Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Student View of Joining a Zoom Meeting on an Android Phone

A few days ago I got an email from a reader asking me what it looks like when a student tries to join a Zoom meeting on an Android phone. It was a good question because it is important to have an understanding of what a student experiences when he or she tries to use the technology that we're requesting them to use. I made the following short video to show what it looks like when a student joins a Zoom meeting on an Android phone.

It's important to note that students can join without installing the Zoom Android app. This video shows what it looks like when students join without installing the app.

On a related note, here's my overview of how to schedule and start a Zoom meeting as a teacher.

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 39B - I'm Tired and Can't Count

On Friday I recorded the 39th episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. You might be saying, "but Richard, last week wasn't last week the 39th episode?" You would be right because I called it that, but it turns out I lost track somewhere and skipped an episode so this is really the 39th episode.

This week's episode is a short one. I had a long week answering lots of questions from colleagues as well as followers of my blogs and YouTube channel. In this episode I answer questions from readers, share my thoughts about Google Hangouts with students, and shared a couple of neat do-at-home educational resources you might want to share with parents.

You can listen to episode 39B of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your favorite podcast network. The show notes can be found here.

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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Week in Review - Online Meetings, Baseball Cards, and Forts

Good morning from Maine where the birds are chirping and it feels like spring as I sip my coffee. We're going to spend the day playing in the yard. Spring has come a little earlier than normal here in Maine otherwise we might be going crazy isolating in the house. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow so we'll probably be building some indoor forts. On a related note, my toddlers keep asking "when will all the sick people get better?" because they want to be able to go back to their gymnastics classes and their favorite playground.

This week I held some class meetings via Google Hangouts. The first one was a bit like herding cats, but the second and third ones went much better. How are your online class meetings going? How about online staff meetings?

Indulge me as I share one more personal note before jumping to this week's most popular posts. Every spring I look forward to opening day of baseball season. I usually make cook some hot dogs, get a cheap beer, and enjoy the first game the year. Opening day was supposed to be this past Thursday. Opening day being canceled prompted me to go up to my attic and look through old baseball cards. It was fun trip down memory lane that I shared on Instagram.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Three Ways to Share Docs in Google Classroom - When to Use Each
2. 5 Google Classroom Tips for Teachers - Things You Might Have Overlooked or Forgotten
3. An Option for Making Sure Students Know They Have Google Classroom Assignments
4. An Overview of How Students View and Return Assignments in Google Classroom
5. Two Collections of Hands-on Science Lessons Students Can Do At Home
6. A Solution to Zoom "Not Responding" on Windows 10
7. Knowt Will Turn Your Notes and Favorite Webpages Into Quizzes for You

Online PD With Me!
I've been hosting professional development webinars for a decade. My most popular webinars are available on-demand right here. If you prefer live webinars, starting April 6th I'm working with Ed Tech Teacher to teach Making Multimedia Social Studies Lessons - Audio, Video, and More.

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides 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
  • 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 Facebook page has nearly 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last twelve years at
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.

How to Share Your Computer's Audio in Microsoft Teams

Whether it's the basics of how the technology works or "features" right now we're all learning a lot about hosting online meetings. For example, this week I learned about sharing system audio in Microsoft Teams meetings. Microsoft Teams isn't a service that I use on a regular basis so when I do use it there is a bit of fumbling around at first. I learned about sharing system audio in Microsoft Teams by watching this video produced by Mike Tholfsen.

Applications for Education
As Mike explained in the video, sharing system audio is the way to make sure that your students can hear the videos and audio files that you have included in presentation.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Free Course - A Teacher's Guide to Creating Common Craft Style Videos

For more than a dozen years Common Craft videos have been used by teachers to help students understand topics including digital citizenship, personal finance, and many big technology concepts. One of the things that makes Common Craft videos popular is the clear and concise manner in which information is presented using a whiteboard, simple cutouts, and voice over. That style has become known as the Common Craft style and many teachers including myself have had students make videos using that style. Now Common Craft offers their own free course for teachers who want to make Common Craft style videos in their classrooms.

A Teacher's Guide to Creating Common Craft Style Videos is a free self-paced course that contains five modules. The modules start with the key concepts of the Common Craft style before moving onto walk you through the tools you need (and don't need), the planning process (a downloadable template included), and the final production steps. Throughout the course there are examples of work done by teachers and students.

And if you have never seen a Common Craft video before, here's a good one to get started.

For those looking to do a little more reading about the Common Craft style, take a look at The Art of Explanation written by Lee LeFever.

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

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