Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Gradebook, Art, and VR - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where this morning we're going to get a Christmas tree from a friend's tree farm. A few years ago this is not something that I would get excited about, but having kids has changed my perspective on so many things including Christmas trees. I hope that all of you also have something fun planned for the weekend.

This week I spent a couple of days speaking at the LACUE conference in New Orleans. That was my last conference for 2018. I have a bunch of conference presentations scheduled for the first half of 2019, but there are still a couple of openings in my schedule. If you'd like to have me speak at your conference, please click here or send me a note at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. A New Gradebook for Google Classroom!
2. Sign-up Now for Google Forms Locked Mode
3. Nearly 900 Free Art History Books - And an Art Lesson
4. 800+ Persuasive Maps - And a Tool for Making Your Own
5. Sites in VR - The VR App for Those Without VR Headsets
6. Dear Colleagues, Can We Please Stop Sharing These Things?
7. Need Blog Post Ideas? Edublogs Has You Covered

2019 Professional Development Webinars
On Sunday on PracticalEdTech.com I'll be announcing the schedule for four professional development webinars. If you're not subscribed to the newsletter, sign-up here to be notified when the 2019 PD course schedule is published.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.

Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students. 

How to Use Smart Replies in Gmail

Earlier this week I published a post about Gmail's Smart Reply feature. A few people emailed to ask if I had a video about how to use it. I didn't have one so last night I made one. In the following video you can see how to use Smart Reply in Gmail as well as how to disable it if you don't like it.



As I wrote earlier this week, I love the Smart Reply feature. It saves me time almost every time that I open my inbox.

Federal Land vs. State Land

As I write this What is Federal Land? is the #49 trending video on YouTube. It's nice to see an educational video trending that high on YouTube. The video was produced by CGP Grey who has produced some other fantastic educational videos over the years. Through What is Federal Land? viewers can learn how land in the United States became federal land, the agencies that manage that land, and why citizens of western states and citizens of eastern states may have different views about federal lands.


Applications for Education
It just so happens that the video addresses a topic that I used to teach in my civics course. That topic was the question of federal jurisdiction vs. state jurisdiction. I used to use a Peter Jennings documentary about the re-introduction of wolves in Idaho. In that documentary Jennings explained why ranchers in Idaho opposed the re-introduction of wolves but weren't able to prevent it because the wolves were re-introduced on federal lands within the state. What is Federal Land? like that old Peter Jennings documentary could be a great way to spark a classroom discussion about federal rights versus states' rights.

Friday, November 30, 2018

QR Codes, Music, and CoRubrics - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where I'm home after a great few days at the LACUE conference in New Orleans. November was a busy month as I hosted three professional development courses through Practical Ed Tech and was a featured presenter at two conferences. Thank you to everyone who participated in one of my courses or came to my conference presentations this month. I'm looking forward to meeting and working with more of you in 2019. If you'd like to have me come to your school in 2019, please send me a note at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com

As I do every month, I have compiled a list of the most popular posts of the last thirty days.

These were the the most popular posts in November:
1. CoRubrics - An Add-on to Facilitate Assessment Among Students
2. Change Coming to Your Google Account's Sign-in Screen
3. 5 Good Places to Find Public Domain Video Clips
4. How to Create a QR Code for a Voice Recording
5. Five Places to Find Free Music and Sounds for Multimedia Projects
6. Edji - A Great Tool for Literacy and Critical Thinking
7. Is Your Feedback Really Effective? - This Google Docs Add-on Will Tell You
8. Supercharge Student Self-Editing Skills with this Writing Checker for Google Docs
9. Build a Body - An Interactive Biology Lesson
10. Nearly 900 Free Art History Books - And an Art Lesson

Book Me for Your Conference
 I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.

Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students. 

Turn Text to Speech With the Voicepods Chrome Extension

A couple of months ago I discovered a new text to speech tool called Voicepods. When I first tried it and wrote about it Voicepods would only create voice recordings based on text that you wrote. This week Voicepods launched a free Chrome extension that will let you have the text of any webpage read aloud. There are other Chrome extensions that do the same. What makes Voicepods different is that while Voicepods reads the text of webpage it also makes a recording that you can save and playback whenever you want. Watch my demonstration video to see how the Voicepods Chrome extension works.


As you can see the video, Voicepods has another new feature. That feature is called "read along." Read Along highlights the words in a block of text while they are being read aloud.

Applications for Education
The new Voicepods Chrome extension could be a good one for students who need some help with pronunciation of words while reading a webpage. The extension has support for ten languages which could make it useful in ELL/ ESL classrooms.