Showing posts with label ed tech teacher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ed tech teacher. Show all posts

Saturday, December 5, 2015

5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently

This morning at the Ed Tech Teacher Google Jamboree I had the opportunity to give a short presentation to kick-off the day. The title of my talk was Preparing Students to Work Independently - Five Things We Should Be Doing. The slides from the presentation are embedded below. Below my slides you'll find an outline of my talking points.

Nearly ten years ago Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod’s Did You Know/ Shift Happens ( videos made many of us aware of the fact that the nature of learning and the nature of work has irreversibly changed. Yet in many schools we continue to we still teach as if we are preparing students to work and learn in the 80’s and 90’s (you can pick the century). While there is value in some of the traditional methods we must strive to incorporate new perspectives and instructional strategies.

1. Acknowledge What’s New in the Classroom and the Workplace
What’s different in the academic world:
1. Ubiquitous access to the Internet.
2. Faster and larger networks of classmates, friends, and family. Students expect to tap these networks for help.
3. Increased school/ class choice.

What’s different in the workplace:
1. We’re doing jobs that didn’t exist 5 -10 years ago.
2. “Going to work” doesn’t mean you have to leave the house. My friend Kate is an IT manager for a Fortune 100 company and she hasn’t gone to her office in years.
3. “Getting a job” often means creating your own job.

2. What's it mean to be an "expert."
1. What’s easy to you is amazing to someone else.
2. Students don’t always need you for an answer. They might need you to simply guide them to an answer.
3. You don’t have to have all of the answers. Richard Branson makes the point that what he’s best at is connecting people to get the answers and put a plan together.

3. Create Wise Consumers of Information
1. Take time to think. What do you already know? Who do you already know?
2. How would someone else interpret this information?
3. Can you verify this information? Particularly important when using social media as a search tool.

4. Encourage and Support Publishing Online
1. Want to be a writer? Be a writer, tell people about what you write.
2. Publish a podcast, a YouTube channel.
3. Create and share games.
-Creating and publishing is what leads to “getting a job” or creating your own job.
-Creating and publishing is what can distinguish you from a crowd of students.

5. Working independently sometimes means working with others.
1. Acknowledging when a project is too big to handle alone.
2. Knowing when to ask for help and who to ask for help.

Stop and think, can these tools help my students learn, work, and thrive in a constantly changing world?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

An Overlooked YouTube Feature

YouTube contains many useful features that are frequently overlooked. One of those features is using your YouTube channel to store videos even if you don't make them public. Another overlooked aspect of YouTube is that it can serve as a file conversion tool for some video formats.

When you upload videos to YouTube you don't have to make them public. Since YouTube doesn't limit how many files you can upload, you can use your YouTube channel to simply store your video files for free. When you need the files, you can download them at anytime.

Occasionally, you may have a video file that you need converted to MP4. In that case, upload it to your YouTube channel. Once it has been uploaded and processed, you should be able to download it as an MP4. I recently did this with an AVI file.

Check out the screenshots below to see how to download your files from YouTube. (This only works with videos that you own and are in your YouTube account).
Click image for full size.
Click image for full size. 

I'll be sharing many more tips and tricks like this one in my upcoming workshop at the Ed Tech Teacher Google Jamboree in Medfield, Massachusetts. Please join us, it is going to be fun!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sketch Notes and Slides from Ed Tech Teacher Summit

Yesterday at the Ed Tech Teacher Summit in Chicago I gave an updated version of my popular presentation Discovery, Discussion, Demonstration. Douglas Kiang was kind enough to share his sketch notes of my presentation. A screenshot of Doug's notes is posted below along with a PDF of my slides.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Get Organized for Back-to-School with Trello

This is a guest post from Beth Holland of, an advertiser on this blog.

With Back-to-School ads starting to crop up all over the place, and summer hitting its blissful stride, that can only mean one thing: it’s time to start prepping for Fall. For years, a myriad of ideas, plans, and to-do lists plagued me for the entire month of August. I tried a number of different tools to keep track: iCal, Google Tasks, a paper planner….

However, a few things made each of these items completely ineffective for me:
  1. I needed to seamlessly access my to-do lists from anywhere and at any time - this ruled out paper as I often left my notebook on the kitchen counter, at my desk at school, on someone else’s desk, etc.
  2. Some items needed due dates and some didn’t. The old iCal let me use a combination of tasks and events, but I had to remember to sync devices.
  3. Google Tasks worked great - as long as I had Internet.
  4. Having never worked in isolation, I also needed a way to keep track of everything and share all of my tasks and ideas with colleagues.
Last spring, I discovered my solution: Trello! Not only does it work on all devices, allow me to choose whether or not I need due dates, permit me to collaborate with others, and let me work offline when on a mobile phone or tablet, but Trello also gives me a simple visual for organizing all of my tasks: 3 columns - To Do, Doing, and Done - as well as the ability to attach files from either my device or the cloud (Drive or Dropbox).

