Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Google Sites as Digital Portfolios

The computer science courses that I'm teaching this year are almost entirely project-based courses. I'm having them do two things to keep track of their progress throughout their projects. One of those things is use Google Sheets to keep track of materials and keep track of their trials. The other thing that they're doing is publishing information about their projects on individual Google Sites.

My students are maintaining individual Google Sites on which they write about and post pictures about their projects. Some students are including unedited video clips as well. With my freshmen students I had them all organize their sites in the same format with pages for every month of the school year. I'm letting my sophomores (most of them), juniors, and seniors organize their sites a little more loosely because they have bigger, but less frequent projects than my freshmen.

Benefits of Digital Portfolios
The benefit of having my students create portfolios is that not only can I quickly see what they're working on, they have a resource they can refer to when they get stumped or need to refresh after a few days off like we just had for Thanksgiving break.

Why Google Sites?
The reason I chose Google Sites for my students' portfolios is that because they all use G Suite for Education they can quickly insert their Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides into their Sites as needed.

How to Make a Website With Google Sites
Watch the video below to learn how to make a website with Google Sites.



Convert Old Google Sites to New
If you still have a Google Site that is in the old "classic" format, you can update it to the new style. Watch the following video to learn how to do that.

Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference Schedule

The Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference is next week. It is a free event that anyone can attend online. Register here or through the form below and you'll be enrolled in all of these free webinar presentations. Here's the line-up of presentations.


  • Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps
    • December 10 at 3pm ET – Richard Byrne
      Not that long ago creating a mobile app required extensive coding skills and knowledge of programming. Today, there are many tools that make it possible for educators and students to develop their own functioning apps without any prior programming experience. Come to this presentation to learn how you and your students can develop  simple apps to use on your phones or tablets.


  • 3D Printing Solutions to World Issues
    • December 10 at 4pm ET – Jeremy Rinkel
      With an emphasis and focus on the UN Sustainability Goals, students were challenged to create prototypes or products that would be beneficial in assisting communities and countries in reaching the UN Sustainability Goals. Our first year of 3D printing has brought challenges, but we are learning a lot through problem solving and design. I’ll discuss our journey into 3D printing, the excitement of students in learning about “real-world” challenges and how 3D printing could play a role in solving these issues. Take ideas from our experience, make them your own and help save our world one 3D print at a time.


  • Coding + Drones= 100% Engagement
    • December 11 at 4pm ET – Karin Knapik-Cloutier
      Create multidisciplinary projects that teach students coding as well as the 4 C’s of critical-thinking,creativity, collaboration and communication. Using TELLO drones and free apps that run on IOS, Android and as a Chrome extension you can teach coding to students in elementary through high school.


  • Simple Wearable Electronics
    • December 11 at 8pm ET – Denise Wright
      This presentation will show you how to create some simple wearable electronics. Wearable electronics can include pedometers, smartwatches, or even a jean jacket that can play music. Everyday people use some sort of wearable electronics. Check out this jacket made with ada flora. Microbits can even be used to create watches.


  • Taking Shape: Drawing Your Own Icons
    • December 12 at 2pm ET – Tony Vincent
      Icons are an extremely effective form of communication. They are simple pictures that are immediately recognizable and universally understood. Icons tend to be simple drawings and are typically one color, making them easy to design if you break them down into shapes. Sure, there are millions of icons you can download, but there are advantages to making them yourself. When you draw your own, you can fill it with any color. And, you can customize your icon—you can change it to exactly meet your needs. Plus, it feels good to be creative with your visuals!

      In this webinar, Tony Vincent will demonstrate techniques for constructing icons by combining shapes in Google Drawings. The techniques work in any graphic design app. After learning to make your own icons, see how you can put them to work. Get ideas for using icons in your newsletters, flyers, slide shows, bulletin boards, videos, 3D prints, and documents. Teachers will be excited to put students on the path to drawing their own icons as well—kids love the challenge of drawing with shapes and enjoy using their own creations in their projects.


  • Using Makey Makey to Create Assistive Technology
    • December 12 at 3pm ET – Art Spencer
      For the past 3 years I've had 4th, 5th, and 8th grade students design and build assistive technology devices using Makey Makey boards for students with special needs. My students learn the design process, then work in groups to create buttons using cardboard, aluminum foil, and conductive clay. Special needs students then have success using a computer despite any physical limitations. This session will give an overview of that project and give tips on how do so something similar in your school setting.


  • Using Video as a Reflective, Collaborative, and Data Collecting tool
    • December 12 at 4pm ET – Brian Heyward
      Video can be used to reflect on process/progress, collect data for informal/formal research, and to collaborate synchronously or asynchronously on the same tasks. Video tools and other considerations will also be presented.



Creativity Conference Registration

Register once to attend all sessions for free!
    By completing this form you'll be registered for all sessions. You will receive emails from GoToWebinar and Byrne.Media informing you of the session start times.
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    Monday, December 2, 2019

    Watch the Evolution of Campaign Commercials on The Living Room Candidate

    I did a lot of driving and sitting in traffic in snowy conditions today  so I had a lot of time to listen to podcasts. The first that I listened to was Joe Rogan's podcast with Tulsi Gabbard and Jocko Willink. The second was the Meat Eater Podcast with Steve Rinella. Both podcasts veered into talking about how political campaigns have changed over time. Rinella's podcast featured interesting stories about Davy Crockett as a politician. Listening to those podcasts reminded me of The Living Room Candidate website.

    The Living Room Candidate is part of a larger project called the Museum of the Moving Image. Visitors to The Living Room Candidate can view the commercials from each campaign from both parties. A written transcript is provided with each commercial. Provided along with each video is an overview of the political landscape of at the time of the campaigns. Visitors to the website can search for commercials by election year, type of commercial, or by campaign issue.

    The Living Room Candidate is a site that I've used since 2008. Unfortunately, while the collection of videos has been updated, the site still relies on Flash. Fortunately, most of the videos are available on two YouTube channels. The playlist from the Museum of the Moving Image contains eleven videos. There's also this playlist put together by Karen Zeller.


    Applications for Education
    The Living Room Candidate has a great tool for students called The Living Room Candidate Ad Maker. The Ad Maker can be used by students to remix old advertisements, sound bites, and images to create new campaign commercials. The teachers page on The Living Room Candidate offers nine lesson plans for teaching about the historical context of campaigns, analyzing campaign ads, and creating new campaign ads.

    Multi.link - A Convenient Way to Share All Your Profiles

    Multi.link is a new service that makes it easy to share all of your social media profiles, websites you own, videos you produce, and pictures on one simple page. To use Multi.link just head to the site, sign-up in a minute, then start adding links. You can link to just about anything that you want to. You can drag and drop to rearrange the order that things appear on your page. When you publish your page it will be available at multi.link/"yourusername." For example, my page is multi.link/richard

    Applications for Education
    Multi.link could be used as a quick and easy way to construct a simple digital portfolio. Students can add links to examples of their work or even include videos that they've made about their projects. Of course, Multi.link could also be an easy way to put a resume online outside of the usual channels link LinkedIn.

    Sunday, December 1, 2019

    The Ten Most Popular Posts Last Month

    We put up our Christmas tree this weekend (my toddlers "helped" decorate it). Putting up the tree is always a sign that December is here. November has come and gone. As I do at the end of every month I've put together a list of the ten most read posts of the last thirty days.

    These were the most popular posts in November:
    1. How to Add Audio to Google Slides - Updated
    2. My Updated Five Favorite Google Slides Add-ons
    3. 5 Google Product Updates for Teachers to Note This Weekend
    4. The Great Thanksgiving Listen is Back!
    5. Get Instant Feedback on Your Presentations With Presenter Coach
    6. Plagiarism Explained by Common Craft - Updated
    7. How to Create a Great Presentation With Canva
    8. More Than 30,000 Historical Maps for Student Projects
    9. Fling the Teacher! - A Fun Review Game from Classtools
    10. It's Official! Google Slides Will Have Native Audio Support by End of November

    Sale!
    Through Tuesday you can get eight of my Practical Ed Tech webinars in one bundle at more than 50% off. Or save 20% on any individual webinar.

    I'll come to your school in 2020! 
    2020 will be my tenth year of speaking at schools and conferences. Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together.

    Thank You for Your Support!
    Other Places to Follow My Work
    Besides FreeTech4Teachers.com and the daily email digest, there are other ways to keep up with what I'm publishing. 
    • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from FreeTech4Teachers.com.
    • My YouTube Channel - More than 16,000 are subscribed to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 300 Google tools tutorials. 
    • The Practical Ed Tech Podcast is where I answer questions from readers, share news and notes, and occasionally talk to interesting people in education. 
    • Facebook - The FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has nearly 450,000 followers. 
    • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last twelve years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
    • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.