Monday, April 15, 2013

Cinelab - Simple Video Editing for Windows 8

Cinelab is a free Windows 8 app for quickly editing videos on your computer or Windows 8 phone. You can trim the start and end times of your video clips and combine clips to create a new video. To edit a clip and or create a new compilation of clips open the Cinelab app and start a new project. To get your project rolling import clips stored on your computer or phone. To edit an imported clip right-click on it then drag the start and stop indicators into position. You can preview and edit your projects as many times as you like.

Applications for Education
One of the blogging activities that I think is often overlooked is having students post short video updates to a classroom blog. The videos could be observations of things they discovered during a field trip, a science experiment, or just things they've learned during the week. Cinelab could be a good Windows 8 app for students to use to do some quick editing of those videos to post on classroom blogs or their own blogs.

10 Resources for Teaching About the American Revolution

Today is Patriots' Day in Massachusetts and Maine. The day commemorates the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, The Battles of Lexington and Concord. As a New Englander this is a good day to review some good resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution.

Mission U.S. offers an interactive journey through Boston in 1770 (five years before the Battles of Lexington and Concord) through the perspective of a 14 year old boy who has to choose sides. The game can be played entirely online or downloaded for play on your PC or Mac (you do need an Internet connection to save a game in progress).



Revolutionary War Animated is a great place to find nice animated maps of troop movements throughout the Revolutionary War. I've used this resource with one of my classes for a couple of years now and while the animations are simple, they do a great job of illustrating the battles.

America, A Narrative History is a text published by WW Norton. As a free supplement to the book, Norton has published ten Google Earth tours. These tours include major themes and events in US History. The list includes the Revolutionary War, the path to the Civil War, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, Lewis & Clark's expedition, the Indian Removal Act, Pre-Columbian North America, the national parks system, and the 20th Century power grid. All of the tours include multiple images and references. Some of the tours also have "tour questions" for students to answer.

Teaching American History has a series of interactive lessons about the American Revolution that are suitable for middle school and elementary school use. The lessons are divided into three chronological sections; 1775-1778, 1778-1781, and Treaty of Paris 1783. All of the lessons in the first two sections ask students to locate a place on a map. Students then answer a question about that place. After answering the question students are given a short text lesson. The lessons appear in chronological order. In the section on the Treaty of Paris students move through a series of placemarks on a map to learn about the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Pictures 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.

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



Keith Hughes offers Colonialism for Dummies as part of his series on U.S. History for Dummies.


The American Revolution Center has a fantastic interactive timeline about the American Revolution. The timeline features an easily navigated combination of text and images. Click on any event in the timeline to view a short paragraph about that event. Click on an image of an artifact in the timeline and a you will see an enlarged image of that artifact. The page hosting the enlarged artifact image also hosts a description of the artifact and in some cases a video podcast about the artifact. It really is one of the best US History timelines that I've come across.

Liberty, The American Revolution is a feature on PBS.org. There are a couple of resources in this feature that are worth noting. First, and probably the most useful, is The Chronicle of Revolution. The Chronicle of Revolution provides a timeline of events that contributed to the start of the American Revolution. Students can read newspaper accounts as they go through the chronicles. Within each newspaper account there are links to further reading about important people and places mentioned in the articles. The second item of interest in Liberty, The American Revolution is the Road to Revolution game. The game isn't really a game, it's more like a quiz with some graphics added to it. The game is designed to quiz students on the information in The Chronicle of Revolution.

The Revolution: Interactive Guide is a free iPad app about the American Revolution. The video embedded below provides a detailed overview of the app. Here are a few of the highlights of the app:
Narration of text.
Quizzes after each section.
Interactive images.
Flashcards
Comparisons to other revolutions.

5 Resources to Help Students Learn About Income Taxes

Today is the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Post Office. Why? Because tax returns have to be post marked by today. If you're looking for some resources for teaching about taxes, take a look at the items below.

This morning's episode of CNN Student News has a short segment on income taxes. And on the topic of the economics, today's episode also explains Bitcoins.


For high school students, college students, and adults CNN's Explain It To Me video about the "Buffett Rule" explains why sometimes the super rich don't pay as high a percentage of their income in taxes as the rest of us.

From time to time we all wonder where our tax dollars go. Now thanks to the White House's Federal Tax Payer Receipt we can find out. Visitors to the site can enter the data from their actual tax returns, enter data that they estimate, or choose to use one of the "common scenarios" to see a breakdown of what their tax dollars will be spent on.

Another place to see how tax revenue is distributed is What We Pay For. What We Pay For uses publicly available tax data to show you how your tax money is appropriated. On the left side of the screen you will see the total revenue and appropriations for the entire United States. On the right side of the screen you can enter your filing status and pre-tax earnings for the year to see the approximate amount you will pay toward US budget items. You can enter your pre-tax earnings as an annual figure, monthly figure, weekly, daily, or hourly wage.

