Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Handful of Resources for Learning About the Start of the American Revolution

Tomorrow is Patriots' Day here in Maine, in Massachusetts, and in a handful of other states. It's a day to mark the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. As a good New Englander with an appreciation of history, every year at this time I like to share a handful of resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution. 

Images of the Revolutionary War is a compilation of images about the Revolutionary War. The images in the collection chronicle the stirrings of rebellion in the pre-revolution years, the war from both American and British perspectives, and events following the Revolutionary War.

Minute Man National Historical Park offers detailed lesson plans that can be in conjunction with a visit to the park and lesson plans that can be used independent of a visit to the park. Take a look at the Legacy of Conflict lesson plan designed for 5th grade students (link opens a PDF) to get a sense of the type of detailed resources that the park offers.

Creating Google Earth tours of Revolutionary War battle sites is an activity that I did for many years with my U.S. History students. Students would create multimedia placemarks for each battle in sequence. The placemarks contained information about the outcome and significance of each battle. Here's a video on how to make a tour with with the browser-based version of Google Earth.



Video Lessons
Keith Hughes has a popular video in which he explains the American Revolution for middle school and high school students.



Crash Course has an extensive series on U.S. History. Included in that series is Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution.



Mr. Betts has a YouTube channel on which he posts cartoons and song parodies to teach U.S. History lessons. Here's one he did about the Battles of Lexington and Concord.



For Red Sox Fans!
This is usually the day that the Boston Marathon is held and Red Sox play a morning game. Neither is happening this year. For my fellow Red Sox fans here's a famous clip from the 2007 Patriots' Day game.

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.

A Handful of Alternatives to Google Expeditions

As I mentioned on Friday, Google is shutting down Tour Creator at the end of June. They're also shutting down Google Expeditions at the end of June. For some teachers that is the bigger loss. And while I haven't yet found any alternatives that have the same capability as Expeditions for teachers to guide students through a virtual tour, I do have some alternatives to Expeditions for just viewing virtual tours. Here's my short, but growing list of alternatives to Google Expeditions. 

Google Arts & Culture
The Google Arts & Culture app includes many of the experiences that are present in Google Expeditions. The one thing that you can't do is guide students on tours. Google has introduced a new teacher center for Google Arts & Culture. In this video I provide an overview of how to use the Google Arts & Culture teacher center. The video includes directions for sharing specific portions of an Arts & Culture experience with your students. 


Sites in VR
Sites in VR is a free app that features immersive imagery of notable landmarks around the world. The imagery can be viewed in VR headsets or without them. Unfortunately, there is not any audio accompanying the views in Sites in VR. 

National Geographic
National Geographic's YouTube channel has more than 50 videos that are designed to be watched in virtual reality. In fact, you can find lots of YouTube videos that are intended for viewing in VR by simply refining your search to 360 or 180 VR in YouTube's search filters. See my screenshot below for more information about that. 


City Walks
City Walks is a neat website where you can go for a virtual walk in more than a dozen cities around the world. You can experience the cities with or without sound. You can go for virtual walks in the daytime or at night. At the start of each walk you'll see some quick facts about the city that might help you understand a little more about what you're seeing during the walk. City Walks is essentially a really nice display of street-level YouTube videos with some additional menu options overlaid on them. That's not meant as a knock on the site as it is a nice site. That does mean that there isn't any interactivity built into virtual walks like you might experience in a virtual reality experience. The video sources for City Walks are clearly labeled in the lower-right corner of each screen. 

Story Spheres
Story Spheres is a tool that I included in Friday's list of alternatives to Tour Creator. In addition to using it to make your immersive VR stories, you can use to browse a gallery of stories made by other Story Spheres users. Just click the explore tab on Story Spheres to start browsing through the stories. There is a search function on the gallery as well. 

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.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Games, Canva, and Comments - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where at this time last week it was sunny and 60 degrees. Today, it's snowy and 28F. Such is life in the spring in Maine. We're hoping that it warms up a little bit today because we're planning to go to the Maine Wildlife Park for opening weekend. If you have little kids, the Maine Wildlife Park is a must-see if you're ever in the vicinity of Gray, Maine. Regardless of the weather, we're going to have a fun weekend and I hope that you also have a fun weekend. 

