Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Games, Transcripts, and Copyright - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where it was a beautiful day for bike ride after school. Jumping on my bicycle after school on a sunny spring day always makes me feel like a kid again. I hope that you also have an activity in your life that makes you feel like a kid again.

As the sun sets on the month of March I've compiled a list of the most read posts of the last 31 days. Take a look and see if your favorite post made the list or if there is something neat that you missed earlier this month.

These were the most popular posts of the month:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. Kahoot Now Displays Questions and Answers on the Same Screen - Finally!
3. How Does Artificial Intelligence Learn? - A TED-Ed Lesson I'm Using Today
4. Google Meet Transcripts Automatically Saved as New Google Docs
5. 27 Videos That Can Help Students Improve Their Writing
6. 5 Features of Google Advanced Search That Students Should Know How to Use
7. Why My Dogs Have Email Addresses and Your Dog or Cat Should Too
8. New Copyright Compliance Checks in YouTube
9. Jamboard Now Offers Version History
10. A New Option for Shortening Microsoft Forms Links

On-demand Professional Development at PracticalEdTech.com
The registrations for my Practical Ed Tech webinars and courses is what enables me to keep Free Technology for Teachers going. Right now there are three on-demand courses and webinars available.
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.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

A Fun and Educational Use of Cardboard Boxes

Instructables is a site that I've written about a couple of times during the last year. I love to visit the site for inspiration for all kinds of hands-on STEM projects for kids to do at home and or in their classrooms. On Instructables you'll find everything from complex Raspberry Pi projects to relatively simple projects developed with cardboard, glue, and other common craft materials. 

Just like they did at this time last year, Instructables is hosting a contest called the Speed Cardboard Challenge. As the name implies, you have to design and make something out of cardboard. You also have to publish directions that other people can follow to make your project. The contest runs through April 12th at midnight Pacific Time. There are nine prizes to be awarded to contest winners and runners-up. The top prize is a $250 gift card.

At the time of this writing there are not any entries into the contest! So you or your students have a good chance of winning. You can see some of last year's entries into the contest right here

Thanks to online shopping and quarantining there is an abundance of cardboard in my life. Projects like the ones on the Instructables Speed Cardboard Challenge provide a good way to put some of that cardboard to use. 

Applications for Education
Doing things like Instructables cardboard projects can be a good way to spark students' imaginations for STEM-related questions to explore. Depending upon the project and the age of your students they could come up with questions about PSI (pounds per square inch), calculating area and volume, or the structural integrity of various adhesives as they interact with cardboard.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

A Great Series of Videos for Those Who Have I.T. Career Questions

A couple of weeks ago I asked for help from my Twitter followers as I planned to help my students create resumes. Many of you were kind enough to take some time to offer really helpful advice. I passed that advice along to my students when we spent a day working on their resumes that they were developing for jobs in I.T. 

The other thing that I did on that day was share this video from a YouTube channel titled I.T. Career Questions. In the video, Types of I.T. Jobs in 2020, the host runs through a big list of job titles in the field of information technology. He categorizes the jobs and explains what the job titles mean, the career levels that correspond to the job titles, and the level of education that is expected in each type of job. 

The video was a great complement to and reinforcement of what I had already explained to my students. As we all know, you can explain something to your students as many times and ways as you like, but sometimes it takes a different voice for students to really "get it." That's exactly what this video did for me and my students. 

I.T. Career Questions has dozens of other videos explaining what it's like to work in I.T. They also host occasional livestreams during which viewers can ask questions about working in I.T. 


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

Three Areas That Can Help Teachers Improve Hybrid Learning for All Students

This is a guest post from Hali Larkins (@HaliLarkins), communications intern at The Learning Accelerator and Master's student at Columbia Teachers' College.


Across the country, teachers, students, and families have been engaging in simultaneous learning (often referred to as hybrid learning, or “Zoom and Room”) for quite some time. A year into these practices, we have become more familiar with the unfamiliar, but there is still so much for us to learn. Some of the challenges that teachers face in simultaneous learning are related to questions around, “How can teachers equally engage, monitor, and support groups of students who are both in-person and at home ?” We know that this is not the optimal practice, but at The Learning Accelerator, we have identified some tips that can hopefully help to provide success in classrooms during this time.

  1. Make the plan and content visible. The use of tools such as virtual notebooks, online agendas, and communicating the plan, can provide consistent structures, routines, and access to virtual materials and content. 

  2. Build Culture and Community. We understand that community building is difficult in simultaneous learning environments, but providing remote classroom jobs, virtual reward systems, and opportunities for fun can go a long way in strengthening collaboration and connection amongst students. 

  3. Create Opportunities for Student Agency. Simultaneous learning does not always have to be synchronous. Provide students with a variety of opportunities for engagement such as through playlists, choice boards, and task lists. Such strategies cam empower students to drive their own learning
While simultaneous learning is new for most of us, the tips above only scratch the surface. The Learning Accelerator continues to learn from educators and school systems across the country about what is working and what is not working. One of the tools that we have found to be helpful for designing instruction for simultaneous learning is the Concurrent Classroom Model Toolkit, a guide created by Mendon-Upton Regional School District. In this guide, teachers will find additional resources and models that can continue to enhance hybrid learning for their students.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

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

Every other Thursday Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I host a free webinar called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. The next one is this Thursday which happens to be April Fools' Day. 

As the title implies, 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 the webinars are all about. Register for this week's webinar right here

And on a related note, PBS Learning Media offers this short video explanation of April Fool's Day