's a video overview of how ReadWorks works.

Four Important Padlet Updates to Note

For more than a decade I've been using Padlet to facilitate online brainstorming sessions, create KWL charts, to make multimedia timelines, and to host many more online activities for more my students. Just like any well-loved tool, Padlet has gone through some changes over the year. In the last week or so Padlet has announced some upcoming changes that should be noted before the next school year begins. 

Scanned Uploads
Now when you upload files to include in Padlet notes, the files will be scanned for viruses before they are actually added to the note and visible on the wall. This process just takes a second so it shouldn't impact your user experience other than a momentary delay when adding a note. Think of it like the same process as when you attach a file to an email in Gmail or Outlook.



More Languages
Padlet recently added support for four more languages. Those are Traditional Chinese, Latvian, Estonian, and Croation. This brings the total of supported languages to 42.

Map Localization
Maps will now display the languages and borders of countries as they appear in your local area.

The End of Backchannel Format
The backchannel template that Padlet has offered for a few years is going to be sunsetted at the end of June. While I liked, apparently it wasn't popular enough for Padlet to keep supporting it.



To learn more about Padlet and how it can be used in your classroom, please take a look at this playlist of tutorial videos.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

A New Flippity Game Template - Connecto!

Flippity recently published a new game template for Google Sheets users. The new template is called Connecto. Connecto is probably best described as a digital version of the classic Connect Four game. 

Connecto lets you create a game board as large as forty-two cells (7x6) and as small as nine cells (3x3). The game template provides two markers to use on the grid. Each player or team gets their own marker. The object of the game is to connect a line of cells. 

To play a Connecto game you click on one of the cells in the gameboard. When you click on a cell a question appears on the screen. The player or team who answers the question correctly then gets to put their marker on that cell. If neither player or team answers correctly then the space is left unclaimed and another question can be displayed by clicking on the cell again. Questions for the game are written in the Google Sheets template provided by Flippity. 

You can customize your Connecto game by writing your own questions and answers. Questions and answers can include images and videos. You can also customize the template by using your own images in place of the default game markers. To swap in your own images in place of the default markers you'll have to use images that are hosted online and publicly available. Like all Flippity game templates you have to publish your Google Sheet to the web in order for the game to work. 


Applications for Education
Connecto appears to be intended to be played in a setting in which a teacher reads the questions aloud and officiates the game. Playing Connecto could be a fun way for a class to review before a test or quiz.

Try a demo Connecto game here and get the template on Flippity.net. 

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.

How to Forward Google Workspaces Email to Personal Gmail

Now that the summer break is here for those in the northern hemisphere, hopefully you will have a bit less email in your school account. But if you want to keep up with the few emails that you do get during the summer, you can do so without having to log into your school Google Workspaces account. In the following video I demonstrate how to forward your Google Workspaces email to a personal Gmail account. (In the video I say "G Suite" but the process is exactly the same in Google Workspaces). 



One thing to bear in mind is that if you reply from the personal Gmail inbox to which you forwarded your email, the recipient will see the email coming from that address rather than your Google Workspaces address.

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 graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Five Things to Check When a Website or Web App Doesn't Work as You Expected

I regularly field emails from readers who are experiencing problems with web tools not working as they expected. Here's my short check list of things that you should check when a website doesn't work as you expected it to work. Nine times out of ten, one of these things fixes the problem. 

1. Is your browser updated? This isn't as common as it used to be, but in some instances of a site not working properly the cause can be traced to using an outdated version of a web browser. If you're using an older version of a browser, not only will some sites not work correctly, you are also opening yourself up to more potential security threats.

2. Do you have cookies enabled? Many websites require cookies in order to offer you the best possible experience.

3. Are you using a pop-up blocker? It is not uncommon for a website to use a pop-up window for account log-ins. If the pop-up is blocked, you won't be able to log-in.

4. Have you allowed camera and or microphone access? If you're trying to use a web-based video or audio editing tool, you'll need to make sure your camera and microphone are accessible. 

5. Have you checked your spam folder? If you sent a help request to the help desk/ site administrators, they may have replied and had their messages flagged by your spam filter. I've experienced this more than once when using a school district email address.

Here's my video overview of things to check when a website or web app isn't working as you expect it to. 



Last, but not least, in the words of The IT Crowd, "have you tried turning it off and on again?" Or logging out and logging back in? It's amazing how often that can fix a problem.