This week I hosted the first installment of my Teaching History With Technology course. A dozen people joined me for the first week. While registration is closed for that course, I do have some other on-demand courses available here on Practical Ed Tech

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 19 Canva Tutorials for Teachers and Students - Certificates, Comics, and More!
2. 12 Fun, Challenging, and Interesting Geography Games for Students
3. e-Comments Makes It Easy to Add Canned Comments to Documents and Learning Management Systems
4. How to Quickly Duplicate and Sort Jamboard Pages
5. Thousands of National Parks Pictures and Videos to Use in Google Earth
6. How to Add Audio to TeacherMade Activities - And Integrate Google Classroom
7. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game

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.

How to View Find Timelapse Imagery in Google Earth

This week Google made a big announcement about the introduction of new timelapse imagery to the web version of Google Earth. The imagery is part of the "Voyages" section of Google Earth. Within Voyages you'll find the new timelapse imagery arranged into stories and collections. You can also just browse through it on your own. 

Google Earth Pro (the free desktop version of Google Earth) has offer timelapse imagery for many years. That imagery is still available in the same place that it always has been found. That place is in the time-slider menu in Google Earth Pro. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to view timelapse imagery in the web version and in the desktop version of Google Earth. 



Applications for Education
In the video above I showed some of the timelapse imagery of urban sprawl around some cities in the United States. That imagery could be used as the prompt for a research assignment for students to investigate the causes of the growth of those cities. 

If you're interested in learning more about Google Earth and Google Maps, take a look at my self-paced Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies

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.

Quickly Cite Websites With Bibcitation's Chrome Extension

Earlier this week I published a blog post about Bibcitation's new Chrome extension for quickly citing websites. Some of its key features include automatic formatting of citations in dozens of styles, easy transfer of citations to your documents, and one-click addition to your existing Bibcitation bibliographies. Yesterday, I made this short video that demonstrates the key features of Bibcitation's Chrome extension. Take a look and see how easy it is to use Bibcitation. 

Applications for Education
As I wrote earlier in the week, one of the things that I have always liked about Bibcitation is that it provides support for dozens of citation styles in addition to the standard MLA and APA formats. Bibcitation is also easy to edit if students do find a mistake with the formatting. Finally, Bibcitation doesn't require students to register in order to use it. Completed Bibliographies can be downloaded as a document, as a BibTex file, or as HTML.

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.

Friday, April 16, 2021

ICYMI - Episode 35 of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff

Yesterday afternoon Rushton Hurley and I hosted the 35th episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. We had lots of great questions submitted. In fact, we had so many that we introduced a new "lightening round" into our usual format. Some of the things we shared in the webinar include a cool tool for adding canned comments to Google Docs and Word docs, Paramedic Jet Packs, ideas for creating audio stories, and the answer to the question I'm asked more frequently than any other. 

You can watch the recording of latest episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff right here or as embedded below. 



The next episode will be on May 6th. Register here to join us!

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.

Tour Creator is Closing - Here Are Some Alternatives

Like thousands of other people, this week Google sent me a reminder that Tour Creator is shutting down at the end of June. I've enjoyed making virtual reality tours with it since the first day it was available. I'm disappointed that Google is shutting it down, but there's no sense crying over spilled milk so I'm turning my attention to alternatives to Tour Creator. If you're in the same boat, here's a selection of alternatives to Tour Creator to explore. 

Story Spheres
Story Spheres is a neat tool for adding audio recordings to 360 imagery. Story Spheres lets you upload short audio recordings in which you describe to viewers what they're seeing, the history of what they're seeing, and the significance of what's in the scene they're seeing. It's possible to upload multiple recordings. When you're done you can can share your Story Spheres story in a blog post, on social media, or any other place that you typically post a link. Take a look at this Story Spheres story about Uluru to get a better sense of what can be done with Story Spheres. Last year I wrote directions for how to use Story Spheres. You can read those directions here or watch my video about how to make a Story Spheres story. 


CoSpaces EDU
CoSpaces is a platform that offers students the ability to create their own small virtual worlds. Unlike the other tools in this list, CoSpaces is an animated environment. I used CoSpaces last summer and early in the fall. It's not a tool that students will use to create a VR experience in a day. Instead, students need to spend at least a few days using CoSpaces to really get the hang of building and animating their virtual worlds. 

Google Street View App
The Google Street View app for Android and iOS offers more than just a way to view interesting places around the world. The free app includes a camera function that can be used to capture 360 photospheres. When you tap the camera icon in the app it will guide you through taking a series of pictures that will be automatically stitched together to form the photosphere. The completed photosphere can be shared with others in a variety of ways including direct sharing via SMS or email, posting on social media, or by contributing to the Google Maps community. The Google Street View iOS app is available here. The Google Street View Android app is available here.