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 4.50.32 PM

Best part of all, with the iOS app, Android app, or Chrome Extension, Trello removes the need to email collaborators. Simply assign a colleague to a card in Trello and the system alerts members to new tasks.

While it’s still necessary to enjoy these last few weeks of summer, start adding cards to your Trello boards so that you won’t forget all of your ideas when it comes time to get back to school. Besides, you might even be able to use it to organize your students next fall.

Looking for last minute learning opportunities this summer? EdTechTeacher still has space available in their Austin and Los Angeles Summer Workshops in August.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Two Free Google Apps that Bring Out the Best In an iPad

This is a guest post from Samantha Morra of, an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers

Many of us using technology in the classroom find ourselves caught between two worlds: Apple and Google. Apple’s iPad is a fantastic tool in the classroom which provides students with various opportunities to consume, create, and communicate. Similar to a swiss-army knife, it is only limited by how we choose to use it. At the same time, Google apps provide students with cloud-based services, from search to document creation and sharing, that work seamlessly on iPad.

So, what are some of the best ways to experience Google on the iPad? Let’s take a look at two apps from Google: Google Search and Drive.

Google Search

Usually when you think of Google you think of searching first. The Google Search app has a nice clean interface: a search bar, a history button, a voice search button, an apps button, and Google Now cards. Most of the features are pretty intuitive. While, I like the apps button because it provides access to many Google apps and sites from one place, my favorite part about this app is Google Goggles.
With Google Goggles, you can take a picture with the iPad camera, and Google Search will scour the internet for that picture. This is a great feature that taps into two of iPad’s strengths: mobility and image capture.

Google Drive

The Google Drive app offers some great features on iPad. You can create docs, sheets and folders, as well as open, edit and collaborate on any doc or sheet that you started from another device. There are also two great features that bring out the best in your iPad: speech-to-text and supporting workflow.
I have tried speech-to-text on other apps and sites with minor success; however, it works really well when creating documents in Drive. The best part is that because it syncs with the cloud! This means that you could be on the same document from a computer as well as iPad, talk into iPad, and the text will also appear instantly on the computer. This is an amazing feature - especially for students who struggle with writing.
Another powerful feature of Google Drive is how it supports workflow on iPad. You can upload video and images from the camera roll right into your Google Drive. This is a great way to get an important video or image off of iPad and onto your computer or another device. It is also a great way to collaborate. You can gather class images and video in Drive and then share or merge them together on a single device. Google Drive liberates your creative masterpieces from a single iPad.
A final great workflow feature in Drive is “Open In…” Any file, in any format, can be stored in Google Drive. This feature gives you a variety of options for how you want to open that file and use it on iPad. For example, you could open a PDF from Google Drive in iBooks, Evernote, Subtext, or any other app that might allow for PDF Annotation.
Google and iPad compliment each other beautifully, and together can make a great tool for learning and teaching.

To learn more about Google and iPads, Samantha will be leading Summer Workshops in Chicago and Cambridge as well as presenting at the July 28-30 EdTechTeacher Summit.

How to Use Little Bird Tales for Digital Storytelling in Elementary School

Little Bird Tales is one of the replacements for Kerpoof (closing on April 15th) that I recommended yesterday in this post. Little Bird Tales is a nice site intended for younger students to use to create digital stories. Little Bird Tales walks users through each step of creating a multimedia story. Users can upload images, draw images, or record from their webcams. Stories can be written with text or narrated by students using microphones connected to their computers.

In the video below Beth Holland from Ed Tech Teacher (an advertiser on this site) demonstrates how to use Little Bird Tales and she makes suggestions for classroom use.

Little Bird Tales from EdTechTeacher on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Webinar Recording - Empowering Elementary Learners With Technology

Earlier today I posted a list of alternatives to Kerpoof which is shutting down on April 15th. Shortly after I posted that list Beth Holland at Ed Tech Teacher emailed me with the recording of a webinar she recently facilitated in which many digital storytelling tools, including Kerpoof, were featured. The webinar was designed for elementary school teachers. The video of the webinar is embedded below as is the slide deck from the webinar.

