Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ten Workshops I Can Run For Your Next PD Day

Over the last ten years I've had the good fortune to run workshops and give presentations at hundreds of schools and conferences. I'm frequently asked what I cover in my workshops and keynotes. Some of the outlines and slides from those presentations have appeared in blog posts in the past. But my list of workshops and keynote topics is always evolving with the times and technologies available to schools. That said, here are the ten workshops that I'm currently offering to schools for summer and fall professional development days.

  • Teaching History With Technology
  • Getting Going With G Suite
  • AR, VR, and Mixed Reality in Education 
  • DIY App Creation  
  • Teaching Search Strategies Students Need to Know 
  • Fast & Fun Formative Assessments  
  • Making & Teaching With Video 
  • To Geography and Beyond With Google Earth & Maps 
  • Blending Technology Into Outdoor Learning 
  • Keeping Track With Google Keep, Calendar, and Classroom
All of these workshops can be modified according to grade level (elementary, middle, high), the technology available to teachers and students, and to time allotted for professional development. 

If you're interested in having me run a professional development workshop at your school, please get in touch with me at richardbyrne (at) or complete the short form below. 

Finally, if you'd like to work with me in a small group setting this summer, there are two tickets left to join me for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp in July.

How to Use Gmail's Confidential Mode

Yesterday, Google announced that beginning on June 25th confidential mode will be available by default in all G Suite domains. The confidential mode will allow you to send emails that your recipients cannot print, copy, download, or forward. Through the confidential mode you can even require that recipients have to use an SMS code to access the content of the messages that you send to them. In the following video I demonstrate how to use the confidential mode when sending an email and what a recipient sees when receiving an email in confidential mode.

Applications for Education
Confidential mode could be a good setting to use when you're sending messages to colleagues regarding a student's grades, accommodations, or other information that shouldn't be distributed to anyone that doesn't absolutely need to know it. I would use this mode when sending confidential emails to colleagues who have a habit of printing emails and forgetting to pick them up from networked printers.

Learn more about Gmail and all aspects of G Suite for Education in my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite

Quick Key - Quickly Score Paper-based Quizzes With Your Phone or Tablet

This morning I answered an email from a reader named Eric who was looking for an alternative to GradeCam. His school district is possibly not renewing their subscription to GradeCam, but based on his message (copied below), it sounds like he likes the technology of GradeCam.

Here's the message I received:

I teach an AP class and when it comes down to it my students will sit for a traditional bubble sheet test during the AP Exam. So, I would like to prepare them as much as possible for this. I do implement best practice and conduct other assessment types, but for my unit assessments I think it is important that they get use to this. Do you know have any other platform that will allow us to print off a bubble sheet that use technology to score it for free? We traditionally ask up to 20-25 multiple choice questions per test.

My suggestion was to try the Quick Key service offered by Validated Learning. Quick Key has free and paid plans. The free plan provides thirty question bubble sheets and a license to score up to one hundred quizzes per month. You can use the free Quick Key iOS or Android app to scan the bubble sheets and have the scores automatically added into a spreadsheet.

My Thoughts About Bubble Sheet Scoring Apps
I've written about Quick Key and similar apps in the past. Whenever I do that I receive comments (on Facebook or Twitter) or emails from folks who think that I shouldn't promote these types of apps because they promote giving multiple choice tests. The reality is that there are lots of good teachers who, like in the case of the teacher who emailed me today, have to administer multiple choice bubble sheet tests whether they want to or not. A tool like Quick Key can make the scoring process quicker which in turn gives teachers more time for other things like developing new and interesting teaching strategies to use in their classrooms.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Ethics of Making Copies of "View Only" Google Docs

Last week I published a blog post about how to make copies of Google Documents that are shared as "view only." In that same post I included a video on how to find public Google Documents. That post raised a good question from a reader who asked about the ethics of making copies documents that are shared as "view only." I shared my thoughts on that question in the following short video.

For those who can't watch the video or don't want to, the short version is that I think it's fine to make a copy provided that you don't then try to pass-off the work or a derivative of it as your own. Of course, if the person who published the document has disabled the option to make a copy of the document then copying and pasting the text would be unethical too.

How to Use the Google Dictionary Chrome Extension

The Google Dictionary Chrome extension is a handy little tool that lets you highlight a word on any webpage to quickly find a definition and hear a pronunciation of that word. Google Dictionary isn't the only Chrome extension that has this capability, but it is the only one that Google itself offers. In the following video I demonstrate how easy it is to install and use the Google Dictionary Chrome extension.

Using this extension is different than simply highlighting a word and conducting a Google search in a new tab. The difference is that the extension puts the word's definition on the same page that it appears on. It's a slightly faster process that is less prone to students getting distracted by looking at a search results page in a separate tab.

Applications for Education
The Google Dictionary Chrome extension could be a good tool for students to use when they come across words that are unfamiliar to them. The option to hear the word read aloud can help students recall its meaning and pronunciation more quickly the next time that they see it.

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