Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Nice Little Update to the Plickers iOS App

Plickers is my favorite student response tool for classrooms in which not every student has his or her own tablet or laptop. Plickers makes it easy to semi-anonymously gather feedback from students. Students simply hold up a card with a QR code to vote and you scan the cards with your phone or tablet. You can scan the whole room in one swoop and have results instantly appear on your screen.

I've used the Plickers iOS app on my iPad for years now even though it wasn't optimized for iPad. Last week Plickers updated to be optimized for iPad. This is not a major update, but it is convenient for teachers who use Plickers on their iPads.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp Discounts Available for Two More Weeks

It is a beautiful spring day here in Maine which has me thinking about summer. The highlight of my last three summers has been hosting the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. This summer I'm hosting two of these events. Discounted early registration and discounted early group registration is available until the end of the month. Contact me for information on group rates richardbyrne (at)

The Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp is on July 11-12. This two day event is for people who work in schools that have BYOD programs and 1:1 laptop programs (Mac or Windows), iPads, Android tablets, Windows tablets, or who have shared computers in a classroom or lab setting.

The Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp is on July 18-19. This two day workshop is based on my framework for using technology, specifically Chromebook-friendly tools, to help students discover new information, discuss their ideas, and demonstrate their knowledge. Additional attention will be given to Chromebook specific topics like Google Apps for Education, workflow, and data management.

16 hour professional development certificates will be given to participants at both events. Learn more about both events on the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp homepage.

The Week in Review - Transitions

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and the forecast calls for temperatures above 60f for the first time this year. One of the great things about Maine in the spring is that I can ski, bike, garden, and walk my dogs all in the same day without having to wear a heavy jacket. It's the end of the ski season here and we're going to close out the season with a tailgate party at the mountain. I hope that you too make time for something fun this weekend.

This week the newsletter welcomed the 10,000th subscriber! That newsletter is sent out only once per week on Sunday evening. It contains my favorite tip of the week and a summary of the most popular posts of the week from Free Technology for Teachers. Subscribers to the newsletter get discounts on my online courses and in-person workshops too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Short Overview of 12 Tools for Creating Flipped Classroom Lessons
2. 5 Ideas for Using Google Sites in Your Classroom
3. Three Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed Last Week
4. New Polling Feature Added to Google Classroom
5. Mozilla Releases an Interactive Web Literacy Map
6. How to Change Your Google Profile Image & Why You Should
7. Six Tools for Creating Videos on Chromebooks

Spring and Summer PD Opportunities With Me
Discounted early registration for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps is available through the end of the month. If coming to Maine isn't an option for you, take a look at the online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.

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. 
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.
FrontRow offers adaptive online ELA and Math practice activities.  
Teach n Go is a comprehensive platform for teaching online courses.
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.

Three Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Week

This week Google rolled-out updates to Google Calendar, Google Drive for Mac & PC, and Google Drive for Android & iOS.

The most exciting of the three updates this week is the addition of a goal setting and tracking feature in Google Calendar for Android and iOS. Earlier this week I wrote an extensive overview of this feature. The highlight of the goals feature in Google Calendar is that Calendar will help you identify times to work on your goals.

The Google Drive desktop app for Mac & PC was updated this week to allow you to sync sub-folders instead of just top-level folders. You can now choose which sub-folders to sync so that you don't have to sync the entire contents of a folder if you don't need everything else that is within its parent folder.

The Google Drive Android app had a couple of updates this week. First, now when you upload a file from your phone or tablet it will appear in your chosen folder instead of just a generic "uploads" folder. The second update added support for inserting Google Drive files into Whatsapp and or Yahoo Mail on your Android phone or iPhone.

Expedition Earth Day - An Exploration of Coral Reefs

Next Friday is Earth Day 2016. Discovery Education has a great Earth Day resource for you to use with your elementary and middle school students. Expedition Earth Day is a free set of resources for teaching students about the world's coral reefs. A 30 minute is the central aspect around which the lessons are designed.

Through Expedition Earth Day students can learn about the biodiversity of oceans, ocean biodiversity preservation efforts, and threats to fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Students will also learn about the differences between coral reefs in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Register on Discovery's Eventbrite page to receive all of the Expedition Earth Day resources.

Disclosure: Discovery Education is an advertiser on this blog.