Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it is a crisp -9F! Unfortunately, the forecast indicates that it's not going to get much warmer than 0F and it will be windy. In other words, it might be a day for bowling instead of playing outside. My youngest daughter recently discovered that she loves bowling! Well as much as you can call it bowling when you're two years old. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have time for something fun no matter what the weather holds.

As it is a frigid day here in Maine it's only natural to remind myself that spring isn't too far away. And my spring will be busy as I get ready for Dirty Kanza 200 and then the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Tickets for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp are on sale now! Fill out the form on this page to get a discount code.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Fifteen Digital Citizenship Resources for K-12
2. The Electoral College Explained by Common Craft
3. Headliner - A Good Alternative to Adobe Spark Video
4. Three Neat Things You Can Do With Google Sheets
5. PayGrade - A Classroom Economy Simulation You Can Use All Year
6. Three Easy Steps to Encourage Technology Integration
7. Four Tips for Facilitating Classroom Arduino Projects

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.
  • My YouTube Channel - More than 17,000 people 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.

Friday, February 14, 2020

DNS & IP Explained

One of the things that quickly became clear when I started teaching an introduction to computer science course for high school freshmen was that while they are happy to use the Internet, they don't really understand how the Internet works. I suppose the same can be said for lots of adults too. The Domain Name Systems is the most important or at least most frequently used part of how people use the Internet today. PowerCert Videos, a YouTube channel that I featured a couple of weeks ago, has a good video that explains how a DNS server works. I used this video with my own students earlier this year.


Code.org offers a video on the same topic. Code.org's video gets into a bit more of the history of the development of the Internet. I also showed this video to my students, but I didn't find it nearly as effective as the PowerCert video.


Applications for Education
If you have never built a website from scratch without the use of service like Weebly or Google Sites, you may not have ever thought about the role of IP addresses and the domain name system in getting a website online. These videos can help students understand how that process happens and how DNS makes it easy to navigate the web today.

Local vs. Online Documents

I've been a Google Docs user longer than most middle schoolers have been alive. I don't need convincing that online documents are great. But not everyone is convinced. In fact, just last week I had a conversation with a teacher in my school who wasn't convinced that there could be any benefit to moving away from using Word on his desktop PC. I even tried telling him that there is an online version of Word. (This was also the same person who didn't want to use two-factor authentication on his G Suite account because "who knows who can see my phone number?")

If you find yourself, like I did last week, trying to explain the benefits of online documents to someone, consider using Common Craft's new video on the topic. In my case, with the colleague I described above, it might not help. Hopefully, in your case it does help explain the benefits of online documents.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing, in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

How to Get Reminders Based On Your Location

Without using reminders in Google Keep, I'd forget half of the things that I'm told asked to do every day. I use time-based reminders and location-based reminders in Google Keep. The location-based reminders are particularly useful to me when running errands around town. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Google Keep's location-based reminders feature.



Applications for Education
The obvious use for location-based Google Keep reminders for students is to set reminders to do homework or get papers signed when they arrive at home.

Location-based reminders is just one of many Google Keep features. In the following video I demonstrate ten other useful Google Keep features.

Kissing, Love, and Math - Three Valentine's Day Lessons

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. It is also day of the Winter Carnival Dance at my school. In short, love and hormones will be flying all around the hallways of my school tomorrow. Perhaps the same will be happening in your middle school or high school. If you're looking to work a little Valentine's Day themed lesson into your day tomorrow, here are three good videos to consider viewing.

Why Do We Love? is a TED-Ed lesson that explores some philosophies on why people love. The lesson won't provide you with any clear answers, but it will make you think. And isn't that what philosophers want you to do?



The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friends who teach middle school and high school health classes.


The following fun video, also from It's Okay to Smart, attempts to use math to determine the odds of a 25 year old woman finding love in New York. (Remember, the video is just for fun).