Monday, January 14, 2019

A Huge Change Coming to Remind - No More Texts for Verizon Subscribers

Many of us woke up to an announcement from Remind that they are going to discontinue text message delivery for teachers, students, and parents who use Verizon Wireless services. As is explained here, Verizon has increased the fee it charges Remind to deliver text messages. That fee will cost Remind eleven times more than it currently does. Therefore, on January 28th Remind will stop delivering text messages to Verizon wireless subscribers.

To be clear, Remind is not shutting down or discontinuing text message delivery on other wireless carriers in the United States. This only affects those who use Verizon wireless services. But as Verizon is one of the two dominant wireless carriers in the U.S. there is a good chance that this could impact 50% or more of the people connected to your Remind account.

If you, your students, or your students' parents use Remind and Verizon wireless, the in-app push notifications will still work and will be your only option for mobile notifications other than email. You can get the Remind Android app here and the Remind iPhone app here. Information about enabling push notifications and email notifications is available here.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

More Free Webinars from the Council for Economic Education

The Council for Economic Education has recently published their  schedule of free professional development webinars that they are hosting in the first five months of 2019. The series begins next week on January 15th and runs weekly (mostly) through May 28th. All of the webinars are scheduled for 7pm Eastern Time. You can register for one webinar or all of the webinars.

There is a fairly wide range of topics scheduled for the professional development webinars offered by the CEE. Some of the topics that jumped out to me as I looked through the list include How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World: Economics and Geography, Daring to Dream: Using Picture Books to Teach Economics, and Lawn Care for Fun and Profit.

On the topic of economics, last fall I updated my popular Life on Minimum Wage simulation game. You can view it here as a Google Doc.

Upcoming Conference Appearances

Throughout the year I conduct many professional development workshops in schools and libraries. Usually, those events are not open for public registration. But I also speak at public conferences about once a month these days (I did a lot more before my children were born). Here's a list of the public events that you can find me at over the next few months. 
  • The BETT Show & TeachMeet BETT - London - January 23rd & 24th
  • SET-BC - Vancouver, BC - February 20th & 21st
  • MACUL - Detroit, MI - March 21st & 22nd
  • TLA - Austin, TX - April 15-18
Send me a note at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn how you can book me for a school-based workshop or conference presentation. 

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