Thursday, April 2, 2020

Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff - Free Webinar Tomorrow

Last Friday Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I hosted a free webinar that we not-so-creatively titled Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. By popular demand we're going to do it again tomorrow at 1pm ET/ 10am PT. You can register for tomorrow's free webinar right here. Feel free to submit questions in advance by sending me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com

The replay of last week's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff is available to watch here. Some of the resources we shared are listed here.

Rushton has also been hosting a series of free webinars with Susan Stewart. That series is called Activities Across Grade Levels. Information about those webinars including archived episodes are available here on Next Vista. The latest episode was called Activities Across Grade Levels: The Power of Voice.

Now You Can Use Flipgrid to Make Screencast Videos

On Wednesday afternoon Flipgrid announced the launch of a new recording feature for teachers and students. You can now create screencast videos within Flipgrid. The feature is kind of hidden so I made a screencast video to show you where Flipgrid's screen recording tool is found and how it works.

As I demonstrate in the following video you can combine screencast videos with regular webcam video clips in Flipgrid. You can also combine screencast videos with whiteboard videos in Flipgrid. And you can combine all three video types into one video in Flipgrid. Best of all, you don't have to install any browser extensions or download anything in order to use Flipgrid's screen recording tool! Watch my video to see how this is done.



Applications for Education
As soon as I saw this feature I thought of an old colleague of mine who used to have her students create screencast videos to explain how various pieces of software on their laptops worked. She used to have to then organize those videos in a Google Drive folder. Now that same thing can be done in Flipgrid. The other nice thing about Flipgrid's new screen recording function is that you don't have to install any browser extensions or download any software.

To learn more about how to use Flipgrid, take a look at my playlist of sixteen Flipgrid tutorial videos.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Use Read Receipts to Make Sure Students Know They Have Google Classroom Assignments

Last week I published a post in which I explained that you can use read receipts in your G Suite for Education email to make sure that students have at least seen your messages even if they don't reply to your messages. I do that when I email students to remind them that they have new assignments posted in Google Classroom. That way even if they have ignored the notification in the Google Classroom app or in the automated Google Classroom notification email, I can be sure of whether or not they know they have a new assignment. In the following video I demonstrate the method that I use to make sure students know they have new Google Classroom assignments.


This method isn't entirely foolproof because if a student opens his or her email, I won't get a read receipt. That said, I think it's worth the extra minute it takes me to do this to make sure that more of my students recognize when a new assignment or announcement is posted in Google Classroom.

On a related note, you can speed up this process by using contact groups.

Schedule Individual Online Office Hours Meetings via Google Classroom

A lot of us are hosting online office hours for our students these days. Based on what I've seen from my colleagues as well as folks posting on social media, a lot of people are scheduling an hour of time and just hanging out in a Google Meet or Zoom meeting waiting for students to drop-in to ask questions. There's nothing inherently wrong with doing that unless you have students who want to ask questions that shouldn't be discussed in front of other students. You may also find that when you schedule students for specific, individual meetings they are more likely to appear. That's been the case for me with two of my students.

One way to schedule individual online meetings with students is to use a combination of Google Calendar, Google Classroom, and Zoom. In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate how that works. In short, you create recurring meetings in Zoom then insert the links to those meetings into the details for appointment slots in Google Calendar. Then when students sign-up for a meeting through your Google Calendar appointment page they will have the link and the meeting time available in their own Google Calendars.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Month in Review - What a March It Was!

Good morning from Maine where I'm sitting in my home office waiting for students to join into a Google Hangouts Meet for virtual office hours. It's hard to believe that at the beginning of the month COVID-19 was something that was affecting people "somewhere else" and now has nearly all of us working and teaching remotely. Only twice in the last three weeks have I been beyond the property of lines of my home.

I hope that all of you and your students are adjusting well to teaching and learning remotely. If I can help in anyway, please feel free to reach out to me. And on related note, Rushton Hurley at Next Vista for Learning has some great resources including recorded webinars that have been helpful to many people this month.

These were the most popular posts of the month:
1. The Cincinnati Zoo Launches Daily Virtual Zoo Visits
2. Cisco Makes Webex Free and Publishes Guides for Teachers and Students
3. Three Ways to Share Docs in Google Classroom - When to Use Each
4. 5 Google Classroom Tips for Teachers - Things You Might Have Overlooked or Forgotten
5. Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely
6. Learn How to Use These 5 Time-saving Gmail Features in 2020
7. How to Schedule and Host Google Hangouts Meet Events - Video
8. How to Create Video Lessons Without Making Your Own Recordings
9. An Option for Making Sure Students Know They Have Google Classroom Assignments
10. Ten Fun and Challenging Geography Games for Students of All Ages

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, I am planning to host some in April so stay tuned for more information about those soon. And I'm always available to schedule custom, online PD for your school.

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
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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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