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 graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

Expeditions Pro - A Replacement for Google's VR Tour Creator

Sadly, at the end of June Google is closing the doors on Tour Creator. I'm bummed about it because it is one of my favorite creation tools. Fortunately, there are some companies working on making alternatives to Google's Tour Creator. One of those companies is Expeditions Pro

Expeditions Pro is still in beta but I got to try it out earlier today. My initial impression of it is that it will be an excellent replacement for Tour Creator once all of the quirks are worked out. 

When I first signed into my beta Expeditions Pro account I was struck by the similarity to Tour Creator's user interface. The process of creating a VR tour in Expeditions Pro is very similar to that of Tour Creator. You simply choose a cover image, title your tour, then start to add scenes. Adding scenes is much like adding slides to a slideshow except that instead of adding standard images you upload 180 or 360 degree panoramic images. 

Expeditions Pro supports the use of zip files that are created when you use Google Takeout to download your Tour Creator files. In fact, I'd recommend doing that before Google shutters Tour Creator at the end of the month. (Here's a video about how to use Google Takeout). 

Applications for Education
Once Expeditions Pro leaves beta and becomes available to the general public, I think that it will be a great alternative to Google's Tour Creator. Students will be able to use it to create their virtual reality tours about local history, about books, about geography, about geology, and many other interesting topics.

I'm hoping that Expeditions Pro is available to the general public in time for the next school year because I'm excited to see what teachers and students will make with it.

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. 

Less Than Two Weeks to Go!

The first session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp is less than two weeks away! 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.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Five Features of Canva Presentations You Might be Overlooking

Canva has become my go-to presentation design tool over the last few years. Even when I know that I'm going to end up giving my live presentations from PowerPoint or Google Slides, I still use Canva to design the presentation. In the last year Canva has added features that make it a serious rival to PowerPoint and Google Slides. In this short video I highlight my favorite "hidden" features of Canva that you might be overlooking. 

The features shown in the video are:

  • Polling an audience
  • Creating MP4 files
  • Publishing slides as a website
  • Collaborating on designs
  • Recording narrated presentations



Many more features of Canva are highlighted in this playlist of Canva tutorials. Some of the features in that playlist include creating timelines, design certificates, making greeting cards, and publishing comic strips.

How Tall Can a LEGO Tower Get? - Life's Biggest Questions

While getting caught up on my reading in Feedly this morning I came across a new comic from The Oatmeal. The comic addresses the question, "how tall can a LEGO tower get?" (It's a copyright-protected work so you'll have to view it on The Oatmeal website). The comic is based on a 2012 BBC article titled How Tall Can a LEGO Tower Get? The comic and the article prompted me to turn to YouTube for videos about building giant LEGO towers. YouTube did not disappoint me in my search for videos that explain the math and physics highlighted in the BBC's article and The Oatmeal's comic. 

Last fall a YouTube channel titled Life's Biggest Questions tackled the question of "how tall can a LEGO tower get?" The video explains the math that was used by researchers at The Open University to figure how tall a LEGO tower would get before the blocks collapsed under their own weight. Of course, the mathematical answer assumes that the tower wouldn't topple over before reaching it's maximum height. So you then have to consider the overall stability of the structure instead of just weight-bearing capability of the structure. Watch the video to learn more, it's quite enjoyable. 



Applications for Education
The question of "how tall can a LEGO tower get?" is a fun prompt for diving into discussions about math and physics. Before showing students the video or the article mentioned above, I'd have them make guesses as to the answer then write out lists of the variables that they can think of that would influence how tall the tower could get. Then after they watch the video I'd have a little classroom contest to see who can build the tallest tower with the LEGOs available in my 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 and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Science Research Papers Annotated With Teaching Resources

Science in the Classroom is a free resource for teachers from Science Magazine. On Science in the Classroom you will find research papers containing interactive annotations to help students understand the content of the papers. In the right hand margin of each paper you will find a section called "learning lens." The learning lens offers seven types of interactive annotations that students can enable. Of those seven types of annotations, the glossary annotation is the one that students will probably use most often. The glossary annotations highlight key words and terms in the article. Clicking on a highlighted annotation reveals a definition.

Applications for Education
In addition to the interactive annotations for students Science in the Classroom provides teachers with discussion and reading comprehension questions. At the bottom of each article on Science in the Classroom teachers will also find a list of suggested teaching activities.

