Sunday, September 17, 2017

Borrow, Read, and Listen - The Open Library

The Open Library is a part of the Internet Archive. The Open Library is a collection of more than one million free ebook titles. The collection is cataloged by a community of volunteer online librarians. The ebooks in the Open Library can be read online, downloaded to your computer, read on Kindle and other ereader devices, and embedded into other sites. Some of the ebooks, like Treasure Island, can also be listened to through the Open Library.



Applications for Education
Much like Google Books, the Open Library can be a great place to find free copies of classic literature that you want to use in your classroom. The Open Library could also be a good place for students to find books that they want to read on their own. The audio option, while very electronic sounding, could be helpful if you cannot locate any other audio copies of the book you desire.

Winning Blogging Strategies for Teachers

This is the time of year that many teachers start a new blog to communicate with students and their parents. Unfortunately, many of those blogs will fall to wayside before the end of the semester. This coming Tuesday I will host a webinar that can help you not only avoid having your blog fall to the wayside, you can make your blog thrive.

Based on ten years of blogging professionally and personally, Winning Blog Strategies for Teachers is an interactive webinar in which we will look at the reasons why so many blogs don’t last long and what you can do to make yours work better than ever. Whether blogging is a classroom activity that you do with students or a personal activity that you’re doing to enhance your professional life, you’ll learn strategies to make your blog a winner.

In this webinar you will learn:
1. How to choose the best blog platform for you.
2. How to avoid running out of blog post topics.
3. The biggest mistakes people make when starting a blog.
4. Easy blogging activities you can do with your students.
5. Techniques to encourage people to interact with you and your blog.

This webinar will be held live at 4pm EST on Tuesday, September 19th. The cost for the webinar is $20. Registration includes access to the live webinar, live Q&A, handouts, and unlimited access to the recording of the webinar.


The webinar will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live session.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kahoot, Fractions, Copyright - The Week in Review

Good afternoon from Maine where it is a gorgeous late summer day. I started the day with a fun hike with my daughter and dogs. These days my hikes are little slower than they used to be, a 30lb child on your back will do that, but they are sweeter because I enjoy them with my daughter.

This week was a stressful week here at the Byrne Instructional Media, LLC office (AKA a room in my barn). It was stressful because I spent nearly 20 hours trying to get one website to stop republishing all of my blog posts without permission. And as soon as I thought that issue was resolved, another website doing the same thing popped-up. Dealing with these issues costs me lots of time that could be used for better things like producing better and new content for this blog, for teaching, or for finally finishing that book I've been working on. Furthermore, it's just discouraging to see so many people in education who don't understand copyright basics. If you know someone who needs a refresher, please have him or her read this.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Kahoot Launches a New Mobile App - Play Games in Classroom or at Home
2. Constitution Day Virtual Field Trip to the U.S. Senate
3. Fraction Math - A Neat App for Elementary School Math Lessons
4. How to Create a QR Code for a Google Form
5. Citations for Beginners
6. Six Ways to Create Screencasts on Chromebooks
7. ClassClimate - Know How Your Students Feel During the Day

My calendar for 2017 is almost full and 2018 is starting to fill in. I'd love to add your school to my schedule. Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com and let's talk about how we can work together.

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Copyright Lessons for Students and Teachers

As many of you know, I spent much of my week dealing with a copyright infringement issue. As a result of that I have been doing more reading about DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) than ever before. One piece that I read was this article from attorney Sarah F. Hawkins. The article didn't have much that was new to me, but I am bringing it up because one of the comments posted under the article points to the larger problem of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of copyright as it pertains to the Internet.

Here's the beginning of the comment:
I run my own travel consulting page on a large social media platform, I recently used a google image of a hotel. This morning I received an invoice for $3500 because I used this image, I did not know about copyright infringements as it was just an image on google.

That comment reflects the way that a lot of people misinterpret Google Image search. Unless you use the advanced search filter to find only Creative Commons licensed images, most of what you find through Google Images is copyrighted. Google doesn't host the images or license the images. Google Images is simply a search engine. Giving an image credit to Google Images is not citing the source and even if Google was the source, unless it is labeled as Creative Commons or Public Domain, you can't use the image without permission. The exception being in the case of fair use. But even then just because you're using it for an educational setting doesn't mean it automatically qualifies your use as fair use. I explained this scenario in more detail in this post in 2014.

On a similar note to the Google Images scenario, citing Facebook as the source of an image does not mean that you can use the image without permission. I explained this in more detail in this post.


Resources for teaching Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use.

The following two videos from Common Craft provide excellent overviews of these topics.




For a more in-depth look at copyright for educators, watch Dr. Wesley Fryer's Slideshare on the topic. Eight years after he released it, it's still one of the best resources on the topic.




Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is a resource for kids produced by the Library of Congress. Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is intended to help elementary school students understand the purposes and functions of copyright. There are four sections to Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright. The first section, Copyright Exposed, features a short cartoon that explains how copyright protects artists. Files on Record, the second section, chronicles important historical developments in copyright law. The third section, Reading the Fine Print, answers common questions and addresses common myths about copyright laws. The last section, Steps to Copyright, instructs students on registering their own works for copyright protection.

Disclosure: I have an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft.

A Fun Geography Game for All

Earlier this week Maps Mania published a list of ten geography games that are based on Google Street View imagery. Looking through the list reminded me of a geography game that is fun although it is not based on Street View imagery. That game is GameOn World.

GameOn World is a multiplayer geography game developed by a high school teacher and his student in Portland, Maine. The game is similar in structure to that of Kahoot. In GameOn World the teacher selects a game category (cities, places, and timeline are three of the nine categories) and starts the game. The students join the game by going to GameOn.World and entering a game pin. In the location and timeline games, students answer the questions by moving a placemark on a map or selecting a date on a timeline. In some of the other games students answer by choosing a number on a sliding scale.