Saturday, January 5, 2019

Public Domain, Goals, and Fitness - The Week in Review

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in chilly, snowy Maine. I hope that everyone had a great first week of 2019. What's your New Year's resolution? One of mine is to improve my fitness. To that end I created a new blog to build some public accountability for my resolution. If you have a similar New Year's resolution, feel free to join into this Flipgrid that I created for educators who want help each other with their fitness goals. Speaking of goals, one of this week's most popular posts was about using Google Keep to help you reach your goals.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How Google Keep Can Help You Reach Your Goals
2. Have Students Make Lists Before Starting Web Search
3. A Good Place to Find Movies in the Public Domain
4. Best of 2018 - Create Jeopardy Games in Google Slides
5. It's Public Domain Day!
6. Three Chrome Extensions That Help Students Stay on Task
7. Best of 2018 - The Periodic Table in Pictures and Words

Three Online PD Courses Starting Next Week!
I'm offering three professional development courses to start 2019. Discounted early registration is now open for:
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. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

What's Inside of Buckingham Palace and the White House?

Yesterday, while looking for something completely unrelated I stumbled upon two excellent videos produced by Jared Owen. The videos, What's Inside of Buckingham Palace? and What's Inside the White House? use CGI models of both buildings to take viewers inside each building.



As you can see in the videos above, viewers are taken beyond what one would see in cinematic productions like The Crown and The West Wing. I found it interesting to hear about what some of the lesser-known rooms are used for each building.

Want to include these videos in an online lesson? Take a look at one of these tools for making lessons based on existing videos.

Three Types of Web Search - And a Strategy for Conquering the Difficult One

In A Taxonomy of Web Search Andrei Broder, a noted scholar in the field of web search, classified web search into three categories. Those being navigational, informational, and transactional.

When Broder was writing in 2002 navigational referred to a quest to immediately reach a particular website. Today, thanks to services like Google Maps, navigational search could also refer to a search for a specific physical location.

Transactional search is a search that is intended to end with the searcher taking an action like downloading a specific file, purchasing a specific product, or booking a hotel room. Search engines like Google, Bing, and increasingly, Alexa, are optimized to help you make a transactional search as quickly as possible. Transactional queries are the easiest to monetize as evidenced by the $40.6 billion spent on search advertising in 2017.

An informational search is one conducted for the purpose of finding information that one thinks is present somewhere on the Web. Informational searches are the most difficult and time-consuming of the three types of searches. It’s informational searches that will lead some students to declare, “Google has nothing about this!”

What Makes Informational Searches Difficult?
Informational searches are difficult for students because unlike a navigational or transactional search, there often isn’t a clear end point or a definitive answer. The exception to that pattern being queries like “when was Jimmy Carter President of the United States?”

Search becomes a thought process as much as a technical process when students venture into conducting informational searches. To conduct a good informational search students have to set aside the expectation that they will find what they are looking for in the first search results page that they see. In fact, what they’re looking for might not appear on the first ten search results pages to appear. But those first search results pages and the web pages within those results can provide them with information that is valuable in refining their searches.

Formulating an Informational Search Strategy
The first step in helping students formulate an informational search strategy is to have them specifically identify what it is that they want to know and why they want to know it (no, “because Mr. Byrne said I had to write about it” is not an acceptable answer). Much like forming a thesis statement, forming a good search query should take some thought and revision. And like a thesis, there may be multiple revisions and changes in direction until the process is completed.

When a student says he is searching for “more information about the Civil War” ask him to identify what about the Civil War he wants to know more about. If replies with, “anything” then ask him to specifically identify what he already knows and to conduct a search for more information about one of those things he has specifically identified. This is where the list strategy becomes a valuable part of the search process.

This was an excerpt from a book that I have been working on for the last fifteen months. I'm getting close to finishing it.

How to and Why You Should Create Google Alerts

Yesterday morning someone on Twitter asked me about creating Google Alerts. The question came in response to my post about copyright and plagiarism. In one of the videos in that post I mentioned using Google Alerts to find places where my work turns up without my permission.

What Are Google Alerts?
Google Alerts is a free Google product that notifies you when a new mention of term or phrase that you specify appears on the web. You can set many alerts. For example, I have about a dozen alerts set for various iterations of Free Technology for Teachers.

Why You Should Create Google Alerts
I have Google Alerts set for two reasons. First, I use alerts to find splogs (spam blogs) that republish my work without permission. Second, I use Google Alerts to see where my name pops-up around the web. Setting Google Alerts for your name and or your name plus words that might be associated with you is a good way to monitor your digital footprint and digital reputation.

How to Create Google Alerts
In the following video I demonstrate how to create Google Alerts.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Copyright and Plagiarism in Blogging - What Can Be Done?

My plan for today didn't include writing about or making a video about copyright and plagiarism. However, this morning I found five blatant examples of websites republishing my entire blog posts without permission. The most annoying offender of all was the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University! So in a moment of frustration, I made this short video.


So what can I or anyone who finds his or her work republished without permission do about it? I outlined my process for doing that in the following videos that I made last year.


If you cannot see the videos, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

I addressed a lot of FAQs about copyright and blogging in the following video.



A webinar about copyright.
Beth Holland and I hosted a free webinar in which we talked about copyright concerns that frequently appear in schools. As you can see the video of the webinar (embedded below) it was a casual conversation during which we shared some stories, fielded some questions, and shed some light on common misconceptions about copyright.