Sunday, February 28, 2021

Annotations, Games, and Audio - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where the sun is setting on February. It turned out to be a great weekend with snow on Saturday and sunny skies today. Getting outside to play was the perfect way to end what felt like an exceptionally long February. 

I'm going to start March with a couple of webinars. On Tuesday on Practical Ed Tech I'm hosting Five Google Earth & Maps Projects for Social Studies. On Thursday I'm co-hosting Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. I hope you'll join me for one or both of these webinars. 

These were the month's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. Video - How to Annotate Your Screen in Google Meet
3. Two Ways to Create Your Own Online Memory Games
4. Musical Explorers World Map
5. Ten Time-savers for G Suite for Education Users
6. Whiteboard.chat - Create Online Whiteboards You Can Share and Monitor
7. Three Easy Ways for Students to Make Short Audio Recordings - No Email Required
8. Some of my Favorites - Creating Green Screen Videos
9. Magnetic Poetry With Google Jamboard and Google Classroom
10. Spaces - Digital Portfolios With Asynchronous Breakout Rooms

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 34,000 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.

My Most Popular Tutorial Videos in February

My YouTube channel now has more than 34,000 subscribers. According to the analytics that YouTube provides, more than half of all of the views of my videos happen through embeds on my blog. YouTube also provides analytics of what was watched the most over the last month. In case you're curious, here's a list of my tutorial videos that were watched the most in February. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Changes, Chat, and Spring - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where today it's going to snow, but tomorrow is going to sunny and will be almost spring-like. It's going to be perfect for skiing today and riding my bike outside tomorrow. I need some time outside after a long week. It clears my head and rejuvenates me. I hope that you also get time for the same this weekend. 

This week my school changed schedules for the umpteenth time this year. There's nothing to do but roll with the changes (cue REO Speedwagon). 

I haven't hosted a new Practical Ed Tech webinar yet this year. That's going to change next week when I host Five Google Earth & Maps Projects for Social Studies. If you're curious about how you can use Google Earth and Maps in your social studies lessons for more than just "looking at stuff," this webinar is for you. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Make Sure Students Aren't Unsupervised in Google Meet Video Calls
2. Whiteboard.chat - Create Online Whiteboards You Can Share and Monitor
3. A Tour of Google Arts and Culture for Teachers
4. How to Create a Google Slides Template
5. Some of my Favorites - Creating Green Screen Videos
6. Ten Time-savers for G Suite for Education Users
7. Three Easy Ways for Students to Make Short Audio Recordings - No Email Required

Thank you for your support! 
  • Registrations for my Practical Ed Tech webinars is one of the primary ways that I am able to keep this blog and my email newsletters going. More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course last year. 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 34,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen 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.

Daddy, What Are Hiccups?

My youngest daughter had hiccups twice this week. On Friday morning she asked, "what are hiccups?" Fortunately, I knew the answer. Unfortunately, I didn't have a great way of explaining involuntary muscle contractions to a three-year-old. I did my best and told her that it's part of her body's way of growing and getting stronger (hey, you try explaining it to a toddler). If she was a little older, I might have turned to the TED-Ed lesson, Why Do We Hiccup?

Why Do We Hiccup? explains what causes hiccups and why hiccups are more common in children than in adults. The video also dives into attempt to explain why humans hiccup but other exclusively air-breathing animals don't. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

It's Maple Syrup Time, Yay!

Here in Maine we're starting to notice that the days are getting a little longer and the sun is a little higher in the sky during the day. That means, as a few of my friends pointed out on social media this week, it's time to start tapping maple trees for syrup season. 

The process of collecting sap and turning it into maple syrup provides some great science lessons for students. The process of creating maple syrup can teach students lessons about why maple sap is easiest to collect in late winter/early spring, what makes the sap run, and it teaches students about evaporation. 

Here are a few video lessons about making maple syrup: 

Ever Wonder How Maple Syrup is Made? is a video from Highlights. The succinct video shows a mix of the old way of using buckets to collect sap and the modern method of using hoses.



My friend Gardner Waldeier AKA Bus Huxley on YouTube collects maple sap to make maple syrup. He does it the old fashioned way and he made a video about the process. Gardner's video shows viewers how he collects maple sap and turns it into maple syrup. In the video he explains why maple sap is collected at this time of year, how much sap he'll collect from a large tree, and just how much sap it takes to make a gallon of maple syrup. You also get a nice tour of Gardner's woodlot.



Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.


On a related note for my friends who like to run or bike and might be looking for a new energy bar or  gel, take a look at the Untapped Maple products. I just bought a sample pack a couple of weeks ago and I love it! It's so much easier to eat an Untapped Maple waffle than a Clif Bar in the middle of a hard workout. The Untapped Maple gels are way easier to choke down than anything else I've tried over the years. I'm planning to use the waffles and gels as part of my fueling strategy for the Unbound Gravel 200 in June.