The IRS website, Understanding Taxes, is a good source of lesson plans and individual learning materials about taxes and budgets. In the teacher section of the site you will find lesson plans like this one (opens as pdf) designed to teach students about services for which tax revenue is used. This lesson plan is based on the 2011 tax code, it has not been updated to reflect the 2012 tax code. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Come Relax and Learn With Me This Summer

Come to the beautiful Sunday River resort in Maine to spend two days learning with me, Richard Byrne. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp on July 22-23 is a hands-on exploration of how to use free technology tools in your classroom. This two day workshop is based on my framework for using technology to help students discover new information, discuss their ideas, and demonstrate their knowledge. Registration is limited to 25 participants to ensure that every participant gets the attention he or she deserves. Register today AND read on for more information.


Highlights of the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp
  • Practical ideas for using technology in your classroom. 
  • A small, collaborative, hands-on learning environment. Bring your laptop because you'll be doing, not listening.
  • Twelve hours of learning in a relaxed and picturesque setting.
  • Develop a repertoire of new tools and ideas to effectively integrate technology into your lessons.
This is an educational retreat!
Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is held at the Sunday River resort so that teachers can get away, relax, and learn in a comfortable environment that you won't find at typical summer conferences. Healthy breakfasts and hearty lunches will fuel your brain for learning and are included in your registration. And when we're done for the day you can relax in the pool, soak in a hot tub,  play the world-class Sunday River golf course, go on a sunset Moose tour, cast a line into the blue-ribbon Androscoggin fishery, or browse through the shops in historic downtown Bethel, Maine. Want to turn your trip to the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp into a family vacation? Sunday River has extended special room rates for two room suites that are good for your whole stay even if you come early or stay late. So bring your family and go on a zipline through the mountains, paddle down the river, go geocaching, or hike a stretch of the world-renowned Appalachian Trail. Click here for all of the activities in the area.

What you will learn.
The two day workshop is based on my framework of Discovery, Discussion, and Demonstration. The first day is focused helping students use technology to discover and discuss. Day two is focused on demonstrating knowledge by creating new digital content including podcasts, videos, and other multimedia productions. Abbreviated outlines of each day are posted below.

Day One:
  • Breakfast 7:30-8:30.
  • Teaching students how to search effectively.
  • Going beyond Google.
  • Collaborative research.
  • Lunch 12:00-1:00
  • Collaborative writing and publishing with Google Drive and other collaborative tools.
  • Building blogs and websites.
  • Teaching digital citizenship.
Day Two:
  • Breakfast 7:30-8:30
  • Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use
  • Podcasting and audio editing.
  • Video production with free web tools.
  • Lunch 12:00-1:00
  • Creating multimedia ebooks.
  • Maps as stories.
  • Sharing your work.

Register today!

Who should come to the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp?
K-12 teachers and curriculum directors who want to discover the best tools and strategies for teaching with technology in the new school year. You do not have to have any prior technology skills in order to learn a lot during the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Just bring your laptop and you're ready to go. If you are a more experienced user of educational technology, there will be plenty of new tools and ideas for you too. Here's what some people have said about my previous workshops:
  • FYI...I learned several things tonight. Really looking forward to this series. When I go to teacher led classes at conferences I usually know more than they do. Tonight was not that way :)
  • @rmbyrne Thank you, Richard - truly inspiring - lots of fantastic information and tips! Can't wait to explore some more! Have a great day!
  • Great presentation from @rmbyrne New ideas to apply augmented reality w students with Autism & independence.
  • Thanks to @rmbyrne, I know how to make a choose your own adventure story using google forms. #edchat #edtech
  • And just to give you a little sense of my personality, here's a Tweet from one of my former students. It's always a fun history class when you're trying to roll your tongue with your teacher. #swag @rmbyrne

Register Today!

  • Early Bird registration (available until May 15) is $379/person.
  • Registration after June 1 is $429/person.
Your registration includes breakfast and lunch both days. You are responsible for making your own room reservations through Sunday River. Mention "Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp" to get special room rates. Standard rooms are $99/night, suites with kitchenettes are available for $139/night. Two ways to register.
  1. The easiest way to register is through the EventBrite form below.
  2. The other way to register is with a check or purchase order from your school. Contact me at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to pay with a check or purchase order.
To ensure that everyone gets the attention they need, the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is limited to 25 participants. Register today!


What to bring to camp
  • This is a hands-on learning environment. Bring a laptop. Everything on the agenda can be done on a laptop, but not everything can be done on an iPad or Android tablet. You're welcome to bring your iPad or Android tablet, but make sure you also bring a laptop.
  • A smile and a willingness to learn.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Ed Tech Posts

Good morning from Fargo, North Dakota where I'm waiting for a flight home to Maine. This week I had the privilege of presenting at two conferences. On Thursday I spoke at the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools' technology conference and yesterday I spoke at the North Dakota Association of Technology Leaders' conference. It was great to connect with many long-time readers at both events. And if you're wondering about the picture, it's of a delicious treat called Chippers that I was given in Fargo. Chippers are potato chips covered in chocolate. I highly recommend trying Chippers if your cardiologist allows it.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. 21 Reasons to Stop Saying "21st Century Teacher"
2. Use Shared Google Drive Folders to Distribute Assignments to Students
3. 10 Free Typing Practice Activities for Students
4. Mapping History - Historical Patterns Mapped
5. The Five Best Tools for Creating Videos Without Installing Software

Would you like to have me to visit your school this year? 
Click here for information about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Fresno Pacific University offers online courses for teachers.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com 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.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher.org is hosting workshops in Atlanta, Chicago, and Boston this summer.

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