Three Good Options for Annotating PDFs

In last week's Practical Ed Tech newsletter I shared three good options for adding audio comments to Google Docs, Word docs, and PDFs. That prompted a couple of readers to ask me about options for annotating PDFs. I have a few recommendations for annotating PDFs. The one you pick may depend upon whether you prefer to use tools that work with your Google account or ones that work with a Microsoft account. 

Annotate PDFs in OneNote
OneNote has lots of neat features built into it. One of those neat features is a tool for annotating PDFs. In this short video I demonstrate how you can do that.



Annotate PDFs with Lumin PDF
Lumin PDF is a Chrome extension that enables students to draw on top of PDFs that you open in Chrome. After drawing on the PDF students can save the PDF as a new copy or replace the existing copy of the PDF that was sent to them in Google Classroom. Here's my video overview of how students can use Lumin PDF to write on PDFs that are assigned to them in Google Classroom.




Annotate PDFs with Kami
Kami is a service that enables users to annotate and comment on PDFs. You can do this directly on the Kami website or in Google Drive with Kami's Chrome extension. Kami also works with Word and Pages files.

Here's a couple of videos about how Kami works.



An Easy Way to Digitally Sign Documents

This blog post was inspired by my mother who asked me how to do this a couple of nights ago

Whether it's a form for your HR department, permission slips for athletics, or an acceptable use agreement for a school-issued laptop, back-to-school season often involves signing a lot of documents. In the old days those documents would be printed and you'd sign them then stick them in a mailbox and hope they didn't get lost in the shuffle. Today, most of the forms we need to sign can be sent, signed, and returned online. There are many tools available that make this quick and easy to do. HelloSign is the one that I use and recommend for digitally signing documents that have been sent to me.

In the following video I demonstrate how to use HelloSign to fill-out and sign documents online.



Applications for Education
If you have permission slips or other forms for parents to sign, consider sending them the link to this video to show them how easy it is to sign and send documents to you.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Plan Safe Routes for World Bicycle Day

Today is World Bicycle Day! By the time most of you read this I'll be on my way to Kansas to participate in Unbound Gravel 200, a 200 mile bike race across gravel roads around Emporia, Kansas. You don't have to punish yourself like I am this weekend to enjoy riding a bicycle. All you need is a bike, a helmet, and a safe place to ride. To that end, Google Maps and Strava can help you plan safe biking routes. In the following videos I demonstrate how you can use both of those tools to map safe bicycling routes. 





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.

My Most-watched Tutorials in May

In May I didn't publish as many videos on my YouTube channel as I wanted to, but still more people subscribed to the channel. There are now more than 36,000 people subscribed to get notified as soon as I publish a new video. My channel contains more than 1,000 tutorial videos covering everything from fundamental aspects of Google Workspaces to making your own Android apps and lots of stuff in between those ends of the spectrum. Below are the ten videos that were watched the most in May. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

How to Quickly Create Animated Maps

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about new mapping tool called Mult Dev. It's a free tool that lets you quickly create animated maps. In the time since I wrote about Mult Dev a couple of updates were made to it. The most notable of those being that you now need to sign into the service with a Google account or a GitHub account. In this short video I demonstrate how to create an animated map with Mult Dev. 


Applications for Education
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Mult Dev probably isn't a great option for mapping short journeys or connections between cities that are relatively close together. Rather, it's a good tool for showing students distances between cities that are far apart like Boston and San Francisco or San Francisco and Sydney.

A feature of Mult Dev that I'd like to see in the future is an option to adjust the speed of animation based on the distances between cities. For example, I'd like to have the animation slow down when showing the distance between Sydney and San Francisco then speed up when showing the distance between San Francisco and Boston.

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 graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva.

Read and Transcribe Walt Whitman's Notebooks and Diaries

A few years ago the Library of Congress launched a crowd sourcing project called Crowd. The purpose of the project is to enlist the help of the public to transcribe thousands of primary source documents that are housed by and have been scanned by the Library of Congress. Over the years there have been collections of documents from the American Civil War, papers from the American Revolution, presidential papers, documents about suffrage, and documents about the integration of Major League Baseball. Currently, the LOC is seeking help transcribing a collection of Walt Whitman's notes and diaries

Anyone can participate in the LOC's Crowd project to transcribe documents in the Walt Whitman collection of notes and diaries. To get started simply go to the collection and choose a document. Your chosen document will appear on the left side of the screen and a field for writing your transcription appears on the right side of the screen. After you have completed your transcription it is submitted for peer review. A demonstration of the process is included in the video below.



