Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A Few Good Reminders for Safer Internet Day

Today is Safer Internet Day. As Google is reminding people when who visit Google.com today, it's a good day to perform a little check-up on your account security. That means making sure you're using strong passwords, not re-using passwords on multiple sites, and using two-factor authentication whenever it is offered.

One of the best things that you can do to keep your online accounts safe is to use two-factor authentication. In fact, my school district just made all staff start using two-factor authentication on their G Suite accounts. Here's how you can enable two-factor authentication on your Google account.

The mandate for all staff in my district to use two-factor authentication was a response to a few faculty members falling for phishing scams that compromised their G Suite accounts. Here's a Common Craft video that explains how common phishing scams work.

Of course, the first line of defense in protecting your online accounts against brute-force attacks is using a strong password. Here's Common Craft's explanation of how to create a strong password.

Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Headliner - A Good Alternative to Adobe Spark Video

In the last episode of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast I answered the following question from a reader,
"I was wondering if I may ask for a suggestion/recommendation. I have some eighth grade students creating videos incorporating music. I'd prefer not to use adobe spark because I don't want the adobe logo on each slide. What would you suggest? Their devices are managed by the school so it needs to be a free app that I can push out."
My answer to the question was to take a look at Headliner. Headliner is a browser-based video editor. It has more editing features than Adobe Spark but not quite as many as WeVideo. Headliner provides four tracks for editing the pictures, video clips, text, and audio files that you use to create your videos. There is an integrated audio library as well as integrated image search tool. There is also a tool for adding and editing captions in your videos.

Headliner provides its "pro" version for free to schools. The pro version removes all watermarks. Finished videos can be saved without watermarks for free.

Three Easy Steps to Encourage Technology Integration

This afternoon I hosted a short webinar titled Three Easy Steps to Encourage Technology Integration. I recorded the webinar for those who couldn't attend the live broadcast. The recording is now available to view on my YouTube channel. The slides that I used during the webinar can be seen as embedded below.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Electoral College Explained by Common Craft

We still have a long way to go in the party primary and caucuses before the Democratic nominee for President will be chosen. And then we have even longer until we go to the polls to choose a President of the United States. And a President is finally elected through the Electoral College. How the Electoral College system works is a bit confusing to some students. Fortunately, Common Craft offers a nice little video explanation of how it works.

How the U.S. Elects a President provides a concise overview of the Electoral College. The version embedded below is an update to the original that Common Craft released and I used in my classroom in 2008.

Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from cold and dreary Maine. It seems like forever since we've seen the sun. To add insult to injury what was supposed to be snow turned out to be two days of sleet. I hope that wherever you are this weekend, the weather is a bit cheerier than it is here.

This week I announced that I'm going to host a free webinar on this coming Monday afternoon. The webinar is designed for tech coaches, instructional coaches, principals, and anyone who is in charge of encouraging teachers to use technology in new and meaningful ways in their classrooms. There is still time to register here. And speaking of registering, there is one week left to get the super-early discount on the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp registration.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. PayGrade - A Classroom Economy Simulation You Can Use All Year
2. Two Ways to Make Progress Trackers With Google Sheets
3. Designing & Sending Certificates With Google Slides and Forms
4. Three Interesting Ways to Use Google Slides Besides Making Presentations
5. A Great Set of Videos for Teaching Networking and Computer Hardware Concepts
6. Short Lessons on Colds and Flu
7. Free Webinar - Three Steps to Encourage Technology Integration

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.

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.
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  • The Practical Ed Tech Podcast is where I answer questions from readers, share news and notes, and occasionally talk to interesting people in education. 
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