Monday, February 8, 2021

The Easiest Way to Create QR Codes for Google Forms

Last fall I published a video and blog post about using QRCode Monkey to make QR codes for Google Forms. Doing that makes it easy for students to quickly access your Google Forms from their phones. In my school a lot of teachers are using QR codes to give students quick access to things like lunch menus, sign-in/sign-out forms, and activity registration forms. 

QRCode Monkey is a good tool and I don't have any problem recommending it. But if you're looking for an even easier way to make a QR code for a Google Form, there is a relatively new option for making QR codes built right into Google Chrome. 

When you're viewing the URL for a Google Form or any other web page in Google Chrome you'll see a small QR code icon in the right edge of the address bar. Simply click on that icon and a QR code will be generated for that page. You can download the QR code as PNG image file to download and print or download and insert into a document. This is probably the quickest and easiest way to create QR codes for Google Forms. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to quickly create a QR code for a Google Form without having to use any third-party tools. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

How to Give Yourself a Grace Period in Gmail

Have you ever hit "send" a bit too quickly when writing an email? Have you ever accidentally sent an email to the wrong person or accidentally hit "reply all" when you only needed to reply to one person? If so, you should consider enabling Gmail's "Undo Send" feature. 

Gmail's Undo Send feature allows you to create a grace period for yourself. You can set it to give yourself up to 30 seconds to undo the sending of an email. I have it enabled in all of my personal and professional Gmail accounts including my school G Suite for Edu account. 

Watch this short video to learn how to enable "undo send" in your Gmail account. 



Poetry, Music, and Zoomed-out - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it's going to be a chilly and sunny winter day. We had nearly two feet of fresh snow fall this week. Conditions are perfect for sledding, skiing, and making snowmen. After another week on completely online classes, I need some time outside. I don't know about you, but my students and I are starting to feel a bit Zoomed-out. We miss being able to do hands-on work in my classroom. That's why this post's featured image is from when we did have in-person classes. Hopefully, by the end of the month we'll be back in our classrooms. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. Musical Explorers World Map
3. Spaces - Digital Portfolios With Asynchronous Breakout Rooms
4. A Handful of Super Bowl Themed Educational Resources
5. Magnetic Poetry With Google Jamboard and Google Classroom
6. GeoQuiz - How Many Countries Can You Identify?
7. How to Share Videos in Google Classroom Without Using YouTube

Thank you for your support! 
  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course last year. 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!
  • Spaces takes a new approach to digital portfolios. Give it a try!
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.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Filters, Captions, and Other Zoom Features You Might Have Missed

A few weeks ago I published an article in which I mentioned that Zoom didn't have a native transcription or captioning feature. Within minutes of hitting publish on that article, people emailed me to point out that I was wrong. I'm thankful for that because it opened my eyes to a feature that I was overlooking because it's buried in the settings of my Zoom account. That's an example of how tools like Zoom are constantly evolving. 

Another feature of Zoom that I recently started using, and discovered quite by accident, is filters and frames. These let you place fun borders around yourself during your Zoom meetings. These can also be used to virtually place things like party hats on your head. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to enable captions, frames, and filters in Zoom meetings. 


Applications for Education
The captions and transcripts in Zoom make it easier than ever to make your online instruction accessible to more students. Previously, you needed either a third party service or someone to type captions for you during Zoom meetings. 

The frames and filters are fun to use, but aren't a significant update in the way that automatic captioning is. That said, after a long week of teaching online it can be fun to let students play with the filters and frames to break-up the usual routine of a Zoom class. My students liked using them on Friday.  

Three Good Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources

I'm currently developing a new version of my popular online course, Teaching History With Technology (you can see a preview last year's course here). Part of that process has been revisiting collections of primary sources and some of the tools that I recommend for teaching lessons based on primary sources. Here are three of the many resources that I'm featuring in the course. 

Historical Scene Investigations
Historical Scene Investigation contains thirteen cases in which students analyze "clues" found in primary sources in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. For example, in the case of The Boston Massacre students have to decide if justice was served. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the primary source documents and images they are provided. HSI provides templates for students to use to record observations from the evidence.
 
HSI is produced by College of William & Mary School of Education, University of Kentucky School of Education, and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program. My video overview of HSI is available here.

Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America is a good place to locate primary source documents to use in your history lessons. The DPLA offers more than 100 primary source document sets that are organized by subject and time period in United States history. Depending upon the time period the DPLA primary source sets include documents, drawings, maps, photographs, and film clips. A list of points to consider accompanies each artifact in each set. Teachers should scroll to the bottom of the page on each artifact to find a teaching guide related to the primary source set.

World Digital Library
The World Digital Library is a resource that I started using back in 2009. At that time it was just a small collection of about 1,200 digitized primary source artifacts from libraries around the world. Today, the World Digital Library hosts more than 19,000 digitized primary source artifacts to view and download. You can search the WDL by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. My favorite way to explore the WDL is by browsing through the interactive maps that are available when you click on the globe icon in the site's header. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in multiple languages.

What's the Difference Between a Primary and a Secondary Source?
If you're looking for a good video explanation of the differences between primary and secondary sources, the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota History Center offers this good and concise explanation for students.