Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Gribrouillon - Freehand Drawing on Online Maps

For many years I've recommended Scribble Maps as a no-account-required alternative to Google's My Maps. Scribble Maps lets create freehand drawings on digital maps. Today, thanks to Maps Mania, I learned about another tool for making freehand drawings on digital maps. That tool is called Gribroullion.

Using Gribroullion is a straight-forward process. Simply go to the site then search for an area of the world map that you want to draw on. You can zoom in or out as much as you like. Once you've settled on a map view just click one of the drawing tools at the bottom of the map and start drawing. You can change the color and thickness of the lines that you draw on the map. You can also change the base map on which you draw. When your map drawing is completed you can share it by clicking on the airplane icon in the upper, right corner of the map. A URL and a QR code for your map is provided when you click on the airplane icon.

Applications for Education
Gribroullion could be a good tool to use in an elementary school setting to have students circle, highlight, and label a series of places on a map. The lack of a registration requirement should make it easy to quickly get students started using Gribroullion.

On a related note, here's my tutorial on how to use Scribble Maps.

Quillionz - Quiz and Discussion Questions Automatically Generated from Documents

Quillionz is a neat service that uses AI to automatically generate questions from documents that you provide. Enter a block of text of at least 300 words up to 3,000 words and Quillionz will create quiz questions based on the key elements of that text. When I first tried Quillionz last summer it only generated multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions with corresponding answers. Today, Quillionz will also create open-ended discussion questions and supply some suggested responses to those questions. Quillionz calls these open-ended questions "interpretive" questions.

To use Quillionz sign up for a free account and then in your Quillionz dashboard click "new content." To the "new content" you can add text by typing or pasting in a passage of text. Your passage must be at least 300 words and no more than 3,000 words. After your text is in place Quillionz give your document a title and select a "domain" for it. "Domain" is the term that Quillionz uses for what most of us would call a subject or topic. The option to enter a custom domain is a new feature since the last time that I wrote about Quillionz. After you have done that, Quillionz will generate a set of keywords or tags that you can select as focus terms for your questions.

Based the text that you supplied, the keywords you've chosen, and the domain/ subject you've chosen Quillionz will generate a set of fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and discussion questions for you. You can approve, delete, or edit any of the suggested questions. When you're happy with the list of questions you can save them as a text document, print them, or export them to Quillionz's companion service Quilli Quiz. Quilli Quiz is a flashcard service.

Here's the video that I published last year to demonstrate how to use Quillionz.



Disclosure: Quillionz is currently running a banner advertising campaign on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Monday, March 2, 2020

An Easy Way to Create Your Own Online Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw Explorer is a free site that hosts tons of online jigsaw puzzles. It also offers a free tool for creating your own online jigsaw puzzles. To create your own puzzle simply visit the Jigsaw Explorer Create a Puzzle page then enter the URL of the image that you want to use as the basis of your jigsaw puzzle. You can specify the number of pieces that you want your puzzle to have. It can have as few as six pieces or as many as 1056 pieces. In the following video I demonstrate how to create your own online jigsaw puzzles with Jigsaw Explorer.


Applications for Education
Using Jigsaw Explorer could be an easy way to create puzzles for your students based on topics that they're learning about in geography or science. Jigsaw Explorer makes it easy to create puzzles based on pictures of landmarks, pictures of plants, and pictures of animals. As I demonstrated in the video above, Pixabay is a good place for you to find images to use in your custom jigsaw puzzles.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Tower of Epiphany - A New "Think Like a Coder" Lesson

A month ago I wrote about how much my freshmen computer science students are enjoying TED-Ed's Think Like a Coder series. The latest installment in the series was published last week and my students watched it on Friday morning. They enjoyed it as much as the previous installments.

Like the previous episodes of Think Like a Coder, the new episode titled The Tower of Epiphany features the main characters Ethic and Hedge having to solve a puzzle using the logic that a coder would use. At the first pause prompt in the episode two of my students blurted out, "use a loop!" and they were right.


I had planned to make my students watch The Tower of Epiphany in an Edpuzzle lesson, but I ended up just playing it on the big screen in my classroom instead. They had finished everything else for the day a little early so watching the video together was a good way to end the day.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where I'm up before most reasonable are awake on a weekend. Getting a few minutes alone to think and write requires me to get up before 5am. Having two toddlers will do that to a person. Before everyone starts stirring, I have this week's list of the most popular posts to share with you.

This week I wrapped-up my online course titled Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom. I'll be offering some new online PD opportunities in March so check the blog on Monday for those. I also like to remind you that registration is now open for the 2020 Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Quickly Turn a Blog Post Into a Video
2. Ten Fun and Challenging Geography Games for Students of All Ages
3. Mixkit - Hundreds of Free Music and Video Clips for Multimedia Presentations
4. Three Good Ways to Create Rubrics - Tutorials Included
5. How to Quickly Turn a Podcast Into a Video
6. Rubrics for Videos, Podcasts, Blogs, and More
7. The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 34 Featuring Dr. La'Tonya Rease Miles

2020 Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp!
Registration is open for the 2020 Practical Ed Tech Summer. Head here to learn more and score a discount code.

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 it 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 subscribe 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.