Friday, July 31, 2020

The Month in Review - The Most Popular Posts in July

It's hard for me to believe that it's the last day of July. It feels like just last week I was hosting end-of-year Google Meet sessions with my students. Now I'm starting to think about the first day of school that is less than a month away. That's why I'm going to have a few days offline next week to recharge my brain and my enthusiasm. I hope that you've had or will have a similar opportunity before school starts.

As I do at the end of every month I've compiled a list of the ten most read posts over the last 30 days. Take a look and see if there is something useful or interesting that you missed.

These were the most popular posts in July:
1. Use Whiteboards in Google Meet Without Screensharing
2. 7 New Google Meet Features for Teachers
3. Convert Handwritten Notes Into Google Documents
4. How to Use Kahoot With Google Classroom
5. 5 Ways to Make Whiteboard Instructional Videos in Your Web Browser
6. Seven Ideas for Flipgrid Activities
7. 5 Google Classroom Features You Might Have Overlooked or Forgotten
8. How to Make a Digital Bookshelf in Google Slides
9. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
10. How to Work With PDFs in Google Classroom

Back to School PD Opportunities
This week I received a bunch of requests to host PD webinars for the start of the school year. If you'd like to have me host a PD session for your school, please send me a note at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together.

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 26,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 400 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has more than 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.

Finding Primary Sources in the World Digital Library

The World Digital Library is a resource that I started using back in 2009. At that time it was just a small collection of about 1,200 digitized primary source artifacts from libraries around the world. Today, the World Digital Library hosts more than 19,000 digitized primary source artifacts to view and download.

As you'll see in the video embedded below you can search the WDL by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. But my favorite way to explore the WDL is by browsing through the interactive maps that are available when you click on the globe icon in the site's header. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in multiple languages.


Applications for Education
The World Digital Library can be a great resource for anyone that teaches history and or cultural studies. The wealth of image based resources along with the document based resources makes the WDL appropriate for use with most age groups.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

How to Check the Accessibility of Your Google Slides

Yesterday afternoon I saw someone on Twitter ask if there is a way to evaluate the accessibility of a slide presentation. My answer was to try Grackle Slides. Grackle Slides is a Google Slides add-on that will evaluate the accessibility of your presentation and give you suggestions on how to improve the accessibility of your presentation. Watch the short video below to see how it works.



Grackle Slides is a companion to the Grackle Docs add-on for Google Documents that I featured last December. Watch my video about Grackle Docs as embedded below.

Alternatives to Google Forms

Earlier this week I answered an email from a reader who was looking for a way to collect "check-in" information from students but didn't want to use Google Forms. Here are the alternatives to Google Forms that I suggested she try.

JotForm
JotForm is a good tool for creating fillable PDFs and online forms for things like course registration, permission slips, and course evaluations. Last week I wrote a detailed overview of JotForm. I made a video that walks you through the features of JotForm from the perspective of a form creator and a form respondent.



Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Forms has a lot of the features that Google Forms offers. For those who work in schools that have Microsoft 365 accounts, Microsoft Forms provides a good way to create online surveys and quizzes. My short tutorials on Microsoft Forms can be seen here.



Formative
This might not seem obvious at first glance, but Formative could be a good tool to collect quiz and survey responses from students. In Formative you can create an activity in which students answer multiple choice and short answer questions. Formative also lets you create "show your work" questions in which students are given an online whiteboard to draw and type on. Here's my demo of how that works.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Using DocsTeach to Create Online Lessons - Free Webinar Next Week

DocsTeach is a favorite resource of mine for U.S. History teachers and students. I used it and it's predecessor fairly regularly when I was teaching U.S. History. DocsTeach provides an online space where you can create primary source based lessons for your students to complete online or offline. Last fall I published a detailed tutorial on how to create lessons with it. If you'd like some live instruction on how to use it, DocsTeach is hosting a series of free webinars in August.

On August 4th, 6th, 11th, and 13th at 2pm ET DocsTeach staff will host 20 minute webinars about how to use the features of DocsTeach for online instruction. Advanced registration is required in order to participate in the live webinars. Register here.