Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it is a lovely morning filled with cool air just before sunrise. Sunrise is getting noticeably later these days as summer winds down. Red and orange leaves are starting to appear on the ground around my house.

Earlier this week my youngest daughter brought me the red/ orange leaf in the picture in this blog post. She's quite the little explorer. We're going to do a little exploring in the woods around our house today. I hope that you have something equally fun planned for this weekend.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Increase the Chances of Your Students Actually Watching Your Instructional Videos
2. Getting Started With Flipgrid - Teacher & Student Views
3. How to Use Remind to Send Messages to Multiple Classes at the Same Time
4. Google Updates and Simplifies Finding Creative Commons Licensed Images
5. Three Ways for Students to Join Google Classroom
6. How to Use Google Drive to Comment on Videos
7. An Overview of the New Google Images Search Options

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 460,000 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.

Movies on Map - Discover the World Through a Map & Video Combination

I love maps and I love a good video so I had to explore Movies on Map when I saw it featured on Maps Mania. Movies on Map is a site that features videos about interesting places all over the world.

You can search for a video according to location on Movies on Map or can simply browse the map and click on the video icons to watch a video. Your searching and browsing can be refined by location as well as by video type. The video types are hand/ ground level tours, action videos, drone/ aerial tours, dive/ underwater videos, and 360 videos.

Movies on Map is a relatively new site so there isn't a ton of good content on it, yet. It is open for registered users to add videos of their own so hopefully more content is added soon.

Applications for Education
I watched about a dozen clips on Movies on Map and didn't find anything objectionable in the videos. That said, I'm not sure how much filtering is done before videos appear on the map. For that reason I'd recommend using Movies on Map as a teacher to find videos to share with your students rather than sending students to the site to explore it on their own.

On a related note, you could have your students make their own version of Movies on Map by creating custom maps with Google's My Maps tool. This video shows you how to add videos to maps in Google's My Maps.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Google Adds More Teacher Controls for Google Meet - Yay!

In terms of meeting controls Google Meet has lagged behind Zoom all year. Google is making efforts to close that gap. Last month they introduced some new controls and yesterday they introduced another control option for teachers.

The latest control option added to Google Meet lets teachers specify whether or not students can share their screens and whether or not students can use the chat function in a Google Meet. The default will still be that students can share their screens, but you'll now be able to disable that option at the start of your Google Meet events. When you choose to disable sharing for students they won't even seen the option to share their screens.

If you choose to use the new option to disable chat for students in Google Meet meetings they will still be able to see messages that you send. So you'll still be able to post links in the chat for your students to click. They won't be able to reply your chat messages.

Important Caveats!

  • The new Google Meet controls for teachers will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks.
  • These controls will only be available to G Suite for Education users using the web version of Google Meet and not in the mobile app version of Google Meet. 
  • Google warns that if you are using third-party Chrome extensions to modify Google Meet (the breakout room extension, for example) you might have disable those extensions in order to use the new meeting controls. 

Add Science & Math Simulations to Google Sites

In the latest episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff I shared an update about a favorite math and science resource. That resource is PhET. PhET offers more than 150 online, interactive science and math simulations. For a while now PhET has been in the process of switching their simulations from Java to HTML5. What that means for us is that the simulations will work on any platform including iOS. And it means that the simulations are easier to include in your own website.

In the following video I demonstrate how to include PhET's science and math simulations in your Google Site. Those of you who watch the video will also notice that the simulations can also be shared via a direct Google Classroom integration.


Applications for Education
As many of us are starting the new school year in online and or blended environments, resources like PhET that provide online simulations of activities we would have traditionally done in our classrooms are more important than ever. If your teaching math or science this fall, take a look at PhET to find online alternatives to some of the activities you've traditionally done in your classroom.

Common Craft Explains Disinformation

Common Craft has released a new, timely video for this fall. The new video is Disinformation Explained by Common Craft. The new video explains what a disinformation campaign is and why organizations create them. Equally importantly, the video explains traits of disinformation campaigns and how to people can try to prevent the spread of disinformation.

Disinformation Explained by Common Craft is available to view here.



Applications for Education
Common Craft's new video about disinformation goes well with their existing videos about bias detection and facts vs. opinions. All three together could make up a core component of a lesson about how to a responsible consumer and user of online information.

On a related note, here's my video about one way to make a Common Craft-style video.


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