Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode #15 Featuring Mike Tholfsen

This afternoon I had the opportunity to talk with Mike Tholfsen from Microsoft. Mike is a Product Manager on the Microsoft EDU team. In the podcast we talked about Immersive Reader, digital ink in OneNote, Microsoft Translator, and some of the ways that those tools can be used by teachers and students. You can find the podcast here on Anchor or on any major podcast platform including Apple Podcasts and Google Play.




You can listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

A New, Free Online Conference for Teachers

I've decided to try something new to end 2019. That new thing is organizing a free online conference for teachers. I'm calling it the Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference. It will be held over the course of three afternoons/ evenings in December (10-12). But I can't do it alone. So I'm looking for people who would like to share a creative classroom project.

Call for Proposals
If you have a creative project that you think other teachers would benefit from learning about in the course of a 30-45 webinar, please fill out the proposal form here. If you've never presented in a webinar format before, I'll give you some training in advance.

Presentation Ideas
A few examples of creative projects that would be great fits for this online conference include a digital storytelling project with third graders, a video production with seventh graders, and an app development project with tenth graders. But don’t overthink it, any project that ends in students producing something that they’re excited about could be a good fit for this conference.
  • Telling stories with digital comics.
  • Multimedia mapping.
  • Arduino or Raspberry Pi projects.
  • Interesting ways to use augmented reality.
  • Creative uses of virtual reality.
  • Student podcasts.
  • Hour of Code projects.
  • Something that I’m sure I haven’t thought about.
Register to Attend
  • It's Free! Register here and you’ll be registered for all live sessions (it will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live broadcasts).
    • December 10th at 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm ET.
    • December 11th at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm ET.
    • December 12th at 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm ET.



Interested in sponsoring the event? Send me an email at richard (at) byrne.media and let's talk. 

Fall Back! - Lessons on the End of Daylight Saving Time

Fall is full of great things like colorful leaves, fresh apple pies, and Halloween candy! But there is one thing that I don't like about fall in Maine. That is the lack of sunlight in the morning. As I write this at 6:37am it is still dark outside and I have to leave for school in 20 minutes. I'm a morning person so at this time of year I look forward to turning the clocks back. That will happen in about 12 days from now.

You may have some students who, like me, like turning the clocks back. More likely you have students who complain about turning the clocks back (except for the extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning). Either way, here are a few videos about Daylight Saving Time and timezones.

The following videos offer concise explanations of Daylight Saving Time.





Although it's not about daylight saving time, this TED-Ed lesson about the standardization of timezones is worth watching.

A Halloween Writing Contest for Middle School Students

A couple of weeks ago I shared a selection of Halloween-themed ELA articles available through ReadWorks. As Halloween gets closer, it's only nine days away, consider having your students participate in a Halloween writing contest that ReadWorks is hosting in collaboration with Quill.

How the Run Should End is a writing contest for middle school students. The contest asks students to write their own endings to the zombie cliffhanger series The Run. The Run is comprised of seven connected short stories. Like all stories on ReadWorks, students can read or listen to The Run. A list of key vocabulary words and reading comprehension questions are included with the stories.

To enter the contest students need to write an alternate ending for The Run. The ending should be less than 800 words. The winning entry will be published on ReadWorks. The contest is open to students in fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Submissions are due by November 1st.

Quill and ReadWorks have published some helpful reading and writing tips along with the complete contest details right here.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Kami - Annotate PDFs in Google Drive

Thanks to an email from a reader named John I was alerted to a video missing from an older blog post that I published about Kami. So that prompted me to publish this updated post about Kami. Kami is a service that enables users to annotate and comment on PDFs. You can do this directly on the Kami website or in Google Drive with Kami's Chrome extension. Kami also works with Word and Pages files.

Here's a couple of updated videos about how Kami works.



Kami's core service for drawing, commenting, and annotating PDFs is free for all users. Kami does offer the option to upgrade to a premium account. The premium version includes options for adding voice comments and video comments to your PDFs. The premium version also supports conversion and use of Word documents.