 If you want a copy of these slides, open the editor (gear icon) then select "make a copy" from the "file" drop-down menu in Google Slides. Click here for directions. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Linking Projects, Ideas, and Concepts with Popplet

This is a guest post from Beth Holland at which is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Recently, when looking for a new tool that would work across multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, & Chromebook in particular), I stumbled on Popplet. While I had used the free Popplet Lite iPad app as a mindmapping tool, I had been unaware of the truly awesome potential for using Popplet on the web!

At first glance, Popplet seems like most other mindmapping tools such as Inspiration,, or MindMeister. However, it has three critical features that separate it from the rest (on top of being FREE).

First, not only can you create objects with text, but Popples can also include links, drawing, images from either your computer or the web, and video from either YouTube or Vimeo. In fact, if you are working on Popplet from a Chromebook, you can even insert images directly from your Google Drive account!

Next, even with a free account, Popples can be shared in much the same way as a Google Doc, allowing for both synchronous and asynchronous editing and creating. This means that they could be used for group discussion, collaborative brainstorming, or even as a backchannel.

Finally, in addition to sharing directly with other collaborators, completed Popples can be published with a link or an embed code - making it incredibly easy to share via a web site, wiki, blog, or even a Learning Management Solution such as Edmodo or Schoology.

Uses for Popplet in the Classroom
Beyond using it as a mindmapping or graphic organizer tool, students could use Popplet to illustrate the steps of a process or sequence, such as a Popplet lab report showing reactions, steps, processes, and procedures. Similarly, Popplet could become an interactive timeline - complete with digital artifacts such as video and images from primary sources. Given the ability to incorporate links, images, and video, Popplet could even make a for a highly visual student portfolio tool.

From a teacher’s perspective, imagine posting an image, video, or piece of text and then asking students to brainstorm their ideas based on what they see or experience. Think about the potential for visual, linked, collaborative discussions. An English teacher could ask students to respond to a discussion prompt, connecting ideas off of the prompt as well as their peers. A History teacher might post a political cartoon and ask for students to respond with their own drawings, and a math teacher might pose a problem and ask students to submit their solutions.

When using Popplet with a group of teachers in a recent workshop, one participant realized that it could be an amazing tool for documenting student learning as part of the new teacher evaluation process. Popplet could be a curation tool for displaying student work as it relates to a specific unit or project as well as a student portfolio option - visually linking student learning artifacts to the desired objectives.

For even more ideas, check out the Popplet that I created while brainstorming all of the possibilities.

To learn more about Popplet and other web tools, EdTechTeacher will be offering a host of workshops this summer in 6 cities across the country.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Week In Review - Spending Time With Teachers

Good morning from Maine where I'm relaxing for a day after a great week of working with teachers at Ed Tech Teacher workshops in Boston and at a Pearson OLE event in Phoenix. Both events were filled with enthusiastic teachers learning together and sharing ideas with each other. And I learned new things to that have me excited to share with all of you in the near future. This week I had some guest bloggers stop-in to share their ideas and experiences, I hope you enjoyed their insights.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Grading Made Easy with Diigo & Jing
2. Exploring the Olympics on Google Earth & Maps
3. Practice Piano with JoyTunes for iPad
4. Beyond the App - You Found an App, Now What?
5. A Short Review of the Nexus 7
6. The Collaborative Lecture: A Hybrid Approach to Learning
7. Website on Steroids - Creating a Powerful Blog

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
LearnBoost provides a free online gradebook service for teachers.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
Academic Pub is a service for creating custom etextbooks.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Ed Tech Teacher offers professional development services for schools. I will be conducting a series of workshops with them this summer. Please visit their site for the schedule.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Summer Learning Opportunities

Summer time is learning time for many teachers. If you're looking for some learning opportunities to participate in this summer, here are some that I am involved in either directly as a presenter or indirectly as a publisher. These events are open to public registration. I am also presenting at a number of schools this summer. If you're interested in having me present at your school or conference this summer or in the fall, please click here.

This summer I will be presenting a series of workshops on the campus of Harvard with Tom Daccord's EdTech Teacher team. I'll be presenting during Teaching History with Technology on June 27-29 and July 30-August1. I will also be presenting Best Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers on July 16-18. Click here to learn more and to register for those workshops and others offered by EdTech Teacher. The video below highlights some of last year's EdTech Teacher workshops. 

