Friday, December 20, 2019

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 24 - Vacation!

I've just published the 24th episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. People are still listening to it so I keep recording it. In this week's episode I shared a new augmented reality app that I've been testing, shared some updates from Canva, and shared a new word game that you can play whenever you open a new Chrome tab. As usual I also answered a handful of questions from readers and listeners. I hope that you enjoy this episode as you head into winter break (or summer break).

Get the show notes here. Listen to the new episode here or on your favorite podcast network.

Listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

Four Interesting Lessons About Winter Weather

When I got up to let my dogs out yesterday morning it was a brisk -10f with the windchill. When I got in my car an hour later the thermometer had reached a balmy 4f. The chill in the air prompted me to look back at some of my favorite videos for learning about winter weather. Here they are...

How windchill is calculated:
The windchill was -20F last night at my house. The following video explains how windchill is calculated. The video comes from Presh Talwalkar.

The psychology of extreme weather:
Television news reporters like to use the word "extreme" whenever we have a lot of rain or snow in a short amount of time. Is the weather really "extreme" or is that just our impression of it? The following Minute Earth video takes on the topic of how extreme weather affects our thinking about weather patterns in general. I found the video to be interesting from a psychology perspective. The video is embedded below.

How snowflakes are created:
The following episode of Bytesize Science embedded below explains how snowflakes are created.

Thundersnow is a video from UNC-TV that explains how thunder sometimes, though rarely, coincides with snowstorms. PBS Learning Media has a set of corresponding lesson materials that you can use with this video.

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 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.