Cardboard Camera
Cardboard Camera is a free Android app offered by Google. The app lets you take a 360 panoramic image that you can share to view in Google Cardboard viewer or similar VR headset. The app will capture any sounds including your voiceover present while capturing the image. Those who use Cardboard Camera on Android can save their VR images in Google Photos where they can be cropped and edited with basic image filters. Cardboard Camera for Android is available here. Here’s a video tutorial on how to use the Cardboard Camera app. 

Unfortunately, Google hasn't updated the app at all since 2018 so I'm not sure how much longer it will be a viable option for creating VR images.
 


A Related, Confusing Note
In addition to shutting down Tour Creator, Google is shutting down Tour Builder. Tour Builder was Google's alternative method to building tours directly in Google Earth. If you used Tour Builder, you have until the end of June to export those tours as KML files that you can then move into Google Earth. I outlined that process in the video included with the written directions here

If you're interested in learning more about Google Earth and Google Maps, take a look at my self-paced Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies

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.

12 Good Resources for Learning About National Parks

Tomorrow is the start of National Parks week here in the United States. So I've put together the following list of resources to help students learn about individual National Parks as well as the park system on the whole. 

A Great Book About the Origins of National Parks
Years ago I was camped on the side of a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley in Grand Teton National Park when the history teacher in me came out and I said, "Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt." Roosevelt, more than any other politician, deserves credit for the creation of the U.S. National Parks system. Those who want to read more about Roosevelt's conservation efforts would do well to pick up a copy of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. It is by no means a quick read, but it is a great read!

TED-ED Lesson on National Parks
Last fall TED-Ed published a good lesson about national parks. The lesson explains the origins of the U.S. National Parks system and concludes with explanations of the challenges facing national parks managers around the world. The lesson also explains how parks managers try to balance access and conservation while also respecting the rights of indigenous people whose land is often included with national parks. Overall, it's a very interesting lesson that could lead to a lot of good conversations with students. 

National Parks Image Archive
The National Parks Service's Digital Image Archive is an excellent place to find images of U.S. National Parks. You can search the archive by park and or subject. All of the images are free to download as they are in the public domain. The National Parks Service also offers a b-roll video gallery. The videos in the galleries are in the public domain. The b-roll video gallery can be searched by park, monument, building, or person. All of the videos can be downloaded. Some files are quite large so keep that in mind if your school has bandwidth limits and you have all of your students searching for videos at the same time.

Google Earth Nation Parks Tours and Voyages
Google Earth offers a great way for students to view national parks in the United States and beyond. Your students can explore imagery in Google Earth to learn about the topography of a national park. In a lot of cases there is Street View imagery available within national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Your students might also benefit from viewing tours within Google Earth. To locate a tour you can refine a Google search by file type to .KMZ and then launch the tours that appear in your search results.

Google Expeditions...While They Last
If you have VR headsets available to you, take a look at Google Expeditions virtual tours of the "hidden treasures" of National Parks. Unfortunately, Google Expeditions is shutting down at the end of June. 

Google Arts & Culture
National Parks collections, exhibits, and images are available in the Google Arts & Culture apps for Android and iOS. You can also view them in your web browser. Here's a collection to get you started. 

PBS Videos
Over the years PBS has produced many videos about the National Parks. You can view some of those videos in their entirety on the PBS video website. Search on the site for "national parks" and you'll have a big list of videos to view. Here's a list to get you started.

The Travel Film Archive
The Travel Film Archive is a collection of hundreds of travel films recorded between 1900 and 1970. The films were originally recorded to promote various places around the world as tourist destinations. In the archives you will find films about US National Parks, cities across the globe, and cultural events from around the world. The videos are available on The Travel Film Archive website and on YouTube.

National Parks Bingo and More Games!
Virtual National Park Bingo is a game that asks players to explore a variety of NPS webpages and external resources to complete the bingo board. One of the bingo squares requires taking a national parks virtual tour. You could do that on the NPS website or head to this Google Earth collection to tour the U.S. National Parks.

The NPS Games and Challenges collection includes games about animals and landmarks within parks, drawing and coloring pages, hands-on projects like making costumes, and virtual scavenger hunts.

The NPS games about animals are fun little guessing games in which students see a baby animal and then have to guess what it will look like when it is grown up. For example, can you tell if this is a baby mountain lion or a baby bobcat? 

The NPS Where the Park Am I? game shows you a 360 image taken within a park and you have to guess which park it was taken in. Go here and see if you can spot Acadia National Park (that's the only National Park in my state).

