Thursday, March 4, 2021

Why My Dogs Have Email Addresses and Your Dog or Cat Should Too

People often get a kick out of learning that my dogs have their own email addresses. You can send them email at Mason or Fionn (at) freetech4teachers.com and they'll get back to you as soon as they learn to type.

My dogs have email addresses because I conduct a lot of workshops throughout the year and I don't always want to use my personal email account to either register for a service or to demonstrate a function on a big screen. By using the fake email accounts that I've created for my dogs I don't have to clutter my personal email with lots of account registrations that I may or may not use again. Likewise, I don't have to open my personal accounts on a big screen in front of a group.

The other reason that I use my dogs' email accounts to register for services is so that I can demonstrate how to use a site or app from square one. For example, when I conduct Google Workspaces workshops I will use Mason's email account to demonstrate all facets of setting-up an account, adjusting settings, and adding new content to the account. By doing it this way new users see all steps on my screen the same as they will on their own screens.

If you find yourself conducting a lot of training sessions for colleagues or students, take a minute or two to create a fake email account for demonstration purposes.

The Wall of Birds - Hear the Calls of Birds and See Their Ranges

We're starting to see some birds returning to feeders around our house. Before too long we'll be waking up to the sounds of bird calls. Seeing the birds return reminded me of a great resource from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. That resource is the Wall of Birds

The Wall of Birds is a neat site published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Wall of Birds features a mural of 243 hand-painted birds. The mural's backdrop is a map of the world. You can zoom and pan across the mural to see all of the birds. Clicking on a bird will open a side pane that contains information about that bird's habitat and habits. The side pane also contains an audio recording of the bird's call.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a YouTube channel that is full of short videos about birds in their natural habitats. The videos provide students with another way to see and hear a variety of birds.



Applications for Education
As the weather warms in the Northern Hemisphere a fun outdoor learning activity is to take students on nature walks during which they try to identify as many different birds as possible. They could do this by sight and sound with the help of some of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's resources.

Merlin Bird ID is another tool that could help students identify birds. It is a free iPhone and Android app that helps you identify birds that you see in North America. To help you identify a bird you've see Merlin Bird ID asks you a few questions about the color of the bird, its size, where you saw it, and when you saw it. Merlin Bird ID will suggest which bird you saw based on your answers to the identification questions. The suggestion will come with pictures of the bird and some information about it. In some cases you will be able to listen to a recording of the bird's call.

How to Make a Copy of a Google Doc That Isn't Directly Shared With You

From time to time I publish charts and other digital hand-outs that I have created in Google Documents. For example, I recently shared this chart comparing student blogging tools and this chart comparing multimedia timeline creation tools. When I share those charts I publish them as Google Documents marked as "view only." If you want to make copies of the charts you can do so by following the steps outlined in the short video embedded below.



On a related note, you can search for any publicly shared Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets by following the steps outlined in the video below.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

How to Use Google Calendar to Book Zoom Meetings

This week and next week at my school we have to hold short interviews with students who want to be in our technical programs next year. In normal years this happens in our classrooms. This year we're doing it over Zoom. 

To streamline the process of scheduling Zoom meetings with prospective students I created a Google Calendar appointment page on which they could book a time for an interview. Then in the appointment details I removed the default Google Meet link and replaced it with a link to a Zoom meeting. 

I couple of years ago I published this video about how to create appointment slot calendars in Google Calendar and how people can book one of the calendar slots with you. 


The video above is still accurate. If you want to take the process a step farther and include Google Classroom and Zoom in the process, watch this video that I published last spring. 

Free Webinar Tomorrow - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff

Tomorrow (Thursday) at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I will be hosting the next installment of our free webinar series that is simply titled Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff

Just like the title says, during each webinar we answer questions from anyone who attends as well as questions that have been sent to us in advance. You can email me or Rushton with your questions. In each episode we also share a couple of interesting apps, websites, or videos that we've found during the last couple of weeks.

Watch one of the recent episodes to get a sense of what tomorrow's webinar is all about.



Click here to register and join us for the next episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff.