Saturday, January 12, 2019

Doodles, Footnotes, and Literature - The Week in Review

Good morning from frigid Maine where it's -5f and the wind is howling! In other words, it's a perfect day to shovel snow off my roof. That's one of the few winter activities that I don't enjoy. One that I do enjoy is skiing. And with a couple of snow days this week I was able to get out for some skiing. Check out my new blog, Ed Tech Fitness for some pictures and videos of skiing including a picture of my daughter's first time on skis. That was my week outside of this blog. I hope that you had a great first full week of 2019 too.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Doodle 4 Google 2019
2. New Themes and Drag & Drop Organization for Google Classroom
3. How to Add Footnotes to Google Docs
4. A Pre-search Checklist for Students
5. Sun, Moon, and Planets 101
6. A Fun Literature Game
7. Customizing Fonts and Emojis in Google Docs

5 Ways to Stay Up to Date With My Work:


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 Remove the Background from Your Pictures

Thanks to the ever-clever Tony Vincent this week I learned about a neat tool called Remove.bg. Remove.bg is a free tool that will remove the background from your images. The catch is that it will only work with pictures that have people in them. I tried to use it with pictures of my dogs and it didn't work. Remove.bg is easy to use. To remove the background from your picture simply go to the Remove.bg website and upload your picture. Within a minute you will have a new image file that you can download. Watch my short video to see how it works.


Applications for Education
As I suggested in the video, Remove.bg could be a great tool for cutting the background from a selfie and then placing yourself in a new setting. For example, students could take one of their favorite selfies and place themselves in front of Mount Rushmore, the Pyramids, or any number other landmarks around the world. They could then use new pictures as the basis for writing a short story about those places.

Thanks again to Tony Vincent for the tip about Remove.bg. If you like this idea, check out Tony's upcoming online class called Classy Graphics

Friday, January 11, 2019

5 Alternatives to Google Keep for Task Management

Last weekend I received an email from a reader named Shayne who had experienced a problem with Google Keep notes randomly disappearing. Shayne's research indicated that other people had the same problem. So if you're someone who has run into glitches with Google Keep, here are some other task management tools that you might consider trying.

Wunderlist is a task management service that will synch across all of the devices that you use. Creating task lists in Wunderlist is an intuitive process. Just click the "create list" link or button and start typing out your list of things to do. You can create as many lists as you like within your account. You could create a list of things to do at home and things to do at school. Or you could create lists for the week, the month, and the year. You can set a due date for each task in all of your lists. All lists can be made collaborative by sharing them with other Wunderlist users.

As reviewed earlier this week, Taskade is a task management tool for individuals and teams who need tools for communicating with each other about their tasks. When you create a list in Taskade you can set a deadline for each item within the list. Files can be attached to each item in the list. And you can write comments on each item in the list. If you invite others to view a list, they can comment on list items too. Taskade users who are working in teams might enjoy the options to be notified whenever a team member updates a list. There is also an integrated text, voice, and video chat that you can use to communicate with team members about list items.

Randomly Remind Me is another task management tool that I reviewed earlier this week. Randomly Remind Me is only available on Android devices. It does not have any collaboration features. It's simply a good app for setting reminders for yourself to complete a list of tasks. My full review of Randomly Remind Me is available here.

Flask is a simple tool for making to-do lists and sharing them with others. To create a to-do list on Flask just go to the site and start writing your list. You don't have to create an account to use Flask. Unique URLs are assigned to each list that you create. To share your lists click the share button to send the link to your list to others. Watch my new video for an overview of how to use Flask to manage task lists.


OneNote has a task list function that you can use. While I enjoy using OneNote for bookmarks and sharing of notes, I don't find the task list function to be as user-friendly as some of the other tools on this list. That said, it could be the option for you if you're already a OneNote user and you don't want to add another app and corresponding account to your phone.

Bonus Option:
Use a paper notebook and pen. That's what I do every morning. The really important tasks then get copied into Google Keep on my phone.

How to Show a Portion of a Video in Google Slides

It's easy to insert a YouTube video into your Google Slides presentations. If YouTube is blocked in your school you can insert a video from Google Drive into your Google Slides instead. Both of those things can be done from the "insert" drop-down menu in Google Slides. But what is often overlooked is the option to specify which portion of a video you want to display in your slides. That can be done from the "format" menu that appears after you have inserted a video into a slide. Watch my new video to learn how to add a video to Google Slides and how to specify which portion of it should be displayed.

How to Display the Same Event on Multiple Google Calendars

On Thursday morning Amira asked me, "do you happen to know if you can copy an event on multiple calendars on Google Calendar?" My answer to her question was, "yes, you can." In the following video I demonstrate how to display the same event on multiple Google Calendars.


There are lots of reasons why you might need to copy the same event to multiple Google Calendars. In the example in the video I had one calendar for members of a school basketball team and one calendar for school-wide sporting events. Some, but not all, of the events for the team members calendar were also relevant for the school-wide sports events calendar. You might find yourself teaching multiple sections of a course and rather than re-writing events on each calendar, you could just copy to all of the calendars and modify as needed.

Learn more about Google Calendar in my on-demand webinar Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep