Thursday, December 19, 2019

How to Embed Books Into Your Blog

Google Books is one of my favorite tools for research. It's also a great place to find all kinds of free books that you can read online and or download to read offline. Google Books also provides tools for embedding free books into your blog posts and webpages. These tools are available in both the classic version of Google Books and the new version of Google Books. In the following video I demonstrate how to find free books on Google Books and how to embed those free books into your blog posts or any other place that accepts iframes.


How to Remove Backgrounds from Images With Just One Click

In the past I've shown you how to remove the background from an image using Remove.bg and Photo Scissors. Both of those tools are great, but they only do one thing and that is remove backgrounds. Canva now has a tool that lets you remove the background from an image and then use that image in any of the thousands of graphic design templates that they offer.

In Canva there is now an effects menu that you can utilize whenever you click on an image in the Canva design editor. The effects menu includes a background remover. Just click the option to remove the background and Canva does the rest for you. The background removal tool works with pictures of people, animals, and inanimate objects.

After the background has been removed from your image by Canva's automatic removal tool, you can then download the new image with a transparent background so that you can insert it into any design that like in Canva's huge gallery of design templates.

Watch my new video to learn how you can use Canva's image background removal tool and use your new images in Canva's design tool.


Applications for Education
Canva's new background removal tool could be a great one for students to use to remove the background from images of themselves and then use the new image on a background image of a famous landmark like Mount Rushmore or Buckingham Palace. I might have students create a whole series of images like that by using the presentation template in Canva. Students could write short blurbs about each landmark on each of the slides. Then when the set of slides is complete, students can use Canva's tool for quickly turning the slides into a video.

Spend July in Washington DC as a C-SPAN Fellow

Every year C-SPAN hosts an educators' conference and hosts a summer fellowship program. A friend of mine was selected for the conference a couple of years ago and he said it was an amazing experience! Both the fellowship program and the conference are held at C-SPAN's headquarters in Washington D.C.

C-SPAN's Summer Fellowship program is now open for applications. Those who are accepted into the program will spend four weeks in July in Washington D.C. working with C-SPAN's education team. Participants receive a $7,000 stipend for their participation in the program. More details about the summer fellowship program are available here. Applications are due by March 13, 2020.

C-SPAN's Summer Educators' Conference is held July 27th and 28th for middle school teachers and July 30th and 31st for high school teachers. Those who are accepted to participate will have travel and meal expenses paid for by C-SPAN. Applications for the summer conferences will be available in January. Bookmark this page and check it in January to get the application.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

How to Create a Video With Canva

In last week's episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast I mentioned that Canva has planned lots of new features. One of those new features is the option to turn your graphic designs into videos. For example, you can take a set of slides design in Canva and turn them into a video with just one click. In the following video I demonstrate how that works.


Canva also recently announced that teachers can get Canva Pro for free with their school-issued email accounts. At the end of the video I explain how to get Canva Pro for free for you and your students.

Dozens of Outline Maps You Can Print for Free

Even with tools like Google Earth and Google Map there is still a need for students to learn some basics of where things are in the world lest they think that Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon are near each other. To that end, a classic geography activity has kids labeling blank outline maps. You could make these maps yourself by using the Google Slides method that Tony Vincent demonstrated last week or you could just visit PrintableWorldMap.net to find what you need.

On Printable World Map you'll find dozens of maps that you can download as PDFs for free. Included in that collection are blank world maps, continent maps, region maps, and country maps. There are also some county maps for the United States.

To download PDFs from Printable World Map you will have to click through two screens to get the map that you want. On those screens you'll see advertising for purchasing all of the maps in one bundle rather than downloading them individually.

By the way, I chose the example of Portland, Maine versus Portland, Oregon because a friend who is a commercial pilot says that you'd be surprised how many people turn up in Portland, Maine thinking they were going to Portland, Oregon.