Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Anchor Adds New "Smart" Background Music to Podcasts

Anchor is a podcast recording and publishing tool that I have been writing about all year. I started writing about it because using it is the easiest way to record, edit, and publish podcasts. I've continued to write about it because the new features seem to be added every month. This month's new Anchor feature is a library of background music tracks.

Anchor's library of background music contains one hundred tracks that you can use for free in your podcast episodes. Anchor calls the tracks "smart background music" because the volume of the tracks automatically adjusts to the volume of spoken words in the podcasts.

Applications for Education
Hearing their voices on isolated vocal tracks can be a bit unsettling for some students. Many times they'll say, "I don't sound like that" or "I hate how my voice sounds." Adding background music can make the podcast sound a bit less isolated, dampen echoes, and generally make students feel a little more comfortable with the sounds of their voices in a podcast.

Watch the following video to learn how to get started making podcasts on Anchor.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Use Flippity to Make a Multimedia Timeline

Flippity is a site that I have recommended for years as a place to find templates that you can use in Google Sheets to make things like flashcards, quiz games, and random name pickers. Recently, I noticed that Flippity has added a template for making multimedia timelines.

Flippity's multimedia timeline template is rather easy to use. To use it, simply make a copy of it from Flippity's homepage and then fill in the information that you want to display on your timeline. You can include text, pictures, videos, and slideshows within each event on your timeline. To include pictures, videos, and slideshows you paste the URLs at which they're available online into a column in your Google Sheet. Publish your spreadsheet to the web after you have entered all of the information and media links that you want to display. Your published spreadsheet will then be used by Flippity to generate a multimedia timeline that you can view online. Take a look at this sample to see how a timeline made with Flippity looks.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a flexible and free tool that your students can use to create a multimedia timeline, Flippity's free timeline template is worth trying. Students can collaborate on making a timeline by sharing the Google Sheet in which they are entering dates, text, and media.

The Places Where I Will Be Presenting This Fall

I am fortunate to be invited to speak at many conferences and schools every year. In the last couple of years since my first daughter was born I have had to alter my travel schedule. I still speak at a couple of events every month and work with a school or two every month. The following is a list of the places where I will speaking this fall. Most of my spring schedule has filled in, but I still have some space available in my December and January calendars. Please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com if you are interested in having me speak at your school or conference. Click here for more information about my speaking and professional development services.

  • September 21st - ESC-20 Library Resource Round-up
  • October 5th - Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Teachers' Convention
  • October 21st & 22nd - CECA/CASL Annual Conference
  • November 7th - EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit 
  • November 27th-29th - LACUE Annual Conference
Please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com if you are interested in having me speak at your school or conference. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Three Sites That Help Students Understand the Size of the Universe

Living in a relatively rural area that doesn't have a lot of artificial light helps make it easy to spot constellations. Some nights when I take my dogs out before bedtime I look up at the constellations and I try to wrap my head around the size of the universe. Over the last few years I've shared some resources that can help viewers understand the scale of things in the universe, here they are.

How Far Is It To Mars? is a neat infographic that provides a pixel scale to show you how far it is from Earth to the Moon and the distance from Earth to Mars. The infographic is a motion infographic so you have to click on it to make it move. The distances are represented by pixels. After you get to the moon on the infographic click it again then sit back and watch as it takes a while to scroll to Mars.

3D Solar System Web is a neat resource available through the Chrome web store. 3D Solar System Web features a narrated tour of the solar system beginning at the sun and working out through all of the planets. The tour explains the classifications of each planet, how long it takes each planet to orbit the sun, and each planet's unique features.

Magnifying the Universe is an interactive infographic that allows you to see the size of atoms, animals, buildings, mountains, planets, stars, and galaxies in relation to other objects in the universe.

Bonus Video:
The Known Universe is a six minute video tour of the known universe that starts with Earth's biggest mountains in the Himalaya and zooms out from there. 

Join Me Tomorrow to Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep

Tomorrow evening at 7pm ET I'm hosting a Practical Ed Tech webinar titled Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep. This is the second time that I'm offering the webinar this year. I hosted it at the end of August and it was well attended. In the weeks since then many people asked if I would host it again. That's why I'm hosting it tomorrow night.

In this live webinar on September 18th at 7pm ET you will learn what’s new in Google Classroom, what’s changed, and how you can use Google Classroom to stay organized throughout the school year.

In this webinar you’ll also learn how to use Google Calendar and Google Keep to organize and maintain your schedule in the new school year.

Five Key Things You'll Learn In This Webinar:
1. How to streamline your workflow through Google Classroom.
2. How to organize and share resources with students.
3. How to keep track of goals (yours and your students’) through Google Keep and Calendar.
4. How to manage multiple course calendars without losing your mind.
5. How to streamline meetings and meeting scheduling.


This webinar will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live broadcast. Everyone who registers will be sent a copy of the recording of the live webinar.

About this post: The sale of my professional development, webinars, online courses, and my on-site professional development services provides the funding to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. The resources that I feature in my online courses and webinars are free. However, there is a significant cost associated with creating, hosting, and managing the courses and webinars which is why I am not able to provide them for free.