Monday, October 12, 2020

Immersive Reader in Microsoft Forms - Quiz Questions Read Aloud

Over the weekend I read Microsoft's announcement that Immersive Reader will soon be available in PowerPoint ("soon" was left undefined in Microsoft's announcement, that usually means a couple of months). What I also learned from the announcement is that Immersive Reader is now available in Microsoft Forms. Apparently, it has been there for a little while and I've overlooked it. 

Immersive Reader in Microsoft Forms is easy to overlook as it's in a little menu that is easy to overlook. In the header of the Microsoft Form that you're viewing there is small "three dot" menu in the lower-right corner. Click on that menu to enable Immersive Reader. 

Applications for Education
Immersive Reader in Microsoft Forms will read aloud questions and answer choices for students. After reading the questions and answer choices aloud Immersive Reader will prompt students to close Immersive Reader to input an answer. Students have to open and close Immersive Reader for each question on the form. Other than that minor annoyance, Immersive Reader makes Forms accessible to more students. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Week in Review - Maps, Docs, and Games

Good morning from Maine where it is cold, but clear. The leaves are rapidly changing color and falling to the ground. There is a significant amount of raking time in my near future. The only good thing about having to rake leaves is that my daughters love to jump in leaf piles. Earlier this week they dragged their Little Tikes slide to a leaf pile and slid into it. 

Before I go make leaf piles, I have this week's list of the most popular posts to share with you. The list features some updates about G Suite for Education, cool maps activities, and a way to make your own online games. 

These were the week's most popular posts:

Thank you for your support!

  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course or webinar this year. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
  • Cloud Stop Motion makes it easy to create a stop motion video in your web browser. 

Other Places to Follow Me

  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers. 
  • My YouTube channel has more than 30,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of ed tech tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting at @rmbyrne for thirteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Easiest Way to Use Jamboard in Google Meet

A few weeks ago Google announced that Jamboard would be integrated into Google Meet. Earlier this week that finally happened in all of my Google accounts. This makes it easier than ever to use Jamboard in Google Meet. The old method that I used was fine, but the new integration is so much easier. In the following video I demonstrate how to launch and use Jamboard in Google Meet. 

Applications for Education
There are a lot of ways to use this new integration of Jamboard and Google Meet. Here are a few of my initial thoughts about it. First, even if only you use Jamboard during the Meet you can still share the Jamboard afterward with your students. Doing that would give them access to view and review any sketches or diagrams that you shared during the Meet. Second, this new integration could be great for students to participate in collaborative mind-mapping or diagramming sessions. Third, you could use the Jamboard to have students share pictures and then conduct a virtual gallery walk in Meet.

Two New Helpful Features in Google Meet

Since the summer Google has been teasing us with announcements of new features "coming soon" to Google Meet. Some of those features are finally starting to arrive. Two of them that I recently got access to are background blurring and meeting controls. With background blurring enabled everything behind me is blurred. With the meeting controls I can specify whether or not students can screen share and whether or not they can use the chat function during a meeting. In the following video I demonstrate how to access and use both of these features. 

Applications for Education
Background blurring could be great for eliminating distractions for your students. Students can also use it to protect their own privacy to not show things in the background when joining classes from home. Background blurring can be turned on or off multiple times during a meeting. I might start a meeting with my background blurred then unblur it to reveal something that I have written on the whiteboard behind me. 
The option to disable chat could be helpful if you find that your students are abusing the chat or otherwise not using it as intended.

ICYMI - Episode 22 of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff

Every Thursday afternoon at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT Rushton Hurley and I get together to host a free webinar called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. We have fun answering questions (sometimes in more depth and in different ways than expected) and share neat things we've found on the web in the last week. 

Yesterday, we hosted and recorded our 22nd episode. Kathi Kersznowski joined the webinar and had this to say about it afterward: 

If you missed the webinar, you can view it and all of the associated resources right here on Next Vista for Learning. Or you can watch the recording as embedded below.