Sunday, December 27, 2020

Five Ways to Make Whiteboard Instructional Videos in Your Web Browser

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

Over the last few months I've written a bunch of blog posts and made a handful of videos on simple ways to make whiteboard instructional videos in your web browser. These have been popular, in part, because this style of video can be made using tools that are readily available to Chromebook users. As a reader pointed out to me in an email this morning, I haven't put all of these videos and posts together in one place. So to remedy that I've put together the following compilation of five ways to make whiteboard instructional videos.

Try using Screencastify to record over the free drawing space provided by Google's online version of Jamboard. The online version of Jamboard is free unlike the physical product of the same name that Google sells. One of the benefits of using Jamboard for this kind of video is that when you are done you can share the Jamboard images with your students. You could even share the Jamboard via Google Classroom so that students have a copy of the process that you demonstrated while making your video.



Loom is also an excellent and popular choice for making screencast videos right from your web browser. In the following video I demonstrate how I paired Loom and Google's Jamboard to make a whiteboard-style instructional video. One of the tips that I shared in the video is to use the sharing option in Jamboard to give your students a copy of the drawings or sketches that you use in your instructional video.



Flipgrid offers an integrated whiteboard function. You can use this feature to create whiteboard videos for your students to watch in Flipgrid. You can also have your students use the whiteboard tools to reply to a prompt that you have given to them. In my video that is embedded below I provide an overview of how to use the whiteboard function and a couple of other functions in Flipgrid.



Wakelet has integrated the Flipgrid camera into their service so that you can create whiteboard-style instructional videos directly within your Wakelet collections. Watch my video below to see how that process works.



Seesaw is my go-to tool for making digital portfolios. I like it because it's a versatile platform that can be used for more than just portfolio creation. You can use it as a blog, use it to share announcements with parents, use it to distribute assignments, and you can use it to create whiteboard videos. In fact, there are a couple of ways that you and your students can create whiteboard videos in Seesaw. Both of those methods are outlined in my new video that is embedded below.


5 Google Classroom Tips You Might Have Overlooked or Forgotten

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

Like I'm sure many of you are, I'm getting lots of requests from colleagues and readers for help with Google Classroom. I have a bunch of short tutorials here on my YouTube channel. But I made the following slideshow for my colleagues who are starting to really use and rely on Google Classroom now that our school is closed.

The slideshow isn't intended to be an A-Z tutorial on using Google Classroom. I made it to highlight what I think are some helpful little features that might have been overlooked or forgotten about. I hope this helps some of you.

Featured in the slideshow:
  • Posting announcements to multiple classrooms at the same time. 
  • Scheduling announcements to appear at a later date.
  • Creating topics to organize assignments.
  • Scheduling assignments.
  • Using Google Classroom to send bulk email to students and parents.

5 Helpful Google Classroom Tips for Teachers by richardbyrne

A Few Interesting Ways to Use Google Slides Besides Making Presentations

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

Google Slides was once a bare-bones alternative to PowerPoint and Keynote. I can still remember when the option to add a video was big news. Fast forward to today and there are lots of things that you can do with Google Slides besides make basic slideshow presentations. Here are three of my favorite ways to use Google Slides for something other than making a presentation.

Create a Jeopardy-style Game 
By inserting a table into your cover slide then using the slide-linking feature in Google Slides you can create a Jeopardy-style game to play in your classroom. The steps for doing that are outlined in the video below.


Create a Multimedia Timeline in Google Slides
A couple of years ago Google added some diagram templates to Google Slides. These templates can be inserted into any of your slides. A timeline is one of the templates that you'll find in the diagrams menu. Watch the following video to learn how to create a timeline in Google Slides.


Make a Common Craft-style Video
You can make simple animated videos with a bit of clip art, the animation tools built into Google Slides, and a free screen recording tool like Screencastify. In the following video I demonstrate how to do that.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where my kids are still basking in the glow of Santa's visit yesterday. We have a full day of unplanned fun ahead of us. I hope that you also have a fun ahead of you. 

I didn't write or publish any blog posts yesterday and I won't be writing anything new next week. I always take the last week of the year off from writing new blog posts. Next week I'll be re-running some of the most popular posts that I published in 2020. Speaking of popular posts, take a look at this week's list below. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. My Current Hybrid Classroom Arrangement and Equipment
2. How to Create Your Own App With the MIT App Inventor
3. My Two Go-to Places for Free Sound Effects and Music
4. Quickly Create Polls and Quizzes in Google Meet With Edu-pal
5. Best Job Ever - National Geographic Stories About Interesting Jobs
6. Vintage Travel Posters and Google Earth
7. Five Ideas for Online Breakout Room Activities

Professional Development Opportunities 
Through Practical Ed Tech I'm currently offering two on-demand learning opportunities:
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. 
  • Wakelet is a great tool for making collections of resources, recording video, and more!
  • GAT Labs offers a great, free guide to using Google Workspaces in online classrooms.  
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 32,000 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.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

How to Create Crossword Puzzles With Google Sheets

My grandmother was a middle school and high school language arts teacher for decades. She loved crossword puzzles. I know that many other teachers still like to use them in one way or another too. If you would like to create your own crossword puzzles for your students or you want them to create crossword puzzles, Flippity has a free Google Sheets template for that purpose. In the following video I demonstrate how to make a crossword puzzle with Flippity's Google Sheets template.