Friday, February 16, 2018

How Computers Work

We use computers every day. But how many of us actually know how they work? Sure we know how to use the software, but I'm thinking about the hardware. How does that aspect of your computer work? Code.org has a new video series that addresses that question and more.

Through watching the videos in How Computers Work you can learn about memory, logic, circuits, binary, and the interaction between hardware and software. Get started by watching Bill Gates introduce the series.


Applications for Education
If you're planning to do any classroom projects with Raspberry Pi or Arduino, this series of videos could provide a nice primer for students. Similarly, the videos might help students complete the picture of how computers work after completing a hands-on Raspberry Pi or Arduino activity.

H/T to Open Culture

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Immersive Reader on iPads

When I was at the BETT Show last month I learned about the planned expansion of Microsoft's Learning Tools including Immersive Reader. Part of that expansion rolled out yesterday with the addition of Learning Tools for Word on iPads.



You and your students can now use Immersive Reader on their iPads in the Word app. Immersive Reader will allow your students to change the spacing of words, change column size, and change page colors. But most significant is the read aloud function of Immersive Reader for Word. If you're not familiar with how Immersive Reader works, take a look at the video here.

Don't Make This Blogging Mistake

I spent about six hours on Monday and Tuesday trying to fix a formatting problem on PracticalEdTech.com. It was an infuriating little problem that was driving me batty. I Googled solutions, I tinkered with the CSS, I uninstalled plug-ins that I thought were conflicting, and I was about to give up when I diagnosed the problem. It was a two second fix once I realized my mistake. Watch the following video for the explanation of the mistake that I made and how to avoid making the same mistake that I made.

Love Your Presidents Sale!

It's Valentine's Day today and President's Day is coming up so I'm having a sale on three Practical Ed Tech courses. I'm calling it a "love your presidents sale."

During this sale you can save 20% on my Teaching History With Technology and G Suite for Teachers courses. You can take 20% off when you purchase the Ed Tech Starter Kit. Just use the code "presidents" during registration to get the discount.

Use code "presidents" to save 20%

In Teaching History With Technology you will learn how to develop engaging and challenging learning activities through the use of tools like Google Earth and Maps, video production tools, and virtual reality. You will also learn how to help your students become better researchers.


G Suite for Teachers is an on-demand course that was designed for teachers who are new to using the powerful the tools within G Suite for Education. In this course you’ll learn everything you need to know to feel comfortable using all of the core G Suite tools with your students. This course is more than just a series of “how to” videos. You’ll be provided with concrete examples of activities that you can use and adapt to use in your classroom.


The Ed Tech Starter Kit provides you with four hours of professional development in the form of four on-demand webinar recordings. The webinars included are Search Strategies Students Need to Know, Fun With Formative Assessments, Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners, and How to Build a Classroom Blog. All webinars are accompanied by printable handouts for your reference.

5 Ways to Record Notes With OneNote for Android

Back in December I decided that I needed to spend some time giving some of Microsoft's products a good, honest try. I did this to be able to give a more balanced comparison to rival Google products. Some of the Microsoft products I don't like as much as Google's offerings, I still prefer Google Forms. And some of Microsoft's products I like better than the Google equivalent. For example, I now like OneNote more than Google Keep.

Much to the surprise of many, I have recently switched to using OneNote for most of my bookmarking, note writing, and to-do lists. Before I started using it I knew that OneNote on a laptop was more robust that Google Keep. But it wasn't until I started using the Android version of OneNote that I was sold on it. Here are five ways to take notes with OneNote for Android.

1. Bookmarking
I love being able to quickly choose to save either a link or a whole page. Sometimes I save whole pages because that helps me remember why I bookmarked a link in the first place.

2. Picture notes
I use a physical whiteboard in my office to make lists, write reminders to myself, and to brainstorm. Before I erase anything I take a picture that I crop and save in OneNote.

3. Voice Notes
I don't use this option that often, but I like knowing that I can add a recording as a stand-alone note or add it to another note including a to-do list.

4. Checklist
Whenever I'm starting to feel like there is too much on my plate, I make a list of tasks and attack them one-by-one.

5. Scribble Notes
Math is hard to type. OneNote's drawing tools are easy to use to handwrite anything including math problems.