Sunday, November 1, 2020

What Did You Watch in October?

More than 30,000 people are now subscribed to my YouTube channel. On my channel I publish screencast videos about all kinds of things including how to make videos, how to do interesting things with Google Slides, how to publish a podcast, and many other topics. Most of the videos are made to address questions that people send to me.

YouTube provides channel owners with interesting statistics about their channels. Some of those statistics include the cumulative time spent watching videos, the time spent watching individual videos, and the average length of time spent viewing videos on the channel. Based on that information, the following were the five most popular videos on my channel in October.

The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms



Zoom Tip - How to Flip Your Camera or Stop Mirroring

How to Host an Online Meeting With Zoom

How to Create a Video With Canva




How to Share Videos Through Google Drive

How to Add a Timer to Your PowerPoint Slides




How to Create Comic Strips in Google Slides

How to Create Timed Quizzes in Google Classroom



How to Create a Random Name Picker With Google Sheets

How to Create Videos on a Chromebook - No Extensions or Apps Required


Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Week in Review - Halloween Edition

Good morning from Maine where it's so cold you'd think it was the last day of December not the last day of October. It's Halloween and my daughters are excited even though trick o' treating is going to be severely curtailed this year. They're excited to wear the costumes that they've been talking about for months! I hope that you have something on your weekend schedule that gets you as excited as my daughters are for Halloween. 

As I do at this time every week, I've compiled a list of the week's most popular posts. Take a look and see if there's anything interesting that you missed during the week. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 13 Google Forms Tutorials for Beginners and Experienced Users
2. Tools for Scheduling Parent-Teacher Conferences and Other Meetings
3. Two Ways to Create Your Own Online Memory Games
4. Five Screencasting Tools Compared and Ranked - Fall 2020
5. How to Simultaneously Caption and Translate Presentations
6. Five Last Minute Resources for Teaching About the Electoral College
7. Three Ideas for Stop Motion Video Projects to Make With Cloud Stop Motion

On-demand Professional Development:
Through Practical Ed Tech I'm currently offering an on-demand course called A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video.


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 edtech tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @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 30, 2020

Learn About Exploration and Compasses by Making Your Own

Today, many of us just use an app on our smart phones when we need to get directions and navigate from point A to point B. Most of our students have never experienced getting directions in any other way. So they may be surprised to learn that we used to use maps and compasses to find our way from point A to point B. How compasses work and how you can make your own is the topic of a SciShow Kids episode released earlier this week

Make Your Own Compass explains to kids what a compass is, how it works, and how they can make their own with common household products. 



Applications for Education
Making a compass could be a great little project for kids to do at home with their parents. After making the compass students and parents can test it out with a backyard or neighborhood "expedition."

Building a compass could also be a fun project to incorporate into an in-class lesson about explorers and explorations like those of early polar explorers Amundsen and Peary. 

How to Create QR Codes to Share Google Forms

Back in September I wrote about and made a video about how I'm using Google Forms as a sign-in/sign-out sheet for my classroom. Some of my colleagues are doing the same thing. One of my colleagues, Erin, had the good idea to create QRs code for the forms that students use the most and post them on the classroom wall. That way students students don't have to filter through Google Classroom to find the sign-out form or lunch form when they need it. Of course, this only helps if your students are allowed to use their mobile phones in school as mine are. 

There are a lot of free tools for making QR codes. Some have more features than others but they all do essentially the same things. The tool that I use for making QR codes is QRCode Monkey. QRCode Monkey lets you adjust the resolution of your QR codes before downloading and printing them. QR Code Monkey also lets you change the QR code's color and shape. In the following short video I demonstrate how to use QRCode Monkey to create a QR code for a Google Form. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Witeboard - A Simple Online Whiteboard

Last week a reader named Donna sent me an email asking me what I knew about Witeboard. It was a new tool for me so I gave it a try. 

Witeboard is a collaborative online whiteboard. To use it just head to the site and start drawing. Witeboard has some basic drawing tools and text tools. To share your Witeboard whiteboard all you have to do is give someone the URL that's assigned to it and they can start drawing on it. 

It is possible to create an account on Witeboard but you don't need to create one. The benefit of creating an account is that you can save your work and access it from multiple devices. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to use Witeboard. 



Applications for Education
There are a lot of whiteboard tools on the market today. I use Google's Jamboard almost daily in my classroom. If Jamboard's not your jam, Witeboard is a nice alternative to try. 

Like all collaborative whiteboard tools, Witeboard could be handy to use when you need to sketch a concept for students during a virtual meeting (I made one today to explain port forwarding). It's also a handy tool for students to use to show you their sketches of a concept.