Sunday, January 5, 2020

Biomes and Ecoregions Interactive Map

Ecoregions 2017 is an interactive map produced by Resolve for the purpose of showing the ecoregions and biomes of the world. When you visit the map you can choose to display either ecoregions or biomes. After you make that selection you can then click on any location on the map to discover the ecoregion or biome of that location. An associated image of that location and some brief details are also displayed when you click on the map.

Applications for Education
The Ecoregions 2017 interactive map could be a good little reference to add to a Earth Science course website, OneNote notebook, or Google Classroom section.

H/T to Maps Mania.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the snow that blanketed us earlier in the week is still here and will be here until April. I'm not complaining at all because at our house snow equals skiing. And that's what we're going to do after the sun comes up and we wrangle our toddlers into their snowsuits and boots.

I had classes on Thursday and Friday this week. If you did too, I hope it was a smooth start to 2020 in your classroom.

Last week I announced that I'm hosting an updated version of my Teaching History With Technology course starting on January 8th. Fifteen people have signed up. Register by midnight on Monday if you'd like to join us.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Learn How to Use These 5 Time-saving Gmail Features in 2020
2. The Twelve Most Popular Posts on Free Tech for Teachers in 2019
3. Remove Image Backgrounds With PhotoScissors
4. Ten Blogging Activities for Kindergarten Through High School Classrooms
5. How to Make an Interactive Graphic With Canva
6. How to Create and Publish Multimedia Collages
7. FAQs About Teaching History With Technology 2020

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.

How to Combine Multiple Google Forms Into One

Import questions is one of the many useful, yet often overlooked functions in Google Forms. The import questions function lets you draw questions from your existing forms to use in a new form. In the following video I demonstrate how you can use the import questions function to combine questions from multiple Google Forms to create one new one.


Applications for Education
One of the things that I typically do at the end of the semester is create practice quizzes for my students by compiling questions from quizzes that they have already taken. Usually, I focus on including the questions that were most frequently answered incorrectly earlier in the semester. Google Forms makes this easy to do. By using the import questions function in Google Forms I can quickly create a new form that is just a compilation of questions from prior forms. The determination of which questions to pick is done by looking at the summary data from the prior quizzes.

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast Episode 26 - Old Decade, New Decade

This afternoon I recorded the 26th episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. In this episode I shared some important news about how I'm publishing new content in 2020, highlighted some "decade in review" articles, and answered questions from readers and viewers like you. The complete show notes can be read here.

Listen to episode 26 of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your favorite podcast network.



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

A Comparison of 6 Blogging Services for Teachers and Students - Updated

About five years ago I assembled a series charts that compared the features of ed tech tools that served similar purposes. Some of the charts I made were about video tools, animation tools, timeline tools, digital portfolios, and blogs. To start 2020 I'm revisiting those charts and updating them to better reflect the current features and availability of various tools. The first chart that I've updated is this one that compares and ranks six popular blogging services.

Comparison of Six Blogging Services for Teachers outlines the administration options, design options, domain mapping options, and TOS conditions amongst other key features to look for when picking a blogging service to use in your classroom. You can get a Google Docs copy of the chart here and a PDF version here.
While you're exploring blogging tools, take a look at these ten blogging activities for K-12 students.

Here's my ranking of the blogging services featured in the chart:

My ranking of these services:
1. Blogger - It’s free and easy to set-up. It can be integrated into your Google Apps for Education account which means that you and your students can use the same usernames and passwords that they use in all other Google tools. You can make your blog private (up to 100 members invited by email). The drawback to it is that a lot of school filters flag it as “social media” and block it on those grounds.

1a. Edublogs - Probably the best option for elementary school and middle school use. Blogs and individual blog posts can be made private, password-protected, or public. You can create and manage your students’ accounts. Outstanding customer support!

2. Weebly for Education - It’s free to have up to 40 students in your account. You can manage your students’ accounts. You can have students contribute to a group blog and or let them manage their own individual blogs.

3. SeeSaw.me - SeeSaw was originally launched as a digital portfolio tool. The addition of a blogging component was made in January 2016. The blogging component of SeeSaw allows you to import and display your students’ digital artifacts publicly or privately. There is not much you can do with SeeSaw in terms of customization of layout and color scheme.

4. WordPress.org - If you have the technical acumen or the time to learn it (it’s not that hard), self-hosting a blog that runs on WordPress software will give you the ultimate in control and flexibility. You will be able to create and manage student accounts, have a nearly infinite variety of customization options, and you’ll be able to move your blog from server to server whenever you want to. That said, you will have to pay for hosting (or convince your school to give you server space) and you will be responsible for maintaining security updates and backing-up your blog regularly.

5. WordPress.com - It’s easy to use and is free, but with some serious limitations at the free level. The free version displays advertising on your blog which you cannot control. The free version also doesn’t allow embedding content from many third-party sites.