Saturday, April 25, 2020

5 Things You Should Never Do In a Virtual Staff Meeting

At this point we've all had our fill of virtual staff meetings. Hopefully, all of yours are going as well as possible. But even the best virtual staff meetings still have "that one person" who doesn't quite understand the norms of a virtual staff meeting. That's what inspired my list of 5 Things You Should Never Do In a Virtual Staff Meeting.

(This is meant to be fun. Please don't take it too seriously).

5 Things You Should Never Do In a Virtual Staff Meeting by richardbyrne

The Week in Review - Could This Be Spring?

Good morning from Maine where the birds are chirping as the sun begins to rise. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 50's (F) for the second day in row! Could this be the beginning of consistent spring weather? I hope so. We're all getting a little tired of boots and snowsuits (wrestling toddlers into snowsuits is a workout).

I plan to spend the day playing outside with my kids and my dogs. I hope that wherever you are this weekend, you can get outside too. Getting fresh air and exercise is a great way to reset your brain after a long week of virtual meetings and virtual classes.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Google Classroom Assignments from Teacher and Student Perspectives - Nine Lessons
2. By Request - How to Create a Timed Quiz in Google Classroom
3. How to Reverse the Mirroring Effect in Zoom
4. Google Meet Gets a Grid View and Higher Quality Video Sharing
5. Google Sites Templates & Banners
6. Five Elementary Lessons You Can Do With Pixton EDU
7. Explore the Library of Congress on Your iPad

Online PD With Me!
I've been hosting professional development webinars for a decade.
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  • If you prefer live webinars, I am planning to host some more later this month and in May so stay tuned for more information about those soon. 
  • I'm always available to schedule custom, online PD for your school.
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Friday, April 24, 2020

How to Collect Voicemail Through Your Website with SpeakPipe

In a couple episodes of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff Rushton and I have mentioned using SpeakPipe. SpeakPipe is a tool that allows you to collect voicemail messages through your website or blog. With SpeakPipe installed on your blog anyone can click on the "send voicemail" button and leave a message for you. You can then either listen to the message or read a transcript of the message in your SpeakPipe account.

Someone who watched one of the webinars in which Rushton and I mentioned SpeakPipe emailed me this week for advice on how to install SpeakPipe. I made the following short video to explain how you can install SpeakPipe on a Google Site. The process in the video can used for just about any other website or blog platform that allows you to embed 3rd party HTML widgets.

Applications for Education
SpeakPipe can be a nice little addition to a school, library, or club website so that you can collect voice messages that are automatically transcribed for reading. You can also use it to simply create your own MP3 recordings that you download and distribute through your blog or website.

How to Reverse the Mirroring Effect in Zoom

In my recent article titled What's On My Desktop I mentioned using a small physical whiteboard during live lessons delivered via Zoom or Google Meet. Since then a few people have emailed to ask how I am able to make the writing on the whiteboard not appear reversed to students.

It's actually really easy to fix the problem of text and images appearing reversed to your Zoom audience. By default Zoom mirrors everything that is broadcast from your webcam. If you go into the video settings in Zoom there is an option to uncheck "mirror my video." As soon as you uncheck "mirror my video" you'll see everything flip sides of the screen and your audience will too. Watch my video or see my screenshot below for directions.

USGS Offers Online and Hands-on Learning from Home Resources

Since I was in elementary school I have enjoyed looking at maps and day dreaming about the places those maps depict. I like maps so much I have a couple of USGS topographical maps on the wall in my office. So whenever the USGS emails me with something new, I immediately investigate it. The latest email that I got from the USGS featured collections of "learning from home" resources.

Learning From Home With USGS offers eight weeks of lesson ideas and activities that students can complete online and or offline in their homes. For example, this week's resources include step-by-step directions and templates for building six different sand dune models. This week's resources also include dozens of links to resources for learning about national parks that contain sand dunes.

You can use the Learning From Home With USGS units in any order that you like. All of the resources from prior weeks are still available on the Learning From Home pages. Last week's unit was all about fossils. The fossils unit includes templates and step-by-step directions for making paper dinosaurs.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some science or geography activities that your students can complete at home without an Internet connection, the USGS Learning From Home activities are worth your time to explore. All of the templates and step-by-step directions are available in PDFs that you can download and print to mail home to students.

Related Resources
The USGS offers thousands of historical maps that you can download for free through the topoView site.

Google Earth has historical and time-lapse imagery that can be useful in showing students the effects of erosion on coastal areas. Here's a video on how to find that imagery.