Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Month in Review - #Masonshome

Good evening from Maine where the sun is setting on the month of March. The highlight of the month for me was bringing home a new family member. Three weeks ago I adopted Mason from Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. He's a nine year old German Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix and he is an awesome marshmallow of a dog.

In other news, this month the first registrations for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps came in. One month is left to grab your seat at the discounted rate. As you think about your summer PD plans, please take a look at the in-person and online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.

Here are the most popular posts of March, 2016:
1. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
2. Three Helpful Google Docs Updates Released This Week
3. Travel the Iditarod Race in Google Street View
4. My Favorite Internet Search Tips for Teachers & Students
5. More Than 40 Alternatives to YouTube
6. 3 Tips for Using YouTube Videos In Your Classroom
7. 5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently
8. Six Tools for Creating Videos on Chromebooks
9. Five Tools for Sharing Portions of Videos
10. Three Tools Students Can Use to Add Annotations to Videos

Professional Development Opportunities!
There will be two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps this year. There will be one tailored to schools that have 1:1 Chromebook programs and one for everyone else. Both Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps will be held in July. You can learn more about them here. Discounted early registration is available now. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp has sold out every year for the last three years.

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn 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.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Cloudschool is a great online LMS and course creation tool. 
Google Forms in the Classroom is a good book on all things Google Forms. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.

OpenDNS Family Shield - A Good Option for Home Network Monitoring

Family Shield, powered by OpenDNS, is a service that can be used to filter the content accessed by anyone on your home network. Family Shield is designed to filter adult websites, proxy and anonymizer websites, and phishing websites. Step-by-step directions are provided for setting-up Family Shield on your home computer(s) and router(s).

Applications for Education
While I generally prefer to emphasize education about the Internet over blocking access to the Internet  I also understand that a lot of parents would still prefer to have a way to restrict the content their children can access from home. If you're asked by a parent for advice on Internet filtering at home, consider referring that person to Family Shield.

Three Things to Consider Before Flipping Your Classroom

Flipping your classroom with video lessons can be a good thing in the right situation. Before you decide to completely flip your classroom there are a few things that you should consider.

1. Do the majority of your students complete their homework assignments on time on a consistent basis? If not, there may be a larger issue of student engagement and motivation to investigate. Furthermore, if you flip the classroom and students come to class having not watched the video lessons, how do you spend your classroom time the next day? Do you let students watch the videos in class? Do you reteach the lesson that they should have watched for homework?

2. Do all of your students have access to the web at home? If not, how are you going to address that? Will you distribute copies of your video files to students before they leave your classroom? Do you all of your students have computers or tablets to use at home? If the answer is "no" to one or all of these questions, are you setting up an inequitable learning environment?

3. Do you have time to create quality videos? If not, will you create some and then source the rest of from the web?

For the record, I'm not against flipping the classroom in the right situation. I just don't want to rush into a model that might not be the best solution for all situations.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ten Things You Can Learn at the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp

Chromebooks are quickly becoming the preferred choice of computer for 1:1 programs in schools. Chromebooks are reliable, inexpensive, and versatile tools. That said, teaching with Chromebooks may require you to learn some new tricks to make the experience great for you and your students. At the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp on July 18th and 19th we will take an in-depth look at how to effectively integrate Chromebooks into your practice.

Ten things you can learn at the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp:
1. How to use Chromebooks effectively even when the wi-fi fails.
2. Efficient workflow processes on Chromebooks.
3. Everything you could ever want to know about Google Apps for Education.
4. Fun and clever ways to teach search skills.
5. Create and manage digital portfolios.
6. Develop engaging video and audio creation projects.
7. Get parents involved with your students' projects in a meaningful way.
8. Digital storytelling with Google Maps.
9. Fun ways to conduct assessment exercises.
10. Anything you've ever wondered about blogging with students.

Register for the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp by April 30th and you can save $50 off standard registration. Subscribers to the PracticalEdTech.com newsletter can save an additional $25 by entering the code "subscriber" at checkout.

Have a colleague or two who wants to join you? Special rates are available for two or more people registering from the same school district. Email me richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com for details.

A Mapped & Searchable Archive of American Newspapers

The U.S. News Map is a great resource produced by Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. The U.S. New Map is an archive of American newspapers printed between 1836 and 1925. You can search the archive by entering a keyword or phrase. The results of your search will be displayed on an interactive map. Click on any of the markers on the map and you'll be shown a list of newspaper articles related to your search term. Click on a listed article to read it on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website.

Applications for Education
The U.S. News Map has a neat playback feature that you can use to see the frequency with which a term or topic appeared in newspapers between 1836 and 1925. That playback feature could be a nice way to show students developments in technology. For example, search the term "telephone" and you'll see peaks and valleys in the frequency with which articles were written about telephones.

H/T to Google Maps Mania and Larry Ferlazzo