## Monday, September 21, 2020

### "Why Do We Have Fall?" - A Post Inspired by My Daughter

"Why do we have fall?" That was the question that my four year old asked while we were walking in the woods yesterday.  It was a good question (she's full of good questions these days) and I tried my best to explain that different times of the year have more or less sunlight which makes the plants grow or "hibernate" (a concept she's learned from National Geographic's All About Bears). When she's a little older we'll worry about covering more of the details. In the meantime, if you have elementary school students who are wondering "why do we have fall?" here are a couple of good little videos on the topic.

Why Are There Seasons? from SciShow Kids is a good video lesson about seasons. The video is appropriate for students in primary grades.

Reasons for the Seasons is a TED-Ed lesson appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students. The lesson explains the relationship between the shape of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the Earth's tilt on its axis, and how those affect the amount of sunlight on different areas of the Earth.

## Saturday, September 19, 2020

### The Google Science Journal App is Now the Arduino Science Journal

For the last few years the Google Science Journal app has been one of my favorite apps to incorporate into outdoor learning experiences. Earlier this week I got a notification that the Google Science Journal app is becoming the Arduino Science Journal app. On December 11, 2020 the Google Science Journal app will stop working and you'll have to use the Arduino Science Journal app instead. The Arduino Science Journal app is available now for Android users and for iOS users

The Arduino Science Journal app does all of the same things that the Google Science Journal app does. The only exception is that the Arduino Science Journal app does not yet support saving data to Google Drive. You can read Google's full announcement about transferring the app to Arduino right here.

Five Observations You Can Make With the Science Journal App

1. Decibel Levels
Ask your students if a basketball clanging off of a rim is louder in an empty gym or a full gym? Have them make a hypothesis then test it in your school's gym. (Check with your physical education teacher to make sure it's okay to borrow his or her classroom).

2. Speed.
Have students record how quickly or slowly they walk down the hallway.

3. Speed and Sound Correlation
Have students record the speed with which they walk down the hallway. Have them record the sound at the same time. Ask them to try to identify a correlation between the speed with which they walk and the amount of noise that they make.

4. Light
Today, whenever I look out of my office window I am nearly blinded by the reflection of the sun off of the frozen snow. It was brighter earlier today when the sun was hitting the snow at a more direct angle. Students can use the Science Journal app to measure and compare the brightness of one place throughout the day.

5. Light and angles correlation
The Science Journal app has an inclinometer function. Have students use that function to measure the angle of the sun to a fixed position throughout the day. Have them use the light meter whenever they use the inclinometer. Then ask them to determine the correlation between the angle of the sun and the brightness at the chosen spot. They might be surprised at the results.

### The Week in Review - A Flashback to 2002!

Good morning from Maine where I'm up nearly two hours before sunrise. Yes, I wake up early. But it's also a sign that summer is nearly over. Fall officially begins next week and soon I'll be spending part of my weekends cleaning up the fallen leaves on my property. Today, though, I plan to play outside riding bikes with my kids. I hope that you also have time to do something fun this weekend.

This week in the back closet in my classroom I found an artifact that turned my PC repair class into a history class for a few minutes. I found an AOL disc from 2002! Can you imagine if we had to do remote instruction with dial-up?

These were the week's most popular posts:

• Hundreds of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech webinar this year. Thank you!
• University of Maryland, Baltimore County has been supporting this blog for many years.
• Pixton EDU offers a great way to create comics in your classroom.
• Cloud Stop Motion provides a great way to make stop motion videos.
• Find cool mugs and other swag in my YouTube store
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 29,000 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.

## Friday, September 18, 2020

### GCF Learn Free - Excellent Tutorials for Computer Science Basics

GCF Learn Free is a website and YouTube channel that I discovered this week when looking for some new tutorial videos to post in Google Classroom for my PC repair class and for my Intro to Computer Science class. Based on the number of subscribers GCF Learn Free has, I appear to be late to the party in "discovering" this great resource.

On GCF Learn Free you'll find dozens of tutorials on basic topics related to computer science. This week I shared the Inside a Computer video with my PC repair students. Today, I shared GCF Learn Free's video about algorithms with my Intro to Computer Science students.  What I liked about the videos is the brevity and clarity. Both videos gave students just enough information to remind them of the lessons that I taught in class.

How to Make a Similar Video

Both of the videos featured above are made using clip art and simple animations that you can find in Google Slides, PowerPoint, and Keynote. Record those slides with a screencasting tool and you have a simple animated video. In this video I demonstrate that process.

### How to Protect Privacy When Publishing Recordings of Virtual Meetings

During yesterday's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff someone asked for a suggestion on how to blur or mask students' faces when publishing the recording of a Zoom class meeting. My suggestion was to upload the recording to YouTube and then use the automatic blurring tool built into YouTube's video editor. The automatic blurring tool will automatically detect faces in the video and blur them out for the entirety of the video. Alternatively, you can use the blurring tool to selectively blur faces and or objects in your video.

Here's my video on how to use the automatic blurring function in YouTube.

Alternative Solutions:
If you don't want to or can't use YouTube, you could import your Zoom recording into a video editor like WeVideo or iMovie and then selectively blur or hide faces. Doing it that way would take a lot more time than using the automatic blurring tool in YouTube.