Monday, January 27, 2020

How to Remove Image Backgrounds in PowerPoint

A few weeks ago I published Three Ways to Remove Image Backgrounds With Just a Click or Two. I got a handful of Tweets and emails from folks who kindly reminded me that I didn't include using PowerPoint in that list. That was because I hadn't made a video about how to use PowerPoint to remove image backgrounds. This afternoon I changed that by recording the following short video.


Applications for Education
Students can use these editing feature in PowerPoint to remove the backgrounds from pictures of themselves students and then layer their new image onto an image of any landmark around the world. Students can then use those images in stories and reports that they write about those landmarks. For example, students could write travel narratives where they place images of themselves in front of a series of landmarks.

How to Search for Open-Access Datasets

Last spring I had a chance to see Dan Russell give a presentation of a new Google search tool called Dataset Search. It spent 2019 in beta. Last week it lost beta label and is now widely available to anyone who wants to use it. In a recent blog post Dan Russell explained a couple of the features of Dataset Search and highlighted four examples of datasets that you can find through Dataset Search.

Google's Dataset Search is designed to help users locate publicly available datasets. Through the Dataset Search tool you can find datasets in the forms of Excel and CSV files, Google Earth files, zip files of images, and collections of documents. In the following video that I recorded last spring I provide an overview of how to use Dataset Search.



On a related note, Dan Russell's book The Joy of Search is a fantastic resource for learning advanced search techniques.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 30 - New Game Templates and More

I usually publish The Practical Ed Tech Podcast on Friday or Saturday, but this weekend I got a little sidetracked by a couple of other projects and didn't record until Sunday night. In this episode I highlighted some Microsoft and Google EDU product updates that were announced in conjunction with the BETT show. More interesting to me were the new tools that I tried this week and highlighted in the podcast. Those new tools included two game builders, a collaborative mapping tool, and a new brainstorming tool.

As I always do, I wrapped up the episode by answering a handful of questions from readers.

You can listen to the latest episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your favorite podcast platform.



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

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Three Neat Things You Can Do With Google Sheets

Earlier this week my friend Beth asked me for some tutorials on Google Forms for beginners. As a follow up to that I've selected three Google Sheets tutorials from my library. These tutorials are for doing some interesting things with Google Sheets besides just looking at information collected through Google Forms.

Create a Random Name Picker in Google Sheets.


Create a Progress Tracker With Google Sheets


Create a Map of Spreadsheet Data

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it's nearly forty degrees warmer than last week. It almost felt like March weather when I went out with my dogs this morning. It's going to be a great day for taking my toddlers skiing. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you get to do something fun too. If that means catching up on some reading, take a look at this week's list of the most popular posts.

This week I hosted the third installment of Teaching History With Technology. A few folks have asked if I'll be offering the course again. I will be hosting it again in the spring after I wrap up Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Quickly Create Collaborative Maps With Ethermap
2. How to Use Microsoft Forms to Collect Files
3. Rubrics and Originality Reports in Google Classroom
4. Three Google Forms Tutorials for Beginners
5. A Tip for Your Colleagues Who Unneccesarily Use "Reply All"
6. Vortex by ClassTools - Create Your Own Sorting Game
7. How to Create an Online Sorting Activity Using Google Sheets

I'll come to your school in 2020! 
Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together. This year I'm offering an opportunity to bring me to your school for free! Ask me for details.

Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom
Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom starts next week! You can get more information and a discount code right here.

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.