Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cotton and the Life Cycle of a Tee Shirt

Last week TED-Ed published a new lesson titled Why Is Cotton In Everything? The lesson begins with an explanation of why cotton was used by the Inca in suits of armor. From there the lesson delves into the properties of cotton that make strong, soft, and flexible. The bulk of the lesson is then spent on how cotton fibers grow.

At the end of Why Is Cotton In Everything? there is a suggestion to watch The Life Cycle of a T-Shirt. That video explains how tee shirts are made and distributed around the world. The lesson also takes a look at the environmental impact of the tee shirt industry.

19,000+ Teachers Get Their Ed Tech Tips This Way

At about this time six years ago I created the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter as a way to provide a summary of my most popular daily posts along with a featured tip of the week. This week the 19,000th teacher signed up for the newsletter. You can do the same right here.

The Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter features my favorite tip of the week along with a summary of the most popular blog posts from my blogs FreeTech4Teachers.com, PracticalEdTech.com, and EdTechFitness.com. The newsletter is emailed on Sunday evening/ Monday morning (depends on your timezone). I'll often include things that aren't published elsewhere. For example, this week's newsletter included access to a Google Doc featuring my collection of best resources for public domain and Creative Commons audio files.

Those of you who read FreeTech4Teachers.com via email will be pleased to know that the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week email is published manually which means that unlike the FreeTech4Teachers.com daily emails, you can read the entire article in your inbox.

Sign up for the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter right here.

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: