Sunday, August 23, 2020

ICYMI - Get Your Free Copy of the 2020-21 Practical Ed Tech Handbook

Last week I published the sixth edition of my free Practical Ed Tech Handbook. This year's edition includes new sections on accessibility and remote instruction as well as updates to eleven other sections. I'm particularly happy with the updates that I made to the section on teaching search strategies.

In total there are thirteen big topics covered in this year's Practical Ed Tech Handbook. Throughout the handbook you will find descriptions of a variety of free tech tools and videos on how to use them. If you haven't gotten your copy of the 2020-21 Practical Ed Tech Handbook, you can get it for free right here!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Webinar Recording - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions

Every week Rushton Hurley and I sit down to answer questions and share cool stuff that we've found on the web. We do this in a free webinar that is simply titled Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. The most recent episode was recording on Thursday afternoon. If you missed it, you can watch the recording right here on the Next Vista for Learning website or as embedded below.



Join Us for the Next One!
We'd love to have you join us for the next live webinar which will be this coming Thursday at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT. Register here to join us for our free webinar Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff. We're going to have a special guest joining us in the next episode. Read about that on the registration page.

The Week in Review - Where Did the Time Go?

Good morning from Maine where the air feels cool and crisp this morning. We had a couple of similar mornings earlier this week. And I spotted my first red leaves this week! School starts on Monday. Where did the time go?

I'm also asking myself, "where did the time go?" this weekend because my oldest daughter turns four on Sunday. It still feels like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital. Now she's in pre-K and "rockin' in her school shoes," as Pete the Cat would say. While we can't have a big party for her, we are going to have cake and ice cream and do a bunch of her favorite fun things. I hope that all of you have a fun weekend too.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Use Grid View in Google Meet - No Chrome Extensions Required!
2. How to Create Split Screen Videos in Flipgrid
3. Five Current Google Meet Features to Note
4. Five Tips for Live Online Instruction
5. How to Direct Students to Videos Based on Answer Choices in Google Forms
6. Five Zoom Features You Need to Know
7. Factitious 2020 - Can You Spot Fake News Stories?

Online Back to School PD Opportunities
Two weeks ago I hosted Get Organized With Google Classroom, Meet, and Calendar. You can access the recording an associated materials here. This week I hosted A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video. Next week I'll be hosting a webinar on search strategies. Details for that webinar will appear on Monday on PracticalEdTech.com.

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 28,000 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.

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Comics Activity as an Icebreaker

Disclosure: Pixton EDU is currently an advertiser on this blog. 

As the new school year begins you may find yourself looking for some new ways to conduct icebreaker activities. One thing you can try is having students create avatars for themselves then talk about their designs. Then after making those avatars you might have them design a little comic to tell a story. Pixton EDU offers tools for doing both of those things.

In Pixton EDU you and your students can create characters to represent yourselves. Once you've done that you can use Pixton EDU's free Truth-or-Lie activity. Truth-or-Lie is designed as an ice-breaker or familiarization activity for your class. In the activity students create a short comic strip in which they tell a truth or a lie. They then share those comics with  you and their classmates who have to guess if the comic represents a truth or a lie.



Pixton EDU is currently running a back-to-school offer. That offer gives you 15% off their annual premium plan with this link. To be clear, everything in this blog post can be done without the premium plan.

Factitious 2020 - Can You Spot Fake News Stories?

In yesterday's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff I shared some information about an update to a favorite resource of mine, Factitious. Factitious is a game that is designed to help students practice identifying real and fake news stories. The 2020 version of the game features stories about COVID-19.

To play Factitious simply go to the site and select start. You'll then see an article appear on the screen. Read through the article, click the source listed at the bottom, and then select either the green check mark or red X to indicate whether or not you think the article is a real news story. After you make your selection you'll get instant feedback and an explanation of how you can tell if the article was a real or fake news story.

Points are awarded in Factitious based on accuracy, speed, and whether or not you viewed the source link before making a guess at the legitimacy of the story. The 2020 version of Factitious contains three rounds with five stories in each round.

Applications for Education
Factitious is a good game for students to play after you've taught a lesson or two about how to recognize signs of misleading or false information. Alternatively, you might choose a story or two from the game to build a lesson around.