Friday, April 10, 2015

Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Heat Maps and Lesson Plans

The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization is a series of heat maps developed by Georgetown University Professor Adam Rothman and an undergraduate computer science student, Matthew Burdumy.

The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization depicts three patterns. Those patterns are the cumulative frequency of slave voyage port of departure, the cumulative frequency of principal port of slave purchase, and the cumulative frequency of principal port of slave sale. When you press the "animate" button on the maps you will see the increasing frequency of each pattern represented by expanding and darkening color blotches on the maps.

Applications for Education
The data used in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization came from the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Database. On the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Database you can find a series of lesson plans in which students have to draw conclusions from data about the Trans Atlantic slave trade. This first lesson plan in the series, The 1808 Slave Trade Abolition Deadline is a good match for the third map in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Visualization series. That map is a heat map of the cumulative frequency of principal port of slave sale.

H/T to Maps Mania.

More eEtiquette - 101 Guidelines for the Digital World

Yesterday, I shared a video featuring five email etiquette tips for students. A good follow-up to that video can be found on the website eEtiquette. eEtiquette is a simple site that features digital etiquette tips for all of us. The tips cover everything from email etiquette to social network etiquette to cell phone etiquette. Although the subtitle of the site says there are 101 guidelines there are actually more than 101 guidelines on the site. Some of the best etiquette guidelines are available on a free poster that you can download from eEtiquette

Applications for Education
After reviewing the digital etiquette tips on the site, students can test their knowledge in the free eEtiquette iOS game

One word of caution about eEtiquette. The comments section of the site doesn't appear to be closely moderated so you may run into some spam comments in it. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

FAQs About the 2015 Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp

Last month I announced that I will be hosting the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp again this year. The two day event will be held in Portland, Maine at the Holiday Inn By the Bay. The dates are July 13th and 14th, 2015. Discounted early registration is still available. In the last couple of weeks I have received quite a few questions about the summer camp. Those common questions and their answers are provided below.

1. Are CEUs/ certificates/ graduate credits available?
The past two years I've given certificates for 16 hours of professional development. Some schools accept these for re-certification/ continuing education points and some do not. If it helps you or your administrator decide if the hours will help you qualify for re-certification, a general outline of topics for the two days is available here. There is not a university arrangement for graduate credit at this time.

2. Can I register with a purchase order / check from my school?
Yes, you can. To register with a purchase order or a check from your school email me or have your business administrator email at richardbyrne (at) and I will register you on receipt of the purchase order.

3. My school is transitioning to Google Apps for Education, will this help me?
In short, yes. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp will include the use of Google tools in each day. We will share methods for incorporating Google tools into much of what we do. That said, this is not focused only on Google tools. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp 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.

4. I want to bring my principal, will she/he benefit from attending?
Absolutely! As I've heard my friend Scott McLeod say, "the leaders must get it." This is a great opportunity for your principal to gain a great understanding of what you and your colleagues want to do when school starts again in the fall. Equally importantly, they'll learn why you want to do it.

5. My school is going 1:1 with iPads, will this help me?
Yes. We will be looking at a bunch of apps and their applications for classrooms.

6. We would love to attend but the dates don't work for us, will you be offering this at another time?
At this time I don't have plans to offer the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp on other dates. I am more than happy to come to your school district to offer a workshop. Please click here for information about my on-location professional development services.

7. Will you be streaming this online?
No. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is designed to be hands-on and a livestream wouldn't capture much.

8. How do I get to Portland, Maine? What can I do once I'm there? How do I get around in Portland?
Portland has an international airport serviced by US Airways/ American, United, Delta, SouthWest, and Jet Blue. Boston/ Logan Airport is about two hours away. The hotel is about a ten minute cab ride from the airport. Uber is available in Portland. We’re done for the day you can walk to dozens of restaurants along the Old Port’s cobblestone streets, walk to the ocean, or even hop a boat and take a sunset cruise to see the islands in Casco Bay. Beaches are just a few minutes drive from the hotel.

9. Why isn't this event free?
There are two reasons why it isn't free. First, I incur a lot of expenses in organizing and hosting the event. Second, while all of the sites and apps we will use are free, my time for teaching about them isn't free.

10. I want to sign up, where do I do that?
Click here to register online. Contact me via email at richardbyrne (at) to register with a purchase order or school check.

If the answer to your question wasn't provided above, please feel free to contact me directly at richardbyrne (at)

An Interactive Guide to Photo Editing

Instagram will have you believe that anyone can be a photo editing expert by just applying a filter and cropping your image into a square. But my friend Abbie Morrison, a professional photographer, will remind me that being able to use Instagram and being a good photo editor are not the same things. A good photographer and photo editor will take advantage of more than just a few default filters in a photo editing tool. To help people understand photo editing terminology and functions, Polarr has published an interactive guide to photo editing terminology. The guide defines twenty-four terms and provides visual examples of each in practice.

Applications for Education
Polarr's guide to photo editing terminology could be a good resource for students who are in introductory photography classes. It's also a good resource for students who simply want to create better pictures to use in slide presentations and other multimedia projects.

H/T to Lifehacker.

5 Email Etiquette Tips for Students - Some for Teachers Too

One of my pet peeves is receiving an email that from someone that just launches into a request without stopping to address me by name. For years I have told students that I won't reply to emails if they don't write "Hi Mr. Byrne" or something similar to start their emails. Many of my colleagues have similar policies, I'm sure that many of you do too. Using your recipient's name is one of five good email etiquette tips for students featured in the video embedded below.

The video above was created by Yolanda McCarthy and her colleague Mrs. Watkins. As you can see they used PowToon to create the video.  I think it's a great example of creating a short video lesson with PowToon. PowToon allows you to drag and drop clipart, text, and animations together to create a video like the one you see above.

The video below from Entrepreneur provides some good tips and reminders that adults can use in the workplace. They are also tips that high school students should be learning as soon as possible.