Monday, September 26, 2016

Identifying Arguments - A Debate Assignment for High School Students

The first debate between U.S. Presidential candidates is happening tonight at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. Lifehacker has a list of all of the ways that you can watch the debate even if you don't have a cable/ satellite television. The debate should provide high school students with a good opportunity to learn more about the positions of both of the major candidates. The debate will also provide students with the opportunity to practice identifying positions, arguments, and logical fallacies.

If you're thinking about giving students the assignment to watch the debate tonight, consider asking them to watch with the purpose of trying to identify the candidates' positions on questions raised, their arguments or justifications for their positions, and any logical fallacies that either candidate uses. Your Logical Fallacy Is offers a convenient list of logical fallacies. Wireless Philosophy offers short video lessons on logical fallacies.

Students who choose to watch the debate online can use or TurboNote to record time-stamped notes while watching the debate. With the TurboNote Chrome extension installed your students can take notes while watching any video. To take notes students just need to click the TurboNote extension icon in their browsers and start writing notes in the menu that appears on the right side of the screen. Any notes that studetns type are automatically time-stamped. Notes can be edited while the video is playing or while the video is stopped. All notes can be shared via social media and email. is a great tool to connect to your Google Drive account. With you can take notes on one side of your screen while watching a video on the other side. Your notes are automatically synchronized with the timestamps in the video. You can share your notes just like you share any other file within Google Drive. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how works.

Google Inches Closer to Making Google Play Available on More Chromebooks

Earlier this year Google announced a move to make Android apps and other element of the Google Play store available on Chromebooks. The first opportunity to do this was in the beta version of Chrome OS on a couple of specific Chromebook models (the Acer R11 and Asus Flip). Late last week Google removed the need to run the beta version of Chrome OS.

Owners of Acer R11 and Asus Flip Chromebooks can now access the Google Play Store without having to use the beta version of Chrome OS. You can now run the stable, widely distributed Chrome OS and access the Google Play Store on your Chromebook.

The list of Android apps that can be used on a Chromebook as steadily expanded. That list can be seen on this Chrome Web Store page (note, the page only displays the apps if you are viewing it on a Chromebook).

Applications for Education
As the number of Android apps that can run on Chromebooks expands, we'll find that more students can quickly transition from using their Chromebooks at school to using the same apps on their personal devices. This could make it easier for students to continue working on a project as they can quickly transition from one device to the next.

H/T to Lifehacker

Saturday, September 24, 2016

27 Ideas for Teaching With & About Topographic Maps

The USGS offers free topographic maps for most of the United States. The maps can be downloaded as PDFs through the USGS store. The maps can be used in the 27 suggested topographic maps lessons found in the USGS education site. All of the lessons are rated by grade level and time required for completing the activity. In the list of lesson ideas you will find suggestions for lessons about typical geography topics like coordinates, scale, and map projections as well as lesson suggestions for less common things like analysis of stereo aerial photographs and analysis of humans and hydrography.

The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it certainly feels like fall.
This week my daughter turned one month old. The time is flying. As you can see in the picture to the left, she's already helping me in my office. She already has her own email address, just like her big dog brothers do. You can email her and or the dogs, but it might be a while before they get back to you. In the meantime, you can always email me at richardbyrne (at) with your ed tech questions.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Five Good Digital Exit Ticket Tools
2. 7 Good Tools for Creating Timelines
3. How to Create Comic Strips in Google Slides
4. Try My Simpleshow for Creating Explanatory Videos
5. How to Create Simple Comics on Pixton
6. Draw and Tell: Create Animated Screencasts with Elementary Students
7. 5 Common Classroom Blog Mistakes

Getting Going With GAFE, Teaching History With Technology, and Blogs & Social Media for Teachers will start in October. Graduate credits are available. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Haiku Deck offers the best alternative to PowerPoint.  
Pixton provides a create way to create comics. 
SeeSaw is the best platform for creating digital portfolios with K-8 students. 
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.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

MIT + K12 = Science Videos for K-12 Students

MIT + K12 is an MIT project that features MIT students explaining math and science concepts for K-12 students. The website isn't a collection of Khan Academy-style videos, it's a place where you will find videos featuring real MIT students explaining concepts while showing them as hands-on demonstrations or experiments. Watch one of the featured videos below.

Applications for Education
MIT + K12's library is fairly limited. It consists of a few dozen videos, but the concept of the MIT + K12 is promising. If you have an idea for a video, you can suggest it on the site.