Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Differences Between Projects and Project Based Learning

Amy Mayer recently published a nice chart that breaks down the differences between "doing projects" and "project based learning." The chart, which you can get in its entirety from Amy's blog, does a nice job of breaking down the differences between these two commonly and incorrectly interchanged terms. Amy published the chart using Google Drive and you can get a copy to save in your Google Drive account if you visit Amy's blog.
This is a cropped image of the chart. The actual chart is much longer. 

5 Years and 52,000 Subscribers Later...

Image Source
This post is straight out of the navel gazing department.

Five years ago today Free Technology for Teachers got started with this post. When I started I didn't really know what I was doing, I was just trying to write about neat things that I was finding and trying out. Five years and nearly 7,000 posts later I know a little more about blogging and I'm still having fun finding and trying neat things that can be used in classrooms.

When I started this blog on November 28, 2007 I had no idea or vision that someday more than 52,000 people would be subscribed to my blog. For the first few months it was only family (thanks Mom) and some colleagues that were reading my blog (thanks Walter). Slowly more people started reading in the early days and I'm still connected with and appreciate those early supporters like Harold Shaw, Skip Z, Jeff & Dan at Wicked Decent Learning, and Jim & Jim & Jim at MLTI (only one of the Jims is still with MLTI fulltime). Slowly the blog grew from that early group to what it is now. Every person that has subscribed to the blog, shared posts, connected with me on Twitter, and said hello at conferences has made writing this blog a truly awesome experience. Thank you!

And I just renewed the domain (and a bunch of associated domains) yesterday so I'm going to keep writing for another year. I hope that you'll keep learning with me.

Image Credit: cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Will Clayton:

How to Create PDFs in Google Drive in Three Steps

This morning I received a question from a reader who wanted to know if it is possible to create PDFs in Google Documents and if so how can it be done. I figured that if one person is asking there are probably others who would also like to know the answer to that question. The answer is yes, you can create PDFs in Google Documents and the directions for doing it are provided in the screenshots below.

Shameless promotion: I'll be covering a lot of these kind of questions and more in my new webinar series Google Drive and the Common Core.

Step 1:
Click image to enlarge.

Step 2:
Click image to enlarge.

Step 3:
Click image to enlarge.

Gmail+1 = Student Email Addresses to Register for Online Services

The Gmail+1"hack" isn't a new trick and I can't remember when I first tried it, but it still works and it still provides a solution to a problem that a lot of teachers run into when they want their students to use a new web tool. Let's say there's a new service that I want my students to use but my students don't have email addresses that they can use to register for that service. In that case I can quickly generate Gmail addresses for my students by using the Gmail+1 hack.

Here's how the Gmail+1 hack works:
1. Create a new Gmail account just for your class. Example
2. Issue email addresses to students as follows,
3. Gmail overrides the "1" and "2" at the end of the mrbyrnesclass and sends all emails to the inbox at however almost all other services that require an email for registration will recognize as distinct from
4. Students can use the "+1" emails to register for services, but I get to see all of the emails coming and going.
5. Because of #4 above I may have to confirm all of my students' registrations on a new service.

1. I don't believe that this hack is endorsed by Google. I have been corrected on that.
2. This hack doesn't work on every service so your mileage may vary.
3. Don't give students the password to the class email address (in the example above I would not give students the password to because if they have it they could all send and receive email from the account. The passwords that they choose on  the services that they register for should all be unique and they should not share them with each other.

Collaboratively Comment on PDFs with Marqueed

Back in July I tried out a service called Marqueed that allows users to create and discuss collections of images. This morning I gave the service another look and discovered that you can also use it to share an comment on PDF files. Using Marqueed you can highlight and draw on images as well as PDFs.

Applications for Education
Marqueed could be used to have your students read and comment on a primary source document that you have in PDF form. You could also use Marqueed to upload an image of a diagram and ask your students to label it.