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.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

How to Quickly Duplicate and Sort Jamboard Pages

Jamboard has a lot of handy features and neat uses for in-person and online instruction. I recently outlined a bunch of them in this blog post. This afternoon someone emailed me looking for help with duplicating pages within a Jamboard. Like a lot of things, it's easier to show how to do it than it is to write how to do it. I made this short video to show how you can quickly duplicate, re-use, and sort pages or frames within a Jamboard. 



Applications for Education
Duplicating a page within a Jamboard is helpful when you want to have multiple pages that look the same but you want students to complete a different activity on each one of those pages. For example, I might want to use the same outline map of New England on three pages then one page have students label the states, on the second page have them label capitals, and on the third page label state nicknames.



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.

How to Score Google Forms Questions That Have Multiple Correct Responses

This afternoon I answered an email from a reader who was having a little trouble with Google Forms. She was trying to create a quiz in which some of the questions had multiple correct responses for students to select. For example, "select from this list the names of the people who have walked on the moon." 

To create a question or prompt in Google Forms that has multiple correct responses you need to use "checkboxes" question type. Multiple choice will not work because Google Forms will only allow one selection. By using checkboxes you can have students make multiple selections in response to the question. 

When using the checkbox question type your students can select multiple correct responses to a prompt like, "select the names of the people who have walked on the moon." When you do that you'll find that Google Forms will not give partial credit to a student who selects one correct name and one incorrect name. Therefore, you'll need to change the settings on your Google Form to "release scores after review" instead of the default "release scores immediately" in the form settings. Then you'll have to manually score the question(s) that ask students to make multiple selections. 

In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate the process that I've outlined above for creating and scoring Google Forms questions that have multiple correct responses.  




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.

Spark Interest in Local History With These Digital Newspaper Archives

When I was a kid I did yard work for an elderly widow who had stacks of old newspapers magazines that she and her husband collected. Knowing that history was my strongest subject in school, she always had new, old paper (and a glass of fruit juice) for me whenever I came over to rake leaves, shovel snow, or mow the lawn. Looking at those old newspapers always sparked my curiosity about buildings, landmarks, and people in my hometown. One of those sparks of curiosity led me to figuring out who my favorite fishing pond was named after. 

The point of sharing that little story is that looking at old newspapers can inspire students to dive into a little local history research and gain a bit of knowledge about the formation of their communities as they know them today. To that end, here are three good places for students to browse through the digital archives of old newspapers. 

Chronicling America is digitized newspaper archive hosted by the Library of Congress. The Chronicling America collection contains more than 2,600 digitized copies of newspapers printed in the United States between 1789 and 1963. You can search through the collection according to date, state in which the newspaper was published, and keyword.

In the Google Newspaper Archive you will find hundreds of digitized copies of newspapers printed around the world. In the archive you fill find newspapers published in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. In this video I provide a demonstration of how to search Google's Newspaper Archive. 

Last fall the Library of Congress launched a new search tool called Newspaper Navigator. Newspaper Navigator is an index of 1.5 million images published in newspapers between 1900 and 1963. You can search Newspaper Navigator by keyword and then narrow your results by date and or the U.S. state in which the newspaper was published. There is a highly detailed tutorial on how to use the LOC's Newspaper Navigator right on its search page. In general, the Newspaper Navigator is easy to use. That said, it's important to note that the search results are based on the tags associated with the images in the newspapers as opposed to the words on the pages themselves.

By the way, here's the story of my favorite childhood fishing pond. 

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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Bibcitation's New Chrome Extension Makes It Easy to Create Citations

A few weeks ago I published an overview of seven free tools that help students create bibliographies. Bibcitation was one of the tools in that list. This week Bibcitation introduced a new Chrome extension that makes it easier than ever for students to cite webpages and build bibliographies. 

Bibcitation's Chrome extension will generate a citation for any webpage that a student needs to include in his or her bibliography. To do that students simply have to click on the Bibcitation extension while viewing a webpage and select the citation style that they want to use. Students can then copy the text for the citation with just one click and paste it wherever they need to use it. Students can also click the "Add to Bibcitation.com" button within the extension to send the citation directly to the bibliographies they're working on. 


Applications for Education
One of the things that I have always liked about Bibcitation is that it provides support for dozens of citation styles in addition to the standard MLA and APA formats. Bibcitation is also easy to edit if students do find a mistake with the formatting. Finally, Bibcitation doesn't require students to register in order to use it. Completed Bibliographies can be downloaded as a document, as a BibTex file, or as HTML.

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.