New Hampshire educators interested in learning more about using Google Apps in their schools will be interested to learn about Google Apps Bootcamp NH. I will be presenting at each of these day long sessions on July 10-13 at four different locations in New Hampshire. Folks in the northeast, but outside of New Hampshire keep your eyes peeled for an announcement in the near future about some more Google Apps training opportunities that I am going to be a part of. 

In late July (22-28) I will be running a week of workshops on Google Apps at the Maine School of Science and Math in Limestone, Maine (yes, that is in far northern Maine). My workshops are part of their week-long STEM camp.

Lesley University has been a supporter of Free Technology for Teachers for long time. They offer some excellent online degree and certificate programs with a flexible schedule for busy educators. 

Fresno Pacific University is a new supporter of Free Technology for Teachers. FPU is offering two new courses for educators interested in learning more about cloud computing and social networking in education. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Come Work With Me This Summer

Over the last week or so I've been asked by a dozen or so people about where I will be presenting this summer. Here's the list and descriptions of events that I will be speaking at this summer that are open for registration right now. 

Once again this summer I will be working with Tom Daccord and the Ed Tech Teacher team to present a series of workshops on the campus of Harvard (yes, you can tell your students that you went to Harvard this summer). The first workshop is Teaching History With Technology on June 27 through June 29. You can register for that session here. July 16-18 Tom and I will again present best Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers. You can register for that session here. July 30 - August 1 I will again be part of the team presenting Teaching History With Technology. You can register here for that session. Both of these sessions were full last year. In fact, Teaching History With Technology was so popular that a second session was added. 

New Hampshire Educators, whether you have never used Google Apps in your classroom or you're looking to step-up your game to become a Google Apps guru, you'll want to consider coming to the Google Workshops for Educators that I will be presenting at July 10-13 in New Hampshire. These full-day workshops are coordinated by Dr. Mark Wagner. I will be one of four presenters along with Mark, Kern Kelley, and Alice Barr. You do have to complete an application to participate in these workshops. Please click here for all of the details about these Google Workshops for Educators. 

In late July (22-28) I will be running a week of workshops on Google Apps at the Maine School of Science and Math in Limestone, Maine (yes, that is in far northern Maine). My workshops are part of their week-long STEM camp.

Finally, I am developing a four part webinar series with Angela Maiers and Chris Dawson. The series is for educators who want to learn how to build their personal brands with an eye toward earning an income through speaking, writing, and consulting. I have had lots of people ask me over the last year how I have managed to earn money through my blog. In this series I'll share how I've done it and all of the good and bad lessons I've learned along the wear. Angela and Chris will be doing the same. More details and registration for the webinar will be available very soon. 

I will also be presenting at a handful of schools this summer. If you're interested in having me present at your school this summer, I still have some openings in my schedule. Please click here to learn more about my school PD offerings. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

For months I had planned to speak at the Ed Tech Teacher Winter Conference that was held yesterday. Unfortunately, bad weather and a scrap of metal through my truck's tire kept me from getting there. Believe me, I would have much rather been in Boston than trying to change a tire in the pouring rain in a park & ride parking lot on the side of I495. My apologies to everyone that had registered for the session that Greg Kulowiec and I had planned. One thousand times thank you to Greg for adjusting and flying solo.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

iPad Apps to Meet 14 Learning Objectives

This evening Greg Kulowiec shared with me an excellent iPad project that he and Beth Holland recently published for Ed Tech Teacher. iPad As... is a large selection of high-quality iPad-apps designed to meet fourteen different learning objectives.

When you visit iPad As... you can click on any of the objectives to be taken to a grid of free and paid apps that can be used to meet that objective. For example, if I want my students to create digital stories on their iPads, I would click on that objective and instantly see a list of the apps that my students could use for that purpose. Each app is accompanied by a description, price, and ease-of-use rating.

Applications for Education
If your school is using iPads now or is considering getting iPads, but you're not sure what apps are out there for your learning objectives, iPad As... could be a great reference for you to bookmark and share with your colleagues.

Disclosure: I occasionally work for Ed Tech Teacher and they are an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers

Thursday, February 9, 2012

30 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers

Earlier today I presented a short webinar about some of my favorite Web 2.0 tools for teachers. The webinar was on behalf of Ed Tech Teacher for whom I facilitate in-person workshops from time to time. This summer I'll be working with them quite a bit. You can see the list of their summer workshops here. A recording of today's webinar will be available here shortly. If you just want to know what tools I shared in the webinar, you can view the slides below.

30 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
View more presentations from Richard Byrne

If you're interested in having me work with your staff on the use of these tools, please visit my work with me page