Applications for Education
The LOC's Crowd project is a good opportunity for high school students and some middle school students to learn about Walt Whitman while contributing to a national project. All of the collections in Crowd do have timelines and some other resources that help to provide context for the documents that are in need of transcription.

The Smithsonian has a similar crowdsourcing project called Smithsonian Digital Volunteers.

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, public domain. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Moving from OneDrive to Google Drive

On Monday I shared directions for moving from Google Drive to OneDrive. I did that to help people who are leaving a school district that uses Google Workspaces for one that is using Office 365. Of course, it also happens that at the end of the school year some people will leave an Office 365 environment for a Google Workspaces environment. If that's the case for you, watch this short video that I created for you. 

In the video I demonstrate how to download files from your OneDrive account and then upload them to a Google Drive account. In the video I also point out the small problem that occurs when you import a zip file into Google Drive. There are two remedies to that problem. The first is to use a third-party add-on in Google Drive to extract the contents of your zip file. The second is to skip the zip file and just download the individual files that you need from your OneDrive account before uploading them as individual files in your Google Drive account. Neither option is ideal, but they both work. 



On a related note, if you're leaving one school district that uses Google Workspaces for another that uses Google Workspaces, here are directions for making that move as easy as possible.

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 graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva.

How to Collaboratively Create Presentations With Canva

Regular readers of my blog probably know that I'm a big fan of Canva. I use it almost daily for making everything from YouTube thumbnails and presentations. And over the years I've used for making timelines, simple websites, comic strips, certificates, and lots more. In that time I've also seen Canva add new features on regular basis including an improved collaboration option. While it once was fairly clunky, the collaboration option is now as seamless and real-time as working on a Google Document. 

If you haven't tried using the collaboration option in Canva, watch my short video below to see how it works. The video includes the perspective of the original creator of a presentation and the perspective of a person who has been invited to collaborate on the presentation. 



Applications for Education
Canva's presentation design templates are far superior to the default options found in Google Slides and PowerPoint. And with the option for students to remotely collaborate while using those templates, Canva offers a great way for students working in groups to make outstanding slideshow presentations. And if they're not going to give a presentation in class, they can still use Canva's collaborative presentation tools to design and publish audio slideshow videos



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 graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Games, Maps, and Pictures - The Month in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're ending the month with a cold and rainy day. It's so chilly and damp that we have the heat on! Last week it was over 90F and I was turning getting all of our air conditioners out of winter storage. Such is life in northern New England. 

This month I wrapped up my Teaching History With Technology course. A few folks have asked if I'll offer it again during the summer. I will offer it again but I've not chosen dates. I'll announce that as soon as possible. What I do have firm dates for is The Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. Early bird registration ends tonight! Register here

Finally, I hope that everyone has a great end to the school year and a well-deserved rest in June. 

These were the most popular posts in May:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. Fling the Teacher! - A Fun Review Game
3. Mult.dev - A New Way to Quickly Make an Animated Map
4. Ten Good Tools for Telling Stories With Pictures
5. How to Find Public Google Docs, Slides, Forms, Sheets, and Drawings
6. Combine Canva and TeacherMade to Create Online Activities
7. Brainstormer - A Collaborative Brainstorming and Voting Tool
8. Three Good Ways to Make Online Word Games
9. My Ten Favorite "Hidden" Office 365 Features
10. Ten Google Workspaces Features for Teachers You Might Be Overlooking

Register Today!
Early bird registration for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp ends at midnight (Eastern Time). Register for the session of your choice right here!

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 36,000 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 WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

An Easier Way to Share in Google Meet

Last week a new menu option appeared in Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets. That new menu appears just to the left of the share button in Slides, Docs, and Sheets. It's icon resembles and upload icon, but it's not an upload option. The new option is to present to a Google Meet meeting. With just one click you can down present your Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets to everyone in a Google Meet meeting. 

Now when you're in a Google Meet meeting you can just click on the "present to a meeting" icon in Google Slides, Docs, or Sheets to show everyone in the meeting the slides, document, or spreadsheet that you have open on your screen. Watch my short video that is embedded below for a demonstration of the new Google Meet presentation option for Docs, Slides, and Sheets. 



Applications for Education
It has always been fairly easy to share Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets in Google Meet meetings. This just makes it a little bit easier for teachers and students. In particular, this should make it easier for students to share in one-on-one or small group meetings in which they're looking for feedback from you and or their classmates.

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 graphic created by Richard Byrne.