Monday, November 2, 2020

Three Ways to Conduct Polls in Google Slides

I have one group of freshmen this fall that is quiet and will rarely speak unless directly called upon. This is true of them when they're in my classroom and when they're on Zoom. So I call on them directly and I have them complete exit tickets in Flipgrid. Recently, I've started polling them at the start of class so that I have a bit more information about what they're thinking and how they're feeling before I jump into the day's plan. 

I'm using Poll Everywhere in Google Slides to conduct my polls because I like the word cloud output option. Slido and the native Q&A function in Google Slides can also be used for polling. 

How to use Poll Everywhere in Google Slides.

How to use Slido in Google Slides


How to use the Q&A function in Google Slides

The 2020 Great Thanksgiving Listen

The Great Thanksgiving Listen hosted by StoryCorps is back for the sixth year in a row. This annual event is intended to get people to record audio stories with family and friends. This year there might be a lot more remote recording than in the past, but the goal of the project is still the same. 

The Great Thanksgiving Listen was originally developed to get high school students to record the stories of their parents, grandparents, and other older family members. It has expanded over the years to be open to anyone who wants to participate.

StoryCorps has always provided materials to help students and teachers get involved in The Great Thanksgiving Listen. This year the resources have expanded to include a video overview of how to use the relatively new StoryCorps Connect platform to remotely record stories. If students can record in-person, the StoryCorps mobile app is still available as well. Resources for teachers include lesson plans, handouts, and even letters and a permission slip that you can send home to help explain the project to parents.


Applications for Education
I love Thanksgiving and I love oral histories. If I was still teaching social studies (I teach computer science now) I would have my students participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen as a way to have them gather local history stories in the context of personal stories. Before The Great Thanksgiving Listen came along I did this kind of project with a social studies class by having them record their parents' and grandparents' stories about going to our local county fair.

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.