Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Most Popular Posts of the Month - Ending With a Flood!

Good evening from Maine where the sun has set on the last day of January. The first month of the year went much too fast. And 2021 has been just as challenging as 2020 for me. The capper was a phone call from my school's director a few hours ago to tell me that my room was flooded over the weekend. Tomorrow should be interesting to say the least when I get to go in and assess the damage. Until then I'm going to try to get a good night's rest after compiling this month's list of the most popular posts of the month. Writing my weekly and monthly summaries is the most "normal" thing I did in 2020 and so far it's the most normal thing I can do in 2021. 

These were the month's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. How to Create Freehand Drawings in Google Slides
3. Ten Time-savers for G Suite for Education Users
4. Video - How to Annotate Your Screen in Google Meet
5. Overviewer - Turn Your iPhone or iPad Into a Document Camera in Zoom
6. Two Ways to Create Your Own Online Memory Games
7. Seven Apps and Sites to Encourage Healthy Diet and Exercise Habits
8. Boomwriter's Writing Bee - A Unique Creative Writing Contest for Kids
9. My Favorite Chrome Extensions Right Now - And What They Do
10. Tips to Help Busy Teachers Get and Stay Fit

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 in 2020. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • BoomWriter is hosting a unique creative writing contest for kids. Check it out!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
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 33,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology 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.

How to Embed a Section of a Video Into Canvas Courses

On Friday afternoon I received an email from a reader who was looking for a little help embedding YouTube videos into Canvas. Specifically, this person wanted to know if there was a way to share just a section of video into a course page. Fortunately, YouTube does make this fairly easy to do. 

You can embed a video into a Canvas page and have it start playing a specified time of your choosing. To do this you have to click on the "share" button below a YouTube video then click the "embed" option. When you click the embed option you can then specify the time at which you want the video to start playing when it is embedded into a page. In this short video I demonstrate those steps to embed YouTube videos into Canvas course pages. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Games, DJs, and Exercise - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it's a brisk 4F outside. My dogs wasted no time coming back to the house when I let them out this morning. The good news is that the forecast calls for warmer (relatively) temperatures and snow. I'm looking forward to helping my daughters learn to ski this weekend. I hope that you have something fun planned for the weekend, too.  

This week my school went back to 100% online instruction for the fourth or fifth time this year. We've also had a few periods of hybrid instruction and a couple of 100% in-person periods. The frequent transitions are hard on teachers and students. We're all doing the best we can for our students, but we could all use a snow day at this point. I hope that things are a little better at your school. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. Tips to Help Busy Teachers Get and Stay Fit
3. Book Creator Now Offers More Templates and Themes
4. How to Save Your Zoom Meeting Annotations
5. Citizen DJ - A Free Tool for Remixing Music and Spoken Audio
6. Muted Notifications During Google Meet Calls
7. How to Edit Your Videos by Typing in Type Studio

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 in 2020. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • BoomWriter is hosting a unique creative writing contest for kids. Check it out!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
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 33,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology 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.

Snoopy in Space - Lesson Plans About Space and More

From a very young age I've enjoyed Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and all of the characters in Peanuts. Watching Charlie Brown specials and reading the Peanuts comic strip is something my uncles did, my sister and I do, and now my daughters do. That's why I was excited to discover that the Peanuts website now offers some comprehensive lesson plans about space

Peanuts lesson plans are designed for elementary school students between the ages of four and eleven. In addition to the lesson plans about space there are sets of lesson plans titled Dream Big, Never Give Up, and Take Care With Peanuts. All of the lesson plans are available to download as PDFs. Within those PDFs you'll find links to additional resources including videos and printable activity sheets for students to complete. 

The Snoopy in Space lesson plans include plans for hands-on activities that are intended to help students learn about the solar system. There is also a lesson about the space station and a lesson about space exploration including missions to Mars and the moon. 

The Take Care With Peanuts lesson plans have three components to them. Those components are taking care of yourself, taking care of others, and taking care of Earth. 

The Dream Big and Never Give Up lesson plans are, as you might guess, designed to help students build confidence in themselves and their abilities. 

Applications for Education
All of these lesson plans were originally written as activities for parents and their children to do together. The lessons can easily be modified to be teacher-facilitated in-person or online lessons.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Dotstorming Gets an Updated Look and Easier Navigation

Dotstorming is a multimedia collage tool that has some neat voting and discussion features built into as well. I used it for a few years but haven't written about it since 2018. This morning I got an email from the developer of Dotstorming. The email announced a brand new look which includes an improved user interface.

Functionally, Dotstorming is the same as it ever was in terms of functionality. You can still create a collaborative board where you and your students can add notes and pictures. Dotstorming still lets you have chats on shared boards and still lets you vote for your favorite note or image added to your collaborative board. What's changed is that it's now much more obvious where to click to create boards, to create notes, to vote, and to chat. Previously, most of those features were "hidden" in drop-down menus. 

Dotstorming still provides teachers with tools to disable chat and or voting. It's possible to disable chat while still having the voting function turned on. 

Applications for Education
The value of Dotstorming in an online or in-person classroom is that it allows you to gather ideas or answers to a problem from your students and then have your students vote for the favorite idea or answer. Those vote totals can then be the basis for discussions with the whole class or in small groups.