Sunday, February 16, 2014

Coffee and Goats

Like millions of other people nothing can make or break my morning like a good cup of coffee or its absence. My standard for good coffee is low, it just needs to be hot and made within the last six hours. What is it about coffee that gives it so much power in our lives? The following short video has that answer. The video also contains a story about goats and coffee that I had never heard before.

Happy coffee drinking!

Free Webinar - A Teacher's Guide to Backchannels and Informal Assessments

Last year I created and published A Teacher's Guide to Backchannels and Informal Assessment. That free guide explains what a backchannel is, why you might want to use a backchannel in your classroom, and provides directions for using three backchannel tools in your classroom. Next Sunday, February 23 at 6pm EST I am going to conduct a free webinar about backchannels and informal assessment in the classroom.

The webinar will be recorded and published here on Free Technology for Teachers for those who cannot attend the live session. Click here to register for the webinar.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Week In Review - Winter Fun!

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. By the time that many of you read this I will on my way to Tomhegan Wilderness Camps for my annual ice fishing trip with a group of teachers from my school district. This is the beginning of a vacation week or at least a long weekend for many teachers. If that is the case for you, I hope that you have a great vacation.

Regular posts will continue to appear while I'm on my trip as I have scheduled posts for the next four days.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. ScreenCastify - A Screencasting Option That Works on Chromebooks
2. Find Science Lesson Plans, Videos, and Animations on BioInteractive
3. Why Visuals Matter In Storytelling
4. Word Tamer - An Interactive Journey in Creative Writing
5. 26 Videos About the Science of the Winter Olympics
6. AirPano - Gorgeous 360 Degree Virtual Tours of the World
7. Fun With Bad Math In Pictures

Would you like to come learn with me in Maine this summer?
Click here to learn more about the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
Classmint offers a nice multimedia flashcard service.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
Fresno Pacific University offers a wide variety of technology courses for teachers.

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The Science of Nervousness and Stage Fright

We all experience nervousness in some aspect of our lives. For some people standing on stage makes them nervous and for others the thought of making small talk at a social event makes them nervous. What makes us nervous? And what happens to our bodies when we're nervous? The following video from ASAP Science answers those questions and more.

Applications for Education
After watching the ASAP Science video on nervousness, continue the lesson with this TED-Ed lesson on stage fright and how to deal with it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Use Google as a Countdown Timer

I've featured a bunch of countdown timers over the years. This one might be the simplest one yet. As The Next Web reported yesterday, you can now simply type into Google search "set timer" followed by an amount of time and a countdown timer is displayed. An alarm beeps when time is up. You can make the timer appear full screen without advertisements by clicking a little box icon to the right of the timer. You can see this feature in action in the video below.

Applications for Education
Whenever I have long blocks of instructional time I like to break it up with short breaks and or timed hands-on activities. One tool that can help to prevent the students and me from stretching the "break times" is to use a countdown timer like this one.