How to Add Audio to TeacherMade Activities - And Integrate Google Classroom

Disclosure: TeacherMade is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

As I wrote last week, TeacherMade recently introduced a bunch of new features for turning your PDFs and Word documents into online activities for your students. When I looked at the list of new features the two that stood out to me were adding audio to PDFs and integrating Google Classroom into my TeacherMade account. 

As I demonstrate in this video, adding audio to TeacherMade activities can be a good way to make directions more accessible to students. It's also a good way to add audio-based prompts. 

Integrating Google Classroom into my TeacherMade account makes it easier for students to quickly find the activities I've created for students. Furthermore, it makes it easy to add automatically scored TeacherMade assignments into my Google Classroom records. Those features are also demonstrated in the video that is embedded below. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Improving Your Critical Thinking - A New TED-Ed Lesson

This Tool Will Help You Improve Your Critical Thinking is a new TED-Ed lesson that provides viewers with an introduction to the Socratic method. The video has two main purposes. The first is to explain what the Socratic method is. The second is to explain a bit of Socrates' place in history. The video's explanation of the Socratic method is much stronger than the explanation of Socrates' place in history. Watch the lesson here or as embedded below. 


Applications for Education
Last week I used the Socratic method with one of my classes. A few of my students got a little frustrated with me because I wasn't "just giving them the answer." A few of my students understood what I was doing. I stopped to explain it, but by that point the frustrated students weren't in the best place to understand what I was doing. That class meets again tomorrow and I plan to show this video to provide the class with a different explanation and perspective. 

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.

19 Canva Tutorials for Teachers and Students - Certificates, Comics, and More!

I've been using Canva to make all kinds of graphics and presentations almost since the day it was first available to the public. Over the years I've used to make greeting cards, videos, infographics, presentations, posters, timelines, comics, and many other graphics. And, at one point or another in the last five years, I've made videos about how to make all of those graphics. In not particular order, here's my complete list of Canva tutorials for teachers and students. 

How to Create a Timeline on Canva



How to Create Collages on Canva



How to Create a Greeting Card on Canva



How to Use Canva to Create Social Media Graphics



Host Live Q&A in Canva Presentations



How to Customize Icons in Canva



How to Create & Publish Comics in Canva



How to Record a Video Presentation in Canva



How to Use Canva for Online Brainstorming Sessions



How to Create an Audio Slideshow Video With Canva



How to Publish Canva Designs as Websites



How to Create and Publish a Multimedia Poster With Canva



How to Make an Interactive Graphic With Canva



How to Create a Video With Canva



How to Create a Great Presentation With Canva



How to Make Your Font Stand Out in Canva



How to Create a Certificate in Canva



How to Use Canva to Create Webpages



How to Collaborate in Canva


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 12, 2021

Ten Topics Covered in Teaching History With Technology

The next session of my popular Teaching History With Technology course begins tomorrow. There is still time to register right here

There are ten big topics that will be covered in the course. All of the lessons in the course can be applied to elementary, middle, and high school settings.

These are the ten big topics in the course:

  • Search Strategies & Organization
  • Video Projects & Video Lessons
  • Making History Podcasts
  • Google Earth & Maps
  • Multimedia Timelines
  • Digital Portfolios
  • AR & VR in History Lessons
  • Making Virtual Tours
  • Making History Apps
  • Tips for Remote Teaching


Create Outdoor Bingo Games

I originally shared this video on my Ed Tech Fitness blog. The reaction there has been good so I thought that I should give it a bigger audience by posting it on Free Technology for Teachers

Outdoor Bingo is exactly what the name implies. Kids are given Bingo boards that have things like leaves, squirrels, worms, rocks, bugs, and flowers listed on each space. Kids then go looking for those things and cross them off their Bingo boards as they go. When they get five in a row, they win! 

My daughters were recently given some re-useable outdoor Bingo boards. Seeing those boards inspired me to make my own by using the Bingo template available on Flippity.net. Watch this video to learn how you can make your own outdoor Bingo games that include pictures and text. 


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.

How to Quickly Record Voice and Video Messages in Gmail

Sometimes it is easier, faster, and more effective to record a video or audio reply to an email than it is to type a response. For example, when I get asked for technical help it is often faster and more effective to create a screencast video than it is to write directions.

Sending an audio message in response to an email can be useful when you need to use some voice inflection to deliver meaning that you might not be able to deliver with just text. This is particularly true when replying to students who are still developing their reading skills or when replying to parents whose first language isn't your own.

In the following videos I demonstrate how to record video and audio messages directly from your Gmail inbox.

Two Ways to Create Videos in Your Gmail Inbox


How to Record and Send Voice Notes in Gmail


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.

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.